The town of AYR

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Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Àir


Approximately 46,000 Plus


Continent: Europe Sovereign State: United Kingdom Country: Scotland Lieutenancy: South Ayrshire

The ancient town of Ayr sits on the West coast of Scotland facing the Isle of Arran. It is about 33 miles from Glasgow.

History of Ayr


Ayr dates back to around the 1100's as a village and became The Royal Burgh of Ayr by way of a Royal Charter of William the Lion in 1205. William the Lion (1142-1214) (soon to be King of Scotland) had come to Ayr in the late twelfth century looking for a place to call home. He built 'Ayr Castle' south of the harbour in what today would be the area behind the former Ayr Academy. It is said that it's appearance resembles the castle on Ayr's Royal Seal. William's family inherited the throne over the next one hundred years until the English moved in around 1299. Up and coming Robert I (1274-1329) (aka Robert the Bruce) burned down the castle but the English rebuilt it and occupied it until 1306 when Robert I became the King of Scotland.

Fast forward to about 1650. With the castle in ruins the English came back to Ayr under the leadership of General Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). He built a very large citadel (fort) on the same site as the castle which today would be the area bounded by Arran Terrace, Ailsa Place, Charlotte Street, Fort Street, Bruce Crescent, Citadel Place, Mongomerie Terrace, and South Harbour Street, with Eglinton Terrace as its centre point. The citadel had six corners and was designed by Hans Ewald Tessin who was a Swedish military architect that came to Scotland to work for the English army during the Scottish occupation. From South Harbour Street next to today's Citadel Leisure Centre one can still see the last part of the forts walls which was constructed with a 5 foot thick rubble wall (misc stones) and a 1 foot exterior wall of red sandstone brought from Ardrossan Castle, which originally came from the Isle of Arran. We'll come back to this wall a little later in the story for an interesting fact. In this same general area at the intersection of Bruce Place and Citadel Place one can see the remains of The Church of St. John the Baptist. It was built likely in the 1200's as a Norman style cruciform church. It sat inside the planned area of Cromwell's fort so it was abandoned when the (new) Auld Church of St. John the Baptist was completed in 1655. All that is left now is a tower which is referred to as St. John's Tower.

In the old days Ayr was a closed off town surrounded by a stone dyke. There were about 5 entry points around the dykes perimeter with the main entrance from the North to South over the River Ayr on the 'Auld Brig' (originally dating to the early 1200's, but rebuilt several times after). The visitor would cross the brig and come up to an area called 'BridgeGate' (now Old Bridge Street). At this point the visitor would be stopped at what was known as the 'Laigh Tolbooth' which was not just a guard collecting tolls but was an actual building which was used as a prison. It is said that Sir William Wallace (1270-1305) could not or would not pay the toll and was confined to the prison for some period of time.

Once having paid the toll one is now on what is High Street today. This area was known as 'Fish Cross' where vendors would come to sell their fish, as well as vegetables. Close to here on the other side of the street at the start of NewMarket Street is where one can see a statue of Sir William Wallace above the first shop. Heading east (uptown on High Street, across from the bus stop) one will find a small lane known as Kirkport with an arched entry know as 'Lych Gate' which leads to the newer Church of St. John the Baptist other wise known as the 'Auld Kirk' (c. 1655) which sits on the former site of Grey Friars' Monastery (c.1472). Today the kirkyard is a quiet place to reflect on those former days. The inside of the church is well worth a visit too.

Next up High Street is the 113 foot high Wallace Tower (c. originally built in the 17th century). The current tower dates to the mid 1800's. It's a subject for discussion as to whether the statue on the tower is Sir William Wallace or not. Close by is the Tam O' Shanter Inn (c. early 1700's) (which serves great fish and chips today). Again up the road just a little there is a large mall for shopping at the end of High Street where Kyle Street and Alloway Street split. Today, High Street remains the main shopping area in Ayr. For those that like to walk, travel south a little farther out and you will come to Burn's Statue Square which proudly displays its namesake Robert Burn (1759-1796), the national poet of Scotland . The statue sits just across from Ayr Station and the Station Hotel (c.1886). One can travel from Ayr Station to Glasgow Central on clean and efficient trains in about 45 minutes. The privately owned hotels future is debatable at this point due to its deteriorating condition.

