"A parish in the county of Berwick, extending about 4½ miles in length, and 4 in breadth. The soil is in general fertile, and is particularly adapted to the culture of turnips and corn. The southern part of the parish is hilly; but even there the soil is productive of corn and grain. Of late this parish has been much improved in its husbandry, and the greatest part is now inclosed. The air is very dry and salubrious. As the sea forms the boundary on the E. it is in general well supplied with fish ... The village of Ayton is situated on the banks of the Eye, and is neatly built upon a sloping bank fronting the south. It contains nearly 600 inhabitants. On the hills are the remains of two camps, supposed to be Roman or Saxon. Urns and broken pieces of armour have been found here. In the low grounds on the N.W. are the vestiges of three encampments, similar to the former. Most of the names of places are derived from the Saxon. The great road from Edinburgh to London passes through the parish. Population in 1801, 1453." From the Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.



The Borders Family History Society has published a booklet of monumental inscriptions for Ayton.

Pre-1855 inscriptions for the parish are contained in the Scottish Genealogy Society's volume of Berwickshire Monumental Inscriptions (Pre-1855).

Nigel Hardie has transcribed and published parish of Ayton burials for 1800-1819.



Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.



Presbyterian / Unitarian
Ayton, Church of Scotland

Church History

The following quotation comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume I, p.115:

"It was anciently united to Coldingham; and at the Reformation it formed a parish in conjunction with Lamberton; but in 1650 Lamberton was disjoined from it."

Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory of 1866 lists the following non-conformist churches:

  • United Presbyterian Church (West)
  • United Presbyterian Church (Summerhill)

Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory of Scotland published in 1837 lists the following non-conformist church in the parish:

  • United Secession

There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.


Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1743. Old Parish Registers (before 1855) are held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, and copies on microfilm may be consulted in local libraries and in LDS Family History Centres around the world. Later parish registers (after 1855) are often held in the National Records of Scotland as are any records of non-conformist churches in the area (often unfilmed and unindexed, and only available there).

The parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include kirk session accounts for the years 1753-1780 (in part 727/2). More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Berwickshire page.

The LDS Family History Library catalogue lists a microfilm version of Kirk sessions records, proclamations of marriage, 1856-1858, Ayton. The catalogue entry (under Scotland/Berwick/Ayton/Church Records) records this as a microfilm of records held at the Scottish Record Office (now called the National Records of Scotland). The microfilm copy in the LDS catalogue should hopefully be viewable at LDS family history centres around the world.

The Scottish Genealogy Society has published "Berwickshire Miscellany - Ayton & Chirnside" containing Ayton Communion Certificates 1829-1848, Ayton Communion Certificates received 1830-1839, Chirnside Male Heads of Families 1834-1837, and Chirnside Register of Interments 1817-1841.


Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For further details of this see the National Records of Scotland website.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Ayton which are provided by:





The History of Ayton and other Personal Recollections is a 48 page booklet published by Ayton Local History Society. Copies can be ordered from the Borders Family History Society who have also blogged about its contents.



Ordnance Survey maps covering Ayton include:

  • Landranger 67: Duns, Dunbar & Eyemouth area - scale 1:50000, or 1.25inch:1mile, or 2cm:1km
  • Pathfinder 423: Eyemouth & Grantshouse - scale 1:25000, or 2.5inch:1mile, or 4cm:1km

Ayton is also covered by an old Victorian one-inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map published by Caledonian Maps. The relevant sheet is sheet number 34 "Eyemouth" which also includes Burnmouth, Chirnside, Cockburnspath, Coldingham, Edrom, Foulden, Grantshouse, Preston and St Abb's Head.

The National Records of Scotland holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:

  • 1786: A farm plan of Redhall showing fields, steadings, roads etc. Scale 1:3200. Size 45x34cm. Grid (map) reference NT9462. NRS reference RHP.644
  • 1810: Plan of estate of Ayton. Scale 1:4800. Size 160x116cm. Grid (map) reference NT9261. NRS reference RHP.3551
  • 1813: Estate of Fairney-side. Scale 1:4800. Size 49x47cm. Grid (map) reference NT9461. NRS reference RHP.1028
  • 1813: Plans of farms of Red Hall and Netherbyres Mill. Scale 1:3200. Size 72x51cm. Grid (map) reference NT9462. NRS references RHP.1212, RHP.1213
  • 1873: Plan of building ground at Burnmouth. Scale 1:2500. Size 73x51cm. Grid (map) reference NT9560. NRS reference RHP.1210
  • 1873: Plan of fisherman's cottages at Partanhall. RHP.1214/1-5
  • 1876: Working plan of proposed extension of pier at Burnmouth harbour. Scale 1:720. Size 86x55cm. Grid (map) reference NT9560. NRS reference RHP.4231
  • 1876: Burnmouth harbour. Scale 1:720. Size 43x41cm. Grid (map) reference NT9560. NRS reference RHP.4232
  • 1882: Plan of Burnmouth harbour. Size 58x44cm. Grid (map) reference NT9560. NAS reference RHP.4233
  • 1883: Burnmouth harbour. Scale 1:720. Size 52x45cm. Grid (map) reference NT9560. NRS reference RHP.4238
  • 1893: Burnmouth harbour. Scale 1:720. Size 77x49cm. Grid (map) reference NT9560. NRS reference RHP.4236

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT930610 (Lat/Lon: 55.842567, -2.113853), Ayton which are provided by:


Military Records

At the time of the Napoleonic wars, lists of young men in parishes were compiled so that should there be a need for them to fight, they could be drafted into the Militia. If there were not enough volunteers for a list, a ballot was used to select names for it.

In their booklet of Ayton monumental inscriptions, the Borders Family History Society has included a transcript of the Ayton militia list.



Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:

  • 1755 - 797
  • 1780 - 1146
  • 1790 - 1245
  • 1801 - 1453
  • 1811 - 1379
  • 1821 - 1481
  • 1831 - 1602
  • 1851 - 1959
  • 1861 - 2014
  • 1871 - 1983
  • 1881 - 2040
  • 1891 - 1827
  • 1901 - 1629
  • 1911 - 1577
  • 1921 - 1521
  • 1931 - 1413
  • 1951 - 1483
  • 1961 - 1769
  • 1971 - 1956


In the 1690s a tax was levied by Parliament on every hearth in Scotland. Both landowners and tenants had to pay this tax and are therefore recorded in the records which were kept at the time. A transcript of the hearth tax records for Ayton (National Records of Scotland reference E69/5/1) is included with the monumental inscriptions published by the Borders Family History Society.

The Borders FHS Ayton monumental inscriptions book also includes a transcript of the Ayton Poll Tax records from 1695 (National Records of Scotland reference GD86/770A).

Most taxation records are held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh.