Notes on the way
through Ayrshire - 100 years
West of New Cumnock
and Old Cumnock. The village of Ochiltree stands where Lugar
and Burnock Waters are married to each other, four miles west of
It appears to have had
its origin with Ochiltree Castle, now extinct, whose mains or
demesne adjoins the south side of the village. It was the seat of a
branch of the Royal Stewarts,
who possessed the peerage title of Baron
Ochiltree from 1543 till 1675.
The most illustrious of the
Ochiltree family was Andrew,
second Lord Ochiltree,
father-in-law of John Knox.
As one of the Lords of the
Congregation, he took a very
active part in the cause of Protestantism; gave his daughter Margaret
in marriage to the
great Reformer, in 1564;
was wounded at the battle of Langside, 1568, and did not
recover. The village has the honour of having furnished one of the
cleverest of Burns’
early poetical correspondents - Thomas
Walker, a tailor by trade. Ochiltree
House is a pleasant seat.
The hamlet of SINCLAIRSTON,
with public school, is about four miles south-west of Ochiltree.
On its east side is Belston Loch, whose Celtic name is
perpetuated in the seat of Polquhairn - that is, Quhairn Pool.
The ruin of Auchincloigh Castle is a mile east.
All south of this is
hilly moorland, indented with the valleys of a number of burns, and
rises at Stanuery Knowe to 1191 feet above sea level. All north
of these hills, and comprising about two-thirds of the parish, the
surface is under tillage farming, and its aspect is pleasantly varied by
gentle knolls, little flat meadows, a few plantations, and numerous farm
steadings - mostly dairy farms. The cows are high-bred Ayrshires,
distinguished by their effeminate shape-heavy hind quarters, large
udder, small fore quarters and neck; as also an intelligent, blithe
twinkle of the eyes, very peculiar to this, the most highly-civilized
breed of cows in the world. Coal and iron are found in the parish, and
there are workings of the former on the west border.
included the parish of Stair till about the end of the fifteenth
From the head of Burnock
Water, called Black Water in its upper reaches, north to the
march with Stair at Roadingloft, the length of the parish is
eight and a half miles; and from Watston Burn Bridge, on Cumnock
Road, west to the Coyle at Gatefoot, its widest part is five
and a half miles. Area, 18,328 acres. Population in 1871, 1656; in 1881,
Stewart, 1st Lord Ochiltree
Stewart, 2nd Lord Ochiltree
Stuart, 1st Baron Castle Stuart, 3rd Lord Ochiltree
(a.1560-1629) sold lordship
Stewart, 4th Lord Ochiltree (b.1595-a.1658)
Stewart, 5th Lord Ochiltree