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MacRae Drive and Orangefield Drive

As a young boy, James Macrae ran away to sea from Ayr. He eventually entered the service of the British East India Company, and became captain of one of its ships. In 1720 he fought a desperate battle with pirates in the Indian Ocean, resulting in promotion by the company. Macrae rose to become Governor of Madras, one of the EIC's most senior positions. He accused the Governor of Bombay of corruption, but counter allegations led to his resignation in 1730, and he came back to Britain a very wealthy man.


He settled first in London, but returned to Ayrshire in 1733, being made an honorary burgess of the Royal Burgh of Ayr. Captain Macrae bought the Monkton estate and renamed it Orangefield. The monument he had built still stands overlooking Monkton near the Dutch House roundabout.

Having no children of his own, he gave large dowries to the daughters of a poor cousin. One of them married the 13th Earl of Glencairn, restoring the fortunes of that family and enabling her son, the 14th Earl, to become the most important of the patrons of Robert Burns.