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The history of Straiton

In the 13th century Straiton is written 'Strattin' and 'Stratoun', probably derived from the gaelic Strath meaning valley. Straiton as it stands today was built based on plans by Thomas, Earl of Cassilis, around 1762. The Black Bull Inn dates from 1766.

The Statistical Account of 1837 notes: "The quantity of natural wood is a very pleasing feature in the scenery of the parish. Sir D. Hunter Blair has planted extensively on his lands; the Honourable Colonel Macadam Cathcart has also large plantations around Berbeth. The Marquis of Ailsa, with 25,000 acres of property, has not more than an acre under wood, if the standard trees near the village be excluded. There are some fine old trees, chiefly sycamore, around the village and manse. The old wood around Blairquhan gives great beauty to the mansion, particularly a dark avenue formed by two ranges of lofty lime trees. The most remarkable trees in the parish are the Dool trees of Blairquhan, on which the barons, in olden times, hung the culprits that were under their jurisdiction.

During the persecution, a garrison was stationed in Blairqhan, of 100 foot, and 20 horse. Four persons were at that period shot in the parish, one of whom one Thomas Mc'Haffie has a tombstone erected to his memory in the church-yard. He had hid on the farm of Linfern in a hideout between 2 waterfalls but was discovered by soldiers who captured and then shot him outside the farmhouse. The spot is marked by a boulder in the field.

Coals are annually distributed to the poor, both by Lady Hunter Blair, and by the kirk-session, and many poor householders receive aid from Blairquhan."

To the east of Straiton, a monument stands on top of Craigengower Hill commemorating Lieutenant-Colonel James Hunter Blair of the Scots Fusilier Guards who died at the battle of Inkerman in 1854. He had also been a Member of Parliament for Ayrshire.

Just a few miles from Straiton is Blairquhan Estate. There has been a castle here since the 14th century although the existing building is of 19th century origin designed by Edinburgh architect, William Burn. When work began it was Sir Alexander Boswell, son of the famous James Boswell, who laid the foundation stone. You can visit the castle and its grounds during the summer. Go to for details.

The book Ayrshire and Arran An Illustrated Architectural Guide by Rob Close is worth having if you are investigating the castles and houses in Ayrshire.