Suggested Meaning:head of the slow moving stream
element:S. lane ‘slow moving stream’
element:S. head ‘head, source’
Place-name:Lanehead Cottage
Place-Name: Lanehead + Standard Scottish English cottage ‘cottage’
Blaeu Coila (1654):Leinhead
OS Name Books (1855-57):Lanehead
Location:Ordnance Survey (1894)
Earlier Forms
Leinhead (1654), Loanhead (1681), Leanhead (1705, Land Tax) ), Lanehead (1712, OPR), Lonehead (1752, Roy), Loanhead (1766, 1775), Lanehead (1775, Armstrong)


Scots lane ‘slow moving stream’ + head ‘near source’
Map 1 : Leinhead, Lein B. & Drumkalladyr (Blaeu 1654) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotlamd

Lanehead and Lane Burn appear as Leinhead and Lein B. in Blaeu Coila Provincia, clearly illustrating the relationship between the two names, i.e. Lanehead sits close to the source, or the head of the Lane Burn. [N.B. It may be the case the lein was pronounced lane cf. vein and vane].

The entry for Lanehead in the Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) supports this view –

A farm house occupied by Paterson the property of Sir John Cathcart. It is situated as the name [ suggests] near the source of Lane Burn.

At that time Sir John Andrew Cathcart, 5th Baronet of Carleton in the parish of Colmonnel, Ayrshire was the proprietor of the extensive Waterhead Estate in the parish of New Cumnock, which included the lands of Lanehead [3].


It is worth noting that Lonehead another early form of the name appears a number of times in the records associated with various branches of the Cathcart family.

In 1655 the Cathcarts of Carleton purchased the ‘seven merk-land of Waterhead’ from Cathcart of Waterhead and in 1766 acquired the ‘two merk-lands of Drumcallander-Rigg and Loanhead’ [2], also referred to as ‘Rigg and Loanhead’ [4]. The Land Tax Roll of 1705 identify these two properties as ‘Waterhead now Carleton’ and ‘Leanhead Cathcart’.

In 1775 Sir John Cathcart of Carelton engaged in a court action with ‘Hugh Mitchell and others’ that in 1771 they had ‘poinded cattle and grass off the farm of Loanhead‘ [5].

In between times, in 1681, the Earl of Dumfries was successful in having the decision to divide the parish of Cumnock into the two parishes of Old Cumnock and New Cumnock in 1650 annulled. Included in the list of heritors in the parish at that time were Mr. John Cathcart of Loanhead and Mr. Hugh Cathcart of Waterhead [6].

Also during this period the property appeared as Lonehead in Roy’s Military Survey Map (1752-55) which also shows an unnamed burn issuing from a substantial area of marshy land. The area remains abound with rushes to this day.

The Dictionaries of Scots Languages entry for Scots loan reads –

LOAN, n.2 A piece of soft, rough ground, common in place-names on the Ayr.-Gall. borders, e.g. the Loan of Turchloy, the Black Loan. [Gael. lòn, a marsh, a meadow.]

The Dictionaries of Scots Languages [7]
Lanehead Farm (photo Robert Guthrie)

Although Loanhead could possibly be the ‘head of rough, marshy ground’, it remains the case that Lanehead’s location near the source of the Lane Burn is still the most likely derivation of that name.

Furthermore, although the form Loanhead is prominent in the above court case records, Lanehead is the preferred form in the local baptism records and is the name that appears on Armstrong’s Map of Ayrshire (1775).

Map 2: Lanehead and Rig (Armstrong) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The aforementioned Hugh Mitchell is probably the father, named in the following baptism record ‘13th February 1758 Hugh to son Hugh Mitchell and Sarah McIlwraith in Lanehead‘. Indeed the earliest occcurence of the name Lanehead in the Old Parish Records (which date back to 1706) is also attributed to the Mitchell family is ‘16th January 1712 Jean daughter to Hugh Mitchell and Jean Williamson in Lanehead‘. In 1684 ‘Robert Mitchell in Laimehead‘ was one of a number of parishioners interrogated by the authorities during the persecution of those that adhered to the Covenants 8]. He may be related to Robert Mitchell, one of five Covenanters shot in 1684 at Moniave.

Returning now to the Cathcarts of Carleton and the ‘two-merkland of Rigg and Loanhead’. These lands were ‘conveyed to Mr Cathcart of Genoch, and after belonging to Mr Cathcart and his son, have since devolved to Sir John Cathcart of Carleton’ [4].

