Carsphairn

Carsphairn NX 5693

 

Carsphairn is situated about 10 miles north of Dalry on the A713 on the Ayr road. The name means Alder Meadow and the present population is about 115. It is one of the more isolated villages in the area.

The village has a shop/post office, a hall, the Heritage centre, which was opened in 1992, and a church which was built in 1815 and has one of the few central communion tables (which is probably from an older church on the site) in Scotland and a birdcage bellcote. The present school was built in 1823 and records show that Latin, Greek, French and Arithmetic were taught there in 1848.

 

The ruin of Lagwyne Mansion is just outside the village. This was the childhood home for a short time of John Loudon McAdam (the man who invented "tarmac"). He was born in Ayr but moved to Carsphairn shortly thereafter. Unfortunately the house caught fire when he was 6 years old and he was nearly killed. There is a memorial to him in the church.

 

In a field behind the village is a large boulder and legend has it that when the Parish of Carsphairn was formed in 1640 and a church was built, the Devil was so upset that he hurled a rock from the top of nearby Cairnsmore at the church, but he missed!

Just outside the village, before the bridge, on the right, is a track which leads to the Green Well of Scotland. This is the site of several legends; one is that a pot of gold was stolen form Lagwyne Castle and the thief threw it into the well, and another is that a man who had collected gold dust from the Gold Wells of Cairnsmore and converted it into coins, threw the coins into the well when officers of the crown came to see him. A gold coin has been found there!

 

On a farm up among the hills on the Water of Ken called Craigengillan a hoard of 2222 ancient coins of were found in 1913, a few of which can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. There were Scottish pennies from the times of Alexander III, John Balliol and Robert Bruce, as well as English coins from the reigns of Edwards I and II, some Irish and some foreign. It is thought that they were buried in the early 14th century.

 

Across the bridge going north out of the village, on the left-hand side of the road are the remains of a stone circle and a burial mound. Following this track you can reach Woodhead Lead Mine and Village and continue round to Brochloch, north-west of the village where there is a memorial plaque to 11 American crewmen who died there in a crash in 1951.

 

There are a number of ancient sites of interest in the area going back as far as the stone age right through to the 19th century and there are walks from which they can be seen. For more information visit Carsphairn Heritage Centre, or look at their website - www.carsphairnheritage.co.uk. Carsphairn is surrounded by hills for those who like more strenuous exercise.

 

North of the village close to the border with Ayrshire is Drumjohn Power Station (see The Galloway Water Power Company). Within the vicinity there are archaeological remains of burial cairns, Neolithic and possibly Bronze Age.

Balmaclellan

Balmaclellan NX 6579                    

Means House of McLellan
Balmaclellan lies on the side of a hill on the east side of the valley of the River Ken on the A712 between New Galloway and Corsock..   It has a population of about 140, there is a church, a shop that is also the post office (a mobile post office now visits twice per week) and a tea room, a smithy which is now a restaurant and garage, a pottery and a clog maker who works in the old school and a church where there is a memorial to Robert Paterson (see below).
In the past the village had links with the Cistercian monks at Dundrennan Abbey through sheep farming.  The village has a 12th or 13th century Norman Motte near the church which is fairly well preserved and a Bronze Age mirror was found in the area.

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