Publications Online

These AANHS publications are out of print, but available here in “.pdf” format.
See other pages for much more reference and reading material on the history of Ayrshire.

Click on a link to download.

 1951 CENSUS – a digest by John Strawhorn
Ayrshire 1931 to 1951
Ayrshire Census Digest 1931_1951

ADAM WILSON & SONS
A history of Adam Wilson & Sons, Troon,
Home & Foreign Timber Merchants, founded 1856
AdamWilson&Sons

(THE) ALEXANDER COLLECTION, AYR
The story of an educator’s passion for teaching and educating about the Ayrshire he loved, 1935.
AlexanderCollection.asa.1935

ANCIENT FISH TRAPS ON THE NORTH AYRSHIRE COAST:
Ardrossan to Hunterston
A variety of ingenious methods of capturing fish in tidal waters are in use today around the world. Generally similar methods have probably been in use in the British Isles from earliest times.
Ancient Fish Traps

ANCIENT MONUMENTS IN AYRSHIRE
How many of these do you know?
Ancient Monuments in Ayrshire

AUCHINCRUIVE HOUSE
Its story and ownership.
Auchincruive House

(SELECTIONS FROM THE) AUCHENHARVIE PAPERS
Selections from the Auchenharvie Papers

(THE) AUTHORSHIP OF THE “HISTORIE OF THE KENNEDYIS”
Historie of the Kennedies

AYR: A STUDY OF URBAN GROWTH
Townscape development: street systems, landplots, buildings and their developing inter-relationships.
Ayr_1180
Ayr Growth

AYR HARBOUR
From earliest times to the Union of the Crowns
Harbour
Ayr Harbour – Vol 1

AYRSHIRE ABBEYS
Crossraguel and Kilwinning.
Ayrshire Abbeys

AYRSHIRE CATTLE
Origin and development of the breed of Ayrshire cattle, and how the Ayrshire cow has been improved. This was a lecture to the Society in 1949.
Cattle
The Ayrshire Breed of Cattle -Vol 1

AYRSHIRE COAL MINING AND ANCILLARY INDUSTRIES
The geology, the companies and the collieries operating from the beginning of the 20th century to 1947 when the industry was nationalised.
Ayrshire Coal Mining

AYRSHIRE COMMISIONERS OF SUPPLY
“Local Government in the 18th and 19th Centuries.” Taxation, Roads and Bridges, Rogue Money, Police, Prisons, Military Affairs, Education and Court Houses.
Ayrshire Commissioners of Supply – Vol 1

(OLD) AYRSHIRE HARBOURS
Old Ayrshire Harbours
Harbour_2
Ayrshire Harbours

AYRSHIRE HONE-STONES
Natural stones mined in Ayrshire and used for fine sharpening and polishing.
Hone_stones
Ayrhire Honestones 1

AYRSHIRE LANDED ESTATES IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Ayrshires Landed Estates

AYRSHIRE NEEDLEWORK
Connected with the muslin trade of Glasgow and Paisley. Part of Ayrshire’s place in the industrial revolution.
Muslin_robe
Ayrshire Needlework

AYRSHIRE PARISH CLERKS
Ayrshire Parish Clerks

AYRSHIRE ROOKERIES
A 1956 survey.
Ayrshire Rookeries Vol 6

AYRSHIRE SURVEY 1947-1949
The third Statistical Account.
Ayrshire Survey 1947_49 – Vol 1

BACKGROUND TO BURNS
By John Strawhorn.
Part (1) Farming in 18th century Ayrshire.

