STRAITON, Ayrshire

The parish of Straiton is located on the moorland between Dalmellington and Barr with Kirkmichael to the north-west. It is a large but now thinly populated parish centred around the small village of Straiton. The village lies alongside Girvan Water. The village is described as the most picturesque of Ayrshire with two rows of single-storey cottages facing each other across the quite main street. The Black Bull Inn dates from 1766. Traboyack, the old Manse, is a charming small mansion of 1795 in its own grounds set at one end on the street.

Straiton was originally built as a street of row houses about 1760 by Thomas, Earl of Cassilis. The uniformity of the houses together with the adjacent green hills skirted with wood, the vicinity of the Girvan and the considerable number of old trees in the churchyard and about the village, justify those who visit this place in pronouncing it one of the most beautiful villages they have ever seen.

Bibliography

Cemeteries

"Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions; an index for Carrick, Ayrshire" edited by Alison Mitchell, and published in Edinburgh in 1988 by the Scottish Genealogy Society covers the parish of Straiton and its chapel of ease at Patna.

There is as yet no published listing of the later Straiton Churchyard MIs.

Church History

"The church of Straiton was dedicated to Saint Cuthbert, and in the reign of Alexander II. It was granted to the monks of Paisley by Duncan, Earl of Carrick. The church was afterwards transferred from the monastery of Paisley to that of Crossraguel, and was subsequently confirmed to the monks of Crossraguel by Robert I. The building is oblong, with an aisle attached to it of Gothic design, and which is said to have formed part of the old structure, before its partial demolition by the zealots of the Reformation. The church underwent alterations and repairs in 1787, and again in 1813."

"Ayrshire Nights Entertainment: A Descriptive Guide to the History, Traditions, Antiquities of the County of Ayr" by John MacIntosh of Galston, Ayrshire, published in 1894, by John Menzies & Co. of Kilmarnock, Dunlop and Drennan.

Straiton Church has a pre-Reformation aisle with a Gothic window and an outside staircase. The church includes a Kennedy of Blairquhan tomb. The church was further restored in 1901, including the addition of the tower. The churchyard holds a Covenanter grave, that of Thomas MacHaffie as described below.

Patna has a church which was established in 1837 as a chapel of ease from Straiton. In 1877 it became a quoad sacra parish. A United Presbyterian church was opened in Patna in 1838.

Description and Travel

The parish included part of the village of Patna which developed in the early 19th century beside the Doon and astride the parish boundary with Dalmellington.

In Straiton churchyard rest the remains of Thomas M'Haffie, a native of the parish, who, after repeated escapes from the hands of the troopers, was at length captured and shot on the farm of Linfairn. A memorial stone, which was erected in 1824, alongside of the old one, bears the following inscription:

"Here lies Thomas M'Haffie, Martyr, 1686.
Though I was sick and like to die,
Yet bloody Bruce did murder me,
Because I adhered in my station,
To our Covenanted Reformation.
Ay blood for vengeance yet doth call
Upon Zion's haters all."

Thomas M'Haffie was the son of a farmer at Largs, near the village. He had hid himself in a glen on the farm of Linfairn, but, being seized with fever and having taken refuge in a house near at hand, he was dragged out of his bed and shot on the road.

"Ayrshire Nights Entertainment: A Descriptive Guide to the History, Traditions, Antiquities of the County of Ayr" by John MacIntosh of Galston, Ayrshire, published in 1894, by John Menzies & Co. of Kilmarnock, Dunlop and Drennan.

The parish includes the Blairquhan Estate and House. Blairquhan House was built between 1820 and 1824 in a Tudor-Gothic style on the edge of the plateau on which Straiton stands. The house and gardens are occasionally open to the public during the summer months. Above the village to the east, a monument stands on top of Craigengower (locally referred to as 'Monument Hill') commemorating Colonel James Hunter Blair of Blairquhan who died at the battle of Inkerman in 1854.

At the northern tip of the parish, lies the village of Patna. The village was originally a mining community which belies its exotic name (with unsubstantiated links to India). The village housed miners of the Waterside and Dalmellington pits, but the mines have long gone. The village itself has expanded considerably over recent years, as the smaller hilltop mining communities such as Lethanhill and Burnfoothill were moved into council or coal board housing in Patna. Patna now has a small knitware business. It also has a small 9-hole golf course.

An 1837 description of Straiton and Patna, including a listing of the key personalities of the villages, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

View photographs of Straiton and the surrounding area.

To the south-east of the parish is the county boundary with the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and the Parish of Carsphairn.

Gazetteers

Historical Geography

Information about boundaries and administrative areas is available from A Vision of Britain through time.

Maps

View maps of Straiton.

Population

Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:

1881 1871 1861 1841 1831 1801
Straiton 2,441 1,443 1,554 1,377 1,026
Patna Village 603 768 470 231