Suggested Meaning:‘sluggish stream at the white fallow land’
1st element:white + Scots lay ‘fallow land
2nd element:Scots sike, syke ‘sluggish stream’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):No Entry
Location:Whitelaysyke Bridge

Although Whitelaysyke is not named on the Ordnance Survey Map nor in the Ordnance Survey Map Name Book it can be asssumed it is the syke that is crossed by the Whitellaysyke Bridge.

Map 1 Whitelaysyke | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

A small section of the syke can be seen on the aerial photo of the layby and the former transport cafe

Whitelaysyke (Photo courtesy Alex Jess, New Cumnock Liaison Group)


Herbert Maxwell in The Place-Names of Galloway’ identifies Whiteleys, Wigtownshire as ‘white fields, lea land’ and relates to other place-names of the forms – Whitefield, Whitehill, Whitehills and Whiteyards.

The first element of the name Whitelay, i.e. white- refers to the colour of the grass in field while the second element i.e.– lay is Scots lea, ley, lay ‘ground which has been left fallow for some time and is covered by natural grass’ [2]. A specific Ayrshire example of the use of the form -lay is given –

Ayr. 1793 W. Fullarton Agric. Ayr. 25:
Of all the rotations hitherto discovered, the best for Ayrshire appears to be from lay, oats or beans.

Dictionaries of the Scots Language

Sike, Syke

A Sike or Syke is described as –

A small stream, rill or water-course, especially one that meanders through a hollow or across flat or boggy ground and is freqently dry in summer

Dictionary of the Scots Language [3]

the sheughs and the sykes

Laird of Logan “Colin Dulap” [4]


[1] Sir Herbert Maxwell ‘The Place-Names of Galloway’
[2] Dictionaries of the Scots Language |lea, ley, lay
[3] Dictionaries of the Scots Language |syke, sike
[4] The Laird of Logan, Or, Anecdotes and Tales Illustrative of the Wit and Humour of Scotland
Reproduced with the Permission of National Library of Scotland
Map 1: Ordnance Survey 6 inch (1892-1960) |Whitelaysyke Bridge