The Background to Burns
Part (2) Industry and Commerce in 18th century Ayrshire.
The Background To Burns_Part 2

(THE) BARONY OF ALLOWAY. 1324 – 1754
A brief, general introduction to the fascinating story of the Barony of Alloway.
BaronyofAlloway

(THE) BATTLEFIELD OF LOUDOUN HILL, 1307
The Battlefield of Loudounhill

Did you watch a Bilbo Baggins film during lockdown? …
BILBO BAGGINS’ AYRSHIRE CONNECTIONS

The actor Sir Ian Holm who died on 19th June 2020 was best known to many, perhaps, for his portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films, though he was a master of film, small screen and stage acting, with an especial affinity for the works of Harold Pinter.  Holm had Scottish ancestry, and I thought it might be worth investigating this further.[i]

Ian Holm was his stage name; his birth name was Ian Holm Cuthbert.  He was born at Goodmayes, then in Essex, now absorbed into Greater London, on 12th September 1931.  His parents were James Harvey Cuthbert and his wife, Jean Wilson Holm.  They had been married in Dennistoun, Glasgow, in 1920.  James Harvey Cuthbert (c.1883-1955) was born in Belize, British Honduras; he can be found in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses in Edinburgh.  On the first occasion he is an apprentice architect, but in the intervening years obviously underwent a career change, for in 1911 he is a medical student. Cuthbert prospered in this profession, becoming a noted psychiatrist.  At the time of his son’s birth, he was the medical superintendent of Goodmayes Hospital.[ii]  By his own account, Holm ‘was a normal, healthy baby, whose birth occurred in a mental asylum’.[iii]   Cuthbert is noted as an early exponent of electric shock treatment.  His wife, Jean Wilson Holm (1890-1963), was a nurse, and also worked at the hospital.[iv]  In retirement the couple lived in Worthing, Sussex, where they both died; he in November 1955, and she in July 1963.

Ian Holm’s grandparents were James Martin Cuthbert, Agnes Harvey Morton, Andrew Hair Holm, and Jessie Wilson.

James Martin Cuthbert (1849-1890) was born in Edinburgh in 1849.  His parents were Alexander Cuthbert and Margaret Martin.  This branch of the Cuthbert family seems to have a long association with Belize, the chief town of what was then British Honduras, where they were general merchants.[v]  Fortunately, James M Cuthbert married and died in Edinburgh.  He was married, in 1875, to Agnes Harvey Morton (see below), and died in 1890.  It was the Cuthbert name that had first suggested to me that there may be links to Ayrshire, especially to Newton on Ayr, where the Cuthberts were well-known in the early 19th Century as shipmasters and publicans.

Agnes Harvey Morton, later Cuthbert (c1852-1895) was born in Greenock.  Her father, Andrew Morton (1818-1887), was a minister in the United Presbyterian church, at that time with a charge in Greenock, but subsequently at churches in Edinburgh.  Shortly after her husband’s death she is living at Woodvale Cottage, Innerleithen, with her three children, James Harvey (8), Evelyne (3) and Sydney L. (2), all born in Belize.  She died in 1895, and her death, aged 44, is registered in Troon.

Andrew Hair Holm (1859-1934) was born in the Anderston district of Glasgow in 1859; his father John Holm was a tax official, and had been born in Port Glasgow, as had his wife, Isabella.  Andrew H. Holm played football in his youth, turning out for Queens Park, and played three times for Scotland, twice against Wales, and once against England.  Scotland won all three games: those were the days.  He trained as a clerk, but must have shown substantial business acumen.  In 1887 he married, in Kilmarnock, Jessie Wilson.  In 1889 Holm became a partner in Mackie & Co., the partnership behind the Lagavullin distillery.  The other partner, Sir Peter Jeffrey Mackie, lived for many years at Corraith House, Symington, where he died in 1924.  Their company had, by then, transformed into White Horse.  Andrew Holm lived in a series of houses around the south side of Glasgow, in Cathcart, Eastwood, and finally at Dunavon, Giffnock, where he died in January 1934.  The funeral was to Troon, and I assume he is buried in Troon Cemetery.

