Church of Scotland – Ayton and District Churches
In early 2016 the three separate congregations of Ayton & Burnmouth, Foulden and Reston united into one under the name Ayton and District Churches.
Minister – Rev Norman Whyte
Phone: 018907 81333
Session Clerk – Bill Stewart
Phone: 018907 81339
Treasurer – Mrs Caroline Gate
Phone 01289 386086
To find out about the times of services and other activities click here.
The Construction of the present day Ayton Church
Laying of the Foundation Stone of the New Parish Church – 8th September 1864
The columns of the Berwick Advertiser, 10th September 1864, supply a full account of this important ceremony, attended by a large body of people, including the Presbytery of Chirnside, County Constabulary, 3rd Berwickshire (Ayton) Rifle Volunteers, together with local school children.
Many county families and friends were also present, among whom might be specially mentioned are Alexander Mitchell-Innes Esq and family and other Heritors of the parish. Seven young ladies dressed in white and connected with the Sunday School figured in the procession which formed up at the Parish School, namely Miss Jane Yule, Ayton Station; Miss Middleton, Ayton Cocklaw; Miss White, Ayton Law; Miss Margaret Dalgetty, Ayton; Miss Catherine Patterson, Ayton; Miss Agnes Henderson, Ayton and Miss Jane Anne Whitlie, Ayton. The Minister, the Rev Daniel Cameron, conducted the service, in the course of which the Architect, Mr Wardrop, Edinburgh, produced a case containing the coins and newspapers of the day and bearing the following description:-
Ayton Parish Church
The foundation stone of this Church was laid on 8th September, A.D., 1864,
In the 27th year of the reign of Her Most Excellent Majesty Queen Victoria by Mrs Mitchell-Innes, of Ayton Castle, and Miss Mitchell-Innes. Minister of the Parish: The Rev. Daniel Cameron
After the contents of the case had been deposited in a cavity in the foundation stone, Mrs Mitchell-Innes was presented with a silver trowel with which she spread the symbols – the corn, wine and oil, over the stone.
Another large stone being lowered on top of the foundation stone, the latter was tapped three times by Miss Mitchell-Innes with a silver mallet, when Mr Cameron declared the foundation stone of the Church truly laid. The trowel and mallet were them presented to Mr and Mrs Mitchell-Innes respectively, and the young ladies already mentioned presented Mrs Mitchell-Innes with a Bible mounted in silver.
Mr Cameron, referring to Mr Mitchell-Innes, though not by name, said that by his princely liberality he had contributed in a great degree to the building of the new Church, which would prove at once a place of worship and an ornament to the parish.
The Heritors gave £1,500 towards the building of the Parish Church and Mr Mitchell-Innes of Ayton Castle contributed the remainder which is supposed to have been £3,000 – in all, besides the field, a total of £4,500.
The Church was opened for worship on the 13th January 1867.
Estimated to accommodate 720 worshippers, the Church is cruciform in shape, comprising a nave, cloister, apsidal chancel and south transept, and is finished with a graceful spire rising over 120 feet.
The tower, surmounted by the spire, is situated at the south angle over the principal doorway, and contains a bell, in the key of A, presented by Mr Mitchell-Innes. Built with white dressed freestone and standing on a fine open site, the exterior of the building reveals much decorative beauty.
On the north side are a small but neat vestry and the entrance to the pews in the Apse through an open porch of ornamental timber work. In front of the pulpit, which commands both the transept and the nave, stand the baptismal font as well as the new communion table and the reading desk of light Spanish oak, commemorative of the men of the parish who died in the Great War and gifted by members of the Young Men’s Guild and Mr John Heron respectively.
The tranceried windows are enriched with coloured glass, the west light above the gallery being an architectural feature of much beauty. The latter, called the ‘Rose Window’, is shaped like a wheel and is filled with geometric and foliated glass.
At the east end of the chancel are three twin light windows representing the Six Acts of Mercy; those in the south transept consist of four upright lights, the subject being ‘The Adoration of the Magi and the Shepherds’ who are represented offering their gifts to the infant Saviour. On the north side are three upright lights depicting the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. In the adjoining graveyard are tombstones dating 250 years back.
Installation of pipe organ
Following a two days’ bazaar held in the Volunteer Hall, Ayton, in the Autumn of 1893, at which the sum of £1,013 was raised, an order was placed with Messrs Forster & Andrews, Hull, for a two-manual pipe organ, estimated to cost £600.
Its erection in the course of the following year entailed some dislocation of Church furnishing and curtailment of sitting accommodation; but these were generously sanctioned by the Heritors, the total outlay amounting to £800, leaving a balance of £200 or thereby, which was invested in Government securities for its permanent upkeep.
The instrument superseded an American organ introduced in 1885, and was constructed in two divisions on either side of the window in the north wall. During the weeks occupied in its erection, the congregation worshipped in the Volunteer Hall till, on the evening of the Fast Day preceding the Spring celebration of Communion, it was inaugurated at a recital given by Mr Charles Bradley, Organist, South Leith Parish Church.
Among other objects of historical interest, the Church possesses:
A Communion Cup which seems to have stood in need of enlargement, as set forth in the inscription ‘This cup originally given by Magdallan Rule of Pilwalls to the Church in 1677. Renewed and enlarged in 1780.’
A Communion Cup engraved ‘The Parish of Ayton, 1780.’
Two Pewter Cups dated 1680 and two similar Flagons dated 1766
Handled Almsboxes (oak)
Communion Tokens (discontinued in 1876)
Silver Trowel in a glass case used in laying the foundation stone in 1864
Parchment embodying Crown Presentation to Ayton Parish Church of Rev Daniel Cameron, 27th October, 1842 with the great Seal of Scotland attached (in good condition)
In September 2016 Irvine Inglis produce an interesting document – A brief history of Ayton Church building. You can read that document here.