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Billie - Robert Cunningham drowned in an accident at No. 9 pit Caprington Colliery.
Alison Seton - Robert Cunningham drowned in an accident at No. 9 pit Caprington Colliery.

From:    Billie
Sent:     11 August 2011
Subject: Where on the current Caprington estate was the Caprington Colliery located

One of my ancestors was an overseer at the Caprington Colliery, c. mid-1800’s. Can you tell me where on the current Caprington estate the Caprington Colliery was located? We are visiting Riccarton in a week and I’d like to see this area.

Death records/obits show that one of my ancestors lived on Laputa Way,  one on Inchgotrick, one on Caprington Row (another row of cottages built for miners) and later Campbell Street, and my gggg granny lived on Academy Street, which is just to the north of that area. I’ve been able to find all of these streets on Google. They attended the Riccarton Parish Church. We will visit the church and graveyard and all of these streets on our upcoming trip to Scotland.

Family lore says that my gggg grandfather of Riccarton worked as a steward on a large local estate (his death record calls him a “master flesher”). I can’t help but think it was the Caprington Estate, since they lived near it and his sons worked in the Caprington mines.

Do you know if the current owners of the Caprington Estate or a local archives might have records of the early Caprington Estate and Collieries?



I think Caprington Colliery lay just to the north of Laputa Row, a row of cottages built for miners, which was situated on the West side of the Ayr-Kilmarnock road, very close to the junction of the old and new roads, not far from Inchgotrick Farm. The road is now the B7038 which links the new A77 with Riccarton on the south side of Kilmarnock.

Laputa Row, is now just an empty field with no remains of the row visible – It was built after 1857 and demolished before 1913.

For information and records you could try:-
The Muirkirk Museum - 33 Main Street, Muirkirk

The National Records of Scotland, 2 Princes Street Edinburgh

Mitchell Library in Glasgow
North Street
Glasgow G3 7DN
Phone: 0141 287 2910
Fax: 0141 287 2815


From: Alison Seton
Sent: 20 September 2008
Subject: Robert Cunningham drowned in an accident at No. 9 pit Caprington Colliery

Dear Mr Taylor
I've found your site very interesting and informative as I've recently been investigating my own mining ancestry. My ggg grandfather Robert Cunningham (c.1815 - 1855) drowned in an accident at no. 9 pit Caprington Colliery near Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, in 1855 along with two other men. Apparently the official report into the incident (according to ) got his first name wrong and for some reason named him as Alexander Cunningham but he was definitely a Robert. I have his 1855 death certificate which gives a fairly detailed account of the accident at Caprington.

Kind regards
Alison Seton

Glasgow Herald
Caprington - 19 September 1855
(Glasgow Herald - 21st September 1855)

Melancholy Accident – 3 Lives Lost - An accident of a melancholy and fatal nature occurred on Wednesday about noon, in No 9 Pit, Caprington Colliery, situated near Laputta, whereby three men lost their lives.

The estates of Caprington and Treesbank are separated at the place by the high way between Kilmarnock and Ayr. On the Treesbank estate a pit had been wrought by Mr Whitfield a number of years ago, and was standing waste.

The pit on Caprington is situated within a short distance of the road; and while the workman were engaged at work in one of the rooms, Francis Raeside observed the water bubbling through the coal; he called his two sons, who are but boys, to run and he would follow. In doing so, a little distance from the pit bottom, a rush of wind came and knocked one of the boys down. On rising he looked back and saw his father just as he was overwhelmed by the water which had broken through from the waste pit, and his lamp became extinguished.

The boys ran on till they arrived at the pit bottom, and the alarm was speedily conveyed to all the workings.

Other two men, named Robert Cunningham and William Sim, wrought at the dip where the water came out and were also overcome.

The other men in the pit were speedily conveyed to the pit-mouth; and after a short time the pit was again descended, and the body of Cunningham found within five or six yards from the place he had been working. The other two men, Raeside and Sim, are supposed to have been carried with the water to the dip, where the pit is full, as they have not yet been found.

In examining the room where Raeside wrought, it was found the water had broken through the solid coal, making an aperture of from five to six feet wide. It is supposed the seam of blind coal on Treesbank estate had been wrought considerable beyond the march, as the workmen considered that there was still some distance to work before coming to the march.

Robert Cunningham has left a widow and eight children, Francis Raeside a widow and eight children and William Sim a widow and five children to lament their loss.

Robert Cunningham

left a widow and eight children

Francis Raeside

left a widow and eight children

William Sim

left a widow and five children


Pit Terminology - Glossary