Jessie Nisbet 1920

Thank you to Tom Laurie, formerly of Knockburnie farm and now lives in Perthshire, who spotted this Arthur Dux Medal for sale in a local antiques shop. The recipient was 14 year old Jessie Dickson Nisbet who was awarded the medal in 1920 at the Bank School.


This branch of the Nisbet family in New Cumnock begins with George Nisbet born at Stair in 1823 along with his twin brother Thomas, the sons of Thomas Nisbet, a collier at Taiglum, and Elizabeth Wilson.

George married Isabella Park the daughter John Park, a stonedyker at Pathhead. Like his father George found work in the Ayrshire coalfields initially at New Cumnock then Riccarton, Dreghorn and Old Cumnock before settling at Connel Park and then Bank Glen, New Cumnock. Together George and Isabella had seven children including a son William born in 1857 at Benston, Old Cumnock.

William worked in the local pits and in September 1887 married Agnes Haddow daughter of Hugh Haddow and Jane Inglis who lived at Mossmark Cottages at the top of the Shilling Hill. The couple were married in the Parish Church by the Rev Robert Murray. They lived at Connel Park and together they had four sons including George born in 1881 at Connel Park and two daughters.

George married Euphemia (Mary) Hodge at the Town Hall in April 1905 after Banns according to the forms of the United Free Church by the Reverend James Mechie of the Bank Free Church. Mary was the daughter of Andrew Hodge and Janet Dickson. Andrew worked as an engine keeper and the family lived in Lanemark Cottages, a group of cottages on the road to Lanemark farm and alongside one of the sidings of the mineral railway. It was here in August 1906 that George and Mary’s daughter Jessie was born.


Lanemark Cottages (middle left)

The family later settled at 77 Connel Park, where Jessie would attend the Bank School and was awarded the Arthur Dux Medal in 1920 – her cousin Hugh Nisbet had been the Dux Medallist the year before at the Town School .

After leaving the school Jessie worked as a fruit saleswoman and in 1931 married William Lee, motor engineer who lived at Cairnhill Place. The couple were married at Jessie’s home, now 84 Connel Park, after Banns according to the forms of the Church of Scotland by the Reverend James Cameron of the Bank Church – the United Free Church having united with the established church two years beforehand.


  • Tom Laurie
  • Hugh Nisbet (son of Hugh Nisbet, cousin of Jessie Nisbet)
  • Scotland’s People
  • Nnational Library of Scotland