Maybole, pp.337-342.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   MAYBOLE, a populous and important parish, occupying the north-west corner of the district of Carrick, Ayrshire. It is bounded on the west and north-west by the frith of Clyde; on the north-east by Ayr; on the east by Dalrymple and Kirkmichael; and on the south and south-west by Kirkoswald. Its greatest length, in a straight line, is 9 miles, but by the nearest practicable road is 12; its greatest breadth, in a straight line, is 5 miles, but by the nearest practicable road is 7; and its area is 33¼ square miles. The eastern and south-eastern districts are an undulating plain, very diversified in surface, never subsiding long into a level, nor ever rising into decided upland. The other districts are a sea of heights, partly arable, and partly pastoral, so pleasingly and rapidly diversified in superficial outline as to want nothing but a free interspersion of wood to be delightful rambling-ground to a lover of tine scenery. Along the middle of the hill district, parallel with the frith, and 1½ mile distant from it, stretches a range of summits nearly 2 miles long, attaining an extreme altitude of 924 feet above sea-level, and bearing the name of Brown Carrick hill. This range, though heathy in itself, and rising like a screen to intercept a view of the gorgeous frith and its frame-work from the interior, commands one of the most gay, magnificent, and extensive prospects in Scotland. On the south-east and south stretches the rugged and surgy surface of Carrick, expanding away in alternations of green height and brown bold upland till it becomes lost among the blue and hazy peaks of the southern Highlands of Scotland; on the south-west and west are the broad and brilliant waters of the frith of Clyde, with many a sail like a sea-bird skimming the surface, and the rock of Ailsa riding like an ark on the wave, and with the sublime frame-work of the bold and serrated mountains of Arran veiled in misty exhalations, or festooned and curtained with clouds of every form and hue; on the north, immediately under his eye, extends the huge sylvan furrow of the Doon, with the monument of Burns glittering like a gem on its edge; and away thence stretches the luxuriant and vast plain of Kyle and Cunningham pressed inward in a long sweeping segment by the frith, gaily spotted and chequered with towns which look like cities in the distance, with a profusion of mansions and demesnes, and with all the adornings of a rich and well-cultivated country, and gliding dimly away in the perspective into the gentle heights of Renfrewshire, overlooked in the far horizon by the blue or clouded summit of Benlomond. The same prospect, in much of its extent and most of its elements, is seen from a thousand vantage-grounds of this arousing and inspiriting land of beauty; but nowhere are its scope so unbroken, its groupings so superb, and its effect upon the mind so exquisitely thrilling. Should any one wonder that Burns grew up on the threshhold of this home of romance, and for many years might have daily gazed on its gorgeous visions, and yet has not made an allusion to it in his writings, he must remember that the bard, though possessing a keen and delighted eye for the beauties of nature, was the painter rather of manners than of landscape, – the type in poetry not of Salvator Rosa, but of Hogarth and the limners of Holland. The river Doon, over 4½ miles in a straight line, but over 7 or 8 along its numerous graceful curvatures, forms the boundary-line on the north-east. But over ¼ of a mile above its embouchure it forsakes its ancient bed, and places a small portion of the parish, a piece of haugh-ground, on its left bank. Along nearly all its connexion with Maybole, it has a deeply-furrowed, dell-like path, profusely and beautifully covered with copsewood and trees. Girvan-water forms the boundary for a short distance on the south-east; and is there a mirthful fine-clad stream. Rannoch-burn, running 2¾ miles westward along an entwisting glen to the sea, traces part of the southern boundary. The interior running waters, owing to the configuration of the surface, are necessarily mere rills: the largest gathers a considerable volume in five or six sources on Brown Carrick hill, and runs in an easterly course of 4 miles to the Doon near Auchendrum. Of four or five tiny lochlets, all lying in the south-east, the only noticeable one is Heart-loch, whose outline is exactly designated by its name, and whose appearance in a wooded hollow, with vegetation coming freely up on the outer surface of its waters, is softly beautiful. Perennial springs of excellent water are numerous, especially on the site and in the vicinity of the town; and one of them, called the Well-trees’ Spout, emits a stream powerful enough to drive a mill wheel, or between 160 and 170 imperial gallons per minute. Of various mineral springs, formerly of medicinal repute, but all now neglected, the most remarkable is St. Helen’s-well, 2¼ miles north of the town on the high road to Ayr, – anciently associated with Popish superstition, and reputed to have the power on May-day of healing or invigorating sick or delicate infants. The geological structure of the coast is interesting for its correspondence with the strata of Arran. Nearly 1,000 acres in the parish are planted, about 3,000 are moorland and hill and meadow pasture, and between 16,000 and 17,000 are in tillage. Considerable attention, though by no means so much as in any Cunningham parish, is paid to the dairy. Towers or castles, the ancient residences of brawling feudal chiefs, were numerous, amounting in all to at least 15. – Dunure castle is perched on the brink of a projecting rock, 3 miles south-west of the Heads of Ayr, rises high above the waves, bears evident marks of high antiquity, was formerly surrounded by a ditch and a wall, and presents to the mind a sort of rude and gloomy grandeur. – Grenand, or Greenan castle, half-way between the mouth of the Doon and the Heads of Ayr, is a tall, gaunt, lanthorn-looking pile, rising nakedly upon the margin of the sea, on a stripe of level beach, flanked by a bold bank; and, as seen with the Clyde for its back-ground, it has a haggard aspect, strikingly suggestive of the misery of feudal times. – The castles of Newark, Dunduff, and Kilkenzie, like the two just named, are quite superannuated, yet not strictly ruinous; but, all the others – the castles of Auchendrane, Smithstown, Beoch, Craigskean, Garryhorne, Doonside, Dalduff, Glenayas, Sauchrie, and Brochlock, are much dilapidated, or have left but a few vestiges. – Numerous camps occur, so small and of such rude construction, as evidently to have been thrown up by small invading bodies of those Irish who subdued the Romanized British tribes. Tumuli, the burying-places of a field of carnage, are frequent. The whole parish, as we shall more fully see in our notice of the town, was, in common with districts around it, fiercely tyrannized over in ancient times by the Kennedies; and exhibits not a few memorials of having been the constant scene of murders, melees, feuds, and crimes of atrocity perpetrated by these despots and their underlings. So vast was the Kennedies’ power, and so keen their feudal partisanship, that an old ballad says:- 

