History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway

A Category A Listed Building in Ayr, South Ayrshire

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 55.4328 / 55°25'58"N

Longitude: -4.6334 / 4°38'0"W

OS Eastings: 233474

OS Northings: 618591

OS Grid: NS334185

Mapcode National: GBR 39.ZXCQ

Mapcode Global: WH2PW.SPSZ

Plus Code: 9C7QC9M8+4J

Entry Name: Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway

Listing Name: Alloway, Burns Cottage Including Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 5 February 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 356757

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB21476

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayr

County: South Ayrshire

Town: Ayr

Electoral Ward: Ayr West

Traditional County: Ayrshire

Find accommodation in


1757, extended 1808 and with later alterations. Single storey, seven-bay, near rectangular-plan (slightly curved) cottage. Clay-bonded walls, harled and whitewashed. Thatched roof.

Southeast (entrance) elevation: square-headed timber entrances to second, fifth and sixth bays; square-headed window openings to remaining bays with timber shutters, with exception of narrow opening to outer right.

Northwest (rear) elevation: five-bay. Timber door to penultimate bay to left; flanking single arrowslit openings; single window to penultimate bay to right; small square opening to outer right.

Southwest (side) elevation: recessed timber entrance door to outer right of gabled elevation.

Northeast (side) elevation: narrow central slit opening to gabled elevation. Timber sash and case windows; timber shutters to Alloway.

Reed thatched roof with deep coping and wooden ridge. Gablehead and ridge coped chimney stacks.

Interior: reconstruction of original uses. Barn to north, used for threshing and storage. Adjacent byre, used as living space for animals, cattle, pony and sometimes sheep and goats; also used by hens and cats which had free-run of cottage. Adjacent North Room - some doubt concerning the use of this room - probably small byre, converted to combined store/milkhouse with additional sleeping space after William Burnes extended cottage. Kitchen stands to south; parts of boxbed and perhaps dresser shelves and doors, original. Stone floors and fireplaces.

Boundary Wall: stone walling to northwest of cottage.

Statement of Interest

The birthplace of Robert Burns (1759-1796), Ayrshire's foremost poet and satirist. The south section of the cottage, the kitchen and a small byre were built by William Burnes before his marriage, and the present byre and barn after this occasion. Subsequently an alehouse, the building remained so until 1880 when it was acquired and restored by the Burns Monument Trustees. Copies of prints held at the National Monuments Record of Scotland show the cottage prior to its 1808 extension.

It is among a relatively small number of traditional buildings with a surviving thatched roof found across Scotland. A Survey of Thatched Buildings in Scotland, published in 2016 by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), found there were only around 200 buildings of this type remaining, most of which are found in small rural communities. Thatched buildings are often traditionally built, showing distinctive local and regional building methods and materials. Those that survive are important in helping us understand these traditional skills and an earlier way of life.

Description updated in 2017. Listed building record revised in 2021 as part of the Thatched Buildings Listing Review.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.