ANGEL Inn

This is how the ANGEL INN, Kilmarnock, was described in the 1858 Ordinance survey book:

“A Second Class Inn, three Storeys high, Slated and in good repair, with extensive Out Offices Attached. Situated in Market Lane, Affords good Accommodation.”

In it’s last years, The Angel Inn became “Woolies”:

The Angel Inn was situated on the curve of Market lane:

The Angel inn was well frequented:

The Host and Proprietor, through a considerable part of the 19th century, was John Mitchell:

In 1786, Rabbie Burns wrote a satirical poem called The Ordination based on real events in the Laigh Kirk in Kilmarnock. It includes the lines:

Swith! To the Laigh Kirk, ane an a’
An there tak up your stations;
Then aff to Begbie’s in a raw,
And pour divine libations
For joy this day.

Begbie’s refers to an inn run by a popular local man named John Begbie, although one version of the poem used the name Crooks’s. It has long been assumed that Begbie’s was the Angel Inn, as John Begbie was then the proprietor. This letter was published in the Scotsman in February 1904:

But there is a problem with this account, Frank Spence, a local historian, has uncovered evidence that shows John Begbie did not take over the Angel Inn until May of 1796, a full ten years after the poem was written!

In 1786, when Rabbie wrote his poem, John Begbie was proprietor of the Black Bull Inn, which faced onto the Cross. It was one of the most prominent situations in the town.

This is how THE CROSS was described in the 1858 Ordinance survey book:

“THE CROSS, where the Markets are held, and the Principal resort and Meeting Place of the unemployed and idlers of the Town, it is situated atb the junctions of Seven Streets. The Cross itself is Considered to be the most spacious in the West of Scotland.”

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