” ‘Twixt Wigton and the town of Air, 

And Iaigh doon, by the Cruves o’ Creo 

Yon shall not get a lodging there 

Except ye court a Kennedy.” 

Culroy, a clean, rural, little village, stands 3½ miles north of the town on the low road to Ayr. Dunure, the only other village, is small and unprosperous; yet has the character of a sea-port. Its harbour, immediately north of Dunure-castle, is situated on the west side of a small bay, and on a projecting point of land, 7 miles south of the town of Ayr. Round the point of land, the water is from 4 to 20 fathoms deep, with a level, clean, sandy bottom, and good anchorage. From this deep water, a passage is cut 150 feet wide at bottom, through the rock, to a square basin which comprehends from 700 to 1,000 feet of quay. The whole of the basin is completely sheltered by high ground, and screened by lines of buildings forming a square. The access from the sea is easy and safe in almost any wind; and the egress is so facile, that a vessel, as soon as she gets out of the mouth of the harbour, can at any time and at once work to sea. The depth of water in the passage and the basin is 12 feet at ordinary spring tides; but it is capable of being artificially increased to nearly 30 feet. Yet good, and seemingly very valuable as Dunure harbour is – especially on a coast so inhospitable to shipping as that of Ayrshire – it has hitherto, since its construction in 1811, been of small practical use, and has even been allowed to crumble toward ruin. An occasional sloop freighted with lime or bone-dust, and a few fishing-boats, are the only craft which grace it with their presence, or which the inhabitants of the circumjacent country require for their Lilliputian commerce. The parish, besides having some cross-roads, is traversed by three leading lines of road diverging from the town and converging at Ayr, – the coast road wending semicircularly down Rancoch-glen, and along the coast, – the high road leading nearly in a straight line, but over very uneven ground, to Ayr, – and the low road running eastward of the former, and used as the thoroughfare of the Glasgow and Port-Patrick mail. Population, in 1801, 3,162; in 1831, 6,287. Houses 798. Assessed property, in 1815, £19,716. 

