Later alternative names:East Lowes, Mid Lowes and West Lowes
Lochill, Mid Lowes, Calton
Suggested Meaning:take their names from (1) the three lochs they overlook or (2) specifically from Loch O’ Th’ Lowes.
First element:Scots lowis ‘lochs’
Blaeu Coila (1654):Lowis, O. Lowis, N. Lowis
OS Names Book (1855-57):Lochill , Mid Lowes, West Lowes
Location:Ordnance Survey (1892-1960)
Earlier Forms
Lowis (1517, 1645, 1648, 1684), Lows (Sasine, 1627), Lowes (1707)
Map 1: Lowis, O. Lowis, N. Lowis | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland

Lowis, Nether Lowis and Over Lowis

Map 1: Blaeu Coila Provincia (1654)

These three Lowis properties probably take their name from Scots lowis, lowes ‘lochs’ [1], a reference to the nearby lochs of Black l. and L. of the Lowis that they overlook [2]. Today the stretch of water comprises of three distinct lochs namely, the small Black Loch, Creoch Loch in the middle then the larger Loch O’ Th’ Lowes, i.e. the ‘loch of the lochs’.

[N.B It may be the case that the lands of Lowis take their name specifically from the Loch O’ Th’ Lowes].

Scots nether ‘lower’ [3] and Scots over ‘upper’ [4] are common place-name elements to distinguish between properties sharing the same name, in this case Lowis.

A fascinating insight into some of the business done at Lowis in 1517 [5] –

191. Instrument narrating that Patrick Hammiltoun, John Wilsoun, Robert Johnsoun, Rankyn Boill and Patrick Dairympill, sworn to this effect upon their great oaths, appraised eight cows with as many” stirkis,” one sterile cow, one bull, twelve beasts two years old, two beasts (oxen) three years old, fourteen larger sheep (“oues majores“), and eleven sheep one year old, or “hoggis,” in the custody of the said Patrick Dalrympill, at the sum of £22 money, which beasts and goods the said Patrick, on his oath, touching the gospels, declared to belong to Alexander Jamesoun and Egidia Jamesoun, children of the late John Jamesoun, and that they were delivered to him on behalf of said persons the space of two and a half years before this date for the sake of custody for the benefit of Alexander and Egidia, which goods Patrick asserted he had guarded, as he at present guards them.

Done at Lowis, in Cumnok, 15 September 1517. Witnesses, Robert Huchonson, George Currie and Katrina Hamilton,

Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, No. 191

A dispute at the principal mansion of the two-merk lands of Lowis in 1527 [6] –

827. Instrument narrating that John M’Cadam, son and heir of the late Andrew M’Cadam, passed to the two-merk lands of Lowis, belonging to John heritably for the time, and there, at the principal mansion of the same, required William BaIrd, pretended tenant in said lands, and Patrick Hamiltoun of Bordland to remove themselves and their goods from said lands, and to leave the lands vacant and ready for said John M., because William and Patrick occupied the lands unjustly, as John M. asserted, for certain years and terms by past. Dated 16 June 1527. Witnesses, George Craufurd of Laffinoris, William Craufurd, senior, Patrick Blak of Tempilland and Hugh Craufurd,

Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, No. 191

Some 100 years later, in 1629 there is a further mention of the Baird family in the lands of Lowis [7]

  • 2 mercat lie Nather Lowis (possesse per Jo. Baird et Catharinam Rankene relictam Hugonis M’Kowane
  • 2 mercat. de Mid Lowis (per Jo. Asloane)
  • 2 mercate de Lochside et Hillheid (per Andream Baird et Saram Murray relictam Joannis Baird in Hillheid)

Covenanting Times

The Wood/Woode family appear in the early records of Lowis beginning on 10th March 1648 with the testament of John Woode in Lowis, parish of Cumnock [Scotland’s People] . Later that century during the persecution of the Covenanters, Charles II issued a proclamation on the 5th May 1684 ‘for the apprehension of persons, who were supposed to have been under arms, or to have harboured those who were’ . The names of those appearing in the proclamation from the parish of Cumnock (Old and New Cumnock) included that of ‘John Wood, son to Hugh Wood in Lowis‘ [8]

The Reverend Warrick in ‘The History of Old Cumnock’ crosses over the parish boundary to recount this tale of folklore associated with Lowes [9] –

Another form of superstition connected with witches held its ground in our neighbourhood. It was believed that they sometimes took the form of hares. One day a lad was out shooting. He brought down a hare which immediately stood up on its hind legs and wagged its fore paws. His companions told him that he had shot a witch and that some calamity would befall him. On reaching his home in a state of terror he was sent off to seek the advice of an old woman near at hand. She told him to go back to the spot and fire a piece of silver from the gun after which he would be relieved of the bad effect of having shot a witch. The farm on which this happened was Lowes, in New Cumnock.

Rev. John Warrick . History of Old Cumnock

Baptism Records (Scotland’s People)

Eventually the variant form lowes replaced lowis, certainly by the time the Old Parish Records of baptisms began in 1706, with the first Lowes entry appearing the following year. In the period from 1707-1720, David Haddow and Helen Taylor had seven children all born at Lowes. In 1732 James Howatson and Ann Gilmour had a daughter Mary born in the Lowes.

