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The following passage from the 1751 nineteen year "Tack The Earle of Glencairn To Andrew McCowan" for the mill and lands of Burnockmiln and Hillhead" illustrates the type of improvements that were then required of the Ochiltree / Old Cumnock area tenants:

... the said Earle [of Glencairn] shall be obliged to allow the Expence of Inclosing out of the said Andrew his Rent or advance the same, the said Andrew [McCowan] being obliged on the said allowance or advance to pay at the rate of six per cent for the same yearly and his Receipt thereof shall be sufficient for apertaining the money Extent of the said money for Inclosing, and the said Andrew shall be obliged to make the Dykes sufficiently Finuble at the sight of two skilled men one whereof to be chosen by each partie, and also shall be obliged to take care of and preserve the Hedges, and plant Trees in the Hedge Rows and prune and take care of the same The Earl furnishing young trees for planting and to Leave the whole in good condition and sufficiently Finuble[?] [protected?] at his Removal and the said Andrew shall be obliged to straight Marches [straighten "line fences" ie "line dykes"] with his neighbours when required He choosing one of the Judges for straigting the same, and the said Andrew obliges him not to keep any more sheep in the winter than he does in the summer and to answer to the said Earle his Barren Courts and obey the acts thereof...(1)

It appears that, during this period, the landowners provided some of the capital for making the improvements (through rent allowances or advances), while the tenant was required to pay interest on money advanced for enclosures (fences of stone or hedge between fields).

... [and, as if to say, "either get with the program or else"]...

On her Ochiltree estate, Lady Glencairn apparently intended to apply the principles of organizational reform to an extreme:

Some of the poorer and less industrious tennants ought to be rouped and turned out as examples to their neighbours - particularly Miller Sampson.(2)


From To Sustene the Personis: The Agricultural Revolution
Scarboro Heights Record, V11 #3

Note: With respect to agricultural improvements, this part of Ayrshire was a full half-century ahead of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, to which James McCowan migrated in 1799 to operate his own coal mine.

(1)  Scottish Record Office GD39/6/1
(2)  Scottish Record Office Ex GD39/6/2