Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
South Ayrshire
Planning Authority
South Ayrshire
NS 3390 2192
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).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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