Why did your Ancestors settle in Ayr

Old Fort, Ayr

Old Parish Records

OPR's began in Ayr in 1664. Ayr is Parish no 587 in the County of Ayr.

The Name

The Gaelic name is Inbhir Àir (Mouth of the River Ayr) is a town and port situated on the Firth of Clyde.

The Early Years

Oliver Cromwell had a 12-acre (5-hectare) fort around St. John's Church built when he garrisoned Ayr in 1652. In the 16th century Ayr remained a busy port. Wool, fish and hides were exported from Ayr while wine and salt were still imported. The population of Ayr continued to grow. By the middle of the 17th century the population of Ayr was probably more than 2,000 and it continued to grow. By the middle of the 18th century it was probably around 4,000.

The 1700 and 1800s

During the late 17th and 18th centuries the textile industry in Ayr flourished. Both wool and linen were made in Ayr. Meanwhile a shoemaking industry in Ayr also prospered. New Bridge was built in 1788. (It was rebuilt in 1878). Meanwhile Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns, was born in Alloway, 3 miles from Ayr in 1759. The great road builder John McAdam was born in Ayr in 1756.

In the 19th century Ayr developed as a holiday town. It was helped by the railway to Glasgow, which opened in 1840 and which made it easier for tourists to reach Ayr.

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