Jessie Wilson, later Holm (1860-1939), Ian Holm’s maternal grandmother, was born in Kilmarnock.  She was one of the large family of Hugh Wilson (1822-1896), carpet manufacturer, and his second wife, Jessie Wilson.  At the time of Jessie’s birth the family lived at Springvale, Dundonald Road, but later moved to Bellsbrae House, Titchfield Street, and finally to Huendon, 79 London Road.  Jessie and Andrew Holm had 6 children, of whom Jean Wilson was the 3rd child and 3rd daughter.  After her husband’s death, Jessie Holm moved to the Southwood area of Troon, where she died, aged 79, in 1939.

Thus, to sum up, of Sir Ian Holm’s grandparents, one (James M Cuthbert) seems to have no link with Ayrshire, though his widow died in Troon.  Holm’s maternal grandparents have stronger links with Ayrshire, especially his grandmother, directly related to the Wilsons of Kilmarnock, an important family in the development of carpet manufacture in the town.  Both she and her husband (international footballer and distiller) are, I assume, buried in Troon Cemetery.

It may be possible, when things ease, to flesh out this story more, but for now I offer it for what it is: the result of a day’s head-buzzing in front of the computer, and another addition to Ayrshire’s hall of fame.

Rob Close

22 June 2020.

[i] Substantial use has been made of the websites British Newspaper Archive, Find my Past and Scotland’s People, all accessed 21st June 2020.  Specific references have not been given, but all dates, &c., should be easily searched for.

[ii] Built as West Ham Borough Asylum, 1901.  See ezitis.myzen.co.uk/goodmayes.html , accessed 22nd June 2020.

[iii] Ian Holm, with Steve Jacobi, Acting: My Life, London, Bantam, 2004, p.14

[iv] Mrs Cuthbert proved difficult to track.  She is called ‘Jeanie’ at the registration of her birth, Jane in the 1891 Census, Jessie in 1911, and Jean at the registration of her marriage.  Luckily Holm is a relatively uncommon surname, and her middle name, Wilson, proved consistent.

[v] Sydney Cuthbert, probably James M Cuthbert’s brother, seems to have been an influential businessman in Belize.  His name led to rioting mahogany loggers, a revolver-totting store manager, and an unofficial postal service whose stamps command high prices.   Alas, none of these led to Ayrshire.

BIRDS, AYRSHIRE
Notes on some Ayrshire Birds
Notes on some Ayrshire Birds – Vol 6

BIRDS IN AYRSHIRE, 1949-1960
Some observations on the status and distribution.
Birds in Ayrshire 1949-1969 – Vol 6

BIRDS OF AILSA CRAIG
Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Greater black-backed gull.
Birds of Ailsa Craig – Vol 3

BIRDS OF AYRSHIRE
A checklist.
Birds of Ayrshire – 1966 – Vol 7

(THE) BRIG OF AYR
and something of its story, by James Morris, 1912.
Brig_o_Ayr
BrigofAyr.MorrisJA.1912



(THE) BRAW NEW COAT
John Ballantine and the New Brig of Ayr.
A Braw New Coat

BRONZE AGE IN AYRSHIRE
Bronze Age in Ayrshire

BURGESSES AND GUILD BRETHREN OF AYR 1647-1846

BURGHS OF AYRSHIRE
Prestwick, Ayr, Irvine, Newton-Upon-Ayr, Mauchline. A great account of how the burghs developed over hundreds of years.
By George S. Pryde, who was Professor of Scottish History at Glasgow University.
The Burghs of Ayrshire

(A) BURIAL GROUND OF THE MIDDLE BRONZE AGE AT GIRVAN

Coalpots

Bronze Age Burial Ground at Girvan

(THE) CARRICK COVENANT OF 1638
The Carrick Covenant of 1638

(THE) CASSILLIS PAPERS
In date they cover 54 years (1459-1513), from the end of James II’s reign to the death of James IV. These years were a formative period of history, and several characteristics of the age are illustrated in these documents.
The Cassillis Papers

(THE) CATHCARTS OF CARLETON AND KILLOCHAN
The Cathcarts of Carleton and Killochan

