1197 - King William the Lion had
a wooden Castle built between the River Ayr and River
Doon, by the Beach. This area is now the vast Low
Green, next to Ayr Beach, one of the busiest Beaches
in Scotland. Large Image
The Town of Ayr grew around the Castle and
Harbour, through Fishing, Farming and Trading.
1100s late - St Johns Church was built, dedicated
to St. John the Baptist, Patron Saint of Ayr, one of
the largest Churches in Scotland at the time.
The Tower seen right was
added in the late 1300s, all that remains from the
Church complex. Tennis Courts are now on some of the
Church ground, next to the Tower. The Tower can be
found a short walk north of where the Court Building
is at Wellington Square. Large Image
1205 - King William the Lion made Ayr a Royal
Burgh and Market Town.
1200s early - Newton Castle was built for Clan
Wallace on the north side of Ayr, this Castle fell
into ruin in the 1700s, little is left today. The
Wallace Families around Ayr were probably related to
the famous William Wallace from the late 1200s.
1230 - a Monastery of the Dominican (Black) Friars
was built by the River Ayr, next to where the High
Street is today, nothing is left of that
1250 - a Timber Bridge was built across the River
Ayr close to Black Friars. People used to cross at a
Ford before this Bridge, with some said to have died
making the crossing.
1263 - a Viking attack on Ayr was fought
1296 to 1312 - Ayr was occupied by English forces
during the First War of Scottish
Independence, a time Scotland had no King, with a
number of Nobles fighting over who should be the next
King. The English used this time to take control of
Scotland. Ayr Castle was destroyed at this time.
1297? - William
Wallace is reported to have been imprisoned by the
English at the Laigh Tolbooth in Ayr for a short
time. There is a Wallace Statue on a building on
Newmarket Street, said to be where the Tolbooth was.
Wallace led the Scots to victory over a large
English Army at the Battle of Stirling
Bridge in September 1297. He was later captured by
the English and executed in London in 1305.
1314 - Robert the Bruce took over from William
Wallace as leader of the Scots against the English,
leading the Scots to victory over the English at
Stirling. The Bruce was soon recognized as the King
1315 - Robert the Bruce held Parliament at St
Johns Church in Ayr. The Bruce's descendants were the
Stuart Kings that later ruled Scotland and England.
The Bruce was born at Turnberry Castle, 16 miles south of
1300s - the earliest parts
of Sundrum Castle were built
for Sir Robert Wallace, Sheriff of Ayr, 4 miles east
of Ayr. This Castle was used as a Hotel from the
1930s to 1970s, then converted to Apartments. One of
the Apartments, consisting of the oldest section, can
be booked for Holidays.
There are a number of Castles in Ayrshire
associated with the Wallace's. Wallace's in Ayrshire
1470 - the building of the
Auld Brig begins across the River Ayr, replacing the
Timber Bridge from the 1200s. Many of the Timber
Buildings in Ayr were also re-built in Stone from
this time. Large Image
1513 - Loudoun Hall was
built for James Tait, a wealthy Trader in Ayr. This
building had a number of owners over the years such
as the Sheriff of Ayr, and Provest of Ayr. It is now
the oldest Dwelling House remaining in Ayr. Large Image
Situated at the bottom of the High Street and
bottom of the Sandgate, at a path leading to the
Harbour. Can be visited at times.
Scotland was trading cloth, wool, salt, herring
and coal to England and Europe. Wealth from Trading
was declining at this time, as England controlled
most of the sea routes.
1560 - the Reformation made Catholic Worship
illegal in Scotland, leading to St John's being used
as a Protestant Church.
1603 - Greenan Castle
was built on the south side of Ayr Beach for Clan Kennedy,
relations of the Bruce's and Stuart's, largest land
owners in the area with a number of Castles.
1650 - during the English Civil War, that had spread
into Scotland, as Scotland had a lot to do with the
start of that War, forces of Oliver Cromwell took
control of Ayr, building a large Stone Fort with
walls about 14 feet high.
This Fort covered about 16 acres, between the
Harbour and St Johns Church. The best preserved
sections of the Fort are at the Harbour by the large
indoor Swimming Pool. Large Image
1654 - the Auld Kirk of Ayr
was built on the site of the former Black Friars
Monastery between the High Street and River Ayr, now
a popular attraction. Oliver Cromwell funded the
building of this Church. Large Image
Cromwell died in
1658, leading to King Charles II Stuart returning to
the throne in 1660. Charles II had Cromwell's body
exhumed from Westminster Abbey in 1661 to be
Posthumous Executed by having his body cut into
pieces. Cromwell’s Trunk was thrown in an unmarked
Pit beneath the Gallows at Tynburn in London. His
Head was displayed on a Spike for 28 years.
1707 - the Act of the Union was passed, leading to
England, Scotland and Wales joining as the United
Kingdom. This lead to Great Wealth for much of
Scotland, as they were then free to Trade with
America and the West Indies, with routes from
Scotland to America by Sail Ship being many days
shorter than from English Ports. The top Trade then
was with Tobacco, Cotton, Sugar, and Slaves. Banking
also became big business at that time.
