Straid Burn, Straid Level
Suggested Meaning:street
meaning (1)G. sraid ‘street’
meaning (2)G. srath ‘holm, water-meadow’
Blaeu Coila (1654):Straid
OS Name Books (1855-57):Straid
Location:Ordnance Survey (1893-1960)
Earlier forms
Strad (1522), Strade (1532), Straid (1535), Straid and Strayid b. (Blaeu,1654)
Straid (Photo Robert Guthrie)

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

A good farm house with offices occupied by James Sloan the property of W.A. Cunningham.

Gordons of Afton & Stair

Straid was one the many properties that made up the Barony of Afton in the parish of New Cumnock created in 1706 for Sir William Gordon of Earlstoun, 1st Baronet of Afton. Through time the Gordon’s sold off most of their New Cumnock lands while also acquiring Stair House and the lands of Stair on the River Ayr. In 1769 Catherine Gordon succeeded to the estates of Afton and Stair and the following year she married Colonel Alexander Stewart, grandson of the Earl of Galloway. Her husband attained the rank of General  (later Major General) and Catherine Gordon thereafter was known as Mrs. General Stewart, the famous patron of Robert Burns. The few remaining original Gordon lands of the Barony of Afton, including Straid, eventually passed to their grandson William Cunninghame who married Miss Allason, heiress to the Logan estate and was thereafter known as William Allason Cunninghame, Esquire of Logan [1].

Craufurds of Leffnories

An early reference to the ‘2 merk lands of Straid‘ appears in the records of the Craufurds of Leffnories, the lands of which now make up part of the Dumfries Estate, in the parish of Old Cumnock. These Craufurds were a branch of the Craufurds of Dalleagles.

26 May 1535 letter to him fear of lands of Lefynoreis of reason of nonentry at his dec of 2 merk lands of Ferding, 2 merk lands of Auchinge, Ricard, 2 merk lands of Straid, 2 merk lands of Blareene, 2 merk lands called [Dal]Leglis, Quhithill, 2 merk lands of Chang, Litill Merk (bar Cumnock vic Are) held by him of dec Jamess Dunbar of Cumnok as superior now in crown’s hands by reason of nonentry at his dec

Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum Vol. 2 (1529-1542), 1681
Place-names: Ferding (Farden), Auchinge (Auchingee), Ricard (Dalricket), Blareen (Blarene), [Dal]Leglis (Dalleagles), Quhitill (Whitehill), Chang (Changue),
Litill Merk (Littlemark)
Map 1 Straid and others| Reproduced with the permission of The National Library of Scotland

(1) Gaelic sraid ‘street’

Straid appears to be from Gaelic sraid ‘street’ [2]. As a regular visitor to Glasgow thoughts turn to New Cumnock and Straid on passing “Welcome to Glasgow Queen Street” sign, or in other words “Failte gu Sraid na Banrighinn“.

A search of the Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) revealed one other Straid entry, also in Ayrshire, in the parish of Colmonnel.

However, the Place-Names of Northern Ireland database records numerous entries not only for Straid but also of compound names of Straid e.g. Ballynastraid and Straidkilly.

The anglicised form straid is common in place-names and typically derives from sráid. Sráid is an Irish word which means street, not only in the sense of a ‘passage between houses‘ but also in the sense (as it is still used in some districts in English) as ‘the area in front of or round a house

Place-Names of Northern Ireland , Straid, Ballynure [3]

The farmhouse of Straid sits on the main route between New Cumnock and Dalmellington and it may have taken its name from a street, i.e. a single row of houses, that once stood near here on the original route between the two settlements. But for what purpose? Some 500 yards to the west on the same road stands Dalleagles farm which suggests an ancient church once stood here and/or land belonging to the church [4]. In which case the street may have comprised a row of houses and buildings for those that managed the church affairs and lands.

Map 2 Straid and Dalleagles | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Dalleagles later developed into a small hamlet with a smiddy, a school (both now gone) and a small row of four houses, known as Dalleagles Terrace, offset from the main road and running parallel to it – a modern day straid.

Straid and Dalleagles Terrace (Photo Robert Guthrie)
Dalleagles Terrace (Photo Robert Guthrie)

It is also worth noting that a small farm cottage called Street once stood at the opposite end of the parish on the edge of the road that runs from Corsencon hill to the village of New Cumnock. The ancient route that once ran from the toll and customs point at Corsencon( established by William the Lion ca. 1205 on the boundary with the sheriffdom of Ayr and Dumfries) to Cumnock Castle the seat of the barons of Cumnock. [5]

Map 3 Street and Straid | Reproduced with the permission of the Natonal Library of Scotland

(2) Gaelic srath ‘holm’

Returning to the Place-Names of Northern Ireland database and the entry for Straid, in the parish of Layd [6]. Here it is noted that John O’Donovan [7] in ‘Irish and anglicized form of the names attributed to in the Ordnance Survey Name Books (1882)’ suggests the possibility that the name derives from srath.