   Maybole is in the presbytery of Ayr, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Patron, the Crown. Stipend £314 6s. 7d.; glebe £30. Unappropriated teinds £70 7s. 2d. The parish-church was built in 1808, and altered and improved in 1830. Sittings 1,192. A preaching-station in connexion with the Establishment, and accommodated generally in a barn and occasionally in a school-house, was in 1836, commenced in the district beyond Brown Carrick hill, by the parish schoolmaster, a licentiate of the Established church. Another preaching-station was occasionally maintained by the parish-minister in the village of Culroy. An United Secession congregation was established in the town in 1797; and, in the same year, built a place of worship at the cost of £400. Sittings 555. Stipend £100. A Methodist chapel in the town was, in 1836, occupied once a-month as an outpost of the Episcopalian minister of Ayr, but has since been unused by any congregation. Sittings from 150 to 200. The population, according to a survey by the parish-minister and his elders in 1835, consisted then of 5,033 churchmen and 1,329 dissenters, – in all, 6,362 persons. The parish-school, conducted by a master and an assistant, was attended, in 1834, by 156 scholars; and 12 other schools, conducted by 13 teachers, were attended by 605. Parish schoolmaster’s salary £34, with from £90 to £100 fees. – The present parish comprehends the ancient parishes of Maybole on the south, and Kirkbride on the north. The church of Maybole, anciently dedicated to St. Cuthbert, was given, in the reign of Alexander II. by Duncan of Carrick, son of Gilbert of Galloway, to the Cistertian nuns of North Berwick, whose convent was founded soon after 1216; and continued to belong to them, and to figure as a vicarage established by the bishop of Glasgow till the Reformation. The entire revenues of the vicarage were estimated in the reign of James V. at only £53 6s. 8d.; and half of even these was annexed, for some time before the Reformation, to the prebend called Sacrista Major in the collegiate church of Glasgow. At the Restoration, the revenues of the parsonage, the glebe excepted, were held on lease by Thomas Kennedy of Bargany, for the yearly payment of £22, twenty oxen, and twelve cows. In 1451, a chaplainry was founded in the church by Sir Gilbert Kennedy of Dunure, dedicated to St Ninian, and endowed with the lands of Largenlen and Brochlock. A chapel, subordinate to the parish-church, anciently stood on the lands of Auchendrane : and other chapels, according to a manuscript account of Carrick, by Mr. Abercromby, minister of Maybole at the period, were traceable at the end of the 17th century. – The church of Kirkbride was given to the same parties as the church of Maybole, and by the same donor, and continued in their possession till the Reformation. The annexation of its parish to Maybole occurred probably in the days of Popery, and certainly before 1597. In that year, the church of Maybole figures as the place of worship for both parishes, and, by an act of parliament, was formally separated from the convent of North Berwick, and established as a rectory. The ruins of the church of Kirkbride, on the shore about half-a-mile north of Dunure castle, are still distinctly observable, surrounded by a burying-ground which continues to be used, and in the vicinity of a field which bears the name of the priest’s land or glebe. – In 1371, Sir John Kennedy of Dunure founded, near the parish cemetery of Maybole, a chapel for one clerk and three chaplains; dedicated it to the Virgin Mary, and endowed it with the five mark lands of Barrycloych and Barrelach; the six mark lands of Treuchan, and various other sources of revenue. This collegiate chapel seems to have been the earliest establishment of its class in Scotland; and afterwards, when similar ones arose, it was called a collegiate church, and its officiates were styled provost and prebendaries. During part of the reigns of James III. and James IV., Sir David Robertson was provost; and, in 1525, Mr. Walter Kennedy, rector of Douglas, canon of Glasgow, and rector of the university of Glasgow, was appointed to the office. The ground on which the town stands, belonged to the collegiate church. Two houses, which were the domiciles of two of its priests, and orchards which belonged to the domiciles of the others, still exist. The church itself is now the burying-place of the Marquis of Ailsa and other parts, whose ancestors arrested the progress of the pile toward ruin; and is surrounded by a planted and neat patch of ground enclosed within a wall. 

   MAYBOLE, a burgh-of-barony, an ancient town, and still the reputed capital of Carrick, stands near the southern extremity of its cognominal parish, on the mailroad between Glasgow and Port-Patrick; 12 miles from Girvan, 25 from Ballantrae, 9 from Ayr, 22 from Kilmarnock, 44 from Glasgow, and 81 from Edinburgh. It stands chiefly on the declivity and partly along the skirts of a very broad-based and flattened hill, with an exposure to the east, the summit of the hill intervening between it and the frith and coast of the Clyde; and it commands a pleasant and somewhat extensive view over one-half of the points of the compass into the interior of Carrick. An old rhyme, using one of several obsolete variations of the town’s ancient name says, – 

“Minnibole’s a dirty hole,  

It sits aboon a mire.” 

