St Quivox Parish Church Ayr South Ayrshire



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Who we are

​Ayr St. Quivox Parish Church is interesting, unusual, challenging and exciting!

​Interesting, because it is a mix of both urban and rural communities, combining historic and modern.

​Unusual, as it comprises two Churches, each with separate buildings, but with one Minister and one Kirk Session.

​Challenging as it contains all the elements of social concern to be found at both ends of the spectrum.

​Exciting, because the building and upgrading of new and existing housing in the area presents the Minister of Ayr St. Quivox Parish Church with an opportunity to reach out to everyone - young and not-so young - in our Parish and strengthen our Church.


Location of worship

St Quivox Parish Church
Dalmilling Road
Ayr, South Ayrshire KA8 0PX
United Kingdom
Phone: 01292 263678
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Church Pastor

Rev Kenneth B Yorke
Rev Kenneth B Yorke
Dalmilling Road
Ayr, South Ayrshire KA8 0PX
United Kingdom
Phone: 01292 670476
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Quote of the Day

Isaiah 44:22

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.


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Dalmilling Road, Ayr, South Ayrshire
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St Quivox Parish Church Service Times

Alternating Sundays Dalmilling and Auchincruive: 10.30am

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St Quivox Parish Church History

Early Beginnings.

It has long been recognised by historians that the name "St Quivox" is somewhat obscure. The original name of the church was "Sanchar-in-Kyle" and was dedicated to St Kevoca or Sancta Kevoca, Patroness of Kyle, who lived in the eleventh century and was distinguished for her zeal in promoting monastic institutions. The name changed several times and appears as St Kenockis, St Cavocks and St Evox which name persisted until at least the 18th century. In Paterson's "History of Ayrshire" we find that the Church of Sanquhar was a rectory and existed prior to 1208. That information derived from the earliest record of the Church. It is mentioned in connection with the founding of the Gilbertine Priory of St Mary at Dalmulin within the Parish in 1221.

The Priory (or Monastery or Convent as it is variously called) continued until 1238 when the monks left Dalmulin and the Priory came under the ownership of Paisley Abbey.

It continued in this position until the Reformation. Until then, (around 1560), our forebears had generally been of the Roman Catholic faith. The movement away from Rome began much earlier, both in England and the Continent. Scotland lagged behind in the initial stages, but made rapid progress under the impetus of John Knox and officially adopted the reformed and Protestant religion in the wake of England. During the transition there was strong antagonism towards the churches of Popish connection, and many of these were wholly or partly destroyed or bereft of their valuables. St Quivox must, of course, have passed through this phase, but there is no evidence that it suffered in any way.

After 1560, it was difficult to get a sufficient number of qualified ministers acceptable to the new regime, and a class of Probationers known as Readers, (or Exhorters), was employed. These Readers (who were really lay assistants), were placed as far as possible, one in each Parish under the direction of the regional ordained Ministers. Generally they were precluded from solemnizing marriages or administering the sacraments. The Church of St Quivox was served by four Readers from 1567 intermittently until 1591. Following this, however, all the occupants of the charge were ordained ministers.

In these present days of 'multiple ministries', it is interesting to note, that the second of these Readers, Hew Kennedy, "served under the supervision and director of Maister Johnne Nisbett, Minister of Tarbolton, Barnwell, St Kenochis, Prestwick and Monckton"! There are several unaccountable gaps and, apart from the names of the Readers, there is little precise information about the Church itself for a number of years after 1560, but it could safely be assumed that the building fell into disrepair. Restoration.

The Church was restored in 1595 by Alan, the fourth Lord Cathcart who was the owner of Sundrum and Auchincruive Estates and, therefore, Patron of St Quivox Church. Bom in 1537 and owner of these Estates from 1547 until 1618, he was an early Adherent to the Protestantism of John Knox and agreed by bond to the Reformed religion. In 1569, he joined the Regents Council Board (after the defeat of Queen Mary's forces at Langside) and was created a member of the Privy Council. In 1610, Lord Cathcart was appointed one of the first Justices of the Peace in Ayr. Lord Cathcart's interest in St Quivox was considerable and the alterations and restoration carried out to his instructions in 1595 were marked by a stone panel on the outside south wall of the older part of the church bearing the date, the Cathcart coat-of-arms and motto "I Hope to Speed".

Obviously, over the centuries, the church has undergone various changes in structure and outline. It is thought that in its very earliest form, the building consisted solely of the east-west stretch running between the Craigie and Whitletts galleries. There were, of course, no galleries at that time. Originally, the pulpit and chancel would be located towards the east wall, and the blind door on that wall probably served as an entrance for the priest. Apart from shifting the pulpit, the first major alteration was the addition of the northward portion - ie. 'the body of the kirk' - which faces the pulpit. It is thought most likely that this alteration was the one carried out on Lord Cathcart's instruction in 1595.