CESSNOCK, AN AYRSHIRE ESTATE IN THE AGE OF IMPROVEMENT
Cessnock.Mair1996

CHURCH BELLS OF AYRSHIRE
Church Bells of Ayrshire- Vol 1

(A) CINERARY URN FROM OCHILTREE
A Bronze Age urn of considerable interest to archaeologists.
Cinerary_Urn
A Cinerary Urn fromOchiltree

CITADEL, AYR – AN EXCAVATION

Excavations at the Citadel

COAL MINING ENTERPRISE IN AYRSHIRE c.1600-1840
“The Finest Place for a Lasting Colliery”.
Finest Place for a Lasting Colliery

CORRESPONDENCE OF THE FIRST EARL OF DUNDONALD
39 letters giving a window onto the world of the upper class in 17th century Ayrshire.
Correspondence of the First Earl of Dundonald

DIGGING UP AULD AYR
An excavation of 102 – 104 High Street.
Diging_auld_Ayr
Digging up Auld Ayr

DUNDONALD CASTLE
“The royal castle of Dundonald crowns the summit of a prominent hill which rises abruptly from the plain of Kyle just west of the delightful village of Dundonald…”
Dundonald Castle – Vol 1

EXCAVATION OF A BURIAL CHAMBER AT HAYLIE, LARGS
Cairn
Excavation of a Burial Chamber at Haylie Largs

FAIL MONASTERY AND FAIL CASTLE
Founded in 1252 for the Red Friars. The monastery was built on the mediaeval main road from Ayr to Edinburgh via Newmilns near a ford across the Water of Fail.
Fail Monastery & Fail Castle – Vol 1

FARMING – ON AN AYRSHIRE FARM 1823 – 1824
By John Strawhorn M.A., Ph.D. Based on the diary of Henry Richmond of East Montgarswood in the parish of Sorn. Published by the AANHS in 1974.
On an Ayrshire Farm

FENWICK – THE ANNULS OF FENWICK
A journal of local events.
Annuls of Fenwick

FIELD STUDIES
The Nithsdale Road. + An old road in Loudoun Parish. + Recent finds.
Field Studies

FIELD STUDY GROUP
Brief updates on studies done between 1953 and 1957
Field Study Group 1952_1957

(THE) FINEST PLACE FOR A LASTING COLLIERY
See “Coal Mining Enterprise in Ayrshire c.1800-1840”

FOSSIL TREE STUMPS AT SALTCOATS
Saltcoats_treestumps

Fossil Tree Stumps at Saltcoats

(THE) GILBERTINE HOUSE AT DALMILLING
Plans for a priory for Gilbertine canons and nuns.
THe Gilbertine House of Dalmilling

(THE) GRAMMAR SCHOOL OF AYR 1746-1796
Ayr Grammar School 1746-1796

HERRING AND OTHER FISH OF THE CLYDE ESTUARY
An interesting report, written by a fisherman, on various aspects of the fishing, so much of which has disappeared in the intervening half century or so.
Herring and other finds in the Clyde Estuary

HISTORIC ALLOWAY
Village and countryside for visitors.
Historic Alloway

(A) HOARD OF COINS FROM BARR
Found on a farm near Girvan – a pottery bank or “pirlie-pig” with extremely interesting contents!
A Hoard of Coins from Barr

(THE) IRON INDUSTRY IN AYRSHIRE
A detailed account of the rise and fall of this important aspect of Ayrshire’s economic history.
The Iron Industry in Ayrshire

JOHN SMITH parts 1 & 2
In 1895 John Smith of Dalry published his famed book “Prehistoric Man in Ayrshire”.
John Smith of Dalry Part 1
John Smith of Dalry Part 2

JOHN WELCH AND HIS GARDEN
An extraordinary story. John Welch came to Ayr in 1600 as assistant to the then minister of the town and then became the town’s minister in 1604. His garden became “one of the most sacred and historic places in Ayr”.
John Welch and his Garden – Vol 1