This representation, in the sense usually attached to it of the town being situated on miry ground, is now, and probably always was, incorrect. A broad belt of deep green meadow, nearly as level as a bowling-green, stretches along the base of the hill, and seems anciently to have been a marsh; but it could not have been a marsh of a miry kind, or otherwise than green and meadowy, nor does it, even at present, form the site of more than a very small and entirely modern part of the town. The whole ancient site is declivitous, abounding with copious springs of pure water; and, not improbably was clothed in its natural state with heath. Two sets of names, both very various in their orthography, but represented by the forms Maiboil and Minnybole, were anciently given to the town; they have greatly perplexed etymologists, and seem to have bewildered the usually astute George Chalmers; but they may, Professor Gray thinks, be referred to Gaelic roots, which make them mean, ‘the Heath-ground upon the marsh,’ and ‘the Heath-ground upon the meadow.’ A town built upon a heathy declination, and closely skirted by a meadow, or even a grassy marsh, may thus, without ‘sitting aboon a mire,’ be both ‘Minnibole’ and Maybole. The lower streets of the town, called Kirklands, Newyards, and Ballong, are not within the limits of the burgh, and consist almost wholly of weavers’ houses and workshops, tidier and in every respect better than similar buildings in most other towns. The main street runs nearly north and south, and – with the exception of a brief thoroughfare going off westward at right angles from its middle – occupies the highest ground within the burgh. A considerable space, deeply sloping between it and the low-lying suburbs, is disposed to a small extent in the ancient cemetery and the relics of the collegiate church; to a greater extent in four or five incompact and irregularly arranged streets; and to a yet greater extent in fields and gardens which give all the intersecting thoroughfares a straggling or detached appearance, and impart to the whole town a rural, airy, and healthful aspect. The only parts which draw the attention of a stranger, are the Main street, and what is called the Kirk-wynd. These are narrow, and of varying width, quite destitute of every modern attraction, and sinless of all the ordinary graces of a fine town; yet they possess many features of antique stateliness, decayed and venerable magnificence, and even fading dashes of metropolitan greatness, which strongly image the aristocratical parts of Edinburgh during the feudal age. As the capital of Carrick, the place anciently wielded more influence over its province than the modern metropolis of the kingdom does over Scotland, and was the site of winter-residences of a large proportion of the Carrick barons. As the seat, also, of the courts of justice of Carrick bailiery, – the place where all cases of importance in a roistering and litigating age were tried, – it derived not a little outward respectability from the numbers and wealth of the legal practitioners who made it their home. In connexion, too, with its collegiate church and its near vicinity to Crossraguel abbey, it borrowed great consequence from the presence of mitred or influential ecclesiastics who, in a dark age, possessed more resources of power and opulence than most of the nobility. No fewer than 28 baronial mansions, stately, turreted, and strong, are said to have stood within its limits. Two of several of these which still remain figure in association with such interesting history that they must be specially noticed. 

