Crosshands House in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Photo courtesy of the late Hugh Hodge of Crosshands

Original Construction

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 Bachelor’s 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 as possible.

The Smithy

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 blacksmith’s 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 a driveway.

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..


Stables Cottage at Crosshands in 1967

Crosshands in 2011


Other Sites of Interest

Crosshands Page on the Ayrshitre History Website

Wikipedia entry for Loch Brown near Crosshands


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