The headstone of Andrew Howatson of Craigdarroch and his family sits against the ruins of the Auld Kirk of New Cumnock in a place of note only a few yards from the lair of the Reverend Thomas Hunter, minister of the parish from 1705-1757 before he passed away three years later. The inscription on stone to the immediate left of the Howatson stone has been lost and this stone too may belong the same family.
The Howatson stone is damaged and the main part of the stone covers the base now to the rear which also carries some inscription. Thankfully that was recorded by the Manpower Service Commission (MSC) team during the fantastic work they carried out in the 1970’s .
The inscription reads (with the coloured text taken from MSC inscription)
‘ERECTED BY CHARLES HOWATSON’
OF CRAIGDARROCH HIS GRANDFATHER
DIED THE 11TH SEPT. 1796 AGED 78 YEARS
OF CRONBERRY HIS FATHER
DIED THE 22ND DEC 1822 AGED 65 YEARS
DIED 9TH JUN 1827 AGED 59 YEARS
ANDREW HOWATSON M.D.
OF CRONBERRY HIS BROTHER
DIED THE 17TH APR 1827 AGED 27 YEARS
DIED 5TH FEB 1856 AGED 43 YEARS
JOHN HIS SON
DIED 23RD FEB 1857 AGED 12 YEARS
CHARLES HIS SON
DIED THE 28TH MAY 1857, AGED 19 YEARS
ANDREW HIS SON
DIED THE 13TH APR 1876, AGED 34 YEARS
MARGARET CURRIE HIS WIFE
DIED THE 18TH MAR 1894, AGED 88 YEARS
JAMES HIS SON
DIED THE 4TH MAY 1879, AGED 31 , BERBICE, BRITISH GUIANA
THE HON. WILLIAM HOWATSON HIS SON
DIED THE 12TH FEB 1900, AGED 60 YEARS
The headstone was erected by Charles Howatson in memory of his grandfather Andrew Howatson of Craigdarroch, the eldest son of Andrew Howatson and his wife Margaret Campbell of Pencloe.
A. Andrew Howatson (I) & Margaret Campbell (Pencloe)
Altogether four of Andrew and Margaret’s children were born at Pencloe with three daughters Margaret (1710), Jean (1712) and another Jean (1715) arriving before Andrew (1719). Pencloe farm is situated in Glen Afton some two miles or so from the village. In the baptismal records of the children the names appears in the form Penclove.
The family moved another two miles or so up the Afton valley to live at Craigdarroch where two sets of twins Hugh & James (1723) and Helen & John (1725) were born before Ann (1729) completed the family.
B. Andrew Howatson (II) of Craigdarroch (b.1719 , d. 1796)
Craigdarroch farm lies in the shadow of the majestic Stayamera (or Craigbraneoch hill as it is formally known) a distinctive landmark within the parish. This was a prime sheep farm and the Howatson property would include the neighbouring herd’s cottage of Monthraw, further still up the Afton valley, earning it the appellation ‘The Lone Monthraw’.
Unfortunately, as yet I have been unable to identify Andrew’s spouse nor can I track the births or baptisms of his children in the Old Parish Records of New Cumnock or neighbouring parishes. However, from the headstone we know he had a son Charles.
C. Charles Howatson of Craigdarroch and Cronberry (b. 1757, d. 1822) & Margaret Reid (b. 1768 , d. 1837)
Charles appears to be the first born son of Andrew Howatson and succeeded his father in Craigdarroch and Monthraw.
He married Margaret Reid the eldest daughter of John Reid of Duncanziemuir and Cronberry in the parish of Auchinleck. Together they had daughters Mary (1791) and Jennet (1793) born at Craigdarroch. While at Auchinleck seven more children were born – Marion (1797), Andrew (1800), Jane (1804), Agnes (1806), William (1808), Ann (1810) and Charles (1813) – all born presumably in Auchinleck parish.
In 1798 Charles was a tenant in Cronberry of his father-in-law John Reid  and in the same year his name appears in the Horse Tax Rolls both in Cronberry (6 horses – 3 liable for tax) and Craigdarroch (all 3 horses liable for tax – a total of six shillings).
In the land tax rolls of 1803, Charles Howatson has to pay £136 13s for Craigdarroch and Monthraw, the money for the absentee proprietor paid by William McKnight in the Old Mill. Charles Howatson died in December 1822 and his wife Margaret passed away five years later and are both buried in the Auld Kirkyard, New Cumnock.
C1: Andrew Howatson MD of Cronberry (b.1800 d. 1827)
Notes from the Scottish Jurist (1830) reveal that the Howatson’s had fell on hard times. 
Andrew succeeded to the lands of Craigdarroch , Monthraw and Cronberry ‘burdened with heritable debts amounting to £4200 and personal debts to £2000‘ . His brother-in-law John Murdoch (husband of Margaret Howatson), a cotton yarn merchant in Paisley, took up the management of Andrew’s affairs and determined that his succession amounted to £8108 and his debts were £8008, and advised the properties be put up for sale. Murdoch then made the offer to buy the properties for £7500 and pay the creditors of 14s in the £1 of their debts, which was accepted.