   The chief is the ancient residence of the Ailsa or Cassilis family, the principal branch of the Kennedys. The building stands near the middle of the town, bears the name of the Castle par excellence, and is a high, well-built, imposing pile, one of the strongest and finest of its class. It was the place of confinement for life of the Countess of Cassilis, a daughter of the 1st Earl of Haddington, who eloped with the Gipsy leader, Johnnie Faa. [See article CASSILIS CASTLE.] The town’s-people assume looks of solemn mystery when turning a stranger’s attention to the building, and tell strange traditions respecting the lady and her days of duresse. The Earls of Cassilis, directly and through the medium of collateral branches of their family, wielded such power over the province that they were called both popularly and by historiographers, “Kings of Carrick;” and they used the castle of Maybole as the metropolitan palace of their “kingdom.” Gilbert, the 4th Earl, who lived in the unsettled period succeeding the commencement of the Reformation, pushed his power into Galloway, and by murder and forgery seized the large possessions of the abbey of Glenluce. He, for some time, saw his uncle abbot of Crossraguel; but, the office passing to Allan Stewart, who enjoyed the protection of the Laird of Bargany, he rapaciously desired to lay hands on all its revenues and temporal rights. His brother, Thomas Kennedy, having at his instigation enticed Stewart to become his guest, the unprincipled Earl conveyed the ensnared abbot to Dunure castle, the original residence of the Cassilis family, and there, by subjecting him to such torments as have rarely occurred but among the American Indians, or in the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition, forced him to resign by legal instruments the possessions of the abbacy. A feud arose from this event, or was aggravated by it, between the Earls of Cassilis and the Lairds of Bargany, and at last issued in very tragical events. In December, 1601, the Earl of Cassilis rode out from Maybole castle at the head of 200 armed followers to waylay the Laird of Bargany on a ride from Ayr to his house from Girvan-water; and on the farm of West Enoch, about half-a-mile north of the town, he forced on the Laird an utterly unequal conflict, and speedily brought him and several faithful adherents gorily to the ground. The Laird, mortally wounded, was carried from the scene of the murderous onset to Maybole, that be might there, if he should evince any symptom of recovery, be despatched by the Earl as ‘Judge Ordinar’ of the country; and thence he was removed to Ayr, where he died in a few hours. Flagrant though the murder was, it not only – through manoeuvring and state influence highly characteristic of the period – passed with impunity, but was formally noted by an act of council as good service to the King. The Laird of Auchendrane, son-in-law of the murdered baron, was one of the few adherents who bravely but vainly attempted to parry the onslaught, and he received some severe wounds in the encounter. Thirsting for revenge, and learning that Sir Thomas Kennedy of Colzean, intended to make a journey to Edinburgh, he so secretly instigated a party to waylay and murder him, that no witness existed of his connexion with them except a poor student of the name of Dalrymple, who had been the bearer of the intelligence which suggested and guided the crime. Dalrymple now became the object of his fears; and, after having been confined at Auchendrane, and in the isle of Arran, and expatriated for five or six years a soldier, he returned home, and was doomed to destruction. Mure, the Laird, having got a vassal, called James Bannatyne, to entice him to his house, situated at Chapel-Donan, a lonely place on the coast, murdered him there at midnight, and buried his body in the sand. The corpse, speedily unearthed by the tide, was carried out by the assassin to the sea at a time when a strong wind blew from the shore, but was very soon brought back by the waves, and lodged on the very scene of the murder. Mure, and his son who aided him in the horrid transactions, fell under general suspicion, and now endeavoured to destroy Bannatyne, the witness and accomplice of their guilt; but the unhappy peasant making full confession to the civil authorities, they were brought up from an imprisonment into which the King, roused by general indignation, had already thrown them, and were placed at the bar, pronounced guilty, and summarily and ignominiously put to death. These sanguinary and dismal transactions form the groundwork of Sir Walter Scott’s dramatic sketch, called ‘Auchendrane, or the Ayrshire Tragedy.’ 

   The house now occupied as the Red Lion inn, was anciently the mansion of the provost, and is notable as the scene of a set debate between John Knox, the reformer, and Quentin Kennedy, uncle of the 4th Earl of Cassilis, and abbot of Crossraguel. An account of the transaction, written by Knox himself, was, with all its obsoleteness of verbiage and antiqueness of phraseology, republished in 1812 by Sir Alexander Boswell, from a copy – the only one extant – in his library at Auckinleck. The debate was occasioned by a challenge, on the part of the abbot, given in the church of Kirkoswald; it was arranged in the course of an interesting correspondence, during which Knox laboured to obtain for it a large audience and conspicuous publicity; it was conducted in a dingy, pannelled apartment, in the presence of 80 persons equally selected by the antagonists, and included several nobles and influential gentlemen; it lasted for three days, and was eventually broken off through the want of suitable accommodation for the persons and retinues of the select auditors; it consisted partly of idle quibbling and logomachy, partly on Knox’s side of powerful and impassioned appeal, chiefly of controversy respecting the priesthood and offering of Melchizedek in connexion with the doctrines of sacrifice and the popish mass, and in no degree of argument on the grand points at issue between Romanists and the Reformed; and it ended in the virtual prostration of the abbot under the weight of Knox’s blows, and in healthfully arousing and directing public attention as to the foul doctrinal corruptions of the Romish creed. The members of a ‘Knox club,’ instituted in the town to commemorate the event, and consisting of all classes of Protestants, hold a triennial festival to demonstrate their warm sense of the religious and civil liberties which have accrued from the overthrow of the Romish domination. 

