'Antiquities of Scotland' Index

St. John's Baptist Church, Ayr

FOR the following account of this building I am indebted to a reverend gentleman whose name I am not authorised to mention. The ruins of the church of St. John the Baptist, stands between the town and the sea, within the fort, built by Oliver Cromwell: it s said to have been entire about sixty years ago; at present the tower only remains: its foundation may still be traced, from which it appears to have been in the form of a cross. Among the archives of this town, is a charter from Robert II, surnamed the Blear-eyed, A. D. 1378, respecting the preserving this church from being destroyed by the blowing of sand;* but the church has, it is said, been since quite demolished through want of taste, and the guilt of avarice; though there is evidence of its having been the seat of a parliament, held in the time of Bruce and Baliol, and where a number of the nobility and gentry determined upon noble and free motives, for the former: a copy of their names and signatures is still extant, many of them could not write. Tradition savs, that Cromwell having taken in this church in order to erect a fort, gave the town a thousand English marks to build another. This seems probable from the minutes of the town council at a community meeting, the 3d of July, 1652. "Anent the situation of building of the kirk all condescend tall possible meanes be used for building the same, either upon Sewalton's ground, or the Grey Friars; and that the same be bought; and that the town be stented for als much as to utfit the same, what is deficient of the money to be had frae the English." The new kirk appears to have been built 1654.

IN 1789, when this view was drawn, the tower of the church was very entire; several modern tomb-stones were standing about it, from whence it should seem as if it were still used as a place of burial.

THE fort above-mentioned, built by Oliver Cromwell, is a parallelogram, the greatest length from North to South defended by six bastions ; there are also two or three magazines, seemingly meant for bomb proof, one of them serves for a gate, which is here shewn in the drawing. It was by King Charles II. granted to Lord Eglington; the property is now in his lady, who mortgaged it to the Lord Cassilis for 1000 1 {1000 scots pounds}. Several persons now living remember most of the walls standing.

* Coppie of King Robert his charter to the burgh of Air, allowing a gratification to those who should preserve the burgh and church from being destroyed with sand:

Robertus, Dei gratia Rex Scotorum omnibus probes hominibus totius terræ, seu Clericis, vel Laicis salutem, Dum Burgus noster de Air, per motionem & agitationem arenæ agitationem arense sit quasi totaliter annihilatus & de-rtructus, et similiter per brevis processum temporis ad finalem destructionem redegi videbitur, nisi citius per discretorum virorum solertia et diligentia remedium apponitur; nos igitur desiderantes de Aliquo….competente in hae parte futuro providere, et precipae causa ecclesæ Johannes Baptisti quam in honore, reverential et devotione semper intendebam et intendam mantinere, protegere et fovere, cujus cæmeterium per violtiam motionis arenæ ut predicitur fere usq. Ad fundamentum ipsius ecclesiæ adeo est denudata et destructa quod multorum ossa defunctorum ibidem humata, videntur per ventorum de terra evulsa penitus et circa. Concessimus de gratia nostra speciali illis quicunque fuerint, qui in hac parte defeusionem apposuerunt, et ipsam villam, ecclesiam ei cæmeterium a destructione dicta arenæ liberaverint, omnes pacatas vastus infra dictum burgam quos meditantibus illorum laboribus et impensis a destructione præfata arenosa liberaverint, et fuerint habitabiles, tenendas et habendas eisdem dicturam pacatarum prænominatis.

There is another paragraph of Latin which I will I add when I can get my brain around it!

Where is St.John's Church, Ayr?



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