Struther’s Brae

Place-name:Struther’s Brae
Suggested Meaning:marshy slope
First elementScots struther ‘a marshy place’
Second elementScots brae ‘brow of a hill’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Struthers Brae, Struther’s Brae
Location:Ordnance Survey (1895)

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Struthers Brae reads –

An eminence south W. [west] of Yarngallows Knowe, covered with rough pasture

Alternative spelling: Struther’s Brae

Although the OS Name Book is recorded under Struthers Brae the orginal entry reads Struther’s Brae and it is this form that appears on the Ordnance Survey maps.

Map 1: Struther’s Braeand Jock’s Hags| Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

1. Scots struther ‘marshy place’ + brae ‘slope, brow of a hill’

The Dictionaries of the Scots Language entry for struther [1] reads –

Strother, -ir, Struther, n. Also: strothyr, -ar, struthir, -yr, stroder, -re, -ar, stroudyr, struder, -ir(e, stradire. [North. ME and e.m.E. strother (?a1300), -strothre (1479), ? OE stród a marsh, ? EIr., Gael. sruth, srutha(i)r a stream.]

A marshy place. Most freq. in place-names, esp. in Southern Scotland. Also attrib.

Just to the north-west of the top of Struther’s Brae is another marshy place known as Jock’s Hags from Scots hag, hagg ‘a soft marshy hollow piece of ground in a moor’ [1]. Sandy Syke runs of the east facing slope of the brae [2] and into the Afton Water.

Struther’s Brae rising behind the Afton Reservoir Filter Station with Afton Water to the fore
© Copyright Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Afton Reservoir built in 1935 sits at the head of Glen Afton and the associated Afton Filter Station sits below Struther’s Brae. The high monthly rainfall [3] of course would not only feed the Afton Water and its tributaries above the dam but would contribute to sustaining marshy places such as Struther’s Brae.

Elsewhere in Ayrshire there is a Struthers in the parish of Dundonald (occupied by Robert Guthrie at the time of the OS Name Book) and in the parish of Dunlop,

Ayrshire Third Statistical Account of Scotland , 1951 [4]

2. Personal Name : Struther, Struthers

Struthers also occurs as a surname in Scotland and the entry in Black’s Surname reads [5] –

STRUTHERS: The ME element strother, a marsh or swamp,is in common use in northern England and Scotland. There is a Struther, near Stonehouse, Lanarkshire and a Struthers in Fif, but the references point to an origin further south, perhaps from Strother in Northumberland . The ancient Northumberland family of Strothers were lors of the manor of Kirk-Newton in the barony of Wark on the Tweed. John Strwtheris was a witness in Glasgow 1555 and Thomas Strotheris appears in Kelso, 1567. Strwthiris and Strowdyr 1560.


The origin of the surname like that of place-name appears to derive from Middle English strother ‘marsh, swamp’. A search through the Old Parish Records of Ayrshire revealed 102 baptisms of the name Struthers through the period 1712 to 1854 with the parishes of Sorn (31), Ayr (17) and Kilmarnock (12) accounting for over half of these; while there no occurences in the parish of New Cumnock nor its neighbouring parishes. The earliest baptisms were those associated with the family of Robert Struthers, excise man in Kilmarnock and his Elizabeth Douglas from 1712-1727.

Struther’s Brae can be discounted from being named after someone of that name, unless of course if the Jock in Jock’s Hags was a Jock Struthers!

Chris Wimbush | Geograph: Struthers Brae
[1] The Dictionaries of the Scots Languages Dictionars o the Scots Leid|struther
[2] The Dictionaries of the Scots Languages Dictionars o the Scots Leid|brae
[3] New Cumnock Place-Names | Jock’s Hags
[4] John Strawhorn and William Boyd, Ayrshire, TheThird Statistical Account of Scotland(1951)
[5] George F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland Black Surnames of Scotland
By Permission of National Library of Scotland
Map 1: Ordnance Survey (1857) | Struthers Brae
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|Struthers Brae
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 25 , Dundonald | Struthers
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 26 , Dunlop | Struthers