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Place Names – Being West Kilbride

Place Names

This page is an exploration of the historical derivation or meanings of place names within the KA23 postcode area. It is an ongoing work and so not all names will have yet been identified. Where there are street names associated with the place name, I have incorporated these in brackets.


AILSA (View) – Simply to view the Ailsa Rock out in the Firth

ALTON (Street, Way) – Old Scots “Auld Toun”. The old town refers to the agricultural settlement that would have been situated in the triangle below Well Street and Halfway Street. This section of town was where cattle, sheep, chickens and pigs were originally kept. They could be watered at the wells all along Well Street, and were later sold at the village market below at the Kirk Croft.

ARDNEIL (Avenue)

ARDROSSAN (High Road, Road) –

ARRAN (-View Gardens) – Simply to view the Isle of Arran to the west of us

ARTHUR (Court, Street) – click link for more information



BARONY (Glebe)

BELLARD (Road, Walk)

BIGLEES – The original name of this part of the Southannan estate was “Beyglies”. Nevertheless, it was pronounced locally as “Biglees”. Beyglies is Anglo Saxon meaning large pastures or fields.

West Kilbride place names are derived from Norse (and Skaldic), Middle English, Lowland Scots, Irish Gaelic, Medieval French and Norman, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Anglo Saxon.

Anglo Saxon farmers would have been brought to Scotland by Normans, sometimes as their vassals, although there is now a considerable amount of evidence that higher ranked Anglo Saxon nobles played a greater part in the governance of the nations. For example, the term “Burgh” as in the Royal Burgh of Renfrew, Ayr or Irvine is an Anglo Saxon term originated by King Alfred the Great referring to his fortified town defences known as Burhs.

BLACKSHAW (Drive, Farm) – Shaw is old Scots for a small forest or wood. Blackshaw therefore refers to the “Black Wood” and probably refers to a time around the 15-17th Century when this farmland (Blackshaw Farm) area had a dense covering of woodland. Interestingly, Blackshaw farm estate contains many species of original neolithic Scottish trees clustered in one place such as alder, hawthorn, oak and rowan. This would seem to indicate continuous forestry use for at least 5,000 years (the Scottish climatic optimum was around 3400 BC when temperature was several degrees warmer than now).

BELLARD (Road, Walk) – Bellard is simply a shortened version of “bell ward”. It indicates a direction of travel. If you lived in the agricultural cottages at Woodside or Ridshiels (Bowfield) for example, and you were heading bell’ard you might be walking down towards the Glen.

The term derives from the English of the 17th and 18th century during which times we were transitioning from mainly an agricultural economy towards a more centralised village where most people would work in the village centre in mills, shops and service units. In these times, only the rich would have clocks and so most people relied on the time being communicated twice a day by the parish church beadle ringing the church bell at the start of the day and again at the end of the day. Such would have been the importance of the church bell, the direction bell’ard would be in common use for those workers in the west of the village living in the agricultural cottages, to indicate their route towards their work when the bell rang.

BLACKSHAW (Drive) – Shaw is old Scottish, meaning wood. Therefore Blackshaw means the black wood.

BOWFIELD (Road) – Formely known as Ridshiels, changed in the late 19th Century.

BOYDSTON – From old Scots “Boyd’s Toun” being possibly an original agricultural settlement associated with land belonging to the Boyd family, or possibly pointing the way to West Kilbride as Boyd’s Town in the same manner as Yerton (Yonder Town) and Chapelton (Chapel Town) – these were not all separate towns but were estates on the map that marked the entrance to West Kilbride.

BRUCE (Court)




CASTLE (Drive, View) – Simply named after Law Castle.

CHAPELTON (Lane. Farm) – On the outskirts of West Kilbride are farms and lands that describe their relation to the main town of West Kilbride or mark the entrance to it – a late medieval device used as we might use signposts today. For example, Yerton means Yonder Town – referring to West Kilbride. Likewise Overton means Over Town being it’s position in relation to the main settlement. Boydston referred to the Town belonging to the Boyd’s (West Kilbride) and is situated at the entrance to the town. Similarly, Chapelton points the way to the Town with the Chapel and refers to the Chapel in existence prior to the establishment of the Reformation Church on the same lands in 1567.


CORSE (Street, Terrace) – Refers to the estate of Crosbie which had many spellings in medieval times from the 13th Century onwards – e.g. Corsby, Corsbie, Crosby, Crosbie. Crosbie was the country estate of Sir Ranald Crawfurd (variously spelled as Crawford, Craufurd etc), Sheriff of Ayr during the life of his nephew William Wallace. This fact is mentioned in numerous medieval charters. The estate is mentioned in the 15th Century epic poem by Blind Harry:

His modyr and he till Elrisle thai went,
Vpon the morn scho for hir brothir sent,
In Corsby duelt and schirreff was of Ayr,
Hyr fadyr was dede, a lang tyme leyffyt had thar;
Hyr husband als at Lowdoun-hill was slayn, 

CORSEHILL (Drive) – See Corse above

CRAUFURD (Avenue, Court) – named after the landowner of the Crosbie Estate – See Corse above

CRAWFORD (Lodge) – named after the landowner of the Crosbie Estate – See Corse above

CROFTFOOT (See Meadowfoot)

CROSBIE (Drive, Knowe, Ridge) – See Corse above

CUBRIESHAW (Drive, Park, Street) – Shaw is old Scots, meaning wood. Cubrie is an old Scots variant of St Cuthbert. This area was formerly a woodland up to Law Castle orchard and was dedicated to St Cuthbert.


DRUMMILLING (Avenue, Drive, Road) – click link for more information

FARLAND (View) – click link for more information


FAULDS (Wynd) – Old Scottish for “Fields”. Note the sign on the way to Dalry on the right hand side of the road saying “The Faulds”.


GATESIDE (Street) –

GLEN (View)





HALFWAY (Street)







HYNDMAN (Road) – See Springside below

JACKS (View) – Named after Captain Bill Jack of the 1st West Kilbride BB’s who died very young and is remembered by the view from almost the top of Corsehill. The name was given by Councillor Edith Clarkson.


KIRKTON (Avenue)

KIRK (Croft, Lands)

LAW (Brae, Castle, Hill) – Law is old Scots meaning Hill. Throughout the west of Scotland are districts such as Greenlaw in Paisley, meaning “Green Hill”. The hill at the east of our village is not actually Law Hill (as that would mean “Hill Hill”), but more correctly referred to as The Law. Law Castle ought therefore to be “The Law Castle”.


MEADOWFOOT (Road)click link for more information




NORTH (Road, Shore)

ORCHARD (Street, View)

OVERTON (Crescent, Drive) – The estate called Overton was a piece of land at the top of the village stretching from about Overton Church to the bottom of Overton Court. Originally there was a house on the land at the top of Overton Court called Overton House and was the family home of the Fullerton family.




RITCHIE (Place, Street)

SANDY (Court, Road)



SIMSON (Avenue)

SNOWDON (Terrace)

SOUTH (Road)

SPRINGSIDE click link for more information

ST BRIDE’S (Drive, Road)

STAIRLIE (Crescent)

STRYPE (The) – A long line of small houses, as in a stripe. On various maps referring to either the end of Hunterston Road that connects with Main Street (1855 Map), or more usually the line of houses alongside Bridgend opposite the corn mill.


TARBERT (Avenue)

THRUSHING MEADOWclick link for more information


WELL (Street)

WELLBANK (Gardens)

WESTON (Terrace)

YERTON (Brae) – Derived shortened version of Yonderton – Old Scots meaning Yonder Toun (town)

YONDERTON (Place) – Old Scots meaning Yonder Toun (town)