Elsewhere, in 1715 Robert Mitchell, son to John Mitchell and Jean Bane was born in Over Lowes.

Less obvious as Lowes’ births, at first sight, were the baptism records of the 9 children of Thomas Bell and Janet Lockie from the period 1708 to1725 at Hillhead before noting that two of entries referred to the Hillhead of Lowes.

In 1758 a son to James McKerrow and Margaret Howatson was born in North Lowes while in 1768 a daughter was born to James McKerrow and Jean McGavin in Mid Lowes. In 1801 a son was born to Andrew Brown and Jennet Boyd in South Lowes.

This demonstrates that not only did the form lowis change to lowes but that the place-name element that differentiated them also changed. In fact some other significant changes took place, such that today only one of the three lowes properties now carry the names lowes. The transformation is mapped out below.

Map 2| Roy Military Survey of Scotland (1747-55)

The parent farm name appears as Lowes while Nether Lowis appears as Hillhead which must be Hillhead of Lowes as recorded in the above baptism records. [See also reference to Lochside and Hilheid above]. Over Lowis appears as Little Lows reflecting perhaps the smallest, in terms of rental value, of the three Lowes properties. (See Map 2 link below).

Map 3 |William Johnston, Northern (Southern) part of Ayrshire (1828 )

Two of the three Lowes properties are pre-fixed with the compass points East and West with the third property in the middle of them being prefixed by Mid (see Map 3 link below).

Map 3 |A. E. Thomson, Johnston’s map of the county of Ayr (1838)

Ten years later A.E. Thomson’s print of this map adds parish boundaries and railways etc. to Johnston’s map and introduces the place-name Calton adjacent to Mid Lowes as well as Lowes Muir [10].

Map 4: A. E. Thomson (1838) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland
Valuation Rolls 1855 (Scotland’s People)

In the Valuation Rolls of 1855 the three properties are recorded as East Lowes, Mid Lowes (with no reference to Calton) and West Lowes including part of Sannockhill (shown as Shannoch Hill in the map above) which lands lie in the parish of Old Cumnock. Nothing remains of the original Sannockhill cottage but a cottage sits near East Borland, Old Cumnock.

N.B. Sir Herbert Maxwell considers Sannoch (Kells) to be Samhang [sannag] ‘a fire lit on the eve of Samhuinn, All Hallows Eve’ [11] while W.J.Watson gives Samh-n-ac ‘place of the sorrel’ [12].

Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57)

By the time of the OS Name Book another name change takes place with East Lowes now recorded as Lochill while the names of Mid Lowes and West Lowes survive

East Lowes / Lochill / Lochhill

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Lochill reads –

A farm house and offices situated near the Turnpike road from New Cumnock to Old Cumnock, occupied by Mr James Weir.

The ‘Authorities for spelling’ were Mr James Weir, occupant of Lochill; Dr. Rankin of nearby Lochside and Alexander Arthur of Benston, all of whom considered the name to be Lochill. The other quoted authorities were from the records of ‘Voters List’ which gave Lochhill or East Lowes (note the double h in Lochhill) and the ‘Valuation Rolls of 1855’ which gave East Lowes. The name of Lochill, supported by the three local parishioners , was the name that would appear of the Ordnance Survey map.

Map 5: OS Map (1857) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland

It was at this time the ‘modern name’ of Lochside Loch replaced that of Loch O’ Th’ Lowes (thankfully for a temporary period) which strangely probably took its name from the relatively new house of Lochside, built on its banks, i.e. at the side of the Loch. This may also have influenced the introduction of the ‘modern day’ of Lochill, i.e. the farm on the hillside overlooking the loch.

Although the names ‘East Lowes or Lochhill’ continued to appear on the Valuation Rolls, the farm name had become established as Lochhill (i.e. double h), nevertheless it reappeared as East Lowes, along with Loch O’ Th’ Lowes, in the 1895 Ordnance Survey Map.

Map 6: OS Map (1895) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland

Mid Lowes

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Mid Lowes reads –

A farm house and offices occupied by Mr John Young.

Mid Lowes with Creoch Loch in the background (Robert Guthrie 2022)

John Young passed away a few years later in 1859 and in his will, and on his headstone in the Auld Kirkyard, he is referred to as John Young, farmer Lowes. Indeed in the Census Records the farm is given as Lowse (1841), Lowes (1851-1891) and then Mid Lowes (1901).

The Young family would later own the lands of both Mid Lowes and the neighbouring lands of Lochhill (East Lowes) . One branch of the family only recently moved out of Mid Lowes while another branch are in still Lochhill .

Map 7: OS Map (1857) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland

West Lowes / Calton

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for West Lowes reads –

A farm house occupied by Hugh Vallance, the property of the Marquis of Bute.

Branches of the Vallance family were tenants at West Lowes and also the neighbouring property of Lowesmuir and by 1920 the family owned both properties.

