History of the parish of New Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

© Robert Guthrie




New Cumnock


House of Rheged

Wallace and Bruce

Place-Names in the Land O' Burns

Sources & Links


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Corsencon Hill

Afton Water 

(1) Afton Water, W. afon 'water'
The name afton simply means 'water-course' and derives from one of the common Celtic forms as summarised by W.F.H. Nicolaisen -
afon (Welsh, Cumbiric); abhainn (Gaelic); abann (Old Irish); auon (Cornish, Breton); abona  (Gaulish)/

On considering Avon Water in the neighbouring county of Lanarkshire, W.J.Watson remarks  ' this is an early British abona "river, water", now represented by W. afon "river" and not G. abhainn.'. Afton Water can be considered to fall into this same category.

(2) Afton Water,  G. abhainn donn 'brown water'
J.B. Johnston's offering of 'brown water' will have Rabbie Burns turning in his grave, considering the l title of his world-famous 'Sweet Afton' was originally going to be 'Clear Afton' and that it contains the line 'Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides'.

The place-name element water when applied to a water-course as in Afton Water is applied to a water-course that is smaller than a River but larger than a burn .


Eschetpark, Eshmark (1564), Eschetmark (1575), Eschemark (1618), Eshmarck  (Blaeu, 1654)

1 ) Ashmark,  ash + S. mark 'markland'
The Campbell family owned this property in the 16th and 17th century including George Campbell of Eschetpark, called in Eshinik /Eshmark? (1564), his son Patrick called of Eschetmark (1575), his son George of Eschemerk (1618) and Eufame Campbell (1642). The name appears as Efhmarck in Blaeu's Coila Provincia (1654) - see map above.

Eschet, the early form of the first element is obscure but later forms esche, ash is probably a reference to the ash tree. George Sanderson relates the following tradtion 'Andrew Smith claied that really old farms always had six ash-tress around the yard, this was to shape bows and arrows to guard against thieves'. (N.B. The ashe tree takes its name from Old English aesce 'arrow'.)
Perhaps the arrows were also made for hunting in the baronial park .

The first element could possibly be G. eas, easan 'waterfall', but there is none of note or name in the vicinity.

The second element mark is a unit of land-measure and is fairly common in New Cumnock.In this case it seems to have evolved from Eschetpark, i.e. park-land. 


G. ail 'rock', alt 'height, cliff'
Typically signifies 'rocky, craggy' places but neither Alhang or Alwhat could be desribed as fitting this description. Both hills sit on the Ayrshire-Kirkcudbrightshire boundary, and so perhaps W. ael 'brow, edge' is worthy of consideration.


Alhang G. alt 'height' G. ding 'wedge'  

Appears as Aldhing in Blaeu's Coila Provincia. G. ding is pronounced 'jeeng' as is another possibility G. diong 'fortress, dwelling or hillock


Alwhat G. aill chat 'the wild cat's hill
Alwhat Burn runs down through the centre of this kidney-bean shaped hill. The hollow from which it eminates is overlooked by a prominence called Lagower hill which may be G. lag gabhar 'the goat's hollow'
Alhang Hill: Alhang Burn flowing down between its twin peaks, Lagower Hill is to the right of the burn.

Auchincally Hill

Auchin- or Auchen- are anglicised forms of G.achadh na 'field of the'. Although many of these names now appear as names of towns (e.g. Auchinleck achadh na leac 'field of the flat stone') or as farms (e.g. Auchincross - see below) they would have originally started out as field names indicative of ancillary farming activity by Gaelic speaking settlers. Place-names of this type are extremely common in the south-west of Scotland and would have been introduced from the 11th century as the former Cumbric speaking kingdon of Strathclyde lost its political identity.
[W.H.F. Nicolasien]


Auchincally, G. achadh na calltuin 'field of the hazel'
The hill most likely was the grazing hill of a farm by the same name, The second element - cally may be the anglicised form of [G] calltuin 'hazel'. The hill sits close to the confluence of Glenhastel burn (Glen hazel ?) and Carcow 'place of the hazel'.


Auchincors (1607),  Middle AchincorB, Littel AchincorB, Achincorb burn (all Blaeu, 1654).

(1) G. achadh na crosg 'field of the crossing over the ridge'
Perfectly describes the location of the farm perfectly, situated between the ford at the River Nith and the farm of Rigghead, on the route to Old Cumnock.

(2) G. achadh na crois 'field of the cross'
There are no records of Christian crosses being found in this vicinity but Wellhill and Crosshill are nearby, which both have Christian-site connotations, although the latter could be another crossing place. rocky outcrop'. There are no recors of execution and it is unlikely that any gallows stood here.

(3) G. achadh na croich
'field of the gallows
Local tradtion records that the Hall of Auchincross stood on the stite of a 'very ancient place' and that the Laird of Auchincross tried local criminals at his 'court knowe sitated on a nearby rocky outcrop'. There are no records of execution and it is unlikely that any gallows stood here.


Auchinge(1535), Auchingey, Auchingy (1549), Auchengie (1670)

(1) G. achadh na geadh 'field of the goose'

(2) G. achadh na gaoth 'field of the wind'

Hall of Auchincross
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