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Ballochmyle House

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Ballochmyle (Gael. beatach-maol, 'bare opening'), a mansion and an estate in Mauchline parish, Ayrshire. The mansion, on the right bank of the Ayr, opposite Catrine village, and 1½ mile ESE of Mauchline town, is the seat of Lieut.-Col. Claud Alexander (b. 1831; suc. 1861), M.P. for South Ayrshire since 1874, and owner of 4332 acres, valued at £10,377 per annum (£6182, minerals). Barskimming stands on the left bank of the river, 2¾ miles WSW. The river between these seats and in their neighbourhood winds along a deep precipitous chasm. The Glasgow and South-Western railway crosses the chasm below Ballochmyle on a noble viaduct 95 feet high, with an arch 100 feet in span; and the road from Mauchline to Stair crosses it above Barskimming, on a bridge of similar character, 90 feet high. The estate of Ballochmyle comprises about two-fifths of Mauchline parish; has home-grounds luxuriantly wooded, liberally open to the public, and provided with seats and pavilions at the best of its many fine points of view; and passed, in the time of the poet Burns, from the ancient family of Whiteford to that of Alexander. Burns was a frequent wanderer in the Ballochmyle woods; he witnessed the grief of one of the Whiteford ladies at leaving the property, and had an accidental meeting with one of the Alexander ladies soon after she came to it, and he wrote, in sympathy with the one lady, and in admiration of the other, his Farewell to Ballochmyle and Lass o' Ballochmyle. He also wrote, at a crag here, his Man was made to Mourn; and, at Catrine House, in the neighbonrhood, he first 'dinner'd wi' a lord.' Caleb Whiteford, of the Ballochmyle family, is celebrated by Goldsmith in a postscript to his Retaliation; and Colonel Allan Whiteford, another of the family, was the original of Sir Walter Scott's 'Colonel Talbot' in Waverley.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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