JOHN TAYLOR ESQ, M.D. of Blackhouse, Ayrshire (1805-42)
The story of an ‘agitator’.
John Taylor of Blackhouse – Vol 1

KESTRELS AND BARN OWLS
Who will save them?
Kestrels & Barn Owls – Vol 6

KILWINNING

The town at the time of the Reformation.
Kilwinning
Kilwinning

KIRK SESSION BOOK OF JOHN WELCH, 1604-1605, EXTRACTS
Kirk Session Book – John Welch

(THE) KIRKS OF BALLANTRAE
A Survey of the Buildings.
The Kirks of Ballantrae

(THE) LATE ARCHIBALD FAIRBAIRN, Esq.
The Late Archibald Fairbairn

LETTERS OF GEORGE DEMSTER
Demster was MP for Forfar and Fife from 1761 to 1790. Burns, in his “Earnest Cry and Prayer” eulogised him as “a true-blue Scot”.
Letters of George Dempster – Vol 1

LOUDOUN HALL – THE BUILDING
A survey done in March 1972, while the property commonly known as ‘Gadgirth House’ situated at 68/70 High Street was being  demolished. This marked the disappearance of the last recognisably medieval house in Ayr apart from Loudoun Hall.
Loudoun
House of John Blair_Loudoun Hall

LOUDOUN HALL – THE OWNERS
The oldest house in Ayr, one of the very few examples surviving in Scotland today of domestic burgh architecture dating from the period of Flodden. It was built very early in the sixteenth century, if not in the late fifteenth.
Loudoun Hall and its Owners – Vol 1

MAUCHLINE MEMORIES OF ROBERT BURNS
MM

Mauchline Memories of Robert Burns

MINERS’ ROWS 1913
“Ayrshire Miners’ Rows, 1913”. Squalor and indignities brought vividly into focus by the Ayrshire Miners Union report, reproduced here in facsimile.
Ayrshire Miners Rows

MONKS’ ROAD TO THEIR LANDS
The road, still called the Monks’ Road, served the lands of the Monks of Mauchline, acquired after the Reformation by the Earl of Loudoun. The section from the old ford at Failford to the farm of Red(w)rae, near the ruins of Fail Monastery is still in use, to the east of the present road from Ayr to Galston.
Monks Road to their lands – Vol 1

MUTE SWAN IN AYRSHIRE
A 1955 census.
Mute Swan in Ayrshire – Vol6

NEWMILNS – A COMMUNITY RENT ASUNDER
The Laceweavers’ Strike of 1897.
A Community Rent asunder

NEWMILNS – THE STORY
On the 9th of January in the year 1491, at the Palace of Linlithgow, King James IV affixed his Great Seal to a Charter, announcing to all men of goodwill in the Kingdom of Scotland the creation into a free burgh of barony of the town of Newmyllis in the Sheriffdom of Ayr.
Newmilns – Burgh Story

NEWMILNS – THE WEAVERS AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
During the American Civil War influential sections of opinion in this country either favoured the South or proclaimed a policy of neutrality. But throughout the country, larger or smaller coteries from the “London Emancipation Society” to what the “Glasgow Herald” called “her small sister at Newmilns” were vocal in their support of Lincoln and the Emancipation of the Slaves.
Newmilns Weavers and the American Civil War – Vol 1

NEWTON CASTLE
“A Scottish Renaissance Household”. Sir William Hamilton and Newton Castle in 1559.
Newton
Renaissance Househld – Newton Castle

(THE) ORIGINS OF FEUDAL AYRSHIRE
The making of the shire of Ayr. This article goes right back to “Old King Cole”, the real person, not just a nursery rhyme.
THe Origins of Feudal Ayrshire

(THE) OVERSEAS TRADE OF AYRSHIRE, 1660-1707
By T. C. Smout, M.A., Ph.D.
Overseas Trade of Ayrshire

