The New Cumnock Mural

This magnificent mural can be found at the Mary Morrison Memorial garden established in honour of my late mother, at the Castle, New Cumnock. It is the work of Pamela Ramage a muralist and decorative artist from the neighbouring county of Lanarkshire. Pamela has succeeded in capturing snapshots from New Cumnock's past and magically placing them in the timeless landscape of Glen Afton.

The St. Andrew's Cross or the Saltire, Scotland's flag flutters gently and proudly across the
hillsides. These hills formed part of the Southern Uplands and gave refuge to both William
and Robert the Bruce during Scotland's Wars of Independence in the late 13th and early
14th century. Wallace, the son of an Ayrshire knight and Guardian of Scotland holds a special
place in the history of New Cumnock's . Blind Harry tells us Wallace held a 'ryall residence near the Blak Rok', or Blackcraig Hill at the head of Glen Afton.

The town of New Cumnock grew up round Cumnock Castle, which was situated at the
confluence of the Afton Water and the River Nith. The surrounding hillsides provided the
livelihood for the majority of the people of this rural community and the ploughman and his
trusty two-horse team
would have once been a familiar scene in the parish. The Reverend James Young writing in 1793 extols ' The soil is generally good and rough, and the hills are covered with green. The air is generally healthful, witness the long lives of many who have died above 90 or near it, and some now in the parish have reached that period '

The Reverend Young was on the receiving end of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns as
Jamie Goose in his notorious 'Kirk's Alarm'. Of course Rabbie is revered in New Cumnock for his wonderful work 'Sweet Afton' and it is fitting to see him posing in the environs of the Afton
as it flows gently down the glen.

The rural setting changed dramatically throughout the 20th century, as coal became king and the
population quadrupled, reaching close to 7000 at its peak. The renowned coal-mining community
spirit took root and it was put to its greatest test in 1950 when the Knockshinnoch Disaster
claimed the lives of 13 miners, fathers, brothers and sons. Little wonder that the miner's lamp
aside the miner with his pick carries the brass plate emblazoned with the name
Knockshinnoch Colliery .

Pamela Ramage is to be congratulated for this magnificent and truly special contribution to New
Cumnock's past, present and future and it is fitting that it watches over the garden raised in
memory to Mary Morrison who worked so effortlessly for the community she loved so dear.








































History of the parish of New Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

© Robert Guthrie


Click for full size image