That John Murdoch was acting in the interest of Andrew Howatson was evident in a letter he had sent to a friend of his brother-in-law.
Cumnock 12th February, 1825
In consequences of some observations just now made by Mr. David McKerrow*, I think proper to intimate, that the offer I made yesterday is entirely for the behoof of our mutual friend Mr Andrew Howatson, which I wish you understand; and if I hold the lands at all, it will only be until I am refunded for the (sums) I lay out.
*McKerrow was the husband of Mary Howatson, sister of Murdoch’s wife Margaret.
Matters took a turn for the worse when Murdoch was declared bankrupt in March 1826 and Andrew Howatson M.D. died in April of the following year, aged 27 years and his name appears on the headstone in the Auld Kirk.
C2: William Howatson (1808-1882) and Jane Samson (1811-1891)
William the second son of Charles Howatson of Craigdarroch and Cronberry established himself as a tenant farmer at Mortommuir, Cronberry. He married Jane Samson the daughter of George Samson of Rigg, Auchinleck at Auchinleck Mill (1831) and together had 13 children. William is buried in Auchinleck Kirkyard and the grand obelisk he had erected carries the names, among others, of his father Charles, mother Margaret and brother Alexander , all of whom are named in the stone in the Auld Kirkyard of New Cumnock and are buried there.
Charles Howatson of Glenbuck
The eldest son of William Howatson worked for many years as manager of Muirkirk Ironworks . He also acquired many farms in his home parish of Auchinleck before purchasing the Glenbuck Estate in Muirkirk, where had the grand Glenbuck house built.
He raised the Glenbuck flock of blackface sheep to a national reputation and won a record twelve blue ribbons in succession at the Highland and Agricultural Society.
His interest in the Covenanters is shown in the magnificent memorial had erected to their memory at Muirkirk Cemetery.
Charles Howatson of Glenbuck is buried in Auchinleck Kirkyard.
C3. Charles Howatson (b.1814, d. 1856) & Margaret Currie (b.1806, d. 1894)
Charles, was the third son of Charles Howatson of Craigdarroch and Cronberry. He married Margaret Currie the daughter of William Currie, farmer at Crofthead in the parish of Ochiltree and his wife Ann Train. Together they had six children, Charles (1838), William (1840), Andrew (1843), John (1845) , Margaret (1846) and James (1848).
Eldest son Charles was born at Ochiltree, presumably at Crofthead farm, and baptized at Stair Church. Father Charles was working as clerk at Old Cumnock at that time and by the time the second son William was born the Howatson’s had moved to Glaisnock Cottage in Cumnock, where the rest of the family was born. Also living at the cottage was Charles’s sister, Craigdarroch born Janet.
Charles had progressed from clerk to accountant working with branch of the Ayrshire Bank on the west side of Cumnock Square. His name appears as one of the Commissioners (along with that of Matthew McKerrow, bank agent in the branch of the Bank of Scotland on the south side of the Square) in the sequestration of the estates of local businessmen, including Robert Wylie, gunmaker & innkeeper in Auchinleck (Edinburgh Gazette, 10th Sept 1843).
In 1845 the Ayrshire Bank was taken over by the Western Bank of Scotland and the premises rebuilt which in 1857, after the bank failed, were acquired by the Clydesdale Bank. 
However, these were desperate times for the Howatson family, sons 12 year old John and 19 year old Charles, a banker’s clerk, both died of consumption that year; their father Charles having died the previous year, aged 43 years. All three lie together in the family lair at the kirkyard in New Cumnock.
The three other sons died in the Americas – Andrew in Kingston, Jamaica; James in Berbice, British Guiana and the Honorable William Howatson in Trinidad – where he served in the Chamber of Commerce.
Margaret , the only daughter, married William McGeachin who worked as an ironmoner in his father’s business in the Square. They lived at East Elm Cottage and then later in Tower Street. Their only son, William followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and worked as a bank clerk in the Lanark branch of the Clydesdale Bank. While serving as a captain in the Highland Light Infantry he fought in the Gallipoli campaign of World War I. [Cumnock History Group,WWI Soldiers].
Mother, Margaret Howatson continued to live at Glaisnock Cottage, before passing away in 1894 at the grand age of 88 years before being laid to rest with her husband and sons along side the wall of the Auld Kirk of New Cumnock.
 The Correspondence of James Boswell with James Bruce and Andrew Gibb overseers of the Auchinleck Estate (Edit by Nellie Pottle Hankins and John Strawhorn)
 The Scottish Jurist, Containing Reports of Cases Decided in the House of Lords, Courts of Session, Teinds, and Exchequer, and the Jury and Justiciary Courts (1830)
 A New History of Cumnock (1966) , John Strawhorn
Howatson Plot at Auchinleck Kirkyard