History of the Church

The story of Alloway Parish Church begins in the thirteenth century. The first hint of its existence is the charter by King Alexander II of Scotland, dated 20th April 1236 by which  he conveyed in feu-ferme to his burgesses of Ayr the lands of Alloway, Corton and Carcluie. these lands came to be recognised as the Parish of Alloway. the exact location of the place of worship at that time is not known, but it is likely to have been on or nearby the site of the now ruined Alloway Kirk which though much altered over the centuries bears traces of earlier foundations.

The parish was annexed to the Auld Kirk of Ayr in 1690, a time of great political and ecclesiastical upheaval. Worship continued in the old building but by the 1740s it was also being used as a school. By 1790 it had fallen into such a ruinous state that it provided a natural setting for Robert Burns to use in his narrative poem “Tam O’ Shanter”, and to describe it as “Alloway’s Auld Haunted Kirk.” Burns had been baptised in 1759 in the cottage just along the road by the Reverend William Dalrymple the minister of the Auld Kirk of Ayr who was also responsible for the Church at Alloway. the poet’s father is buried in the churchyard at Alloway Kirk.

The people of Alloway had been without a place of worship for quite some time when in 1856 they got together to raise a subscription for the building and endowment of a new church. It was opened for worship on the 10th October 1858 and in 1859 the first minister was called to re-establish quoad sacra parish of the Church of Scotland at Alloway. The building originally was rectangular with a North transept only was brought to its present shape by additions in 1878 and 1890. The suite of halls beyond the churchyard was erected in 1965, the session house in 1977 and the octagonal hall in 1987.

As a congregation we owe much to the faithfulness of previous generations in having such buildings as these in which to worship and share our common interests.