Back north into town by way of the High Street the visitor will end up at Sandgate and the 'New Brig' which dates to the late 1700's. At the New Brig turn left onto South Harbour Street and one block up will be Fort Street whereby one can see the former Ayr Academy (c. 1233) building where such notables as Robert Burns (poet), James Watt (Inventor), John Murdoch (teacher to Robert Burns), and the two sons of William Murdoch (inventor) whom both matriculated. The building was turned into Ayr Grammar School in 2020 upon relocation of a new academy just outside the area. Along South Harbour Street one will find remaining portion of the fort wall. The interesting fact is the photogenic lookout point built at the corner of the wall. Around the mid 1800's a wealthy gunsmith named 'Baron' John Miller (maybe Millar) returned from India and bought the citadel property. He added the tower which is known today as 'Miller's Folly'.

Across and down is the south quay where in the late 19th century and early 20th century great ships like the P.S. Juno, Glen Sannox, and T.S. Duchess of Hamilton would load and unload passengers. Today that honour goes to the P.S. Waverly which is the last ocean going paddle wheel steamer in the world. It makes scheduled runs up and down the coast as well as to the Isle of Arran during the summer months July through September.

A little further west brings one to the 'Ayr Shore' where holidaymakers and locals have enjoyed it's mile long sand for centuries. From the low green one can see the 'Heads of Ayr' , the Isle of Arran, and Ailsa Craig (aka Paddy's Milestone). The low green is a perfect way to end the day with a picnic or enjoying a summer concert while watching the sunset to the west.



Auld Brig c. 1230

Located between River Street (North) and High Street (South)

The original Auld Brig was made of wooden timbers around 1230. It was rebuilt in 1588 and restored between 1907 and 1910 for the sum of 10,000 British Pounds. It remains today as a foot bridge between Newton-On-Ayr and Ayr's High Street.

Auld Kirk c. 1200's, St. John the Baptist and St. Johns Tower

Located at Bruce Crescent and Citadel Place

This was the site of the original wooden Kirk of St. John the Baptist. In 1560 the Reformation made catholic worship illegal in Scotland which lead to St. John's being used as a Protestant kirk. A stone tower was built (c. 1300's) which survived through the centuries. In 1854 John Miller (See Notable People heading) purchased the tower and the land. In1914 it was purchased by the Marquess of Bute. In 1949 the Ayr Town Council acquired the tower and has retained it on site. The surrounding graveyard has the grave of Elizabeth Knox, daughter of John Knox and wife of minister John Welsh. Legend also has it that there is also the grave of Maggie Osborne, the local witch (See Notable People heading).

Auld Kirk c.1655 (aka The (New) Auld Kirk of St. John The Baptist)

Located through The Kirkport at #112-116 High Street

This Kirk was built Cruciform (shape of a cross in plan view) as a replacement for the original St John the Baptist Kirk off Bruce Crescent and Eglinton Place which was displaced by Cromwell's Citadel. The (new) Kirk was built on land formerly occupied by Francisca Friars around 1560 (aka Grey Friars Monastery. Cost to build was 20,827 British Pounds (1,733 Pounds Sterling). Cromwell did pledge 1,000 Merks (Silver Coins) towards the new Kirk.

The Kirk was restored in 1836 by architect David Bryce (1803-1876).

Ayr Academy c.,1796 (now Grammar School of Ayr)

Location: Fort Street, Ayr

Originally the town's 'Grammar Schule of Air' was present in the area of #4 Sandgate and dates back to 1233. In 1502 it became the 'Burgh Schule' and later back to 'Grammar Schule'. In 1796 a shift of the way schools were defined and in pursuit of a higher level of matriculation, the Grammar Schule became Ayr Academy. In 1800 a new building was completed on Fort street. This site became the new home of Ayr Academy. That building was torn down and rebuilt in 1880. Three stone head sculptures were placed above the Rectors office, these being David Wilkie (Painter), James Watt (Engineer), and Robert Burns (Poet), all of which represent the fields of Art, Science, and Literature. Ayr Academy vacated this building in 2018 when a new academy was built on the Craigie Estate to the Northeast, and the building on Fort street became once again the (new) Grammar School of Ayr in 2020.

Ayr Lighthouse c.1841

Location: Esplanade end

Designed by Robert Paton.

Ayr Pavilion c.1911

Location: Low green across from the beach (now 'Pirate Pete's), Ayr

This building now 'Pirate Pete's, an entertainment venue. Nicknames include 'The Piv' and 'The White Elephant by the Sea'. The front balusters came from the first new brig when it was demolished.

