From the Cross into North Street
The Cross – Erected in 1636 to mark the charter to Moniaive by King Charles I granting it the status of a Burgh of Barony. This gave the villagers the right to hold a weekly Market and twice-yearly Fairs. The Cross you see is not the original – that is in the Institute. The base has not always been round, it was once a series of steps. A Covenanter on the run from Bardennoch and chased by dragoons is said to have slept on the steps in disguise.
The Clock Tower / Schoolmaster’s House (1865) – Built on land that belonged to the Craigdarroch Estate, you might be forgiven for thinking this mid-Victorian building is rather grand for a village schoolmaster’s house. In fact, it was deliberately grand to attract a well-qualified teacher to a remote village. A bedroom was also provided for a housekeeper. The house was later extended for a family. If you look you can see the sympathetic but different stonework.
Meadowcroft Cottage Is on your right, this was the home of artist James Paterson’s cook a reminder that in Victorian times more than a million people in Britain were employed in domestic service. In recent years, the cottage was used for The James Paterson Museum run by the artist’s granddaughter.
St Ninian’s Church (1888) was built in 1888 as “a Mission Church”, to designs by William West Neve (1852-1942) the Arts and Crafts Architect. Its design owes more to his background growing up in Kent and studying in Strasburg than to Scottish architecture. It cost almost £900 and was built in under a year. Local tradesmen were used.
Turn immediately left after the Church
Park Road, “a grand history” – The houses here were built by the Council in 1932 to house Council workers, notably “road men and sewage workers”. All the houses had large black ranges in the kitchen and coal houses too. One of the residents, a sewage worker, was most successful in the Flower Show winning every prize. It should not take much imagination to deduce the source of his magic fertilizer. As one well respected resident has said Park Road has “a grand history!”
The Hearse House – Staying on the left and tucked behind Sunnyside you will find a tall narrow building with wooden doors, where the village horse-drawn hearse was kept. In the Annals of Glencairn, John Corrie notes the purchase of a hearse in 1784 from a William Collow, and suggests it was the first in the village.
Craignee Drive & Neis Place – The houses here are on the footprint of former prefabs, built as a temporary solution to post war housing shortages. The Prefabs were much loved by those who lived in them and many were very unhappy about their demolition. J. Scott, writing in 1981 in the Church Magazine Focus, expressed the feelings of many when he said that they were not damp as suggested, and that could be “easily modernised at a fraction of the cost” of their removal. Perhaps the most famous story associated with the prefabs was the marriage that took place in one between the son of Charlie Chaplin and his girlfriend.
Hastings Hall – lies at the bottom of the old Drove Road and was once home to Robert McTurk (1793-1860). Droving was a huge business involving driving cattle down from the north and on to London. The Royal Navy was a major customer. McTurk was one of the significant characters involved in the cattle droving trade.
From North Street along the “last turning” to Ayr Street
The Last Turning – The road has a gentle incline and if it is at all familiar it may be that you have seen James Paterson’s painting The Last Turning in Kelvingrove Art Gallery. This wistful, melancholic Glasgow Boy’s picture painted in 1885 features a lone female figure with a basket and a shawl. Who is she? Is she on the last turning from her home, as she nears the village or is this the last turning of her life?
The Bowmark Garage – Certainly not in James Paterson’s painting is the somewhat sad and ruinous Bowmark garage. All the same there seems to be a degree of affection for this building especially when images of it are put on social media. It has fans in the United States!
Into Ayr Street
Glencairn – This house is still known by some as “Nurse Young’s Cottage.” She was appointed as District Nursing Sister to Glencairn in 1941. Much of the work was in midwifery, with an average of about 120 babies being born every year. She often had to walk long distances to isolated shepherds’ cottages. Her appointment was before the creation of the National Health Service in 1948 and the funding for her job came from The Glencairn Nursing Association. The charge for delivering a baby, was 10 shillings (50p).
Yew Tree, Braemuil, Burnbank (on the left) – Jock Black wrote that in the 1920s Yew Tree cottage was “a wee grocery shop” owned by the Kennedy family from Ayrshire. This was taken over by John McCulloch who sold fish and other small items and (according to Jock Black) was known to gather horse dung “for the roses” in his bowler hat. His doorless pig house also seems to have been a talking point.
Inglis House (on the right) – is associated with Rev. D. John Inglis DD.He became missionary to the Maori in New Zealand 1845, then to New Hebrides (modern Vanuatu) in the 1860s. He would spend the next 24 years on the island of Aneityum, his role to convert the islanders to Christianity. There is a memorial stone to the Inglis family in Glencairn Churchyard with the lines from Isiah XI ii. And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand to recover his people from the islands of the sea.
Carradale/Old Police Station (on the left) – Still used in the 1970’s as a police station, it is said that on Coronation Day 1953 the local Policeman was so worried that boys enjoying a day off from school would get into mischief that he invited them all to watch his television – one of the few in the village.