Prestwick Old Parish Church, Scotland

This evening, I am posting information on an ancient church in Prestwick, South Ayrshire, S.W. Scotland.

The town of Prestwick has a history dating back to around the 8th century AD, if not earlier. The Old Parish Church probably dates from around the 12th century and was in use until the 1830s. During this long period the form of worship changed from Roman Catholic to Protestant (Presbyterian) as a consequence of the Reformation in 1560. During the 13th century the local monks held the church solely for their own use.

Summary facts and information:

  • Positioned in the N.W. of the town on an elevated piece of land close to the historic Prestwick Golf Course and the Clyde Coast. The railway runs close by.
  • Dedicated to St. Nicholas and surrounded by an ancient burial ground containing the graves of a Covenanter, Knight Templar, several Provosts (mayors) and many Freemen ( leading citizens) of Prestwick. Among the more unusual graves is a table grave and a slab grave with iron bands.
  • The church had four altars dedicated to each of St. Nicholas, St. Andrew, Holy Cross and the Virgin.
  • From an architectural perspective, the church is plain, one storey high and with two gable ends, one of which was surmounted by a small belfry. Square headed windows were inserted after the Reformation to render the church suitable for Presbyterian worship. The other noticeable feature are buttresses to the east. The walls were strengthened in 1837 to prevent collapse.

A fascinating site which is open throughout the year.

Prestwick Old Parish church, west to east.


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