Latest update 24-February-2021
Amendment to the Publications For Sale Page.


There’s a wealth of information on this website about Ayrshire available to download as well as details of our talks and presentations, publications for sale and useful links.

For late news see our Facebook Page click the link

Do Join Us
Consider making a donation
See the How to Join/Donate page

Benefits of membership include free copies of our publications as well as access to a range of social events and summer excursions. We are a registered charity, run by volunteers, and rely on membership and donations for financial support. Even if you are not yet a member you can still benefit from the resources available on this website, and also join us for our talks currently on Zoom. Please consider giving a donation to help us continue to promote the history and natural history of Ayrshire. People living here and abroad gain valuable information about this historic county. Please send a donation to our Treasurer at the address on our How To Join page. Thank you!

Our latest publication:
Ayrshire Castles from Kings to Covenanters

From the British Association for Local History (BALH) blog:

Click the BALH link on our Links Page

We have added some early archives:

You will find some of our articles dating from the 19th century on our Archaeological and Historical Collections and Muniments of Irvine pages.

From Prestwick Rotary Club:

Prestwick Rotary Club have asked us to help them publicise the project described below, and are particularly keen for us to help identify old photographs of Prestwick which they can use.

Prestwick Rotary Club have been awarded money by South Ayrshire Council for a community project in Prestwick.  Their aim is to gather at least 50 old photographs of Prestwick, Symington and Monkton, showing views and activities in past times. They already have a number of these within their membership. The photographs will be reprinted professionally, numbered and upscaled to a size of at least 15 inches by 12 inches. Then they will be distributed and displayed in shop windows throughout the locality, with a note inviting viewers to send comments, memories and family stories based on the pictures. Letters, emails, phone calls and notes dropped at the Post Offices are invited from all ages, but they expect a greater response from many of the more elderly residents.

At the end of the project, the photographs will be brought to a central location in Prestwick, together with the responses. All the pictures, and their stories, will be displayed for public viewing. This second phase of the project will be funded and marshalled by Prestwick Rotarians. Again the public viewing the exhibition will be invited to tell their personal family stories. The aim is to encourage folk to connect personally with the town and district, giving us anecdotes and memories which might otherwise be lost. Looking at the pictures will strengthen a sense of identity with the town, which could well be uplifting for elderly people, and others feeling socially isolated, through what will undoubtedly be a difficult winter period. People living with dementia will benefit from graphic reminders of past times and the opportunities to reminisce. Children will find ‘horse and cart’ Prestwick amusing and interesting.

The distribution of photographs throughout the town and district will help to bond local shops and other businesses, as part of a message to shop and commission locally. We would also make the photographs available for care homes and individuals to use for reminiscence therapy.

If you can help, either contact AANHS, or Mike Kelly at Prestwick Rotary directly, at mkelly.builddesign@btinternet.com

See details of these and other maps in our online articles.


Download this history of the famous Ayr inn with its delightful pictures:

The Society has over 170 members, mainly resident in Ayrshire but there are many members throughout Britain and the world. The membership also includes library and university bodies. The Society is one of the few which publishes regularly. At least one Monograph is usually issued each year, free to members, and on sale to the general public.
Meetings are held during the winter months in the Town Hall, Sandgate, Ayr. Members of the public are freely welcome to attend these meetings to see if they would like to become a member. In the summer months, trips are organised to various places of interest.

 These are some of our online monographs …

Aims of the Society:  to …

  • promote interest in archaeology, history, natural history with particular reference to Ayrshire
  • encourage the study of these subjects and stimulate research
  • promote the conservation of the heritage of Ayrshire
  • publish regularly material relevant to the Society’s objectives
  • co-operate with appropriate organisations

The Society is affiliated to the following organisations:

  • Ayrshire Federation of Historical Societies
  • Council for Scottish Archaeology
  • British Association for Local History
  • Ayr Arts Guild

Accounts: please click this link

2020 Accounts

History of the Society

The society’s origins go back to 1877. The AANHS was founded in 1947 to promote the study of Ayrshire history and natural history.

For the history of the society prior to the founding of the AANHS see AANHS Collections 1947-1949 Second Series Volume 1.

At the instigation of R W Cochran-Patrick of Woodside, a meeting was held in the County Buildings, Ayr on 19th October 1877 to consider the formation of an Archaeological Society for the counties of Ayr and Wigtown. This was the inception of the Ayrshire and Wigtownshire Archaeological Association. The AWAA published descriptions, illustrated with plans or drawings of various prehistoric and mediaeval remains in the counties of Ayr and Wigtown; printed early charters, manuscripts, historical documents, ecclesiastical, municipal and parochial records and other material relating to the history, antiquities, topography and genealogy of the district. The first volume appeared in 1878. In 1885 the title of the society was changed to the Ayrshire and Galloway Archaeological Association to extend its scope to Kirkcudbright. This Association was wound up in 1897 at the 14th general meeting. In all, the Association published 18 volumes, including 2 at R Vans Agnew’s expense on Sir Patrick Waus.