Bust of Sir William Wallace c.1810

Location: Newmarket Street, Ayr

A bust of Sir William sits above the first store front. Local merchant Henry Cowan paid his own money to have the statue made.

Burn's Statue Square c.1891

Location: Killnoch Street and the A70, Ayr

The green space proudly displays a statue of Scotland's National Poet Robert Burns. Affectionately named 'Rabbie Burns' he is facing South towards his birthplace of Alloway. Ornate ironwork that used to surround the square was removed during WWII for the war effort. A statue of a solder is also located here as a memorial to the Royal Scots Fusiliers who died in various campaigns from 1877-1902. Most died from diseases rather than battle.

Fish Cross c.1539

Location: 45-45 High Street, Ayr

While no longer visible, the location on High Street does have a plaque on the wall denoting its location. There is also a statue of a fisherman by Malcolm Robertson nearby which symbolizes the market town location where local folk sold their fish and vegetables.

Loudoun Hall c.1513

Located at Fort Street and South Harbour Street

It's the oldest building currently in Ayr and was built by James Tait. It served as residence to the many Sheriffs of Ayr through the years. in 1539 it was sold to Sir Hugh Campbell who was Sheriff at that time. Sir Hugh died without a male heir (women could not be Sheriff) and the hall was sold to the Crown for 14,000 Merks (silver coins). In 1632 the hall was sold to James Chalmers. It continued to have many owners until 1938 when it was bought by Rev. Archibald MacKenzie who conveyed it to the Marques of Bute. The Marques restored it and his son Lord David Stuart presented it to the Saltire Society.

Originally Loudoun Hall had three bedrooms and vaulted ceilings on the ground floor, the main hall on the second floor, and attic space on the third. The wall were three feet thick which provided good insulation in both winter and summer. A wing had been added in 1534 by the Campbell's which was demolished sometime after WWII. The hall itself had no running water in the old days, only an outside well. The balcony's were used to discard the rubbish and also used as a toilet.

Millers Folly c.1800's

Located on part of the citadel wall which can still be seen today along South Harbour Street.

The citadel wall had one remaining bastion on it when Baron John Miller bought the citadel property. He proceeded to add an extension which was not a true configuration of the late sixteen century. This is known as 'Miller's Folly' today.

New Brig (original bridge) c. 1788, (second bridge) c.1878

Located on New Bridge Street between River Street (North) and High Street (South)

The original New Brig was built in 1788 by Alexander Stevens to a design by Robert Adam. It was demolished and rebuilt in red sandstone in 1878. Today it serves car and foot traffic from Newton-On-Ayr on the north side of the River Ayr to the town of Ayr on the south side.

St. John's Tower c.1500's[5]

Location: 6 Eglinton Terrace, Ayr, Scotland

The tower was originally part of the Auld Kirk of Ayr (aka St. John the Baptist). It was all taken over by Oliver Cromwell when he built his citadel nearby in 1562. The fort garrison divided up the church building for use as a chapel, a mill house and a storehouse, and the tower was used as an armoury and look-out. After the Scots were back in power the citadel was dismantled and the land given was gifted by the crown to the 7th Earl of Eglinton. John Miller returned to Ayr in 1852 and bought the property of the former citadel and the Barony of Montgomerieston that went with it. By now the Kirk was gone but the tower remained. Miller made Gothic changes to it from plans by local architect John Murdoch and called it 'Fort Castle'. After Milller's death the 4th Marquess of Bute bought up the property for 2,700 British Pounds and restored it to its former glory to plans by James Kennedy Hunter(1863-1929). The 5th Marquess of Bute gifted it to the town of Ayr in 1949, and it is now in the care of South Ayrshire Council.

Tam-O-Shanter Inn c.1748

Located at 236 High Street

The 'Tam' as it's referred to was first owned by James Schearer until about 1849. The property was purchased by the Magistrates and Councilers of Ayr who passed it on to the Incorporation of Weavers Society (1850-1893). Then possession went to the 'Queen's and Lord Treasuers Remembrance', and then sold to Andrew Muir, a local brewer. The property passed through many more hands throughout the years. In 1955 it became a museum. Today's it a well know restaurant and pub for both locals and visitors alike.