PEOPLE OF 16TH CENTURY AYRSHIRE
A picture of Ayrshire communities at that time.
People of Ayrshire

PLANT LIFE IN AYRSHIRE
By Dr Dr Ralph Kirkwood BSc PhD FRSE FIBiol, Reader in the Dept. of Biology at the University of Strathclyde. Beautifully illustrated by Margaret Foulds DA.
Published by the AANHS in 1992.
Plant Life in Ayrshire

(THE) PLAGUE
The Plague

(A) PORTINCROSS CANNON
From a wreck? From the Spanish Armada even?
A Portincross Cannon

PRESBYTERY OF AYR
1581 – 1981
The Presbytery of Ayr

PRESBYTERY OF AYR: ITS SCHOOLS AND SCHOOLMASTERS, 1642-1746
Ayr Presbytery – Schools and Schoolmasters

PRINTING IN AYR AND KILMARNOCK
Newspapers, periodicals, books and pamphlets printed from about 1780 until 1920 in the towns of Ayr and Kilmarnock.
Print
printing-in-ayr-and-kilmarnock

(THE) PROTOCOL BOOK OF HENRY PRESTOUN
Notes from a 16th century Ayr notary.
The Protocol Book of Henry Prestoun

RAILS TO AYR
18th and 19th century coal waggonways.
Rails
RailstoAyr.1989

REFERENDUM ON THE SABBATH
Referendum on the Sabbath
Referendum on the Sabbath

REPORT ON THE KENNEDY MAUSOLEUM AT BALLANTRAE
kenmaus
Report on the Kennedy Mausoleum at Ballantrae

RICHARD OSWALD THE PEACEMAKER
Richard Oswald the Peacemaker

SHIPPING TRADE OF AYRSHIRE
1689 to 1791
Shipping Trade of Ayrshire

“SO FAST TO RUIN”
The personal element in the collapse of Douglas, Heron and Company.
Ayr Bank Crash

(THE) SPITTALS OF AYRSHIRE
The Hospitals of Celtic and Medieval Times.
The Spitals of Madieval Times

STEVENSTON AND SALTCOATS
Notes extracted from a verbatim record of the suit brought by Patrick Warner, Esq., of Ardeer and his guardians against Robert Reid Cunninghame, Esq., of Auchenharvie, Stevenston, August, 1798 till March, 1799.
Local History – Stevenston & Saltcoats – Vol 1

STONE AGES IN AYRSHIRE
A fascinating survey written by top experts in the field and published by the AANHS in 1989.
Stone Age in Ayrshire

TATTIE HOWKERS
Irish potato workers in Ayrshire
Tattie_Howkers
TattieHowkers

THREE AYRSHIRE CHARTERS
Each charter in original Latin and translation, with commentaries.
Three Ayrshire Charters

(THE) TRINITARIANS OF FAILFORD
“In pre-Reformation times there existed at Fail, not far from Tarbolton, a house of friars of the Order of Holy Trinity for the Redemption of Captives”.
The Trinitarians of Failford

VERNACULAR BUILDING IN AYRSHIRE
Mon29
By John R. Hume. This is AANHS monograph No.29, complete.
Vernacular Building in Ayrshire

VINQUISH (COBALT DEFICIENCY) IN SHEEP
… and its geological distribution in south-west Scotland.
Vinquish_Cobald Deficiency_in Sheep – Vol 1

WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY?
By R. H. Campbell, M.A., Ph.D. Professor of Economic History, University of East Anglia.
What is Industrial Archaeology

WILD BIRDS OF AYRSHIRE
Summary of a lecture given to the Society in 1948.
Wild Birds of Ayrshire – Vol 1

(A) WINE-MERCHANT’S LETTER-BOOK
Alexander Oliphant & Co. is a well-known name from the smuggling days of the 18th century. The premises are still occupied by wine-merchants to this day.
A Wine_Merchants Letter_Book 

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