W. J. Watson explains that in Scotland

We differ from Ireland in use of srath, a strath. O. Ir. srath glosses gramen, grass, turf, pasture; in place-names, says Joyce, “the level soft, meadowland or holm – often swampy and sometimes unundated – along the banks of a river or lake, is generally called srath.”

‘The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland’ [8]

Watson gives three examples of srath ‘holm’ in Scotland, namely – Srath na h-Abhann, Srath Nin and Srath Ghartain. Of course Dalleagles Burn is not a major water course but the first element of the name may be British dol– or Gaelic dail ‘holm’ and the name of the Dalleagles Burn meadow is the tautological Dalleaglesholm [3] while the adjacent meadow was once known as Marchaleholm [9]. It is only through the presence of these dal- and –holm(e) names in the vicinity of Straid, that consideration has been given to Straid as a possible srath ‘holm’ name and Gaelic sraid ‘street’ remains the more likely candidate.

Map 2 Straid and Dalleagles | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
  • Straid and Straid Burn 2021 (Robert Guthrie)

 Straid Burn, Strayid b. (Blaeu)

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Straid Burn reads –

A Stream rising upon Straid farm and flowing in a northerly direction by Straid into Dalleagles Burn

Straid Level (Coal)

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

A coal mine on Straid fa [farm]

The coal-mining term level is defined as [10] –

‘a roadway along the strike of the strata, i.e. at right angle to the dip

So Straid Level is street road!!

Map 3: Straid Level : Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland

General Stewart formed the Afton Mining Company to work the minerals in the Gordon-Stewart’s Afton estate . His partners in the venture fell by the wayside in1772 following the collapse of Ayr Bank . However he forged ahead and the Afton Mining Company worked the coal reserves on the lands of Straid. Here, lay rich seams of the cannel coal (so called because it burned brightly) and importantly nearby run the New Cumnock to Dalmellington road built by McAdam of Craigengillan, Dalmellington. Following the death of General Stewart (1795) and Mrs Catherine Gordon-Stewart (1826) the Afton Estate passed on to their daughters and William Herbert and Robert McWhir signed a lease to work the coal at Straid [11].

J. L. Carvel in ‘The New Cumnock Coal-Field’ reproduces what he considers to be one of the earliest coals advertisements –


The public is informed that the Candle Coal of Straid, in the parish of New Cumnock, has now been opened up , and supplies may be obtained to any extent. It is without exception the lightest and purest coal in Scotland , and there is a great deal of it.

It is on the side of the high road from Dalmellington to New Cumnock, about six miles from the former and two from the latter, five from Old Cumnock and twleve from Sanquhar. It is well worth the attention of the public generally, but, particularly, by proprietors of ironworks.

Garrion is sold at 4/6on the hill, cart of six creels – driving to Catrine 4/- or 17/- per tonin whole; one horse draws one ton.

Straid think they could afford to sell at the same rate. They would give them to gasworks , with a mixture of small at 6/- per ton. They think driving would be from 12/- to 14/- per ton.

J.L.Carvel, ‘The New Cumnock Coal-Field’ (1938)


[1] New Cumnock History | Catherine Gordon Stewart
[2] Malcolm MacLennan, Gaelic Dictionary |sraid
[3] Place-Names of Northern Ireland database | Straid, Ballynure , Straid, Layd
‘Irish and anglicized forms of names attributed to John O’Donovan in the Ordnance Survey Name Books’
[4] New Cumnock Place-Names | Dalleagles – pending
[5] New Cumnock Place-Names | Street – pending
[6] Place-Names of Northern Ireland database | Straid, Layd
[7] ‘Irish and anglicized forms of names attributed to John O’Donovan in the Ordnance Survey Name Books’
[8] W.J. Watson ‘The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland’
[9] New Cumnock Place-Names | Marshallmark
[10] Scottish Mining Website| A Glossary of Scotch Mining Terms
Glossary of Tems Compiled by James Barrowman, Mining Engineer, Secretary to the Mining Institute of Scotland, 1886
[11] J.L. Carvel ‘The New Cumnock Coal-Field’ (1938)
Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 |Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673 Coila Provincia, [or], The province of Kyle / auct. Timoth. Pont (1645) | Straid
Map 2 | Ordnance Survey Maps – Six-inch 2nd and later editions, Scotland, 1892-1960 (1894)|Straid
Map3 | Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1855-1882 (1856) Straid Level
Blaeu Carrick | Strayid, Colmonnel
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Straid, New Cumnock
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Straid Burn
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49 |Straid Level
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 16 | Straid, Colmonnel
Scotland’s People
Old Parish Records, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census Records, Valuations Rolls, Wills & Testaments
Strad (1520)Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, Vol. 1, (May 1512-Dec 1524), No. 571
Strade (1523)Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, Vol. 1, (May 1512-Dec 1524), No. 1175
Straid (1535),Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum Vol. 2 (1529-1542), 1681