Town Hall and Spire c.1830

Located at Sandgate and High Street.

It stands 225 feet high and was design by Thomas Hamilton. The building also houses the town hall which accommodate about 600 people for meetings.

Wallace Tower (c. Unknown for original tower) (C. 1834 current tower).

Located at 172 High Street.

The original tower was purchased in 1673 by the Ayr Town Council from Burgess Adam Richie. A bell and clock were added in 1731 in a new belfry. In 1832 a restoration started taking place by adding a stone facing. Without a proper foundation the original building could not stand the weight and started to sink. It was demolished and a new tower build built in 1834.

The (current) tower stands 113 feet high. The inset statue is said to be by self taught sculptor James Thom. Two bells are in the tower. The larger one (c.1731) is from the original tower. It was made in France. The smaller bell (c.1834) was likely the bell from the 'Laigh Tolbooth'.

Wellington Square

Located at Wellington Square and Fort Street the 'Squares actually rectangular. It's a green space in front of the Court and County Building and named after the victor of Waterloo, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. There are various memorials in the square honoring: 13th Earl of Eglinton (aka Archibald William Montgomerie (1812-1861)), Brigadier-General James Neill (1810-1857), Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran (1904-1973) Journalist and Historian, Sir Goscombe John (1910-XXXX) Postmaster General, John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836) Inventor of 'Tar McAdam' for road surfacing, and Primrose William Kennedy of Drumellan (1799-1863) Ayr Provost in 1855-1861.

The government building formerly held a prison (on the South end facing the ocean) and was known as "The Cottage by the Sea' by prisoners. The prison portion was demolished in the early 1900's in favour of more government office space. FYI - The prisoners used to provide carpet cleaning services to the local residents. Strangely enough the residents were sad to see them go.

Notable People

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Robert Adam (1728-1792) Architect and Designer, FRSE FRS FSAScot FSA FRSA

Born: Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland

Died: At home, 11 Albermarle Street, London, England

Resting Place: Westminster Abbey

Bio Summary: Robert was the 'Neoclassical' designer and builder of the first New Brig of Ayr in 1750-1799. He was also the key architect in the rebuilding of Culzean Castle for the 10th earl of Cassillis starting in 1777. He not only designed the building structures, he also designed interior rooms, carpet, girandoles, tables and chairs, urns, torcheres, mirrors, and candle sconces as well. He also did some design and building for the 9th earl of Cassilis starting in 1771 as well.

Parents: William Adam (1689-1748) and Mary Robertson (1699-1791)

Siblings: Jenny Adam (1717-XXXX), Mary Adam (1720-1720), John Adam (1721-1792), Helen Adam (1723-XXXX), Margaret Peggy Adam (1725-1820), Elizabeth Adam (1729-1796), Janet Adam (1730-XXXX), James Adam (1732-1794), Mary Adam (1734-1799), Margaret Adam (1734-XXXX), Helen Adam (1735-XXXX), Susannah Adam (1738-XXXX), William Adam (1738-1821).

Spouse: Never married

Children: None

For more information see WikiTree Profile Adam-1127

Robert I (aka Robert The (Brus) Bruce) (1274-1329), King of Scotland

Born: Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Manor of Cardross, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Dunfermline Abbey (Body); Melrose Abbey (Heart); St Serf's Church, Dumbarton (Embalmed Viscera)

Bio Summary: Resistance fighter in Ayr, and First King of Scots.

Parents: Robert Bruce (1243-1304) Earl of Carrick and Marjorie Carrick (1252-1292) Countess of Carrick. FYI: It is said the the Countess was so taken by her future husband that she kidnapped him and held him in the castle until he agreed to marry her. They were wed in 1271.

Siblings: Maud Brus (1272-1326), Isabel Brus (1272-1358), Christian Brus (1273-1356), Mary Brucs(1275-1323), Edward Brus (1276-1318), Margaret Brus (1276-1325), Neil Brus (1279-1306), Alexander Brus (1782-1307), Thomas Brus (1284-1307).

Spouse Number 1: Isabella of Mar (1277-1296)

Children: Marjorie Bruce (1297-1316)

Spouse Number 2: Elizabeth de Burgh (1284-1327)

Children: David Bruce (aka David II of Scotland) (1324-1371), Margaret Bruce (1315-1346), John Bruce (1324-XXXX).

