The building now known as 'Crosshands House' was built around
1760 as a coaching inn when a new main road between Mauchline
and Kilmarnock was built to allow a faster route for the mail
coaches from Dumfries to Glasgow. This road subsequently became
what is now the A76.
Originally named the 'Delphi Inn', there was a stable for the
inn next door. This is now a separate house named 'Stables Cottage'.
The road to Tarbolton used to be on the south side of the house
and the fields to the north came right up to the house. Standing
in what is now the back garden it is clear that this
is indeed the front of the house with the central door and symmetrical
windows and dormers.
Downstairs there was a large, continuous room with a fireplace
at each end and stairs in the middle. This was the main bar area
and would have been similar in design and appearance to the meeting
room of the famous Bachelors Club in nearby Tarbolton.
At the eastern end, next to the main road, there was a cattle-shed
where the beasts entered directly from the field to the north.
Above this was a hay loft. Both are now incorporated into the
living accommodation of the house.
Robert Burns Connection
From 1784 to 1788 the world-famous, Scottish writer Robert
Burns lived at nearby Mossgiel
Farm which is just over a mile away across the fields. Contrary
to mailcious rumours, he was certainly NOT a drunkard, but it
is well recorded that he enjoyed a social drink.
So, Crosshands House was a pub when Robert Burns was a neighbour.
While there is no direct evidence, it seems highly likely that
he would have been a regular visitor.
The single storey extension to the north of the main house was
added, it is believed, sometime in the mid-19th century. Apparently
the house was owned at the time by a joiner who used the old pub
as a workshop and lived in the rooms upstairs. He had injured
his back and could no longer climb the stairs, so his family built
the extension to allow him to continue to live and work as long
In 1848 the new Glasgow,
Dumfries and Carlisle Railway line was opened. The construction
of this line had resulted the draining of nearby Loch
Brown and the demolition of several buildings including the
local blacksmith's workshop. A new, replacement blacksmiths
shop was built across the old road to the south of Crosshands
House. Subsequently the road was moved to the north side of the
house leaving the smithy easily accessible across what is now
In the middle of the 20th century a corrugated iron shed was
built next to the smithy and operated as a petrol station. The
shed was subsequently moved to a nearby farm where it is still
in use and the place where it stood is now part of the gardens
of Crosshands House..