Tag Archives: Heritage trail

John Paterson – Banker

Sharing information

School Children recording details from William Hunter’s headstone

One of the headstones that we have selected for the School Discovery trail is that of William Hunter. In 1860, the City of Glasgow Bank opened a branch at Pathhead with William as its agent – the first banker in New Cumnock. But we will save William Hunter’s story for our School interactive application.

John Paterson Headstone

John Paterson’s Headstone

A walk around the kirkyard will reveal not one but two headstones to another banker, John Paterson and his family. The first is found against the kirkyard wall, close to the entrance. Named on the stone are –

  • John Paterson, latterly banker in Maryhill (d. 1915, aged 80)
  • widow Mary Howatson McKerrow (d. 1916, aged 81)
  • daughter Maggie Dickie (d. 1866, aged 13 1/2 months)
  • son John (d. 1871, aged 4 years and 3 months)
  • a son and daughter who died in infancy
  • son James (d. 1884, aged 22 years)
  • son David McKerrow (d. Brisbane, Queensland 1915, aged 52 years)
Two Paterson Headstones

Two Paterson Headstones

Further along the kirkyard a second headstone is found which names all of the above  family members and the following children who died in later years –

  • son Peter (d.1929, aged 63 years)
  • son John (d.1947, aged 73 years)
  • son Frank William (d. 1948, aged 77 years)
  • daughter Margaret Dickie (d. 1956, aged 87 years)

 From Draper to Bank Agent

John Paterson was born in 1835, the son of James Paterson, draper in Cumnock. In 1860, now also a draper based at Holmhead, Cumnock he married Mary Howatson McKerrow of Roadinghead Farm, Auchinleck. Together they had a large family as witnessed from the names above. Their son Peter appears to be the first born in New Cumnock, in 1866 at the Post Office which sat adjacent to the Crown Inn and its coach house – a staging post for the mail coaches.

Left: OS 1843-1882  Right: OS 1892_1905

Left: OS 1843-1882   – Post Office                                            Right: OS 1892_1905, St, Blanes (red circle)

The following year the Royal Bank of Scotland opened a branch at nearby St. Blanes  [1]  and in the 1871 Census, John and Mary Paterson are resident in the ‘Bank Office and House’,with John’s profession now that of general merchant. Ten years later they are still in residence there with John’s profession now recorded as ‘Royal Bank Agent and draper’. Ten more years and in the 1891 census,  John is recorded as a ‘Royal Bank Agent and Justice of the Peace’, although the branch closed two years earlier [1].

St. Blanes, 1 Castle, New Cumnock

St. Blanes, 1 Castle, New Cumnock (on front left)

From New Cumnock to Maryhill

After 25 years based in New Cumnock (where children Peter, Maggie, Frank and John all were born), John and Mary Paterson moved to Maryhill in Glasgow , where John continued to work as an agent for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The family appear in the 1901 Census records for Maryhill , including a grand-daughter Cessie born in Queensland, Australia – presumably the daughter of David McKerrow Paterson, named in the headstone in the Auld Kirkyard. Ten years later, John (now a retired bank agent) and Mary are both in the mid 70’s and son John has progressed from bank clerk to bank agent,while sons Peter and Frank are both solicitors.

John Paterson, passed away in 1915, aged 80 years at Gartnavel Hospital and his widow Mary passed away the following year.


[1] George Sanderson ‘New Cumnock Long Ago and Faraway’

Thanks to Hamish Paterson, Australia , descendant


School (trail) blazers

Primary 6 at the New Cumnock Mural

Primary 6 at the New Cumnock Mural

New Cumnock Primary School blazed a trail for other schools outwith the Kilmarnock area with a visit to the marvellous Burns Monument Centre (BMC). Heritage Services officer Ross McGregor said: “It’s the first time a school outside the Kilmarnock area has travelled to visit the BMC. The children have been able to look into our archives and handle very old texts, maps and photos in this wonderful setting”.

Follow their fantastic day on the Burns Monument Centre here

School on the Discovery Trail

As part of the ‘Auld Kirk and Village Heritage Trail’ project pupils from Primary 6 of New Cumnock Primary School began their research into ten family lairs in the Auld Kirkyard. Class teacher Allison Smith, two parent helpers and twenty-four pupils along with project leader Bobby Guthrie headed along the Castle to the kirkyard.

On our way along the Castle

On our way along the Castle

Up and down the Castehill

Up and down the Castehill

Altogether in the Auld Kirkyard

Altogether in the Auld Kirkyard

  • The pupils were divided into ten teams and each assigned with a Lair Number, a map of the lairs and a record sheet to note names, dates, places and occupations.
Organising research teams

Organising research teams

  • Having found their lair, and checked it was the correct one, teamwork took over as information was read out and recorded.


  • After a much needed snack( in the biting cold wind!) each team in turn shared the information they had recorded with the others teams as we went from lair to lair. Great teamwork again as everyone took a turn and supported each other. Bobby also shared other information he knew about the families.
Sharing our Findings

Sharing our Findings

  • Here are the families we researched
Our ten families

Our ten families

Visiting sites

Visiting sites

  • On the way back to school we noted points of interests associated with the families we selected. Above, we went over the bridge that crossed the mill-lead which run from the Old Mill where the McKnight family. Below, we stopped at the Mural which shows farmers and miners at work, as well as Robert Burns who included a verse in one of his poems about the Reverend James Young .
New Cumnock Mural

New Cumnock Mural

  • Back to School , where Bobby was back in the same Primary 6 classroom he was in  many years ago, when Mrs MacSween was his teacher!
Back to School

Back to School

  •  You can find more photos of our trip here


  • In early May the class will visit the Burns Monument Centre Kilmarnock to continue our research into the family trees  the our ten families. We’ll keep you posted!

On the trail of our heritage

The New Cumnock Liaison Group (NCLG) meeting kicked off with an update presentation on the New Cumnock Auld Kirkyard and Village Heritage Trail project.

The proposed route of the trail showing selected sites for interpretation panels was shown and the meeting concluded with volunteers assigned to each site / topic.  Vounteers will create profiles for each site in preparation for working with a professional on the design of the interpretation panels.

New Cumnock Village Heritage Trail - Interpretation Sites

New Cumnock Village Heritage Trail – Interpretation Sites

Sites / Topics.

1. Auld Kirk

2. Parish of New Cumnock

3. Cumnock Castle

4. Castle Merchants

5. Miners Memorial / Mural

6. Mill / Shilling hill

7. Comunn achadh/Pier Point

8. Glenafton Athletic