Saugh Hill



NGR - NX 212973

The Saugh Hill is located about two miles due east of Girvan and is a strenuous climb from Fauldribbon. 

Saugh Hill Conventicle stie


The Saugh Hill rises steeply to the east of Girvan in Ayrshire. The summit in recent years has been disfigured by wind turbines, but the Ordnance Survey map indicates that there were Bronze Age burials on the upper slopes. What isn’t shown on the map, however, is the site of conventicles used by the Covenanters. An old account of Carrick, written in 1696 by Rev William Abercrummie (or Abercrombie) states that, ‘West of [Penkill Castle] lyes a high hill called the Sauchhill once memorable for the resort of people to conventicles, where they built a meeting house of turfe and wood.’ The comment is interesting for a couple of reasons: the fact that the Covenanters felt confident enough to build a physical place of worship on this hill is interesting. Turf would be available readily in the vicinity, but timbers would need to be cut down in the valleys below and hauled up to the top of the 900 feet tall hill. The movement of timber (which was perhaps stolen) would have been a very risky undertaking. The other interesting point is that the account was written by a minister named Abercrummie. He was, in fact, the Episcopal curate placed in the church at Maybole when the Presbyterian ministers were outed. Being from the ‘other side’ it is interesting to note his knowledge of the conventicle site and of the building there. One wonders if he knew of it, but kept it quiet, or was he involved in the persecution of the Covenanters and therefore knowledgeable about where the Covenanters had to resort for worship?

Rev Abercrummie MA (he graduated from the University of Glasgow on 6 July 1666) was presented to Maybole on 11 May 1673 and was installed on 3 June. At the Glorious Revolution he deserted his charge, and was deprived in 1690. He appears to have retired to Edinburgh, where he died on 21 February 1722, aged 74. The previous minister of Maybole, Rev John Hutchison, who had been outed in 1662, was able to retake his post under the Toleration in 1687 and remained until his death on 24 December 1725.