From West Lowes to Calton

As previously discussed the name Calton appeared in A.E. Thomson’s map of 1838, albeit adajcent to Mid Lowes!

Hugh Vallance and his wife Helen Baird had 8 children born in the period from 1834 to 1853 and all with their place of birth recorded as West Lowes. Whereas the address recorded on the Census Records during the time Hugh Vallance was farmer was Calton (1841), West Lowes (1851), Calton (1861,1871) and Lowes,West (1881); and then, when his son Robert was the farmer, the name was Calton (1891,1901,1911).

Furthermore the name West Lowes appeared in the Valuation Rolls up until 1915, at which time is was recorded as ‘West Lowes or Calton’ and then from 1920 onwards only the name Calton survived on the rolls.

There is no ready explanation for the introduction of the name Calton. Was it borrowed from somewhere else or was it a local name for this part of the lands of Lowes? Was there a hazel-copse here at one time?

N.B. James B. Johnston considers Calton in both Glasgow and Edinburgh to probably be Gaelic calltuinn, or calldainn ‘a hazel or hazel-copse’ [13].

Map 8: OS Map (1857) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland


A feature of the land of Lowes [12] were the various stretches of woodlands that also served as boundaries between the various properties as well as a shelterbelt.

Map 9: OS Map (1895) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland

The terms wood, plantation [14], belts (shelterbelt) and mount [15,16] are all used to describe the woodlands. Although only West Lowes Wood (now Calton Wood), Highmount Plantation ( a few trees) and Lowmount Plantation survive from the 1895 landscape there has been exentsive new planting of deciduos and coniferous trees.

Calton Wood (Robert Guthrie 2020)
Tank Wood

One small woodland that has survived is Tank Wood across from Lochside House road-end. It takes its name from reservoir or tank of water that sits nearby.

Map 10: OS Map (1895) |Reproduced with the permission of the National Library Scotland

[1] Dictionary of Scots Language | lowis
[2] New Cumnock Place-Name | Loch O’ Th’ the Lowes
[3] Dictionaries of the Scots Language Dictionars o the Scots Leid |nether
[4] Dictionaries of the Scots Language Dictionars o the Scots Leid |over
[5] Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, N.P. 1512-1532, No. 191
[6] Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, N.P. 1512-1532, No. 827
[7] Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, (A.D. 1620-1633), Vol.8, No. 1476
[8] Reverend Robert Wodrow, The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, from the Restoration to the Revolution, Volume 4 | Cumnock
[9] Reverend John Warrick, The History of Old Cumnock (1899, reprint 1992)
[10] Place-Names of New Cumnock | Lowesmuir
[11] Sir Herbert Maxwell, The Place-Names of Galloway (Reprint 2001)
[12] W. J. Watson, The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland (Birlinn Edition 2004)
[13] James B. Johnson, Place-Names of Scotland (3rd Edition, 1934)
[14] Dictionaries of the Scots Language Dictionars o the Scots Leid | plantation
[15] Dictionaries of the Scots Language Dictionars o the Scots Leid | munt
[16] New Cumnock Place-Names | Highmount and Lowmount Plantations

Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Map 1: Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654, Coila Provincia, Lowis, N. Lowis, O.Lowis
Map 2: Roy Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-55| Lowes, Hillhead, Little Lows
Map 3: Northern (Southern) part of Ayrshire / compiled from estate plans, &c. by William Johnston 1828 | East Lowes, Mid Lowes, West Lowes
Map 4: A. E. Thomson, Johnston’s map of the county of Ayr. With parish boundaries, railways, | East Lowes, Mid Lowes/Calton, West Lowes
Map 5: Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 1st edition, Scotland, (1857) | Lochill
Map 6: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1949 | East Lowes
Map 7: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1855-1882 | Mid Lowes
Map 8: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1855-1882 | West Lowes
Map 9: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1949 | Woodlands
Map 10: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1949 | Tank Wood
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Lochill
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Mid Lowes
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|West Lowes
Scotland’s People
Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments


Tracking the changing names from Lowis, Nether Lowis,Over Lowis to Lochhill, Mid Lowes and Calton.

SourceLowisNether LowisOver Lowis
Map 1: Blaeu
LowisNether LowisOver Lowis
Map 2: Roy
LowesHillhead (of Lowes)Little Lows
Map 3: W .Johnson
East LowesMid LowesWest Lowes
Map 4: A.E. Thomson
East LowesMid Lowes
West Lowes
Valuation Rolls
East LowesMid LowesWest Lowes and part of Sannock hill
OS Name Book (1855-57)LochillMid LowesWest Lowes
Map 5: OS Six-Inch
LochillMid LowesWest Lowes
Valuation Rolls
East Lowes and LochhillMid LowesWest Lowes
Map 6: OS Six-Inch
East LowesMid LowesWest Lowes
Valuation Rolls
East Lowes or LochhillMid LowesWest Lowes
Valuation Rolls
East Lowes or LochhillMid LowesWest Lowes or
Valuation Rolls
East Lowes or LochhillMid LowesCalton
Valuation Rolls
East Lowes or LochhillMid LowesCalton
2022LochhillMid LowesCalton