Coylton (Scots: Culton) is a village and civil parish in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Ayr, and 2.5 miles (4.0 km) west of Drongan, on the A70. Sundrum Castle Holiday Park is to the west of the village, in the grounds of Sundrum Castle, which partly dates to the 13th century. A secret passage from the Castle was found during renovations and led through its grounds to the waterfall, however it was sealed as it was deemed too dangerous. A rocking stone stands atop the Craigs of Kyle near Coylton. It weighs about 30 tons and rest upon two stones. A large standing stone known as Wallace's Stone stands nearby.
Professional footballers George Getgood (1892–1970) and David Affleck (1912–1984) were born in Coylton. Coylton was also home to one of Ayrshire's celebrated artists. Robert Bryden (1865–1939) was born in the village. After a period working in Ayr, he became a modeller of bronze busts which are highly regarded. Among his works are bronze portraits of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in Ayr Town Hall. he also specialised in carved wooded figures, a collection of which are to be found at Rozelle. Bryden is also responsible for the Coylton War Memorial.
In its current form the village has various facilities, including a primary school, activity center, tennis courts, a local shop and a petrol station. Recently there has been the construction of further shops that includes a convenience store, butchers (having moved from George Campbell's original store) and a bookmakers. These shops are located on the previous site of Murray's Garage, and the area is aptly named Murray Park. The Coylton Arms, which was recently voted the West FM Pub/Club of the year 2009.
Coylton is one of the smallest Civil parishes in Ayrshire in geographical sense, but it boasted a sizeable population during the peak of the late 19th and early 20th century mining industry. The parish includes the original settlement or Low Coylton, Upper Coylton or Hillhead, Craighall, Woodside, Rankinston and Joppa. The village is said to take its name from "Auld King Coil of Coilsfield" (Coel Hen) but old records have it spelt Quiltoun or Cuilton.
The village at the heart of the parish is almost linear, being spread along the length of the Ayr to Cumnock A70 road - which is used by the heavy trucks sustaining the modern open-cast coal mining industry. Low Coylton is the old village with the Coylton Arms and the few remains of an older life, such as the old kirk of possibly medieval origins and last repaired in 1776, plus the former manse dating from 1839 and itself built on the site of the earlier manse. Hillhead has the current parish church, built in 1836, and some houses that were once late 19th century miner's row houses. Joppa too has some of the older stone housing. But the entire village has suffered from a number of housing developments seeking to provide homes for people working in Ayr and district.
Coylton was once a rural village that was transformed by the development of mining in the area and has changed again with the cessation of all coal mining. The farms, such as that at Duchray, have sustained Ayr's agricultural heritage.
The village of Joppa which was reputedly named for an ale-house kept by a man named Hendry. Local lore has it that he fed his customers with salt herrings which became known as "Joppa hams".
Coylton and Burns
An offshoot of the original trysting thorn, immortalised by Robert Burns in " The Soldier's Return," has been moved from its original site to a spot farther from the road, by Coylton Burns Club. The thorn which is situated on the land of Millmannoch, near Coylton has. romantic memories for many, couples in the village of Coylton and even now the old meeting place of lovers is still popular. The original thorn, which, is known to have been in existence long before Robert Burns' time, died in 1916. The tree was left for two years in the hope that it would recover, but finally it was removed and Mr. J. P. Wilson. Mr. Wilson, an enthusiastic Burns lover, along with a few helpers, 'decided to nurture the shoots which began to grow up on the spot where the old thorn had grown. The shoots sprouted from haws, which had fallen from the parent tree, and the strongest of these was chosen. This shoot flourished, but because it was so near the roadway many people, instead, of cutting sprigs from it, broke pieces off. This was gradually killing the tree and Coylton Burns Club finally decided the if the thorn was to be preserved it would require to be moved farther from the roadway and railed in.
This work was carried out by member's of the Club and the operation been completed and a verse from The Soldier's Return" inscribed inside the railing. The ballad itself was written by Burns long after he left Ayrshire. His reference to the trysting thorn which occurs in the third verse is as follows: -
"At length I reach'd the bonnie glen
Where early life I sported;
I pass'd the mill, an' trysting thorn,
Where Nancy aft I courted."
Coylton Tennis Club
A tennis club at Coylton was started in 1927/1928 by the young people of Coylton. Information around this time is rather sketchy. However, during the war years tennis was suspended.
In 1946/47 the club appears to have started up once more and seems to have been in quite a healthy state with play one blaes court with the later addition of a club house. Alex Murray (one of the four brothers who owned the local garage), an existing tennis club member, remembers playing tennis in the 50's on this surface. At this time there was a fairly strong membership with about equal numbers of male and female members. National Service, however, meant that many young men were called up and limited information exists about the fate of tennis in Coylton which appears to have been suspended once more.
The present club was started by the local postmistress, Mrs. Traynor in 1979 after a lapse of many years. We had one all weather court and a few dedicated adults who negotiated with the local council to arrange playing times on the village court. Junior membership was built up by having weekly coaching from Frank Paul and tournaments every Sunday, open to all the juniors in the village run by Mrs E Ross. Gradually membership and enthusiasm increased and several members became coaches, enabling the club to offer their own junior and senior coaching sessions.
In 1982 two new courts were produced by Kyle and Carrick District Council. The club flourished with increased membership and coaches. Despite only having two courts, we entered gents and ladies teams in the Ayrshire league and had to obtain the use of a third court from a local caravan park.(a present annually of a bottle of Scotch sealed the deal!). The introduction of teams at junior level quickly followed with continued success.
In the early 90's, the small stone pavilion which we shared with the local football club was extended by means of a donation from the Opencast Mining Company to incorporate a small room enabling us to entertain visiting teams. The main drawback was that this facility could not remain open for the use of members or the dissemination of information.
In 1995 a new sports centre was built in Coylton on the site of our existing courts. The club benefited by having three brand new tenni top surface courts with floodlighting which we now lease from South Ayrshire Council and finally the club purchased a portacabin as a club house. In the last couple of years we have built a more permanent structure for our club house and hope to complete this in the near future with all the required facilities.
The club continues to flourish with five adult teams and a very strong junior section also participating locally with noted success. We have managed to produce players at district, County, South of Scotland level and also one at national level, who has gone on to become a Scottish coach with Tennis Scotland.
- The Online Scots Dictionary
- The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. 1854. Vol.I. (AAN-GORDON) by Rev. John Marius Wilson. p.306 http://archive.org/stream/imperialgazettee01wils#page/306/mode/1up
- Paterson, James (1863). History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton. Vol. I. - Kyle. James Stillie, Edinburgh. pp.217–218.
- Coylton, Gazetteer for Scotland
- Coylton, Ayrshire Roots
- Sundrum Castle web site
- , Coylton Tennis Club
- , History of coylton
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