'Curst Common-sense, that imp o' hell,
Cam in wi' Maggie Lauder;
But Oliphant aft made her yell,
An' Russell sair misca'd her: '
The Ordination
The Oliphant family have a long association with Ayr, and genealogical records show that William Oliphant was born at
Mount Oliphant in 1741 [1], a branch perhaps of the family of Alexander Oliphant, a leading importer of wine in the
town, in the 1760's [2]. In Auld Killie, the Reverend James Oliphant of the Chapel of Ease, Kilmarnock incurs Rabbie's
wrath in 'The Ordination'.

Burns's father leased Mount Oliphant this property from William Ferguson, Provost of Ayr who lived nearby in the
grander Mount Ferguson, whilst Charles Dalrymple built Mountcharles close to Alloway Kirk. Clearly pre-fixing the
family name with the grand sounding mount was in vogue in this corner of Kyle. All are outdone by the biblical Mount
[CRAIGIE] - Pisgah from where Moses was shown the promised land. Mounthope [NEW CUMNOCK] looks like
another biblical candidate but this name was imported by a leading heritor from one of his southern properties.

[1] Genealogical Records ex-Internet'
[2] Dane Love 'Ayrshire, Discovering a County'
[3]Sir Herbert Maxwell 'The Place-Names of Galloway'
[4] Prof. G. W. S. Barrow 'The Uses of Place-names and
Scottish History', in 'The Uses of Place-Names' (Ed.
Simon Taylor)
W.J. Watson 'The Celtic Placenames of Scotland'
'Poems and Songs of Robert Burns' (Ed. James Barke)

Johanis Blaeu 'Coila Provincia, Atlus Novus', 1654'
H. Moll 'The South Part of the Shire of Air ,
containing Kyle and Carrick', 1732'

1766 - 1777
Scots mount ' low tree-covered hill'
The element mount is found in abundance across the Kyle
landscape, typically assigned to some relatively insignificant tree
covered knoll, the plantations often being circular in shape. Many
carry the names of the associated farms e.g. Palmerston
and Mains Mount [OCHILTREE]. Adjacent pairs are
prefixed with topographical terms e.g. Laigh Mount, High
[OCHILTREE]; and Lowmount and Highmount [NEW
, these two also carry the suffix plantation.

In commemoration of the Battle of Dettingen (1743), the Earl of
Dumfries planted the great circular Dettingen Wood on his
Dumfries estate [Old Cumnock] (appropriately the new
roundabout now carries the name!). Two further woods were
also planted to mark the position of British troops, Blackwood
and Stair Mount, the latter named in honour of his
kinsman, the Earl of Stair, one of the British generals. Earls Stair
and Loudon are also honoured by Mount Stair and Mount
in the parish of Coylton, with Mount Scarburgh and
Mount Mary to the south.[2].

Gaelic monadh 'hill, moor, rough grazing'
In the higher lands of the parish of New Cumnock, is
Monthraw hill 2100ft. [NEW CUMNOCK], the ruins of the
farmhouse are still known as the lone Monthraw, the burn is
still Monthraw Burn ,but the hill now inexplicably appears as
Meikledodd Hill on modern OS Maps. Early forms of the
name are Munthray (1535), Monwhra (Blaeu) which by the
19th century is Monquthraw and Mounthraw. This could be
G. monadh ruadh 'red hill'. However, the hill stands at the
junction of the counties of Ayrshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and
Dumfriesshire making G. monadh airbhe 'boundary hill'
worthy of consideration. (N.B. Other boundary names Hare
, Quentin Knowe (G.cointin 'dispute'), March Burn,
Glenwharry (G. h'airbhe) are aligned along the length of
the New Cumnock (Ayrshire) - Kirkconnel (Dumfriesshire)
boundary.) In the same parish is the farm of Monquhill
1250ft. [NEW CUMNOCK], pronounced mun-whill, G.
mondah call 'hill of the hazel', along the burn stands Ewe
1432ft., indicative of sheep grazing land (i.e. rough

Elsewhere in Kyle is Meanlour hill 1254 ft, [MUIRKIRK]
which appears as Monlaur hill (Blaeu), G. monadh + ?
(cf. East Mount Lowther in Nithsdale). Sheep from upland
parishes were often wintered in the parish of Mauchline.
Here we find Montgarswood {529ft.} [MAUCHLINE], the
home of William Fisher, of Burn's, 'Holy Willie's Prayer'.
The name appears to contain G. monadh 'hill' + garbh
'rough' equivalent to the Scots Ruchhill, however in this case
' rough grazing land' is more appropriate. Inland there is
Mossblown 210 ft. [TARBOLTON] which appears as
Montlblawen (Blaeu), and is possibly, land set aside for
milking G. monadh + bleoghan 'milking' (cf. Knockvennie,
G. cnoc bhaine 'milking hill' in Galloway [3]. It may be an
example of tautology G. monad 'hill, grazing' + W. blaen

In Cuninghame, are the neighbouring farms of Molemount
and Molmontend [GALSTON], after Momont hil 480 ft.
(Blaeu) G. maol + mondah 'bald hill'. Molmontend can be
compared with Kinmount, Dumfriesshire 'situated at the
head or edge of rough grazing
' [4]. To the north and west
is Montgreenan 100ft. [KILWINNING] which is G. monadh
'hill, grazing of sunny spot'

In Carrick, there is the adjacent pair of Wee Hill of
1050ft and Big Hill of Glenmount 1253ft
[STRAITON], the grazing land of the farms of Glenmant
The New Cumnock Mural , at the Mary Morrison Memorial Garden
By Robert Guthrie
Distribution Map
Distribution of the place-name elements

Mount+ Personal name : e.g. Mount Oliphant

Scots mount ' low tree covered hill'

Gaelic monadh 'upland, rough grazing, hill'

N.B. these place-names were collected from a relatively quick survey
of the OS Map of Ayrshire, and is therefore far from complete.
H. Moll 1732
Moll wrongly shows the boundary of Dumfriesshire
encircling the lands of New Cumnock, i.e. to the soure of
the Nith. The Ayrshire-Dumfriesshire boundary runs from
Monwhra to Glenwary.
Burns' Trail
Mount Oliphant
New Cumnock
New World
OS Map
Place-Names in the
Land o' Burns