For more information see WikiTree Bruce-129

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) General, English Army

Born: Huntingdon, England

Died: Palace of Whitehall, Middlesex, England

Resting Place: Westminster Abbey, England

Bio Summary: Became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth (England, Scotland, Ireland) in 1653 and secured his governance in Scotland by building a large citadel (fort) in Ayr.

Parents: Robert Cromwell (1565-1617) and Elizabeth Steward (1565-1664)

Siblings: Elizabeth Cromwell (1593-1672), Henry Cromwell (1595-1600), Catherine Henrietta Cromwell (1596-166660), Margaret Cromwell (1601-1646), Jane Cromwell (1606-1656), Robert Cromwell (1608-1609), Robina Cromwell (1610-1660).

Spouse: Elisabeth Bourchier (1598-1665) Married 1620

Children: Robert Cromwell (16621-1639), Oliver Cromwell (1622-1644), Bridget Cromwell (1624-1662), Richard Cromwell (1626-1712), Henry Cromwell (1628-1674), Elizabeth Claypole Cromwell (1629-1658), James Cromwell (1632-1632), Mary Cromwell (1637-1713), Frances Cromwell (1638-1720).

For more information see WikiTree Profile Cromwell-39

John Knox (1514-1572) Reformation Leader and Minister

Born: Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

Died: Edinburgh, Scotland

Bio Summary: Minister of the gospel who preached several times at the original St John's Kirk in Ayr around 1547.

Parents: William Knox (1486-1513) and ???? Sinclair (XXXX-XXXX)

Siblings: William Knox (1504-abt.1550)

Spouse Number 1: Marjorie Bowes 1533-1560)

Children: Nathaniel (Knox 1557-1580), Eleazer Knox (1558-1591)

Spouse Number 2: Margaret Stewart (1547-1612), Married 1564 She was only 17 at time of marriage.

Children: Martha Knox (1565–1592), Margaret Knox (1567-XXXX), Elizabeth Knox (1570- 1622

John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836) Civil Engineer and Road Builder

Born: #22 Sandgate, Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Moffat Cemetary, Moffat, Scotland

Bio Summary: John was the inventor of 'macadamisation' which used tar to eventually surface roads around the world. The process also had to do with the base material used and the camber of the roadway. At age 14 he spent time in New York with his uncle from 1770-1783 before returning to Ayr.

Today all over the world roads can be attributed to his works and invention.

Parents: James McAdam (1718-1770) Baron of Waterhead and Susannah Cochrane (1717-1775)

Siblings: Jacobina McAdam (1736-1743), Margaret McAdam (1741-XXXX), Jacobina McAdam (1743-XXXX), James McAdam (1746-1767), Grizelda McAdam (1750-1794), Elizabeth McAdam (1752-1798), Katherine McAdam (1754-XXXX), Wilhelmina McAdam (1755-1829), Sarah McAdam (1759-1798)

Spouse Number 1: Gloria Margaretta Nicoll (1759-1825)

Children: Anne McAdam (1779-1841), William McAdam (1781-1836), James McAdam (1784-1786), James Nicoll McAdam (1786-1852), Glorianna McAdam (1789-1868), John Loudon McAdam (1792-1857)

Spouse Number 2: Anne Charlotte Delancey (1786-1862) Married 1827.

Children: None

For more information see also WikiTree Profile McAdam-204

Baron John Watson Miller (19/11/1820-1910) Wealthy gun merchant

Born: Unknown Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Resting Place: (Likely St. John's Kirkyard, Ayr adjacent to his home 'Fort Castle').

Bio Summary: John made his fortune in Calcutta India selling weapons. He returned to Ayr in 1852 and in 1860 he bought up a section of land formerly occupied by Cromwell's citadel, and the Barony of Montgomeriestoun that went with it from the 13th Earl of Eglinton. He then converted the Tower of St John’s into a Gothic-style residence.

See also 'Miller's Folly' and St. John's Tower under Landmarks heading above.

Parents: David Millar (abt. 1790-XXXX) and Marion Watson (1788-XXXX) Married 1815

Siblings: Hugh Miller (1815-1875), David Miller (1816-XXXX), James Leggat Miller (1818-XXXX), Agnes Miller (1825-XXXX), Susanah Miller (1828-XXXX), William Miller (1829-XXXX) Note: last name could also be Millar as from the father.

