Country Houses, Villas and Castles
Cumnock and the surrounding area boast of several important Estates and buildings which served a variety of purposes over the past four centuries - many of them still existing today. Below are some some of our oldest and most cherished.
Researched by Bobby Grierson
Dumfries House was built between 1754-9 for William Dalrymple, 4th Earl of Dumfries by John, Robert and James Adam. It was the Adam Brothers first important independent architectural commission and they kept the building costs to within a few pennies of the original estimate of £7979 11s 2d. The house - which stands on the left bank of the Lugar Water - is built of a fine quality close-grained sandstone. The main entrance is reached by a very wide flight of steps and leads to a large entrance hall. The frontage is three storeys high with large wings at each end containing further rooms. James Armour who later became Robert Burns’ father-in-law was reputedly employed in the work.
Avenue Bridge, a three arch bridge adorned with obelisks is contemporary with the house, but a lovely dovecote dates from 1671. Other structures on the Estate include 2 single-arch bridges, an icehouse, a coach building, a sundial, the ruins of Terringzean Castle, lodges, and a temple.
The wings of the house were never completed to the Adams’ design but were later finished in 1905 by Robert Weir Schultz for the then Marquess of Bute.
In the 19th century, Dumfries Estate covered the greater part of Old Cumnock and adjoining parishes, amounting in 1872 to a total of 43,734 acres. This was exceeded in Ayrshire only by the Marquess of Ailsa who owned 76,000 acres. The Dumfries Estate had a gross annual value of over £22,000 plus over £2,500 of mineral value.
The House was rescued in 2007 for the nation by a consortium headed by Prince Charles.
You can read the pdf news articles about this HERE
Garrallan was owned by the Campbell family until 1676 - the Douglas family followed but it became extinct in the male line. Jane Douglas married Hamilton Boswell and this family retained it until 1914 when it was sold to the Stevenson family of Changue.
Dr. Patrick Douglas (died 1819) also owned property in Jamaica and he offered work to Robert Burns in 1786 - but the poet declined. Burns was a visitor at Garrallan.
For more information on the Douglas Boswell family of Garrallan - see the People section
Built around 1833, Glaisnock House was designed by James Ingram of Kilmarnock for James Allason, the owner at the time. The house has been extended since. In the mid 19th century the Estate passed from the Allason family to Captain Robert Campbell of Auchmannoch in the parish of Sorn.
The estate was broken up around 1949, the mansion and its immediate policies being bought by the county council and opened in 1952 as a junior secondary school. Taking boarders as well as day pupils, the school specialised in rural education and was much beloved of farmers.
In 1968 it was upgraded to a four-year school, but it was closed in June 1973. It subsequently became a residential centre for outdoor studies.
The future of the House looks uncertain.
Scotsman 3rd June 1948
AYRSHIRE PARISH OF OLD CUMNOCK
For sale by private bargain the attractive residential and agricultural estate of GLAISNOCK, situated on the upland hills 1 ½ miles south of Cumnock and 17 miles from Ayr, briefly comprising 1, substantial mansion house with 5 reception rooms, 12 bedrooms, 5 dressing rooms with ample bathroom and WC accommodation; suitable staff bedrooms and domestic offices; American skittle alley and billiard room suite; electricity and central heating throughout; 2. Stable and garage buildings to take 4 cars; laundry &c. 3. 3 four apartment cottages and entrance lodge; the policies which extend to 107 acres include ornamental woodlands, glen, excellent walled garden and about 70 acres of good pastureland. Total rental £136 10s; stipend, £1. Early entry can be arranged. Further particulars and arrangements to view from Messrs R D Hunter & Co Solicitors, Commercial Bank Buildings, Cumnock with whom offers should be lodged. Tel 2118.
Hillside House was built in 1846 by the Crichton family. Adam Crichton had been factor to the Marques of Bute and his son Hew Crichton became head of the Edinburgh firm Tait & Crichton, Writers to the Signet. The third generation was James Arthur Crichton an advocate who became Sheriff of the Lothians and Peebles. Hillside House was tenanted by his brother Hew Hamilton Crichton and his sister Margaret and it was Margaret who went on to fund the building of the Crichton West Memorial church in Ayr Road in memory of her father and brother. Hillside House was purchased by the School Board for £1,500 after Margaret died in 1908.
This large and impressive villa stood in extensive and beautifully kept garden grounds and included conservatory, vinery and greenhouse. The house was converted for use as a Higher Grade School for a further £2,000 and accommodated around 150 pupils and opened in 1911.
Lower school classrooms were situated on the ground floor and upstairs the higher school classrooms and art department, which had been created by the removal of internal walls and enlargement of some windows. There was a model parlour, kitchen and bedroom for domestic science, a classroom for training in manual subjects while out in the extensive grounds, school gardening was taught in the attractive formal gardens.
