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How Kinmount Got Its Name

October 15, 2022

Reflection of Kinmount Bridge, June 19, 2022

By Guy Scott

There are several theories roaming around about the origin of the name Kinmount. The story about the earliest settlers exclaiming “I kin mount these hills” is totally false. It is true that the first settlers were Scottish, but the village was not named for their dialect, but rather for their intellect! There are 2 prominent ‘kinmounts’ in Scotland. An estate in Dumfriesshire, Scotland has existed since the 1200s. The second related use of the term is found in the ‘title’ of a famous character from Scottish history, Kinmount Willie Armstrong. Sir Walter Scott, arguably the most famous Scottish writer Robbie Burns included, wrote a very famous ballad title the ‘Ballad of Kinmount Willie.’ Any well educated Scot would be quite familiar with the poem, if not the estate.

And who might this well-educated Scot be? Both John Hunter & Mrs. Thomas Baker could fit the bill. But local legend would have fingered Mrs. Malcolm Bell, a native of Annandale in Scotland, the district home of the Kinmount estate. In the earliest records of land agent Richard Hughes, the spot where the Bobcaygeon Road crossed the Burnt River was referred to as the Burnt River Station. But when the settlement acquired an official Post Office on April 1, 1859, the term Kinmount was used. Don’t believe these theories? Just google the name Kinmount and see how many Kinmounts there are all over the English-speaking world. And not all of them have hills!

So if anyone insists on using the degrading comment on the origin of Kinmount, just remind them the village is named after an estate or a famous piece of English literature. What other towns can claim that title?

The Story of Kinmount House, Scotland

In Scotland, the original Kinmount is not a village, but a country estate. It consists solely of a mansion-house called Kinmount House. Sometimes it is incorrectly called Kinmount Castle, but the name is purely romantic.

The Kinmount Estate was first granted to the famous Douglas family in the 1700s. The original grant was 2,000 acres. In 1812, the fifth marquis of Queensberry built the present manor house in what is called the ‘severe classical style.’

Kinmount House is located in Western Scotland in Dumfriesshire, in the Annan River Valley. The estate is now a private hotel or luxurious Bed & Breakfast. You can rent a suite in the manor house or a servant’s cottage starting at $350 a day (2009).

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