1730s - Craigie House was
built on the north side of the River Ayr, a short
walk east of Ayr centre. This was built for the
Wallace's of Newton Castle, as that Castle had
started to fall apart. Now a nice Riverside Walk
from Ayr to view the House and Gardens. Large Image
1749 - the Tam
O Shanter Inn was built on Ayr High Street, said to
have been a favourite place for Robert Burns the Poet
to drink, and incorporate in his famous Poem of Tam O
Shanter, set in Ayr, Alloway and Kirkoswald. This Inn still serves
drinks and meals. Large Image
1754 - Rozelle House was
built for the Hamilton's on an Estate on the south
side of Ayr. Since 1968, the House and Estate have
been owned by the Council with an Art Gallery, Ponds,
Walks and Kids Play. The Hamilton's were related to
1760 - the Industrial Revolution began with the
United Kingdom one of the top Industrial countries of
the time. Ayr Port transported Coal from the many
Mines in Ayrshire. Ayrshire Coal also powered the
Steal Works that became the top employers in Ayr,
with the last Steel Works such as James Dickie
Forging closing in 1995, and Ayr Stampworks closing
Large Houses built from wealth from Trading with
the US, and later the Industrial Revolution, are
mainly on the south side of Ayr, between Ayr centre
and Seafield Football Fields. Some were converted to
Hotels in the mid 1900s, many others converted to
1771 - the first official Horse Racing takes place
at the Old Racecourse on the
south side of Ayr where Seafield Football Parks are
now, next to Belleisle Estate. These early Races were
normally held for Rich Landowners around
1787 - the Hamilton's of Pinmore
acquired Belleisle Estate on the south side of Ayr,
extending the original House on the land into a grand
Mansion. Since 1926, this Estate has been run by the
Council with 2 Golf Courses, Walks and Kids Play.
1789 - Ayr New Bridge was
completed by Alexander Stevens a few hundred yards
west of the Auld Brig, leading to the Town Hall and
Sandgate. This Bridge was re-built in 1877 after
becoming unsafe due to floods. This is a twin lane
Bridge, built to take the larger carriages of the
time, still used today for cars, buses and trucks.
1822 - Ayr Sheriff Court was built,
with Wellington Square laid out in front of the Court
around the same time. Large Image
The Low Green is next to the Court with the Beach
next to the Low Green. St Johns Tower is about 100
yards to the right of the Court in this image.
1828 - Ayr Town Hall was
built with a 225 ft high Spire where the High Street
and Sandgate meet, the two main Shopping Streets in
Ayr. Large Image
The Town Hall can hold up to 640 people for events
through the year such as Comedy and Music. Events List.
1839 -the Railway reached Ayr with the First
Station at the Harbour, you can see blocks in the
River Ayr by the New Bridge where the Railway Bridge
crossed the River. The new Ayr Railway Station
opened in 1886, at the top end of the High Street,
connecting to Glasgow with stops at Prestwick,
running past a number of top Golf Courses.
The Railway led to Ayr becoming
one of the top Beach Resorts in Scotland, with a
large number of Hotels, B&Bs and Guest Houses. As
well as the vast Beach and Low Green, there are a
number of top Golf Course such as Belleisle, Old
Prestwick, Royal Troon and Turnberry in the area.
Courses. Large Beach Image
Inexpensive Package Holidays to sunny Spain from
the 1970s led to a decline in tourism to Ayr, leading
to a number of Hotels being converted to Apartments
and Old Folks Homes.
Sea Angling was also extremely popular with
Holiday Makers, with a number of Angling Boats
operating out of Ayr, catching up to 5 Mackerel at a
time, and Cod up to 20 pounds. Over fishing by
Trawlers in the Sea off Ayr led to a decline in
catches. The last Sea Angling Boat named Kingfisher,
stopped operating in the early 2000s?
1858 - the Wallace Tower was completed on Ayr
High Street at 60 ft high, the Wallace family Coat of
Arms can be viewed above the entrance. This was built
in honour of William Wallace that fought the English
in the late 1200s. Large Image
1879 - Ayr Football Club was
founded, it merged with Ayr Parkhouse in 1910,
becoming Ayr United. Ally MacLeod was their most
famous Player and Manager who went on to manage
Scotland in 1977, a time Scotland probably had their
best pool of players ever. This Scotland team, packed
with some of the top players in the World, went out
in the first round of the 1978 World Cup in
Argentina, with Ally MacLeod and a few top players
taking most of the blame.
Sir Alex Ferguson CBE, played for Ayr United
between 1973 and 1974.
1907 - the new Ayr Racecourse was built on the north
side of River Ayr, hosting the Scottish Grand
National in April, and Ayr Gold Cup in September.
1946 - Butlins Holiday Camp opened 4 miles south
of Ayr, now named Craig Tara. Sundrum
Castle Holiday Park opened
in the 1980s? 4 miles east of Ayr.
1996 - Ayr Fish Market on the south
side of the River was closed after a new Market was
opened at Troon 8 miles north. This led to a number
of Flats being built along the Harbour and round to
the Beach. Large Image
The Waverley Paddle Steamer,
seen here by the new Flats, began running on pleasure
trips out of Ayr and Glasgow to the Islands of
Craig in 1975. This Steamer was originally built
in 1946 as a Ferry, before being gifted to the Paddle
Steamer Preservation Society in 1974.
2011 - The new University of the West of
Scotland building was completed in Craigie
Estate, a short walk along the Riverside from Ayr
centre. The Mansion House serves as offices for the
University. A nice Riverside Walk. Large Image