The catalogue for the Burgh of Prestwick is now available online. This is the first Burgh catalogue to be made available online by Ayrshire Archives and has been extensively restructured and extended by the Archives team. This has enabled us to provide access to 1832 items that were previously unavailable to the general public. Prestwick is one of the earliest Burghs of Barony dating from at least 1174 but potentially as early as 983. The oldest document we have in this collection dates from 1446 (BP1/1/1) which is a notarial instrument regarding royal letters to Sir John Walas of Cragyne discussing the wrongful occupation of the Burgh’s common and property. The collection covers 1446 to 1975 when the Police Burgh was abolished under the terms of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and became part of Kyle and Carrick District and Ayr Sub-region of Strathclyde.
This collection contains a range of document types including official minutes of the Town Council, legal documents, accounts and correspondence. These give an overview of how Prestwick Burgh operated and what problems were faced. BP/4, Town Council Correspondence, is full of interesting cases that show the range of people’s experiences. The theft of vegetables is a recurring theme! BP/4/13/142 details the case of Agnes Lymbarer and Mr and Mrs Mathieson who were accused of stealing cabbages and green kale plants from John Smith and selling them in Ayr. Disputes could escalate into violence and intimidation, with many depositions and witness statements recorded in BP/4. BP/4/5/58 contains a deposition of two weavers who challenged each other to a ‘duell’ on the shore after the manhood of one was questioned by the other. BP4/5/181 documents the complaint by George Miller that he had been threatened by James Nesbit, after Miller refused to play his fyfe. This led to an effigy of Miller being made and burnt. The accounts and receipts give insight into the everyday life of those in Prestwick, including multiple receipts for food and drink consumed by the Freemen and regular accounts from John Dodd and his son, Adam, for catching moles.