Spouse: None

Children: None

For more information see WikiTree Profile Miller-97162

John Murdoch (1747-1824) Teacher

Born: Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Lisson Grove, North West London, England

Resting Place: St Andrew's Gardens Burial Grounds at Greys Inn Road, London, England

Bio Summary: John attended Ayr Academy and was a tutor to Robert Burns and his brother Gabriel. Moved to England where he taught French. Died penniless in London.

Parents: John Murdoch (1718-XXXX) and Margaret Robinson (1709-1781) Married 1744

Siblings: Marrion Murdoch (1744-1745)

Spouse: Jacobina Aiken (1745-XXXX) Married 1772

Children: Unknown

John Murdoch Esq., CE. (1825-1907) Architect/Builder, Ayr

Born: Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Resting Place: Unknown, Likely in Ayr Old Kirkyard

Bio Summary: Educated at Ayr Academy, and became a member of the Institute of Architects and was practicing in Ayr by 1868. He designed and or modified 66 structures during his lifetime which were homes, commercial, and or government buildings.

Parents: James Murdoch (1783-1824) and Elisabeth Hendrie (1781-1860)

Siblings: Elizabeth Murdoch (1812-1845), James Murdoch (1813-XXXX), Catharine Murdoch (1815-XXXX), George Hendrie Murdoch (1817-XXXX), James Hendrie Murdoch (1820-XXXX), Alexander Murdoch (1823-XXXX), Jane Murdoch (1827-XXXX)

Spouse: Harriet Helen Hendrie (1835-1891) Married 1854

Children: Francis James Murdoch (1855-XXXX), John Murdoch (1857-XXXX), Lucy Murdoch (1859-1923), George Alexander Murdoch (1861-XXXX), Harriet Ellen Murdoch (1861-XXXX), Harriet H Murdoch (1862-XXXX), Jane Stewart Murdoch (1862-XXXX), Eliza Eveline Murdoch (1865-XXXX), William Henry Fullarton Murdoch (1870-XXXX), Catherine Georgina Murdoch (1872-XXXX).

For more information see WikiTree Profile Murdoch-1934

Maggie Osborne (XXXX-XXXX) Witch

Born: Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Died: Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Resting Place: St John Kirkyard, at St. John's Tower

Bio Summary: Born to a wealthy merchant Maggie resided in a house at 76-78 High Street (now Marks and Spencer) and said to hold special powers. She was found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to be burned at the Malt Cross. Truth or Fiction????

Parents: Unknown

Siblings: Unknown

Spouse: Unknown

Children: Unknown

William John Macquorn Rankine FRSE FRS (1820-1872) Engineer

Born: Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Died: 8 Albion Crescent, Dowanhill, Glasgow, Scotland

Resting Place: Sighthill Cemetery, Glasgow

Bio Summary: Attended Ayr Academy and went on to co-found the subject of Thermodynamics. He was appointed to the Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at Glasgow University in 1855. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The The Rankine absolute Fahrenheit scale is named in his honour, and a member Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame (2013). He held the rank of Senior Major in the reservist Scottish Rifle Volunteers.

Parents: David Rankine (1794-1870) and Barbara Grahame (1800-1871)

Siblings: David (1829-XXXX)

Spouse: Never Married

Children: None

For more information see WikiTree Profile Rankine-187

Sir John Ross (1777-1851), Navel Commander, Polar Explorer

Born: Balsarroch, Wigtownshire, Scotland

Died: London, England

Resting Place: Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England

Bio Summary: Educated at Ayr Academy. Went to sea at an early age and became a commander in the Royal Navy. Upon returning to Ayr he had his ship, the 'Felix' Built by Sloan and Gemmel Shipbuilders in the North Harbour of the Port of Ayr. At age seventy three he embarked on an Arctic exploration. He was knighted in 1834.

Parents: Rev. Andrew Ross (XXXX-XXXX) and Elizabeth Corsane (XXXX-XXXX)

Siblings: Unknown

Spouse Number 1: Christian Adair (XXXX-1822) Married 1816

Children: Unknown

Spouse Number 2: Mary Jones (XXXX-1856) Married 1834

Children: Unknown

James Smith (1763-1848) Botanist

Born: Ochiltree, Scotland

Died: Unknown

Resting Place: Ayr Auld Kirkyard

Bio Summary: Father of Scottish Botany. Created a botanical wonderland at Monkwood Grove.