   The noticeable civil buildings, additional to the two mentioned, are the ancient town-residence of the Lairds of Blairquhan, now used as the tolbooth, – the ancient residence of the Lairds of Kilhenzie, now the White Horse inn, – the ancient residence of the Kennedys of Knockdow, now called the Black house, – the house occupied by Sir Thomas Kennedy of Colzean, now the property of Mr. Niven of Kirkbride, – the ancient residence of the Kennedys of Ballimore, situated in the Kirk-wynd, – the ancient residence of the abbots of Crossraguel, called the Garden of Eden, – and the Town-hall, a cumbrous old pile with a low, heavy, spiral tower, situated at the Cross. Though the town has not one modern public civil building, it abounds in commodious and comfortable dwelling-houses, greatly superior, for every domiciliary use, to even the best of its remaining baronial mansions. The parish-church is a plain edifice, and might even claim to be neat were it not disfigured by a small steeple which looks like a burlesque upon architecture. The United Secession chapel arrests attention chiefly for having a deep slice cut away from one of its corners, – occasioned by a very bigotted and discreditable attempt to prevent its erection. 

   Maybole, in every thing except its buildings, has been singularly denuded of its ancient character; and, after passing through a season of great depopulation and decline consequent on the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions, has risen into considerable importance as a busy outpost of the cotton-manufacturers of Glasgow, and a ready receptacle of the immigrant weavers of Ireland. It has no manufacture whatever of its own, beyond the usual produce of handicraftsmen for local use; and figures simply as a seat of population, where the Irish weavers and the agents of Scottish employers conveniently meet. Incomers from Ireland have been so numerous as almost to counterbalance the aboriginal inhabitants, and give law to the place; and, many of them being Orangemen, they make periodical party-demonstrations, such as give some trouble to the sheriff, and excel in boldness most which occur in even Orangeized Ulster. Excepting a few coarse woollens and blankets, all the fabrics woven are pullicates, imitation thibets, and mull and jaconet muslins. Maybole, jointly with the villages of Crosshill and Kirkmichael, had, in 1828, 1,700 hand-looms, and, in 1838, 1,360. The gross average of wages earned by each weaver is about 6 shillings per week. The Report of Assistant Hand-loom Weavers’ commissioners, says that the morals of the Maybole weavers are “apparently very low,” and gives some details respecting them and the agents which we do not choose to repeat. The procurator-fiscal believes the value of weft annually stolen in these parishes [Maybole and Kirkmichael], amounts to £1,300 per year, and that warp is sent by ‘small corks’ at Glasgow to certain weavers at Maybole, to be wefted there with ‘bowl’ weft, so called because women who sell bowls were employed to buy it. 

