Ayr, Bruce Crescent, St John The Baptist's Church

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Ayr, Bruce Crescent, St John The Baptist's Church

Site Name Ayr, Bruce Crescent, St John The Baptist's Church

Classification Church (14th Century), Grave Slab(s) (medieval), Long Cist(s) (early Medieval), Coin(s)

Alternative Name(s) St John The Baptist Tower; Fort Castle; Ayr Fort

Canmore ID 41745

Site Number NS32SW 11

NGR NS 33369 22021

Datum Osgb36 - Ngr

Council South Ayrshire

Parish Ayr

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Archaeology Notes

Event ID 698426

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes

NS32SW 11 33369 22021.

(NS 3337 2201) St John the Baptist's Church (NR) (remains of)

OS 1:1250 map (1960)

Ayr parish church, which was dedicated to St John the Baptist, was probably built about the time when Ayr was erected into a burgh (1203). However, the building is not specifically mentioned in documents until 1233. All that remains is the strong tower which was built against its West gable in the 15th century. This tower has been much reconstructed, notably in 1778 when the parapet was added, and was finally restored by the Marquis of Bute in 1914. Excavations in 1891 exposed the foundations of the church, showing that it was cruciform, measuring about 140ft in length by 80ft over the transepts.

Scott (1920) notes that these foundations can still be made out. At the same time, stones from the floor were taken to build an altar in the Episcopal Church.

Carrick (1913), who alleges that this church occupies the site of a Culdee church, states that skeletons were found under the foundations. Robert the Bruce held Parliament here in 1315. In 1652-4, Cromwell enclosed the church and graveyard within his fort, and the church was put to military use (a new church being built at NS 3390 2192 at that time - see NS32SW 7). It was re-used for worship in 1687-8 but around 1736 its stones were used in the steeple of the tolbooth in the Sandgate.

A I Dunlop 1953; R Gourlay and A Rurner 1977; W Dodd 1972; J Paterson 1847; J C Carrick 1913; A Mackenzie 1935; NSA 1845 (R Auld and A Cuthill)

Only the tower remains of this church, though the west gable of the main building is outlined on its wall. There is no evidence for a Culdee establishment here. A plaque on the garden (or churchyard) wall refers to the parliament meeting noted above.

Visited by OS (JLD) 28 December 1955

No change to the previous information.

Visited by OS (MJF) 30 October 1980


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