Abbey Tower Heritage Centre Logo
OPENING TIMES. Easter weekend, Fid, Sat, Mon, 11-3pm. Sun 1-3pm.
Mid-May to mid-September, Friday-Sunday, 1-3pm.

Visits for organised groups may be possible outwith these hours. Please email for details

St Winin
The town of Kilwinning takes its name from Winin, a holy man, who built his church on the banks of the River Garnock, circa 6th - 8th centuries. His success as a preacher and the
many miraculous cures attributed to his name were instrumental in his eventual canonisation and elevation to sainthood.
Kilwinning Abbey Tower - picture

The Abbey Tower
The original Abbey Tower was the last of three steeples which adorned the ancient abbey. Two of the steeples were demolished following the Reformation, the third remained standing for a further two hundred years. The foundation stone of the new tower was laid with full masonic orders on the 21st December 1814, and the new structure completed on the 12th November 1816, at a total cost of 1590.
Cunninghame District Council, the precedent of the present North Ayrshire Council, has carried out an extensive refurbishment programme completed in 1995.

The Tower is now open to visitors and contains many items of local interest, an example being information boards on the history of the mediaeval abbey and the poet Robert Service, known as The Bard of the Yukon, who lived in the town as a child, and possibly the only poet who became a millionaire; Masonic items; models of the medieval abbey and Eglinton Castle in its heyday; and a display of antique items relating to the Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers, including  a unique longbow, made locally. Volunteer guides will take visitors up the 143 steps to the roof of the Tower for panoramic views of the Ayrshire coast and the Clyde islands, visiting the 1816 clock and bell mechanisms on the way. The Exhibition
Archer's trophy The Archers
The ancient Society of the Kilwinning Archers is believed to date back to 1483.
Archery like many early sports was originally designed to teach local people how to defend themselves in the event of war. The most popular training was in the use of bow and arrow. 
 In common with most European countries one type of target practice was to tie a live bird to a pole and allow the contestants to shoot at it. The name given to this target was the popinjay or papingo. At a later date the live bird was replaced with a wooden bird with detachable wings.
To this very day the sport continues in Kilwinning. The Annual Papingo Shoot is held in the grounds of the old Abbey on the afternoon of the first Saturday in June when the wooden bird is mounted on a pole suspended from the Abbey Tower.
The Archers trophy can be seen at the Kilwinning Library.

The Tower is staffed by volunteers from Kilwinning Heritage on behalf of North Ayrshire Council. More information is available from the KH Facebook page or their website