Parents: Unknown

Siblings: Unknown

Spouse: Unknown

Children: Margaret Smith (XXXX-XXXX)

James Tait (XXXX-1528) Ayr, Shipping merchant

Born: Unknown

Died: Unknown

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: Built Loudon Hall in 1513. Went on to be a Burgess of Ayr.

Parents: Thomas Tait (XXXX-XXXX)


Spouse: Janet Clerk (XXXX-1536)

Children: Charles Tait (XXXX-XXXX), John Tait (XXXX-XXXX)

Hans Ewald Tessin (aka Eduart Tessine , Scottish given name) (XXXX-XXXX) Military Architect

Born: Sweden, or Holland

Died: Unknown

Resting Place: Unknown

Bio Summary: Hans came from Sweden to Scotland in 1650 and became a Freemason. Then turned his back on Scotland an went to work for the English and designed Cromwell's Citadel in Ayr. He was later named a Burgess in Edinburgh in the mid 1600's.

Parents: Unknown

Siblings: Unknown

Spouse: Unknown

Children: Unknown

William 'Braveheart' Wallace (1272-1305) Freedom Fighter

Born: Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Died: London, Smithfield, England

Resting Place: London, England

Bio Summary: Freedom fighter, Sir William died a terrible death in London England after a horrible torture by the English.

Parents: Malcolm Alan Wallace (1250-1291) and Margaret Craufurd (1251-1273)

Siblings: Malcom Wallace II (1268-1305), Unknown Wallace (1270-XXXX), John Wallace (1272-1307)

Spouse: Never Married but reportadly mate of Marion Braidfute (1276-abt 1297)

Children: Elizabeth Wallace (XXXX-XXXX)

See also WikiTree profile Wallace-182

James Watt (1736-1819) Engineer, Businessman

Born in Greenock Scotland

Died: Birmingham, England

Resting Place: Handsworth, Birmingham, England

Bio Summary: At age 41 James spent the summer of 1777 in Ayr surveying the harbour. A bust of him is on the wall of the former Ayr Academy representing his contribution to science.

Later in life and his family were implicated in slave trading in UK and abroad with business partner Matthew Boulton.

Parents: james Henry Watt Sr. (1699-1782) and Agnes Muirhead (1703-1753)

Siblings: Robert Watt (1730-1730), Margaret Watt (1732-1732), Thomas Watt (1733-1734), John Watt (1739-1763)

Spouse Number 1: Margaret Miller (XXXX-1773) Married 1764-1773

Children:Margaret Miller (1767-1796) , James Watt Jr (1769-1848)

Spouse Number 2: Ann MacGregor (XXXX-1832) Married 1777-1819

Children: Gregory Watt (1777-1804), Janet Watt (1779-1794)

See also WikiTree profile Watt-1142

John Welsh (1568-1622) Presbyterian Minister

Born: Dunscore, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Died: London, Middlesex , England

Resting Place: St Botolph, Bishopsgate, Greater London, England

Bio Summary: John married Elizabeth Knox, the daughter of famed Reformation leader John Knox. John became the minister of the Auld Kirk. He was sent to prison for his preaching style by King James VI of Scotland and exiled to France in 1606.

Parents: John Welsh (XXXX-XXXX) Laird of Collieston and Marion (Isobel) Grier (XXXX-XXXX)

Siblings: Cuthbert Welch (1560-1629), Margaret Welsh (1564-XXXX), Helen Welsh (1568-XXXX), David Welsh (1564-1619), Marion Welsh (1566-1600)

Spouse: Elizabeth Knox (1570-1625)

Children: Dr. William Welsh (1595-1633), Rev. Josias Welsh (1598-1634), Nathaniel Welsh (1599-1625), Lucy Welsh (1610-1614), Louise Welch (1613-1625)

See WikiTree Profile Welch-121


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  2. Corbett, R.Y., Historical Guide to Ayr, Prestwick, and district, 1965
  3. Brash, Ronald W., Round Old Ayr, 1972
  4. Carnegie Library, Ayr
  5. Tait, A.A., The Protectorate Citadels of Scotland, 1965
  6. Love, Dane, Ayrshire - Discovering a County, Fort Publishing 2003
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  14. National Records of Scotland;
  15. Family Search Website;
  16. Christianity Today;
  17. Dictionary of Scottish Architects;
  18. Geni; Geni;
  19. Scotlands People;

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