It was while William stayed at Doonside Mill*, (or in the Mill house?) that he fued 7.5 acres of land at Alloway, (from Dr Alexander Campbell of Ayr), to the west of the Ayr-Maybole highway, then little more than a track through the hamlet but nowadays the B7024 road.
There is a story persisting that when Wm Burnes built his cottage the road ran to the back of it but, according to Roy’s military map of 1755, the road goes straight through the hamlet. Also the front of the cottage is in line with the front of the smiddy cottage and is it really plausible that the house would be built concave to suit a road line – and where would the inevitable kitchen garden be? (See “The Lost Road” by John Skilling)
Not only that: There is only one door at the back, built when the barn was added some time after the spense and the kitchen. Are we to accept that none of the doors in Wm Burnes’ cottage faced the road? That seems a bit improbable. Just as improbable as the suggestion that he built his house bordering the road on its east side, so close that he had to bend the house round it, while his feu lay to the west of the road.
However, in 1821 testimony was given that a minister’s robing room or cottage was situated at the right hand side of the road from Ayr to Alloway and behind Burns’ cottage at the foot of William’s 7.5 acres feu. This road can be traced down to the time when Wm Burnes started to build his cottage but not after that. This road might have been where Wrightfield Cottages now stand, on ground sold by Burnes to Galbraith Bros at the bottom of his feu.
*Doonside Mill was rebuilt in 1870