In 1927 Cumnock Public and Higher Grade Schools were re-named Cumnock Academy. At that time 919 pupils, both secondary and primary attended the school. There were 31 teachers, 4 part-time, teaching 8 subjects.
By this time the gardens of Hillside House had almost disappeared as another new wing was added in 1939 to form a U-plan and Hillside House itself was demolished.
Also featured in the gallery on Cumnock Higher Grade School HERE
James Keir Hardie moved to Cumnock c1880, the year he married Lillias Balfour Wilson of Hamilton. They lived in a cottage in the area now called Keir Hardie Hill off Barrhill Road
In 1887 one of Keir Hardie's supporters, Adam Birkmyre offered Hardie a loan and Lochnorris the family home was built. It cost £600.
It was in Cumnock that Hardie formed his political philosophy. Many of his speeches and writings were composed in the solitude of his summerhouse at the bottom of the garden, overlooking the River Lugar. Hardie brought up James, Duncan and Nan at Lochnorris, living there until his death in 1915.
Hardie’s wife Lillie died in 1924. Nan married Emrys Hughes in 1924 and they lived at Lochnorris, both becoming active in politics - with Nan becoming Provost of Cumnock and Emrys becoming MP for South Ayrshire. After Nan`s death Emrys Hughes remarried in 1949 to Martha Cleland and it was Martha who bequeathed the Lochnorris collection to Cumnock and Doon Valley District Council in 1982. The Lochnorris Collection is now managed by East Ayrshire Council and some of it can be seen at the Baird Institute. Lochnorris was sold in 1983 and is still a private residence. Martha died later that year.
The Keir Hardie Family Album with photos of the family at Lochnorris is HERE
By Bobby Grierson
Built about 1860 by Daniel King who lived there with his wife Isabella and 7 children, Helen, Isabella, Marion, James, William, Jane and Annie and 2 servants. He was a Woollen Manufacturer employing 5 men and 4 women. Daniel was one of the first Commissioners of the new Burgh in 1866. In 1871 he was a Junior Police Magistrate and a Woollen Manufacturer employing 36 men and 12 girls. He served on the Council for 9 years from 1866-1875. In 1881 he was still at this address with his family as a Woollen Manufacturer employing 20 men and 15 boys.
Daniel King, now a widower died in 1882 at Millbank aged 75 and in 1895 his son James was now owner occupier having succeeded on his father’s death to the Lugar Woollen Mills and Carmacoup Woollen Mills in Douglas, Lanarkshire. James died suddenly on 26 March 1888 in his early 40’s, of a heart attack at St Enoch’s station in Glasgow.
Daniel King’s eldest daughter Helen married James Morrison in October 1888. At that time he his residing at Hillside House and a Physician and Surgeon, his wife residing at Beachworth Villa in Dunoon. They were married at Holmside House, Cumnock. Helen died in March 1893 and by 1895 James Morrison was now owner occupier. By 1901 he was retired and living at Blackbush Cottage, Doctors Road, Ochiltree and in 1905 James Morrison had leased the house to Mrs Agnes Logan, or Climie. James died in October 1911 at Blackbush Cottage, his paternal family home.
By 1911 Robert Livingstone, Licensed Grocer was now owner occupier. And living there with his wife Agnes and 3 children, Marion, Jane and James. In 1918 his son James was a sergeant airman in the RAF and giving his address as Millbank. In 1920 Robert Livingstone was still owner occupier but Robert died in September 1928.
His son James was living here on 30 Aug 1930 when his mother Agnes died. The building was purchased by the District Council shortly after that in 1931 as a County Registry Office.
In 1937 a branch of the County Library was opened in the grounds of Millbank House in a new building with child welfare clinic attached. In 1935 a Scout and Guide Hut was also opened in the grounds at Millbank.
Millbank House operated as the Cumnock County Registration Offices for births, deaths and marriages until Rothesay House at Greenholm Road opened in 2013.
Situated on the banks of the river Lugar to the West of Cumnock, Terringzean can now be seen from the Cumnock bypass and on the grounds of Dumfries House Estate.
Pronounced "Tringan" this now-ruined castle was partly built in the 15th century. The earliest reference to it dates from 1438 when £14 Scots was paid in tax to support the royal household. A Charter dated 26th April 1467 was awarded to Thomas Boyd, Earl of Arran for the lands of "Trarinzeane". Thomas`s wife Mary was the sister of King James III.
The lands later became the property of the Crawfuirds of Leifnoreis and for a time was known as Crawfuirdstone. In 1563 they resigned the lordship to Sir Matthew Campbell of Loudoun who signed the Protestant Bond of Union in 1559. The lands were bought by Lord Dumfries in 1696.
The Castle was excavated in the 1890s by the 3rd Lord Bute. The tower, which has walls ten feet thick, is the oldest part shown as black on the plan. Lesser wings have stood to the north and west of it, creating a courtyard. The Castle was partly surrounded by a moat, with steep embankments on other sides.