In 1833 when the seats of the new parish of church of New Cumnock were being assigned to the heritors, the names of both John Cathcart of Genoch, Esq. and Sir John Andrew Cathcart, 5th Baronet of Carleton appear on the list of the twenty heritors in the parish [9].

John Cathcart of Genoch passed away two years later and his Will & Testament includes a list of ‘rent dues in Waterhead Estate by the following persons -‘. Although the individual properties on his Waterhead estate were not identified, one of his tenants Joseph Riddall, ‘owing a rent of £100‘, is likely to be the ‘son of John Riddall and Mary Campbell‘ born in 1818 at Lanehead and also related to Thomas Riddall and his family who appear in the 1841 Census Records of Lanehead. A further search of Old Parish Records baptisms reveal Riddalls at Lanehead dating back to 1777.

The ‘two-merk lands of Rigg and Loanhead‘ did indeed devolve to Sir John Cathcart, 5th Baronet of Carleton and was absorbed into his ‘seven-merk land Waterhead estate‘ now restored back to ‘nine-merk lands‘. The Valuation Rolls from 1855 onward always refer to the Cathcart of Carleton lands as Lanehead as opposed to Loanhead.

Map 3: 1.Lanehead and 2. Lanehead Cottage | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

In the early 19th century the farmhouse of Sunnyside was built on the lands of Lanehead.

The Desirable Lands of LANEHEAD and SUNNYSIDE, on the ESTATE OF WATERHEAD, in the parish of New Cumnock, which are presently occupied by Mr. John Neill. These farms consist of good Pasture Meadow and Arable Land, and are well adapted for Dairy and Sheep Stock. The Farms have been partially drained and improved, and are advantageously situated with easy access from the Railway Stations at Dalmellington , Old Cumnock and New Cumnock. The House, &c are in good repair, having almost been rebuilt within the last three years

North British Agriculturist, June 13, 1877 [10]

All photographs by Robert Guthrie.

Sunnyside is now in ruins while Lanehead has recently been acquired by new owners and is undergoing a substantial refurbishment.

Lanehead Cottage

Place-Name : Lanehead + SSE cottage ‘cottage’

The entry for Lanehead in the Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) reads –

A Cottage house Situated at the Source of Lane Burn occupied by William Nisbet.

Lanehead Cottage once stood between Lanehead farm and Craighouse farm on the banks of the Lane Burn, close to where it is joined by the Bow Burn. The cottage was nearer to the source of the Lane Burn than Lanehead, and it is interesting to note that Burnhead is recorded as an alternative name in the OS Name Book entry.

Map 4: Lanehead Cottage | Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Old Parish Records (Scotland’s People)

The Old Parish Records of New Cumnock records the following baptism –

30th July 1815, John born the 21st June L.S. (lawful son) to James Murdoch and Ann Fleming, Lanehead Lime Works’.

The works were based at the Quarry at nearby Craighouse.

[1] Dictionaries of the Scots Languages |lane
[2] Cases Decided in the Court of Session, Vol. 5 (1843) | Rev. Matthew Kirkland v Sir John Andrew Cathcart
[3] New Cumnock Place-Name: Waterhead
[4] The Scottish Jurist: Containing Reports of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Scotland, Vol. XV (1843) |Rev. Matthew Kirkland v Sir John Andrew Cathcart
[5] Scottish Court of Session (July 1775) | Sir John Cathcart v Hugh Mitchell & Others
[6] The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, K.M. Brown et al eds (St Andrews, 2007-2021), [1681/7/143] | Ratification in favour of [William Crichton], earl of Dumfries and [Charles Crichton], lord Crichton
[7] Dictionaries of the Scots Languages | loan
[8] Henry Paton (Editor), The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, Third Series, Vol IX, A.D. 1684, P.543-547 | New Cumnock History, Interrogations of Parishioners
[9] New Cumnock History , New Cumnock Heritors 1833
[10] British Newspaper Archive | North British Agriculturist, June 13, 1877


Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1: Atlus Novus, Coila Provincia (Blaeu 1654) |Leinmark
Map 2: Armstrong Map of Ayrshire (1775) | Lanehead
Map 3: Ordnance Survey (1895) | Lanehead
Map 4: Ordnance Survey (1858) | Lanehead Cottage
Other: Roy Military Survey (1747-55) | Lonehead
Ordnance Survey Name Books and Land Tax Rolls
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Lanehead
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Lanehead Cottage
Land Tax Roll 1705
Scotland’s People
Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments