PATNA, STRAITON, Ayrshire

"A mining village on the left bank of the River Doon. 4.5 miles E.N.E. of Kirkmichael village in Carrick. The place name is from the Gaelic 'pait'n ath' translated literally as 'the hill-eminence of the ford'."

"Immediately N.W. of Patna village there is a hill of 853 feet. It is presumably to this hill the name refers. The arterial north-south highway between Ayr and Dumfries runs on the right bank of the river - across from Patna. The river is now spanned at Patna by an excellent bridge. The name would be applied long before bridges were known in Galloway and Carrick - in the days when fords and stepping stones were the only means of crossing rivers and streams."

Patna is surely the Cinderella village of Carrick. References to it in text books are few and of limited scope. It is treated as an unwanted child of un attractive mein. The village lies 10 miles S.E. of Ayr and is situated in a bleak, confined, tumulated landscape on part of a mineral field rich in coal and ironstone. It is summarily dismissed by the Rev. J.B.Johnston in his 'Place-Names of Scotland' as 'named c. 1810 after Patna, on the Ganges, where a former laird is said to have made his money'. Where Johnston obtained this information is not stated but the author of these notes can find no basis whatsoever for such a statement. In actual fact the name appears to have been applied to the area now occupied by the village, centuries before 1810."

"The Gaelic derivation - pait n'ath - speaks for itself. It is certainly fitting and appropriate as, before the river was bridged at Patna, it had to be forded. There is another ford known as Polnessan, 3/4 mile to the north of the present bridge, but the crossing at Patna served as the chief link between the country east of the River Doon and the Kirkmichael-Maybole area. The story of the Indian origin of the name has probably as little relation to actual fact as the other numerous Place-name fables in the area, such as the Deil and his various elbows and holes, the alchemist of the Goldwell of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and the Tinker of the Tinkers' Loup."

"The 17th and 18th century gangrel buddies of Carrick and Galloway were seldom, if ever, late in giving 'explanations' as to the origin of Place-names. The idea that the names would be self-explanitory in their original Gaelic does not seem to have occurred to them - and if it had, they would have to confess their ignorance of their own native Gaelic tongue. It is recorded that, in 1842, the houses of Patna village 'lie almost as asperedly among the fields as a handful of sown corn does among the clods'. The population was then given as 236. Patna area was even at that date a 'quod sacra' parish. This latter fact would indeed be remarkable for a village founded or named only 30 years previously. Mr Johnston's acceptance of the Indian basis of the Place-name is unfortunate - but not surprising."

Carrick Gallovidian - A Historical Survey of The Ancient Lordship of Galloway by J. Kevan Mcdowall, F.S,A. Scot.; Published by Homer McCririck 236 High Street, Ayr, Scotland 1947

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