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Tarbolton is located in South Ayrshire
 Tarbolton shown within South Ayrshire
Population 2,300 
Council area South Ayrshire
Lieutenancy area Ayrshire and Arran
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Mauchline
Postcode district KA5
Dialling code 01292
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Central Ayrshire
Scottish Parliament Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
List of places

Coordinates: 55°30′48″N 4°29′12″W / 55.5132°N 4.4866°W / 55.5132; -4.4866

Tarbolton (Scots: Tarbowton)[1] is a village in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is near Failford, Mauchline and Prestwick. The old Fail Monastery was nearby and Robert Burns connections are strong, including the Bachelors' Club museum.

Meaning of place-name[edit]

Tarbolton has been suggested as having one of three meanings:

Hood's Hill or Tarbolton Motte.
  • Village by the tor or hill, from Old English torr 'tor, hill, cliff' and boðl-tun /bothl-tun "village with buildings, equivalent to Bolton in Greater Manchester. The name was recorded as Torbolten in 1138, suggesting this origin.
  • Village by the field and hill, from Old English torr 'tor, hill, cliff' and bāll 'field (not meaning the same as ball 'ball', i.e. football), as in Dunball, Somerset, with tun 'farm, village'. The name's record in writing as Torballtone in 1209 suggests this origin may be possible.
  • Village by the hill, from Celtic torr (where the Old English word is derived from, and baile "village, usually Bally- in Irish place-names, with the tautologous Old English tun "farm, village" added by Anglo-Saxon settlers who did not understand the language. Records of the name as Torbalyrtune in 1148 suggest this origin.


Tarbolton church.

Tarbolton is 7 miles (11 km) east north east from Ayr, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of the town of Kilmarnock, 5 miles (8 km) West of Mauchline and 1 14 miles (2.0 km) from its own railway station (no longer used). It has a school, church, a gospel hall, a Post Office, 3 pubs, and is home to the Bachelors' Club, a frequent haunt of Robert Burns. The village is in Kyle and Carrick.

The monastery and later castle of Fail existed at the hamlet of that name near Fail Toll. Fail Loch once covered a significant area however it survives now only as an area liable to flooding.

Nearby going towards Failford was the Old Montgomery House where Robert Burns love worked.

Tarbolton Primary takes pupils from surrounding farms and from Failford St, a small hamlet north of the village. Its houses are Fail, Afton, Coyle and Montgomery, named after local areas and rivers.

Famous residents[edit]

Famous residents of Tarbolton include striker Kris Boyd.[2]

Boxing legend Evan Armstrong who was British Featherweight Champion from 17 September 1973 until 8 July 1974.

Legendary physicist Craig Robertson grew up in Tarbolton, born in 1978. His achievements include the invention of the "Tarboltatron" - a revolutionary high power microwave source named after his home town.

No longer a resident but born and raised in Tarbolton: John "Ian" (Mighty Mouse) McLauchlan - Scottish Rugby Union Footballer from 1969 until 1979.

Winner of Britain's Got Talent (series 5) 2011, singer Jai McDowall.