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- Category: A
- Date Added: 05/02/1971
- Local Authority: South Ayrshire
- Planning Authority: South Ayrshire
- Burgh: Ayr
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NS 3390 2192
- Coordinates: 233900, 621920
Theophilius Rankeine, 1652-4, 1836 alterations by David Bryce (including replacement ceiling, dormers renewed and doubled in number), general renovation 1864, refurnished 1887, addition and alterations 1933, general renovation 1952. Single storey with attic, originally T-plan, now cruciform (S arm addition) gabled church with gothic detailing. Sandstone rubble; stugged, squared and snecked sandstone to S arm. Cornice; finials; roll-moulded pointed arch openings.
NORTH ARM. N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: central roll-moulded square-headed entrance; 2-leaf timber door; lantern above relieving arch; pair of leaded lights flanking; cusped tracery window to gablehead; narrow louvred window above. W ELEVATION: 2 pairs of leaded lights to left; tracery window to right. 2 gabled dormers at attic; tracery windows. Memorial stones to wall. E ELEVATION: reverse of North Arm, W elevation. Memorial to the Rev William Adair at centre.
WEST ARM. W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: as for North Arm, N elevation. Stained glass to pair of lights to left. N ELEVATION: 2 pairs of leaded lights at centre. 2 gabled dormers at attic; tracery windows. Memorial stone to wall. S ELEVATION: as for North Arm, W elevation. Timber door to outer left.
SOUTH ARM. S ELEVATION: single tracery window to gablehead; splayed transom. E ELEVATION: 3 square-headed leaded windows. W ELEVATION: timber door to left; letterbox fanlight; recessed panel above; flanking square-headed leaded windows.
EAST ARM. E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: as for North Arm, N elevation. Single leaded window only to left; stained glass to windows to right; no cusping to tracery of gable window. N ELEVATION: 2 dormers at attic. Infilled single window right of centre. Memorial stones to wall. S ELEVATION: as for N arm, E elevation. Stained glass to lower pair of windows.
Leaded and stained glass windows. Grey slate roof; stone skews; skewputts (to N elevation dated 1654).
INTERIOR: T-plan. Timber roof, pews, (box pew to E) and church furniture (predominantly late 19th century), bow-fronted panelled pulpit with sounding board (rebuilt). 3 galleries on turned timber columns; colonnettes to arcaded, panelled fronts; pendants to arches; niche frieze; Trades' Gallery to W; Merchant's Gallery to N; Sailor's Gallery to E (model of the ship 'Arethusa' hangs from ceiling). Fragment of original pulpit, removed 1887, restored 1952.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such (see separate list descriptions for gateway and graveyard including boundary walls and lamp standard). In 1652, Oliver Cromwell established a fortress in Ayr. This strategic defence commanded Ayr harbour and shore line. Unfortunately for the citizens of Ayr, the citadel walls enclosed the mediaeval church of St John the Baptist, the only place of worship in the burgh of Ayr, now seized for use as a military barracks. Under Cromwell, Colonel Alured donated 1,000 Merks from Commonwealth funds towards a new church, and this document can be seen displayed in the church interior. The new Parish Church was built in the heart of Ayr, on the site of the monastery, chapel and gardens occupied by the Franciscan Order from 1474 until 1560, which had not been redeveloped. Of note within the church and a common feature of the post-Reformation period, but with many now sadly destroyed, is the black and gold Benefaction Board, renewed circa 1792 recording the gift in 1708 of ?100 for the poor of the parish from an Alderman Smithe of Londonderry. Within the interior, there also existed a small semi-circular Magistrates' Gallery, between the
Sailor's and the Merchants' Galleries. That, and an exterior stair to the E arm, N elevation, leading to this Gallery have now been destroyed.
SRO RHP 2553 Armstrong's Plan of the town of Ayr, 1775 (evident); Plans and sections to David Bryce's proposed alterations to Church at Ayr, 1836 (SRO RHP 2567, 8 parts); F H Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1892, 2nd edition), p98; Rev. Archibald MacKenzie WILLIAM ADAIR AND HIS KIRK: THE AULD KIRK OF AYR 1639-1684; THE THIRD STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND: AYRSHIRE (1951), p533; Hugh Bone THE BOOK OF THE AULD KIRK OF AYR (ST JOHN THE BAPTIST) 1654-1954); George Hay THE ARCHITECTURE OF POST-REFORMATION CHURCHES 1560-1843 (1957), pp28, 55, 217, 221, 248; AYR, PRESTWICK AND DISTRICT HISTORICAL GUIDE (1967), pp3-4; Ronald Brash and Allan Leach ROUND OLD AYR (1972), (unmarked pages); Robert Gourlay & Anne Turner HISTORIC AYR: THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF DEVELOPMENT (1977), pp9-10; W J Lindsay DIGGING UP AULD AYR (1985); John Strawhorn and Ken Andrew (1988), p105; Rob Close AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN (1992), p15; R & J Kennedy OLD AYR (1992) p3; THE AULD KIRK OF AYR (ST JOHN THE BAPTIST) (1993); Dane Love PICTORIAL HISTORY OF AYR (1995), pp9, 11, 13, 14, 31; NMRS Photographic Archive (B61094/CN).
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