The Wayfarer looks into Girvan streetnames

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My computer search came up with Vicarton Street as going back to the old Roman Catholic days when the parish was ministered by a vicar appointed by the Abbot of Crossraguel.

But this has brought a response from a reader who advises me that if you visit the National Libraries of Scotland you will see that there was once a farm called Vicarton outside the town. Whether this farm was administered by the Abbot of Crossraguel who named it Vicarton in respect of his appointed vicar to the parish I leave you to make your own choice until a better suggestion comes along.

This latter assumption of mine comes from the fact that most farming properties in the area many years ago came under the influence of the Abbot of Crossraguel which was why he attracted the attentions of a Kennedy who roasted him in Dunure Castle in an attempt to take them over.

As everyone knows the Abbot came out of the business with a scorched skin and still holding the title deeds. However I do know that the original name was Windy Row and how it achieved its present name I leave you to ponder upon.

Having been up Vicarton Street I can easily see why it was called Windy Row. But we do not stop there as the same reader came up with the name Bourtree as being the old name for an elder tree and one can only assume that Bourtree Hall had at least one elder tree in its vicinity. That also explains why there are so many towns with the name Bourtree as the name of a street. My grateful thanks to this contributor.

I have found it interesting researching these street names, and how they came about. I am still of the opinion that the original names had a certain charm about them principally due to their descriptive nature and I am sad to see them go. I am still open to any further information which any reader may wish to contribute and would be pleased if they could hand them in to the Gazette office for my attention. Do you realize that this all started with a taxi driver coming in to the Gazette office to ask if The Wayfarer could look into why his sat-nav showed Baron Taylor Street when he was in Hamilton Street. I have done my best to answer his question and am grateful to him for raising the matter in the first place.

Now to move on and look into the history of Brunston Castle. When the name is mentioned the first thing to mind is the golf course. However long before even the keen golfer had considered building a golf course on the land a castle was built on a mound with the river on one side and a moat protecting the other three sides. Surprise, surprise the first recorded owner of the castle was none other than a Kennedy, to wit James Kennedy 1534-1542 who was the Baillie of Carrick and the son of the first Earl of Cassillis who was unfortunately killed at the Battle of Flodden.

But to get back to the beginning, Carrick originally came under the Lordship of Galloway and Duncan the grandson of Fergus MacDouall Lord of Galloway became the first Earl of Carrick. Naturally this was a long before the title descended to its present holder HRH Prince Charles. However during Duncan MacDouall’s time a church was built at Dalmaokerran which is the ancient name for the parish of Dailly. This church remained the centre of the parish until another one was built at Milncavish by Bargany around which the new village of Dailly grew up. Now I do not wish to upset the people of Dailly but those two original names seem much more imaginative than Dailly, but of course I do not know where the name Dailly came from. The Laird of Bargany of course was a Kennedy and you must appreciate that the principle power in Carrick for many years had been in the hands of the Kennedy clan. Presumably that around about the time the Kennedys came into power the influence of the Lordship of Galloway had waned and Carrick became a region of its own.. The origins of the Kennedys and how they came into power I have still to look into, but it seems that under the Kennedys Carrick faced troubled times due to there being two branches of the family, Cassillis and Bargany both of whom were descended from John Kennedy of Dunure. There was a constant dispute between these two branches of the clan as to who had superiority and Gilbert Kennedy, the fourth Earl of Cassillis even had the temerity to style himself ‘King of Carrick. The area suffered under this constant fighting between the two families which ran from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century.

The Kennedy feuds must have taken their toll of the Kennedys as today the land at Brunston is in the hands of the Dalrymple-Hamilton family and hopefully all is peaceful.

The castle is but a ruin surrounded by a good golf course which has had problems of its own but none attributable to the Kennedys.

Perhaps I am reading too much into the all the aforementioned suppositions, but I have had a certain amount of information fed to me by various interested parties and I do my best to present them in an interesting fashion. I hope to see you next week.