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Ayton Local History Collection click on underlined text or the green buttons to read more

Directories

A collection of directories with information on Ayton people and businesses. 1806, 1825-1903. 1932, 1937.

School records

School admission registers and headmaster's log books

Ayton Churches History

Some information relating to the churches which have existed in Ayton.

Statistical Accounts of Scotland - Ayton chapters

The Statistical Account of Scotland (1791) the New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845) and the Third Statistical Account of Scotland (Sometimes now referred to as the First, Second and Third Statistical accounts). The chapters dealing with the parish of Ayton have been transcribed here.

David Sinclair was a grocer and spirit merchant with a shop near the junction of High St and Old Town. The History Society was lucky to be given a book which we have called his "Tick Book". You can see a photo of it and what we think it was is a record of items taken by customers and paid for at a later date. There is a large tick beside each item which may indicate that the item has been paid for. Hence the expression getting something "on tick". That's our theory anyway! Society members shave transcribed much of the book (which dates from 1866 to 1869) and created indexes of names and addresses of customers and the goods they bought.

A download from the memory of Irvine Inglis who lived much of his life as a boy and adult in Ayton. There is a map marked with various locations and a name for each.

Ayton had a nine hole golf course at the end of the 19th and into the 20th century. It was located on the banks of the Eye upstream from the Jubilee Bridge. 

Like most communities, Ayton lost a considerable number of men in the First World War. A memorial to these men was erected in 1921 and the names of those killed in the Second World War were subsequently added. As part of a project to learn more about those who were commemorated in the Roll of Honour displayed in the church Society members have been carrying out more research. This is an ongoing project but the names on the war memorial were addressed first and there are to be information boards erected near to the memorial by the Community Council. The History Society has provided the information for the boards which can be seen on this link. As well as information on the men listed there is information about the memorial and its unveiling in 1921.

By 12 August 1948, after six days of heavy rain, many parts of Berwickshire suffered severe flooding.

Low lying farmland near Ayton was turned into a giant inland lake estimated to be more than a mile long and 28ft (8.53m) deep containing 400 million gallons (1,820 million litres) of water.

The main East Coast railway was severely damaged with several bridges destroyed. This section includes a film recording the repairs to the railway plus several still photos of the work done to get the railway operational again.

The history of the name Ayton explained in a booklet written by the late Jim Eaton and published by the Ayton Family Society

A talk given to the History Society by Irvine Inglis. It covers some general history about Ayton as well as that of the sawmill. Thanks to Irvine for giving permission for his notes to be published here.

Papermaking was an important industry in Ayton employing many people. A devastating fire in 1868 destroyed the Millbank mill although Bleachfield continued until 1942. John Reid has done much research into this subject and delivered a talk to the History Society in 2001 and again in 2013. He has kindly agreed for his work to be published here.

Ayton Cow Club

In the 19th and early 20th centuries many people had small plots of land attached to their houses, from which they produced fodder for their cow or cows. Some villages possessed common grazings, on which village cow keepers had the right to graze their animals during the grazing season.   It was to assist these small cow keepers that the Ayton and District Society for Insuring Cows was originally founded, each member paying an annual subscription for each cow in his possession. In the event of the cow dying, or being slaughtered by order of a veterinary surgeon, a compensation payment was made to the owner, this payment being a valuable contribution towards the purchase of a new cow. 

In 1949 during the centenary celebrations for the society a poem titled "A Stitch in Time" was read out and it can be read by clicking on the button below. This has been reproduced from the book "East Berwickshire in Rhyme" by Jim Crosbie where it is also recorded that in 1949 there were 36 Cow Club members and 57 cows insured. The History Society is grateful to Jim for allowing us to include the poem here.

Ayton Home Guard was active during World War 2. These documents were given to the History Society by Sheila Stoddart of Doughty's Solicitors, where they had been kept since the 1940's. The main document is the register of 115 volunteers. This is listed twice - firstly as it was in the original document and then alphabetically to assist in any search for particular family names. Some information (for example date of joining, national identity number and age) were not recorded at first but appear later. There are also details of transport available to the Platoon including privately owned cars, motor cycles, lorries and tractors.

Robert Mennon

Robert Mennon was a poet born in Ayton in 1797. He grew up and was educated in the village and joined his father as a Slater. He spent 26 years in London before moving to Dunbar to set up business before retiring to and dying in Ayton in 1885. At a meeting of the History Society on 26th February 2002, Hector Sutherland and George McNair gave a talk on Robert Mennon and his poetry. The notes used by Hector and George (both of whom have sadly passed on) are recorded here.

Also reproduced here are extracts from “Minstrelsy of the Merse” by Rev W.S. Crockett (1893) which gives details of Mennon's life as well as some of his poems.

The programme of celebrations to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth . Tuesday 2nd June 1953

This valuation roll covers Ayton as well as the neighbouring parishes of Bunkle, Chirnside, Cockburnspath, Coldingham, Eyemouth, Foulden, Hutton and Mordington. An indexes of proprietors whose rentals amount to £50 and upwards and an index of mansion houses, farms, mills, towns and villages is also included.

The following details are recorded.

  • Description and situation of subject

  • Proprietor

  • Tenant

  • Occupier

  • Feu Duty

  • Rent

Ayton Horticultural Society

There has been a Horticultural Society in Ayton since 1881 and continues to this day. The main event is the annual show, more commonly known locally as the Floo'r Show. The schedule for the first show in 1881 and the report in the Berwickshire News are shown on these links.

The heraldry of the families Ayton, Home, Fordyce, Mitchell-Innes and Liddel-Grainger

Village Memories - Andrew Whitlie

Andrew Whitlie (1795 -1872) wrote this booklet about his memories and observation of Ayton in his lifetime. This version was reprinted in 1923.

Memoirs of Tony Anderson

Tony Anderson was born on the 14th February 1932 in Chesham, Buckingham and moved to Ayton with his parents when he was about two years old. He wrote his memoirs for the benefit of his descendants and chapters 1 and 2 are recorded here. These covers his boyhood in Ayton and describes many aspects of life in the village at that time, particularly during the second world war. We are indebted to Keith Miller for supplying this extract to the History Society.

A History of Ayton written in 1913

This short history of Ayton is transcribed from The Berwickshire News of 18th March 1913. It covers the early history of the parish as well as the burgher and antiburgher churches, population and papermaking. There is also a photograph of the "Auld Meeting Hoose" and a poem dedicated to it.