The next change to the church was made in 1767 by Mr Richard Oswald when he added the Auchincruive gallery and the underlying burial vault. The Church "was repaired, uniformly seated, and plaistered by the heritors; and a new aile built by the Patron". Auchincruive Estate had been purchased by Mr Oswald in 1764 and the Patronage of the Church went with the sale. It is worth noting that in 1765, Mr Richard Oswald presented the Communion Cups to the Church which are still in use. A further addition was made early in the 19th century (most probably the Whitletts and Craigie galleries). This was the final change to the church and so it has remained to the present day. The Rev. J. P. Wilson wrote in 1930 -

"In its present form which it has retained almost unchanged externally and internally since the days of Sir Walter Scott, with its outside gallery stairs and its plain unvarnished pews, it has a homely attractiveness and a quaint interest of its own. Box pews are still in evidence and ladles continue to be used for taking up the collection".

It is interesting to note the number of old and unusual tombstones in the churchyard. At least one dates back to 1657 and there are quite a number in the 1700's. As the church goes back to the 13th. century and the oldest tombstone is some four centuries later, are we to assume that the earlier burials were made elsewhere?

The Ministers. The first ordained minister on record after the Reformation (and after the Readers already mentioned) was Colin Row in 1604. Since then, twentythree ordained ministers have been admitted to the charge. Notable ministries of the past include those of: Rev. George Reid, admitted to St Quivox on 23rd November 1732. Mr Reid was the Moderator of the General Assembly in 1755-56 when Charles, the ninth Lord Cathcart was Lord High Commissioner. Mr Reid died in 1763 aged 70. Rev. William McQuhae was ordained and admitted on 1st March 1764. He was awarded a D.D. (St Andrews) in 1794 and was proposed as Moderator of the General Assembly in 1806, but declined. Dr McQuhae is mentioned in Bums’ "The Twa Herds".

He is described as "A learned and able man of business. His cheerful and happy temper, his rich fund of anecdote and flow of wit, rendered him an agreeable and pleasant companion." He was married twice and had 15 children who included daughters named Charles and Glencairn and a son called Stair! Dr McQuhae died in 1823 aged 86.

(An interesting footnote is that the Old Manse at Auchincruive was built in 1823 - just too late to accommodate all these children!)

Rev. Stair Park McQuhae, youngest son of the above. Presented by George Oswald of Auchincruive, September 1818; ordained Assistant and successor on 2nd March 1820. He was awarded a D.D. (Glasgow) in 1840 and retired in bad health in 1859 although he lived till 1872. Between them, father and son ministered to the charge for almost 100 years.

Rev. Archibald H. Charteris. Presented by Alexander Oswald of Auchincruive and ordained Assistant and successor on 27th June 1858. He was translated to New Abbey on 21st July 1859. Dr Charteris remained in St Quivox only a year and a month but he made his mark upon the Parish before he left and the Parish left its mark upon him. Dr Charteris became one of the foremost churchmen of his time and was responsible for the inception of the Committee on Christian Life and Work, the revival of the Order of Deaconesses and was, of course, the Founder of the Woman's Guild.

He became Moderator of the General Assembly and during his year in office he revisited St Quivox and received an enthusiastic welcome when he preached again in the ancient sanctuary in which he had been ordained.

Rev James Wilson. Presented by Alexander Oswald of Auchincruive and ordained Assistant and successor on 10th November 1859. Mr Wilson was Clerk to the Presbytery of Ayr from 1866 till 1901 and died in May 1906 aged 74.

Rev. James Peter Wilson, eldest son of the above. Admitted 23rd August 1906 and remained Minister of the Parish until he retired in 1941. Mr Wilson died on 13th November 1959 aged 90. Rev. W. Lyle B. Wilson, grand-nephew of the Rev. James Wilson and nephew of the Rev. J. P. Wilson. Admitted in 1941 and retired in April 1978.

The "Wilson Family" together served St Quivox for One Hundred and Nineteen years. They were greatly admired and respected for their devotion and dedication to the people of the Church and Parish.

Rev. Robert Brown. November 1979 till November 1984, moving to Queens Cross Church, Aberdeen.

Rev. Gordon McRae. 1985 till 1989.

Rev. David Ness. 1989 till Retiring 2008.

Rev. Rona Young. 2009 to 2015, assisted by Rev. Douglas Moore.

​Rev. Kenneth Yorke. Interim Moderator. 2015 till present.


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St Quivox Parish Church FAQs

Question: Where is St Quivox Parish Church located?
Answer: St Quivox Parish Church is located at Dalmilling Road, Ayr, South Ayrshire.

Question: Who is St Quivox Parish Church's pastor?
Answer: St Quivox Parish Church's pastor is Rev Kenneth B Yorke.

Question: What time is service at St Quivox Parish Church?
Answer: Alternating Sundays Dalmilling and Auchincruive: 10.30am

Question: What is St Quivox Parish Church's Facebook page?

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Question: What denominaiton is St Quivox Parish Church?
Answer: St Quivox Parish Church belongs to Church of Scotland denomination.

The power of Christian prayer Abide in my heart
Come, Lord Jesus, and abide in my heart. How grateful I am to realize that the answer to my prayer does not depend on me at all. As I quietly abide in You and let Your life flow into me, what freedom it is to know that the Father does not see my threadbare patience or insufficient trust, rather only Your patience, Lord, and Your confidence that the Father has everything in hand. In Your faith I thank You right now for a more glorious answer to my prayer than I can imagine. Amen.
St Quivox Parish Church listing was last updated on the 15th of November, 2019
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