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Ballantrae Church History

The kirk built in 1604, served for a little over 200 years. It was small and could not have held many worshippers. In its later years the heritors put a Gallery over the Fergussone aisle to accommodate the increase of population. It is said that this was chiefly for the fishermen and the name it was given was "The fishermen's loft".

Seven Presbyterian and four Episcopalian ministers occupied the pulpit. The Episcopalian form of worship was not acceptable in Ayrshire as envinced by the sometimes ruthless "Outings" of their ministers. The Reverend John was "outed" from Ballantrae in 1686.

For a congregation to have had only three ministers during a period of 124 years must be something of a record!

From 1826 - 1830 the Minister was the Reverend Thomas Burns, who was a nephew of the poet Robert Burns.

He was the third son of the poet's brother Gilbert and was born at Mossgiel.

He came out at the Disruption and in 1847 he emigrated to New Zealand and was the first Presbyterian Minister there. He died in 1871.

Among the mural tablets in the present Church is one erected by public subscription to the memory of Robert Cunningham, Postman, who lost his life when endeavouring to carry out his duties during a heavy snow storm.

The Church clock, which had given good service for many years "packed up" in 1958. This meant that, if it was to be replaced, the Clock and Tower Committee were to be faced with considerable expense. Due to the enthusiasm of a number of people, a Sponsored Walk was held in August 1968 and £340 was raised, a really magnificent effort. This amount, along with other subscriptions, enabled the Committee to install a new electric clock

Since 1987, pew bibles, copies of "Junior Praise", an alms dish, the loop-system, a lectern fall, a white pulpit fall with matching book-marks and carpeting have been presented by generous members. To mark the Church's 175th anniversary, the Woman's Guild gifted a red pulpit fall.

In May 1975, the General assembly took the decision to move Glenapp Church into the Presbytery of Ayr. This took place on 1st January 1976. On the 7th July 1985, Glenapp Church was united with Ballantrae Church.

An honour of significance came to the Church in the years 1973-1974 when one of the elders, Lord Ballantrae, was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, an office he held with great distinction.




Thomas Burns

Rev Thomas Burns

Lord Ballantrae

Lord Ballantrae


Ballantrae Church History was compiled by:

The Reverend H. Miles Leith, TD., M.A., Minister at Ballantrae in July
1969, the 150th anniversary of the building of the present Church with additions by
the Rev. Isobel J. Brain, M.A.. on the occasion of its 175th anniversary.
Updated by Rev. Robert P Bell BSc.2004.
Further updates by John McIlwraith  2007


Ballantrae Charity Number: SC008536 ----------------------- St Colmon Charity Number SC014381