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Sornhill Property of Nisbet of Greenholm

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Sornhill House

Canmore describes it as a

  • Farmstead (a farmhouse and ancillary farm building forming a group) (18th Century),
  • Lairds House (A medium-sized domestic residence of a lesser landholder c.1560-c.1750, the earliest being of tower-house form (my note: such as West Nisbet house), the later ones of symmetrical rectangular plan, (my note: such as Sornhill.) (17th Century)

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Sornhill house is a 17th. century house (possibly built 1660) with three floors and an attic. First Floor inscription on fireplace 1683 RN and BN (Robert Nisbet of Greenholm and wife Barbara Nisbet of Carfin). An outside tower window has an inscribed lintel with JN and MK (James Nisbet of Greenholm and wife Marie Kennedy). with the date of 1660 on the lintel of the window above. Inscription in kitchen AN 1799 (Archibald Nisbet of Sornhill, previously resident in London).

  • situated on East Sornhill
  • Sornhill, a tall, attractive laird's house of the 17th century. (The laird would be the owner of a large, long-established Scottish estate). This appears to be the residence of the main Greenholm branch from the middle 1600s. Where they resided before that is unknown.
  • A date-stone over the door, now hidden by an ungly modern perch APPEARS to read 1660-The Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire by Michael C Davis (1985-1990)
  • first known residents are James Nisbet and Maria Kennedy his wife, probably from 1660 and possibly they built Sornhill.

Lands of Sornhill

The 40s of lands of Sornhill have been divided through time after the Nisbets acquired them in the 1400s.

  • the 1st division I have found is when the 2 sisters inherited the lands from their brother who had all 40s of Sornhill. The lands were then split with the
    • oldest sister Margaret that took over Greenholm and 30s or 3/4 of Sornhill.
    • youngest Mariota got 10s or 1/4 which was sold in 1553 to Hugh Campbell of Loudoun.
  • another 10s or 1/4 of the original property is gone by 1681 leaving half or 20s that was inherited by following Robert Nisbet.
  • 1681 Robert Nisbet of Greenholme and Barbara Nisbet his spouse 20s lands or half of Sornhill that they now reside on part would be East Sornhill then
  • 1739 Archibald Nisbet inherited half of Sornhill from his father Robert
  • 1442 Murdoch Nisbet 's Charter of the transfer of Lands to him form David Tayt, probably included Sornhill [1]
  • 1496 James Nisbet possibly/probably son of above Murdoch (not named in this reference but possibly in original document if it is available) [2]
  • ca 1514 Sornhill 40s ( 40s is the whole) inherited from his father Robert Nisbet died abt 1518 Born ca 1480, married Margaret Blair +aft 1553 3 children: Margaret, Mariota and James
  • 1519 James Sornhill 40s (like the whole) inherited from his father James Nisbet b between 1509 and 1519 died before 1550 without issue (sasine as heir to his father Nov 1519) His sisters inherited the property after him as heir
  • Sornhill is inherited by his sisters and split between the sisters Mariota 1/4 10s Sornhill and Margaret 3/4 30S of Sornhill who married John Nisbet.
  • 1553 Hugh Campbell of Loudoun buys 40s in Aughinrugland 20s Sorne 10s Sornehill from Mariota Nesbit and her husband, John Lockhart. Margaret Blair, mother of Mariota Nesbit, was occupying the 20 pound land of Sorne 10s ( later there is a marriage between the Campbell and Greenholm Nisbet line--Sasine 4 Dec 1607 Margaret Nisbet daughter of Alexander husband is Hugh Campbell HC of Auchruglen)
  • 1578 Alexander Nisbet inherited 30s of Sornhill which is 3/4 of the property after his mother [3]
  • 10s is not passed on to following Robert
  • 1681 Robert Nisbet of Greenholme and Barbara Nisbet his spouse 20s lands or half of Sornhill that they now reside on [4]
  • Robert Nisbet
  • 1724-1726 bound letterbook between Alexander Earl of Marchmont (superior??) and Mr Nisbet of Greenholm GD158/2515
  • 1724 Arch Nisbet of Sornhill attorney
  • 1739 Archibald Nisbet inherited half of Sornhill from his father Robert [5]
  • 1739 John Brown portioner of Greenholm witness to Sasine
  • 1755 Window tax Sornhill not mentioned but Archibald Nisbet Greenholm had 19 windows 14sh 3d. (This is 9 more windows than listed in 1798 for Sornhill.) Does that mean he wasn't living at Sornhill? later blocked off windows to save tax? window count was for Sornhill and also for tenants living on Greenholm?
  • 1764 Robert of Greenholm 1730 -died 5 Jul 1787 in Jamaica test England 1788
  • 1774 19 July 1774 Ayr 1774 19 Jul Archibald Nisbet apothecary in London and David Nisbet surgeon in London Sornhill and Greenholm – NRS (RS14/24/10-11
  • 1788 David Nisbett in London claimed bought leased? inheritence of Sornhill with the Manorplace on the death of his brother even though his brother had sons. [6]) (note 1788 -superior of the lands is Hugh Earl of Marchmont)
  • Archibald Nisbet 5th son
  • 1798-1799 Archibald Nisbet Esq. Sornhill 10 Windows £1.12.0 1 Horse £1.4.0 3 Dogs £0.18.0 Consolidated Schedules of Assessed Taxes 1798-1799 vol 04 E326/15/4/60
  • 1803 Archibald Nisbet Esq. Sornhill £44.3.4 Land tax rolls( rental value of their lands)
  • 1829 East Sornhill on Thursday 11 June 1829 in Sornhill /Cecilia Nisbett Heir to her father Archibald Nisbett of East Sornhill. 1829 11 Jun 1829 registered 17 Jun 1823 (32) Cecilia Nisbett Heir in General cum benefiaio Inventarii to her father Archibald Nisbett of East Sornhill NAS/NRS index Services of heirs 1700-1859 11 Jun 1829 registered 17 Jun 1823 (32)
  • THE estate of Milrig has been sold by Messrs Knight. Frank and Rutley. the property being situated near Kilmarnock and Galston, in the county of Ayr. The estate is about 346 acres in extent, and includes Milrig House and policies, Sornhill and Millside farms, and a number of smaller properties. the total rental being £792? per annum. [7] also SCOTTISH ESTATE AND FARM MARKET. A Well-Known Property Near Errol. Messrs Knight, Frank, & Rutley make the preliminary announcement that they will sell, by direction of Major H. A. Cooper, the residential and agricultural estate of Milrig, in Ayrshire. is situated about two miles from Galston and 71/2 miles from Kilmarnock, extending to area of about 346 acres.

