Suggested Meaning:‘hollow of the hind’
Gaelic Lag na h-Earba ‘hollow of the hind’
Blaeu Coila (1654):N/A
OS Name Books (1855-57):Lochmeharb
Location:Ordnance Survey (1898)
Early Forms
Lagmanharbe (1520), Lochinharke (1673), Lochmahaib (1676), Lochmaharb (OPR 1732 -1743), Lochmeharb (1803), Lochmeharb (OS Maps), Lochmaharb (Valuation Rolls 1905-1940)


Gaelic lag na h’earba ‘hollow of the hind’

Map 1: Lochmeharb (OS Map 1850-57) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Michal Ansell in his series of articles on ‘Glenkens Place-Names’ discusses the place-name Lochspraig in the Glenkens and then draws comparison with Lochmeharb in the parish of New Cumnock [1] –

Lochspraig is quite a puzzling name. Given that there is no loch in the vicinity and looks like there never has been one there, I think that the generic element might be log, a variant of the more familiar lag/lagan ‘a hollow or declivity’.

Incidentally, there is another potential example of the generic term discussed here in the former farm of Lochmeharb. This is probably Log na h-Earba ‘hollow of the hind’ compare Craigmaharb for Creag na h-Earba ‘rock of the hind’ in the Forrest Glen.

Michael Ansell , Glenken Gazette 122 (Feb, Mar 2021)

Lending support to this potential example is the form Lagmanharbe found in the following instrument alongside Daleglis (Dalleagles) and Quithill (Whitehill) [2] –

425. Instrument narrating that John Reid, bailie of George Craufurd of Lifify- nnoris, in terms of a precept of clare constat and sasine by George C. (which is inserted at length in the protocol), of date at Liffynnoris 24 October 1520, witnessed by Patrick Blak of Tempilland, Hugh Craufurd in Hieteth, John Craufurd and Adam Lekprevik, gave sasine to William Reid as nearest and lawful heir of his father, the late Andrew Reid, in Thirdpart, in the two-merk lands of Daleglis, Quhithill and Lagmanharbe, according to old infeftment. Done on the lands of Daleglis 27 October 1520. Witnesses, George Ross, Thomas Ross, David Makilgerow, John M’Apill, George Makilgerow, Adam Lekprevick

Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 425

There are two further examples of this phenomenon in the parish of New Cumnock in the neighbouring farms of Lochingerroch and Lochbrowan situated in Glen Afton, neither anywhere near a loch and both with the earlier lag- forms. i.e. Lagurgeroch (1535) and Lagbrowen (1535) respectively [3] .

Gaelic lag ‘hollow, cavity’ [4] Gaelic earb ‘roe, hind’ [5]

Certainly Lochmeharb sits in a hollow encircled by hills and with Strathwiggan Burn, Pochriegavin Burn and the Water of Deugh in the vicinity there is plenty of water for thirsty deer.

Map 2: Lochmeharb (OS Map 1895) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

By the following century, the pre-fix lag- has been replaced by loch- as witnessed in the testaments of the wives of Simeon Aikfurd [Scotland’s People] –

17 May 1673 Margaret McKinricke spouse to Simeon Aikfurd in Lochinharke, parish of Cumnock
28 Apr 1676 Bessie Wilsoun relict of Simom Ackfoord in Lochmahaib, parish of Cumnock

It is likely that in the form Lochinharke, ‘b’ has been transcribed as a ‘k’.

Old Parish Records

The earliest form of the name in the Old Parish Records of New Cumnock (1706-1855) is Lochmaharb found in the records of the four daughters of John Wilson & Jean Wight – Jean (1729), twins Bethia & Margaret (1732) and Marion (1738). It is this form that is also shown in Armstrong’s Map of Ayrshire (1775).

