The New Cumnock Mural , at the Mary Morrison Memorial Garden
History of the Parish
of New Cumnock
by Robert Guthrie
History of the Churches
New Cumnock

The New Cumnock Mural , at the Mary Morrison Memorial Garden
Arthur Memorial Free Church
Free Church, New Cumnock
Reformed Presbyterian Kirk
Early Churches
The 9th century Anglian cross-slab discovered on the lands of Mansfield and Garrive is
the earliest archaeological record of a Christian site in the parish of New Cumnock. The
cross signified the presence of a small Anglian minster, serving the Anglian community at
Corsencon on the north bank of the River Nith. Another cross fragment, found near Over
Cairn farm on the opposite bank of the River Nith and dating from the later 10th century,
is more pobably a boundary cross, replacing an earlier cairn that had marked the ancient
boundary between what is now the districts of Strathclyde and Dumfries & Galloway.
Mansfield Anglian cross-slab
The Auld Kirk
St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church
The Martyrs' Kirk
Place-Name evidence
Place-name evidence appears to be rich in Christian heritage. Dalleagles 'place of the church' in
the west of the parish is clearly the strongest candidate, reinforced by the local tradition of
sculptured stones being found (but now lost) in the district. Early forms of the name suggest it
may be of Welsh origin as opposed to the later Gaelic form . Nearby is the farm of Maneight 'of
the monk' . In the north-west corner of the parish is Carsgailoch 'cross of the nun' but nearby
Auchincross is more likely to be 'field of the crossing over the ridge' rather than 'field of the
cross', since the River Nith is forded near here, before the route crosses the ridge at Ridgehead.
Although the Hall of Auchincross is said to be a very ancient please.

Brydsbanck (which now appears as Bankglen) may contain a reference to one of the many
St.Brigits that are honoured in place-names throughout the south-west of Scotland. Indeed, the
occurrence of this place-name lead J.B.Johnston to his conclusion that
Cumnock was cuman oc
'little shrine', although commun ach 'place of the confluence' is more appropriate. Mahago Rig
is said to a be reference to St. Mahagus.

Hugh Lorimer considers the cluster of hills Bentycowan hill 'hill of the house of Owen', Enoch
'St.Enoch's hill' and Monquhill 'St.Mungo's hill' as references to Owen, who raped his
cousin Enoch (or Thenew) resulting in the birth of Mungo (or Kentigern). Quintin Knowe may
be another reference to Kentigern. Of course, other plausible explanations can be found for each
these names, as is the case for Connel Burn. Despite New Cumnock lying between Old
Cumnock (which claims St.Conval as it's saint) and Kirkconnel 'church of St. Connel', earlier
forms of the name, Konnyr Burn suggests [Gaelic] conghair ( pronounced connyar) 'uproar,
fury' a descriptive name for a water-course.

Dalhanna on the banks of the clear Afton Water may be [Gaelic] dail na h'annaid 'meadow,
dale of the patron's saint's church'. The church may have stood on
Chapel Knowe and an
ancient cemetery may have stood at nearby
Laight leac 'gravestone' or Cairn Buchanny 'cairn
at the house of the canon ?'. .

Garrive (Garif) already given above may be Old English graefe 'grave' signifying the burial place
linked to the Anglian Minster. Nearby are
Blubber Well and Gowkthorn Well, where wells
have strong associations with Christian sites. Gowkthorn '
cuckoo thorn' may signify a pre-
Christian, or pagan activity, the cuckoo was a mystical bird and the hawthorn was the source of
the mystical may flower (
ne'er cast a cloot tae may's oot). In some parts of Scotland the haws
or the berries of the hawthorn are known as
cuckoo beads.

Crown Copyright : Mansfield Cross-slab
Reproduced by kind permission of RCAHMS
Cairn Cross
History of the Churches of New Cumnock
The first parish church of New Cumnock built on
the castle hill in 1659 probably on the site of an
ancient private chapel that served the barons of
Cumnock, in their baronial seat of Cumnock Castle
Built in 1833 to replace the ageing 'Auld Kirk' and to
meet the needs of the expanding parish of New
Cumnock. Still serves as the parish church to this day .
The parish of New Cumnock embraced
the Disruption of 1843 and the first Free
Church was built on castlehill, close to the
ruins of the Auld Kirk.
Farmer William Arthur of Wellhill bequeathed money to
church and the original Free Church, now the United
Free Church, was replaced by the magnificent Arthur
Memorial United Free Church in 1913.
Free Church, Craigbank
The mining communities of Craigbank,
Connel Park and Burnfoot were served by
this Free Church built in 1899 replacing an
earlier smaller church built in 1875
Built in 1866 and known as the Cameronian Kirk, it
served the small congregation of Reformed Presbyterians
echoing the Covenanting heritage of the parish.
James Adair, a miner from Knowe
Top is credited with forming the first
Baptist Church of New Cumnock
This small chapel at the Leggate served the
Roman Catholic community of the parish.
Exploring the history of the churches of New Cumnock introduces some of the local ministers that
served these churches through the centuries, allows us to meet some of the congregation and gives
an overview of the changing face of the church in Scotland.
This page last modified on Sunday, May 19, 2002
Sources , Acknowledgements and Time-Line
For Sources, Acknowledgements and a Time-Line
of Local Events vs. National Events in the Church