(Old Cumnock)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2022.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Cumnock (Celt. cumar, ` meeting,' and oich, 'water'), a town of Ayrshire, chiefly in Old Cumnock parish, but partly also in Auchinleck. It lies in a sheltered hollow, 362 feet above sea-level, on the left bank of winding Lugar Water, joined here by Glaisnock Burn, 5 furlongs WSW of one station on the main line of the Glasgow and South-Western, and ½ mile N by W of another on its Ayr and Cumnock section, by rail being 15¾ miles SE of Kilmarnock, 49½ S of Glasgow (39½ viâ Barrhead), 33 SW of Carstairs, 61½ SW by W of Edinburgh, 42½ NW of Dumfries, and 17¼ E by S of Ayr. With central square, three spacious streets, and a number of narrow lanes, it presents a pleasant, well-to-do appearance, and has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale Bank, and the Royal Bank, 15 insurance agencies, 3 hotels, a gas company, an athenæum (1792), a fine cemetery, and 2 Saturday papers- the Cumnock Express (1866) and the Liberal Cumnock News (1880). Thursday is market-day, and fairs are held on the Thursday in February after Old Candlemas (cattle and horses), the Thursday after 6 March (race and hiring), the Wednesday after 6 June (cattle), the Wednesday after 13 July (cattle and hiring), and the Wednesday after 27 October (fat stock). The snuff-box manufacture, so famous 50 years since, is wholly extinct, transferred to Mauchline; and though there are two establishments for the weaving of tweeds and other woollen stuffs, a pottery, and two dairy and agricultural machine works, mining is now the staple industry, the neighbourhood abounding in coal and blackband ironstone. The central square was formerly the churchyard, and the present churchyard was once the place of execution; it contains the graves of two Covenanting worthies, shot here in 1685, and also the ashes of the Prophet Peden (1626-86), which, buried in Auchinleck kirkyard, were forty days after lifted by dragoons, and reinterred at the foot of the Cumnock gallows. The parish church, rebuilt in 1867, is a good Second Pointed structure, with 1100 sittings, stained-glass windows, a turret clock, and a fine organ, the last erected in 1881. There are also a Free church, a U.P. church with 900 sittings, a new Congregational church (1882) on the Auchinleck side of the Lugar, and a handsome Roman Catholic church (1881-82). The public school, too, built since the passing of the Education Act, is a very elegant and commodious edifice, among the finest in the South of Scotland. Having adopted the Lindsay Act in 1868, Cumnock is governed by a senior magistrate and 8 other police commissioners. Its municipal constituency numbered 472 in 1882, when the burgh valuation amounted to £8043. Pop. (1801) 1798, (1851) 2395, (1861) 2316, (1871) 2903, (1881) 3334, of whom 93 were in Auchinleck parish.—Ord. Sur., sh. 14,1863.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better