Map 3: Lochmaharb (Armstrong’s Map of Ayrshire ,1775) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Land Tax Rolls

In 1520 the lands of Lochmaharb were partnered with those of Dalleages and Whitehill. Almost 300 years later they were partnered with the lands of Lanemark and the Beochs (i.e. Nether and Upper Beoch) as recorded in the Land Tax Roll of 1803 and all owned by Quintin McAdam. These three New Cumnock properties formed part of the large Craigengillan estate, which chiefly comprised of properties in the neighbouring parish of Dalmellington and a few in the parish of Carsphairn. In 1805 McAdam died in tragic circumstances taking his own life in the McAdam’s Craigengillan mansion. Control of the estate fell to his daughter Jean McAdam and she later married Col. Frederick Cathcart, who changed his name to McAdam-Cathcart in order to satisfy the Trustees of John McAdam of Craigengillan that the title had to be held by a person named McAdam.

In 1828 the name makes an appearance in the form Lochmeharb in William Johnson’s map of Ayrshire and it was this form that was recorded in the Ordnance Survey Name Book.

Map 4: Lochmeharb| Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Lochmeharb reads –

A small farm house with a sheep farm attached, occupied by Robert Campbell, the property of Col. [Colonel] Cathcart.

Johnson’s map was one of the four ‘Authorities for Spelling’, along with the [New Cumnock] Iron Company’s map, William Johnstone, teacher and Walter Campbell, Lochmeharb, shepherd and brother of Robert Campbell, farmer of 340 acres. Interestingly, only Kennedy Smith, factor of the Craigengillan estate, plumped for for form Lochmaharb.

The Valuation Rolls reveal a variety of forms Lochnaharlie (1855), Lochmaharb (1865), Lochnaharb (1875) , Lochmaharb (1885) and Lochmahart (1895) – a typographical error rather than a reference to a ”hart’ as opposed to a hind! The name thereafter is consistently recorded in the form Lochmaharb in the Rolls 19005-1940.

The McAdam-Cathcart family began to sell of the lands of the Craigengillan estate and ca.1915/19 Lieutenant John Craig purchased the lands of Lochmaharb and Moor (Muir of Waterhead) in Carsphairn, where his family had been tenants for a number of years. He also purchased Glenlee, in the parish of New Cumnock, previously owned by the Marquis of Bute, situated further upstream on the Deugh.

Colonel Craig ran the farms of Lochmaharb and Glenlee as sheep farms, the sheep being raised as mutton, as opposed to wool and through his generosity the New Cumnock Angling Club was conceded certain fishing rights on the Deugh and its tributaries [6].

Map 5: Lochmeharb| Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

In 1919 the remaining Craigengillan properties were sold off as lots, including the Two Beochs and Lanemark [7].

[1] Michael Ansell , Glenken Gazette 122 (Feb, Mar 2021)
[2] Scottish Record Society, Protocol Book of Gavin Ros (1512-1532) | No. 425
[3] Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland, vol 2, no. 1737
[4] Edward Dwelly, Illustrated Gaelic -English Dictionary | lag
[5] Edward Dwelly , Illustrated Gaelic -English Dictionary |earb
[6] British Newspaper Archive | The Scotsman, Tuesday 21 March 1933
[7]CANMORE | Plan of the Craigengillan Estate, Ayrshire and Kirkcudbrightshire, For Sale by Auction by Messrs. Knight, Frank and Rutley
Reproduced with the Permission of National Library of Scotland
Images used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.
Map 1: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1843-1882 (1850-57)| Lochmeharb
Map 2: Ordnance Survey, One-inch to the mile maps of Scotland, 2nd Edition – 1885-1900 (1895) | Lochmeharb
Map 3: Andrew Armstrong,1700-1794, A new map of Ayrshire (1775)| Lochmaharb
Map 4: William Johnson land surveyor, Edinburgh, [Ayrshire] / compiled from estate plans & c. (1828)   Lochmeharb
Map 5: Ordnance Survey, One-inch to the mile maps of Scotland, 2nd Edition – 1885-1900 (1895) | Lochmeharb, Moor, Glenlee
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Lochmeharb
Scotland’s People
Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments