History of the Parish
of New Cumnock
by Robert Guthrie
Dunbar of Cumnock
Pollosche appears as one of the many Dunbar of Cumnock properties in Glen Afton that fell
to Lady Mochrum, on the death of Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock in 1535. Lady Mochrum
was the second wife of Sir John Dunbar, his first wife was Margaret Dunbar, daughter of
Patrick Dunbar of Cumnock and Mochrum (Sir James' grandfather).
At Striueling , 27 Jul 
'Ane Letter maid to DAME JONET STEWART, LADY MOCHRUM (a footnote says "the
second wife of Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum, and mother of Gavin Dunbar, Archbishop
of Glasgow), hir airis and assignais ane or ma, - of the gift of nonentres, malis, fermes,
profittis and dewities of the four merk land of the Blakcrag, ane merk land of Munthray,
twa merk land of Cragydarrocht, thre merk land of Lagurgeroch, twa merk land [of]
Polloch, three merk land of Puntlo and twa merk land of Lagbrowen, with the pertinentis,
pertenyng to hir in in (sic) conjunct fee, liand in the barony of Cumnok, within the
shirefdome of Aire, being in oure soverane lordis handis be resoun of nonenteree of the
last terme of Witsounday, throw the deceis of umquhill James Dunbar of Cumnok'
Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland, vol 2, no. 1737).
Place-names : Blackcraig, Monthraw, Craigdarroch, Lochingerroch, Pollosch, Pencloe,
Lochbrowan all found in the upper reaches of Glen Afton.
Dunbars of Pollosche
The Dunbars of Cumnock may not have attained the same heady heights within the church as
did Gavin Dunbar their Mochrum kinsman who was appointed Archbishop of Glasgow in 1525.
The Reverend John Warwick in his excellent chapter on the ministers of Cumnock in 'The
History of Old Cumnock' identifies John Dunbar as Cumnock's first pre-reformation
minister in 1560. His relationship with the Sir Patrick Dunbar, baron of Cumnock and
patron of the kirk was an uneasy one, for the baron withheld then minister's dues. Before
the close of the century, George Dunbar was appointed minister of Cumnock in 1599, a
position he would hold until 1608.
'His name, George Dunbar, makes it probable that he too was a member of the Dunbar
family in whom the patronage of the church was vested. Dunbar was a member of the
Assembly in 1602, and again in 1605. In 1608 he was translated to the first charge in Ayr,
where he succeeded John Welsh, the son-in-law of John Knox, who had been banished from
the king's dominions. The call to take the place of Welsh marks Dunbar as a man of ability.'
Dunbar was a man of principle and was often at odds with the authorities, he was removed
from Ayr in 1611; returned in 1619; removed in 1622, at which time he remarked to his wife
'Margaret, prepare the creels again' (used to transport his young children on horseback);
denounced as a rebel and sent to Ireland in 1624; returned to Scotland in 1638 and
appointed to minister of Calder.
'After a ministry of three years in Calder he died in 1641. His son Samuel succeeded him in
the lands of Pollesche (Pollosh) in New Cumnock. Another son, George, died in 1651. '
Warwick identifies the family home as Pollesche in New Cumnock and George Dunbar's
sons as Samuell Dunbar and George Dunbar. In the Register of Sasines (20 Nov 1604, 28
Jun 1605) we find Jean Crawfurd as spouse of George Dunbar, rector and parson of
Cumnock. He reappears in the Register of Sasines in 18 Nov 1621 as minister of Ayr, along
with his new spouse Margaret Wallace, and on several other occasions as minister of Ayr
(30 Apr 1625, 5 May 1625 and 12 Sep 1628). Wallace was a common name in Ayr and
outlying districts and it is reasonable to assume the he met his new wife, whilst minister of
Ayr. His next entry in the Register of Sasines is as minister of Calder (21 Apr 1642).
Meanwhile at Pollosche we find another Dunbar - Crawfurd relationship in the Register of
Sasines with Agnes Dunbar, spouse of Andrew Craufurd (14 Jul 1620) and daughter of John
Dunbar (12 Sep 1628). Samuell Dunbar appears in the same record and is styled 'son of
George Dunbar, preacher' (12 Sep 1628) and presumably he too is at Pollosche at that time.
By 1642, Samuell is styled as 'of Pollosche' ( 21 Apr 1642, 15 Feb 1647) although in a later
entry he appears as son of George Dunbar, minister of Calder (1 Oct 1647). Five years later
George Dunbar 'brother german to Samuell Dumbar, Pollosche' dies at Pollosche
('www.scottishdocuments.com, Scottish Wills ' 7 Aug 1652).
The property of Pollosche (Pollach, Paloshe,
Pouloifh) was situated in Glen Afton, between
the properties of Lochingirroch and Blackcraig.
Only the Pollach burn remains as a reminder of
this now extinct property.
James Paterson lists the Craufuirds of Palosche
as an ancient family in the parish of New
Cumnock, but he gives no examples. Members
of this family appear as spouses to Dunbars in
this analysis. Here the earliest Craufurd
reference is 1604, Jean Craufurd spouse of
George Dunbar. The earliest Dunbar reference
is 1535, when Lady Mochrum acquires the
property following the death of Sir James
Dunbar of Cumnock. Of course as Barons of
Cumnock the Dunbars may have feued these
lands to the Craufurds.
Dunbar properties < 1535
Parish of New Cumnock
Parish of Old Cumnock
The changing face of Dunbar and
Crawford lands in the parish of
New Cumnock - but who held
Pollosche first ?