The History of Maybole

Maybole is the market town of North Carrick, South Ayrshire

Known for its historic buildings, its stunning castle, beautiful surrounding villages, it’s welcoming, active and dynamic community and fertile, rolling countryside. For more information on the history of Maybole click the button below.

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Duncan, Earl of Carrick, granted a charter to the monks of Melrose Abbey of the lands of “Meibothelbeg and Bethoc in Carric” for the building of a church dedicated to St Cuthbert.


Crossraguel Abbey founded by Duncan, Earl of Carrick.


Robert the Bruce born at Turnberry Castle.


The oldest surviving building in Maybole is the one familiarly known as “the Auld College” Built by Sir John Kennedy of Dunure, in 1441 it became a Collegium holding daily services like a cathedral, and was the first of its kind in Scotland.

Mid 1500

Maybole Castle built by Gilbert 3rd Earl of Cassillis.


A Charter of Barony granted, on behalf of King James V, by the Regent Duke of Albany to Lord Cassillis. This gave Maybole the right to hold markets and to appoint Bailies to govern the town.


Maybole Castle built by Gilbert 3rd Earl of Cassillis.


John Knox was challenged by Quintin Kennedy, Abbot of Crossraguel, to a public debate about the doctrine of the Mass. It was held in the house of the Provost of the Collegiate Church in the Back Vennel, later called the Red Lion Brae and now John Knox Street.


The town purchased the land and town house from the Lairds of Blairquhan and used it as a Tolbooth. It was extended in Scots Baronial Style in 1887 to create the present Town Hall. The original bell dated 1696 can still be viewed in the Council Chambers.


The Covenanters’ Memorial commemorates six Covenanters from Maybole who lost their lives when the slave ship, the Crown of London, was shipwrecked in 1679. They were being transported to the North American plantations as slaves because of their Covenanting beliefs.


William Burnes and Agnes Broun, parents of Robert Burns were married in Maybole.


Robert Burns attended school in Kirkoswald. Maybole’s William Niven attended the same school and they regularly corresponded after their schooldays; the earliest letters from Burns’ pen are addressed to Niven.


John Loudon McAdam was born in Ayr in 1756 and educated at a school in Maybole. From 1785 to 1798 he lived at Sauchrie, a few miles out of the town. He first carried out his experiments in ‘Macadamising” on the stretch of roadway between where the Station Bridge is now sited in Culzean Road and Whitefaulds Farm.


Poet John Keats visited Maybole.


Alexander Jack started the Agricultural Implements Factory.


Roderick Lawson became minister of the West Parish Church and stayed for 34 years. He wrote a monthly newsletter which had a circulation of 1,600 with about 1,100 distributed in the town of Maybole and 500 sent to different parts of the world.


Author Robert Louis Stevenson visited Maybole and wrote “A Winter’s Walk in Carrick”.


By this time, there were ten shoe factories in full production employing 1,500 workers and producing about one million pairs of boots and shoes annually. Shops were opened throughout the whole of Britain, named “The Maybole Shoe Shop”, (one being opened as far away as Manitoba) and these sold the products of the factories direct to the customers.


The Carnegie Library built, architect was James Kennedy Hunter of Ayr.


Due to decline in the boot and shoe industry, many of the townsfolk emigrated; with a number going to Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, where there is still a district known as “Wee Maybole”.


Robert MacBryde, well known artist of the ‘Modern’ School of Art, was born.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visited Maybole.

1965 – 1975

New Industries came to Maybole; Fergus Fons (Audiophile turntables), Wm Clark Stevens Printers, International Packaging Corporation, Sea G-G Fish Processing, Saracens, Morrison Carpet Yarns, Hunter Wilson Engineers, Monteith Ltd slipper factory, CAPS Acoustic Tiles.

1975 – 1977

Maybole Town Council dissolved with local government reorganisation. Maybole Community Association and Maybole Community Council created.


Maybole twinned with Crosne, France. Further twinnings were with Beloeil, Belgium in 1997 and with Schotten, Germany in 2000.


“Robert Burns – Where it Began” – Maybole celebrated the 250th anniversary of the marriage of the parents of Robert Burns.


Tiles by J. Duncan Ltd Glasgow recovered from Co-op butcher’s shop and later set up as a permanent display in the Community Garden at the Town Hall.

2016 – 2017

Maybole celebrates 500 years since being granted Burgh of Barony status.


Maybole bypass starts work.