   Maybole appears to have been erected into a burgh-of-barony by a charter of James V., dated at Edinburgh the 24th November, 1516. This charter gave to the inhabitants full power to buy and sell, within the burgh, wine, wax, woollen and linen cloth, and the power and liberty of “having and holding, in the said burgh, bakers, brewers, fleshers, and venders as well of flesh as fish, and all other tradesmen belonging to a free burgh-of-barony.” It granted, likewise, “that there be in the said burgh free burgesses, and that they have power, in all time to come, of electing annually bailies, and all other officers necessary for the government of the said burgh.” The power of electing their own magistrates does not appear to have been exercised by them for more than a century. The records of the burgh prior to 1721 have been lost, but they are preserved from that time, and it appears that the burgh was then, and has ever since been, governed by a council, consisting of 17 members elected for life. When a vacancy occurs by the death or resignation of a councillor, or by his leaving the burgh, it is filled up by a person elected by the remaining councillors. The council choose two bailies and a treasurer yearly out of their own number. The property of the burgh consists of the town-house, flesh-market, and slaughter-house; a piece of ground called the Ball green, and another piece of ground, of about four falls in extent; and a pew in the gallery of the church, occupied by the magistrates and council. There is a debt of £30 due to the burgh from the parish conversion money. The debt due by the burgh amounts to £37 1s. 5d. The revenue is derived partly from the property, and partly from street custom, market-dues, fees from entries of burgesses, amounting to about £5 per annum on the average of the last forty years, and from an annual tax imposed upon the inhabitants, called stent, amounting, for the year 1832, to £40 17s. 6d. The total revenue of the burgh, for the year 1832, was £68 5s., and upon the average of the six years previous it was £65 per annum. The expenditure for the year 1832 was £63 2s. 3d. The magistrates have jurisdiction over the whole burgh, and possess the usual powers of the magistrates of burghs-of-barony, which were independent of the superior previous to the passing of the Act 20, Geo. II. They hold a weekly court, in which petty delinquencies, and personal actions to any amount are tried; and they judge in a summary manner in actions called ‘Causeway complaints,’ when the sum at issue does not exceed 6s. 8d., and in general services of heirs. From 1820 to 1833, the average annual number of criminal cases before the burgh court was 10, of civil cases 7. The magistrates have no assessor but the town-clerk, who has no salary for the judicial part of his duty; and the council patronially elect only the town-clerk, who has £4 4s. a-year and fees, – the procurator-fiscal, who has £2, – the collector of stent, who has 10 per cent, on the amount collected, – and two town-officers, each of whom has £1 1s. and fees. A burgess-right must be obtained by any person who would manufacture or trade within the burgh, and costs to a stranger £1 1s., and to the son of a burgess 10s. 6d. The number of burgesses, in 1833, was 205, of whom 137 were resident. There are not within the burgh any incorporated crafts possessing exclusive privileges. The town is lighted with gas, and supplied with water, from the common good; the police is regulated by the magistrates in virtue of their powers at common law; and the streets are maintained and cleaned at the expense of the turnpike-road trust funds of the county. A weekly market is held on Thursday; and annual fairs are held on the first Tuesday of February, O. S., and on the last Tuesday of April, of July, and of October. The town has branch-offices of the Ayr bank and of the Ayrshire banking company; a savings’ bank; nearly 40 inns and ale-houses; a subscription and circulating library; a parochial school; and an agricultural association called the Carrick Farmers’ society. In 1833, the population, within burgh, was about 3,000, and in the streets of Kirklands, Newyards, and Ballony, about 1,000; and, in the same year, the number of householders within burgh whose rents amounted to £10 was about 55, and in the adjoining streets 27, – of householders whose rents were £5, but less than £10, was within burgh 184, and in the adjoining streets 40. 

   Maybole, till after the commencement of the present century, was, in a great measure, isolated from other towns, and from all Scotland except its own immediate precincts. The deadening influence which fell upon it after it lost its metropolitical character and importance, placed defences around it almost as impassable as the moat and the exterior fortifications of a feudal castle. Access to it was neither invited by its inhabitants, nor desired on the part of most strangers; and by the few who sought it, it was not easily obtained. But – through the exertions chiefly of Mr. Niven of Kirkbride – excellent roads have been opened to it from every direction, and various appliances set up to bring it into terms of free communication with other parts of Scotland. An extensive carrying-trade to Glasgow, rendered necessary since the introduction of cotton weaving, has gradually familiarized it with the metropolis of the west, and has led to a numerous transference of the enterprising or adventure-seeking part of its population. The Glasgow and Port-Patrick mail daily passes through it, to both the north and the south; a stage-coach between Girvan and Ayr runs through it twice a- week; a stage-coach of its own runs daily to Ayr; and an impulse, not of trivial value, has been given by the opening of the Glasgow and Ayr railway. – The climate, though very humid, is said to be markedly salubrious. Maybole escaped the visitation of Asiatic cholera, and is traditionally reported to have escaped the plague. Instances of longevity are numerous. “Within these 5 years,” says the Old Statistical Account, “Mr. David Doig, schoolmaster at Maybole, died at the age of 104. About three years ago, a woman died here, aged 105. In this town there are at present 10 persons, whose ages put together amount to upwards of 900 years.” – The Rev. Dr. Macknight, the well-known theological writer, was minister of Maybole for 16 years, and, respectively in 1756 and 1763, while he held the office, published his ‘Harmony of the Gospels ‘ and his ‘Truth of the Gospel Histories.’ The Rev. Dr. Wright, the author of a volume of Sermons, succeeded Dr. Macknight. A surviving successor is the Rev. George Gray, now Professor of Hebrew and Oriental literature in the University of Glasgow.

One thought on “Maybole, pp.337-342.

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