Crossraguel Abbey (aka Crosraguel), about 2 miles southwest of Maybole, Ayr, was founded in 1244 by Donnchadh, Earl of Carrick, It remained a monastery until 1560, when the Reformation ended monastic institutions in Scotland. The extent of the Regality of the Abbey covered an immense amount of land [in Ayr-Carrick]. Among the 77 principal places mentioned in these charters, McCubbin lives were involved in some degree or other, in the following: Altichappell, Balchristen. Baltersan, Brunstoim (Brunstoun), Dalquharran, Drummorchy, Knockgarron, Knockbrek, M”Cubenstoun, Quarrelhill, Snade and Trudonag. These lands all differed in their annual rental, in their mode of cultivation, and in their natural fertility. The most valuable were the farms on the banks of the Girvan and the Doon ; the poorest were the moorland hills in the parish of Straiton and round the Chapel of Kirkdamdie.
Over the vassals in their Regality the monks could exercise an almost boundless jurisdiction. From the date of the great charter by Robert the Third in 1404 until the Reformation, the Abbots of Crosraguel were, from the extent of their possessions, the importance of their office, and the almost royal power with which they were invested, the greatest personages in all Ayrshire ; and no history of the county could be complete which failed to recognise the civilising and controlling force of the Regality.
The tenantry of Crosraguel consisted of the cottars, who occupied a croft and paid a small rent for it ; and the farmers, who paid it chiefly in grain. A third class of vassals were the yeomen or small lairds of such places as Knockgarron, Pennyglen, Balserroch, or Clonlicht, who held land in the regality, and were thus subject to the authority of the Abbot. An incident of their tenure was their annual attendance at the court held by him on the lands of Auchinblane, where they were with the other tenantry to renew every year their allegiance to their feudal superior.
Source: Full Text of Charters of the Abbey of Crossraguel
We first find McCubbins in the records of the Charters of Crossraguel Abbey in 1404, recording John Makcubeyn.
In the next century we find McCubbins as allies of the Kennedys. In 1526 Fergus Makcubyn and his son John, followers of the Earl of Cassilis were respited for murder and appear to have gone free. The same was granted several of the followers. Only a handful were convicted.
There began a fierce rivalry in the late 1500s between the Kennedy’s of Cassillis and the monks of Crossraguel Abbey as the Cassillis Kennedy’s set about obtaining land gifted to the monks by Duncan de Carrick in the early 1200s.
Gilbert Kennedy, 4th Earl of Cassilis, (c. 154114 December 1576) was a Scottish peer. Cassilis was known as the “King of Carrick” for the feudal influence he possessed in that region. In 1565, he seized Allan Stewart, the Commendator of Crossraguel and imprisoned him at Dunure Castle, seeking to obtain from him certain of the rights over the lands of Crossraguel Abbey. When Stewart proved recalcitrant, Cassilis had him dragged to the Black Vault of Dunure, and roasted him alive over a fire until he was willing to subscribe to the charters the Earl had drawn up. Stewart was finally rescued by his brother-in-law, the Laird of Bargany, who captured Dunure and procured his deliverance. The rescue, however, occasioned a feud between the subsequent Earls of Cassilis and Lairds of Bargany.
The men of the Fifth Earl of Cassillis, John Kennedy (1575 – 1615), on December 11, 1601, came out of the town of Mayboill and “lay at await for umquhile Gilbert Kennedy of Bargany, his freindis and servandis, as thay wer comeing the hie way fra the burgh of Air towardis the said Lairdis awne duelling hous, and invadit and persewit thame of thair lyffis, schot and dischairgit a nowmer of hacquebuttis and pistolettis at thame, quhairwith sindrie of the said Laird of Barganyis cumpany were hurt and woundit, and at that same tyme thay schamefullie, cruellie, and unmercifullie slew the said umquhile Gilbert Kennedy of Bargany.”
It is of note that no McCubbin names were listed in the 176 men who were involved and charged. Perhaps by this point in time the McCubbins preferred to keep a low profile and gain favor with the monks who had control over the lands. Later in the mid 1600’s they removed themselves further south to Knockdolian, Colmonell.
It has been written that it was not until James V1 of Scotland, later James 1 of England took action to stop feuding between the various families in Scotland.
Source: Clan Kennedy on-line source, History of the county of Ayr, by James Paterson