By Bobby Grierson
Logan (Scottish Gaelic: An Lagan) was a country estate a mile and a quarter east of Cumnock, by the Lugar Water. Comprising of 3,783 acres and valued in the mid nineteenth century at £1,967 annual value plus £860 for minerals.
Logan of that Ilk
The leading Logan family’s principal seat was in Lastalrig or Restalrig, near Edinburgh. Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig married Katherine Stewart, daughter of Robert II of Scotland and later in 1400 Sir Robert was appointed Admiral of Scotland. Sir Robert Logan was one of the hostages given in 1424 to free James I of Scotland from being held in England. Robert’s son or grandson, John Logan of Restalrig, was made principal sheriff of Edinburgh by James II of Scotland. In 1555 Logan of Restalrig sold the superiority of Leith (the principal seaport of Edinburgh) to the queen regent Mary of Lorraine, also known as Marie de Guise.
The last Logan to possess the barony was Robert Logan of Restalrig, who was described by contemporaries as “Ane godless, drunkin, and deboshit man”. Sir Walter Scott described him as “one of the darkest characters of that dark age”.
HUGH LOGAN, of LOGAN, was lineally descended from the ancient and once powerful Barons of Restalrig, whose wide-spread domains were forfeited in the reign of James VI. In the year 1660, Sir Robert Logan, a grandson of the fore mentioned Baron, effected a purchase of a large portion of the barony of Cumnock, to which he gave the family name. This extensive and valuable property descended through a line of respectable ancestry to the subject of our present notice, who was born at Logan House in 1739.
From his earliest years, Hugh Logan was of a quick, volatile, and somewhat irritable disposition and although every facility was affordable to him for acquiring that education becoming his rank in society, yet either from his unmanageable temper, or the want of a proper system of discipline on the part of his teachers, it was found impossible to obtain even the slightest degree of application to his academic exercises. While his boyish years were passing away in this unprofitable manner, being the youngest of three sons, his father frequently urged him to adopt some useful profession. On these occasions his uniform answer was, “I’ve made up my mind, Laird, to follow nae trade but your ain.” “Weel, weel, Hughie,” the good natured old gentleman would say, “I was the youngest o’ three myself.” and, strange as it may appear, the coincidence was realized – his elder brothers both died in early life-and on the decease of his father, which took place soon after, Hugh succeeded to the estate under the control of tutors or guardians, who do not appear to have been more successful in forwarding his instruction than those who had formerly been entrusted with it; for although he was sent to Edinburgh for the purpose of repairing the defects which his own aversion to study and the negligence of his father had occasioned in his education, yet he returned to his country pursuits with literary acquirements scarcely superior, if even equal, to those of the meanest mind upon his estate. Though the cultivation of the young Laird’s mind had been thus neglected, it was not so with those external qualities which he possessed. In all field sports he was considered an adept, while in doing the honours of the table he was acknowledged to have been almost without a rival, and such was his natural quickness and ingenuity that when the errors of his education chanced to make their appearance few of his companions would venture to notice them, as they well knew he would either turn the laugh in his favour by some humorous palliation of his ignorance or render them ridiculous by making them the butts of his wit for the time being – a distinction seldom considered as very enviable. There is one well-known anecdote which, as it illustrates this part of his character, our readers may perhapss excuse our noticing. Logan had occasion one day to write a letter in the presence of a school companion, who, on looking over it, expressed his surprise at the singularity of the orthography. “It is strange, Logan,” said he, “that yon cannot manage to spell even the shortest word correctly.” “Spell! ” cried the Laird, with a look of well-feigned pettishness, “man, what are you haverin’ about? look at that!” holding up the stump of a quill to him; ” would ony man that kens ony thing about spelling ever attempt to spell wi’ a pen like that? ” This anecdote is generally, though erroneously, ascribed to the late eccentric Laird of McNab.
As another instance of the archness peculiar to our uneducated wit, we may mention the following. The plantations of Coilsfield having been much injured by the wanton depredations of some evil-disposed vagrants, Mr Montgomerie, the proprietor, brought the case before a meeting of the Justices, of which Sir Andrew Ferguson and the Laird of Logan formed part. On investigating the case it appeared that the damage had been the work of children, and in consequence the complainer could obtain little or no redress. Sir Andrew, feeling the hardship of the case, and by way of soothing a brother proprietor, observed with some warmth that he would have a Bill brought into Parliament for making parents liable for the misdeeds of their children, and constituting such offences as the above felony in law. At this declaration, Logan broke out into a loud laugh; and, being asked the cause of his merriment, replied, “Sir Andrew, when your bill is made law, we shall soon have few old lairds among us.” “Why?” demanded the other. “Because,” said the wit, “their eldest sons will only require to cut their neighbours young plants to become lairds themselves.”
New Statistical account 1845 – Rev Ninian Bannatyne
Hugh Logan, Esquire of Logan, the famous Ayrshire wit, resided during the greater part of his life, on his estate in this parish; and there is a stone, near to the house or Logan, which goes by the name of Logan’s pillar, where, it is said, he was much in the habit of sitting, and cracking his jokes with those around him. His numberless witticisms and sarcasms, which were oftentimes pregnant, not only with the most genuine humour, but likewise marked by an eagle-eyed discrimination, as well as an unsparing dissection of character, and conduct, are generally current among the people of this district, and form an unfailing source of amusement at their jovial meetings. But, from the frequent mixture or coarseness and profanity that interlard them, they have by no means contributed to promote the interests; either of religion or morality, in the neighbourhood.
The last Logan of Logan, Hugh Logan was celebrated for both his wit and eccentricity. Logan was known for his amusing anecdotes and puns. He had one illegitimate daughter, who married a Mr. Campbell.
Logan House, beautifully situated among trees on the elevated left bank of the Lugar Water, one mile and a quarter east of Cumnock, has a pleasing association with the greatest extemporaneous wit and humorist of Scotland, Hugh Logan, The Laird o’ Logan. It is now the, property of Cunninghame.
William Allason Cuninghame, Esq. (b. 1805), holds 3783 acres in the shire, valued at £2836 per annum. The famous Ayrshire wit, Hugh Logan, better known as the Laird of Logan, passed most of his life on the estate.
A house and small tree-lined enclosure are recorded in the mid 18th century. A new house was built in the late 18th century and the designed landscape extended. By the mid 19th century a boundary strip enclosed some hill land, blocks of planting, the house, walled garden and outbuildings.
Strips of boundary planting are all that remain of the 18th and 19th century designed landscape associated with the house at Logan. The western part of the estate was redeveloped for housing after the house was demolished.
Download Logan History Groups booklet HERE