SALE 1925 -Milrig House is charmingly situated, with a western aspect, commanding extensive views over the surrounding country to the sea and the Arran Hills. On the property are well-timbered policies and attractive gardens. Hunting can be obtained with the Eglinton Foxhounds and the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt. There are two capital dairy farms, Sornhill and Millside; also small agricultural subject, a cottage with land, and a number of grass parks. The estate is to be offered for sale by auction as a whole or in parts on an early date unless previously sold privately. [8]


  1. Murdoch Nisbet Obtained a Charter of Alienation dates 28th July 1442 from David Tayt of Elynton of parts of the lands of Greenholm and others
  2. James Nesbit (b ca 1457 - d. ca 1514) was granted sasine (as heir to his father) to Greenholme, Auchinruglane, Sornhill, Sorne in 1496 (Exchequer Rolls, Volume 10 (1488 - 1496)
  3. on Tuesday 25 November 1578 in Greenholm, Ayrshire, Scotland Alexander Nisbet 1578 Nisbitt heir of his mother Margreta oldest sister and one of the other heiress portioner. 25 Nov 1578 Extract-Alexander Nisbitt heir of his mother Margreta oldest sister and one of the other heiress portioner of the late Jacobus Nisbitt of Greinholme --- in 40 solidatis land of Greenholm with molendo granario et fullonario (no buildings mentioned other than a grain mill) –40 solidatis lands of Mylnerig—20 solidatis land of Sorne—30 solidatis lands of Sornhill old lands of old extinct in the bailiary of Kylestewart Ayr lxxxviii 214 #703 Service of Heirs-Retours
  4. 2 Oct 1671 James Nisbet and he had borrowed money from the Hamiltons of Machlinholl. On the 2 October 1671, 2 October 1671 Ayr 1681 20 Nov 1681 Robert Nisbet Greenholm Charter by the King to Robert Nisbet of Greenholme and Barbara Nisbet his spouse which failing his nearest heirs 40s lands Greenholm-40s lands of Mylnerig-20s lands of MYLNESYDE- 20s lands of Sornhill that they now reside on
  5. Tuesday 9 January 1739 in Greenholm, Ayrshire, Scotland Archibald Nisbet 1739 Nisbet of Greenholme Heir Special to his father Robert Nisbet. 1739 9 Jan 1739 registered 12 Apr 1739 (3) Archibald Nisbet of Greenholme Heir Special in Greenholme, Milnrig, Milnside and Two Portions of Sornhill Ayrshire to his father Robert Nisbet of Greenholme who died Jan 1736 NAS/NRS index Services of heirs 1700-1859 9 Jan 1739 registered 12 Apr 1739 (3)
  6. on Monday 14 April 1788 in Greenholm, Ayrshire, Scotland David Nisbett 1788 Nisbet Surgeon in London Heir Special in Greenholme Sornhill to his father Archibald Nisbet. 1788 14 Apr 1788 registered 9 May 1788 (19) David Nisbet Surgeon in London Heir Special in Greenholme Sornhill with Manorplace in The Bailiary Of Kyle Stewart Ayrshire to his father Archibald Nisbet of Greenholm who died Sep 1764 NAS/NRS index Services of heirs 1700-1859 14 Apr 1788 registered 9 May 1788 (19
  7. 1925 Kilmarnock Herald and North Ayrshire Gazette - Fri 18 Sep 1925
  8. Dundee Courier - Tue 21 Jul 1925

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