Pageant of Maybole - Pages 9 - 18
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Jean Hay of Maybole has provided the programme below, published for the Coronation Pageant, held in Maybole on Saturday 30th May 1953. The programme was scanned and converted to text and images by Jim Millar. Click on the images below or use the scroll bar of your browser to view the pages following the table.

 Pages 1 - 8  │ Pages 9 - 18  │ Pages 19 - 28 (photos)   Pages 29 - 38  Pages 39 - 49 Advertisements

Earliest Buildings The Kennedy's The Kennedy's John Knox Roasting of the Commendator
Union of Parliaments Macadam
the Road Builder
Robert Burns Weaving Boot and Shoe Trade

the centuries of these three languages on the native Celtic, produced the rich Ayrshire dialect, the power and beauty of which Robert Burns has demonstrated to the world.



Earliest Buildings —Parish Church

In the eleventh or twelfth century the first buildings were probably erected on the site of Maybole. The earliest form of this name is "Meybothel". This appeared in a charter as follows:

"In 1192, Duncan, the son of Gilbert di Galiveia, gave to God and St. Mary, of Maelros (Melrose) a certain piece of land in Carric (Carrick) named Meybothel, 'for the building of a church'".

Duncan was probably the First Earl of Carrick. "Bothel" means marsh land, and the word therefore probably means "Mary's marsh land". Although little trace of the church exists, the churchyard can still be seen, at the foot of Kirkwynd.

Crossraguel Abbey  

Duncan was also responsible for building Crossraguel Abbey. It was founded about 1260 for Cluniac Monks, as dependency of Paisley Abbey. It was governed by the rules of the Cistercian Order. These rules were strict and for centuries rigidly enforced. The Mother Church of this Order in Scotland was the Monastry at Melrose. The first of these monks to come into Scotland came from the Abbey of Rievalle in the North Riding of Yorkshire. This Order embraced a great community in every country in Europe. It was brought to this island from France, where the Order had been instituted on the Benedictine principles. The world renowned, highly aromatized and very sweet liqueur of this name owes its origin to the Benedictine monks of Fecamp and is possibly the oldest liqueur in the world.

The Abbey was burned by Percy in 1307, when he left Turnberry Castle, but was rebuilt again in the finest Gothic style. It was a combination of baronial keep and church and contained a considerable amount of land.

In 1404 it became a regality by virtue of the charter granted to the Abbot by King Robert III. The Abbot was virtually the King of Carrick, having power over all the people contained in the land lying between the Doon and Stinchar, and extending inland as far as Loch Doon. He had authority over the churches in Kirkoswald, Straiton, Dailly, Girvan and Ballantrae. The Abbot acted as a judge in cases of murder, fire-raising, rape and robbery.

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the King every day for ever and for the souls of all those mentioned in the charter, at a particular altar in the monastery.


The Cistercians were not only concerned with religion but also with education, one of their main tasks being the transcription of books in the days before the invention of printing. Coal mining was also practised in the fourteenth century.


Although the Abbey was badly damaged during the Reformation, it escaped lightly compared to some, and is to-day the most complete example in Scotland, in spite of the ruins having been treated as a quarry up to 1850, the stones being used to build houses. It was inhabited by monks as late as 1592, due no doubt to the friendly protection of the Kennedy Family.


The Kennedys



The word "Kennedy" is derived from the Celtic "Ceannadach", meaning headship. Since the thirteenth century this family has dominated the Carrick scene.


Carrick was included in Galloway until 1186, in which year, Duncan on resigning his claim to the lordship of Galloway was given the Earldom of Carrick. A descendant of his, Neil, Earl of Carrick, had only one child, Marjory. On his death, because he had no male heir, the headship of the clan passed to a male relative, Roland of Carrick, and from him to John Kennedy of Dunure.


Neil's daughter, Marjory, married Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale and Cleveland. One of their children, Robert, inherited the title Earl of Carrick. He was Robert the Bruce, King of Scots.


There are two conflicting explanations of the meeting of Robert and Marjory. In one, Marjory is said to have lost her husband at the siege of Acre in Palestine in 1270. Robert Bruce came back from Palestine to break the ill news. He met her hawking in the grounds of Turnberry Castle, remaining to marry her in 1271. In the other, to quote from "The History of Ayrshire and Its Families" by James Paterson:


"The marriage, which we give in the words of Tytler, was altogether a romantic one:‘About this time (1268) happened an incident of a romantic nature, with which important consequences were connected. A Scottish knight of high birthRobert de Bruce,

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son of Robert de Bruce, Lord of Annandale and Clevelandwas passing on horseback through the domains of Turnberry, which belonged to Marjory, Countess of Carrick. The lady happened to be at the moment pursuing the diversion of the chase, surrounded by a retinue of her squires and damsels. They encountered Bruce. The young Countess was struck by his noble figure, and courteously entreated him to remain and take the recreation of hunting. Bruce, who, in those feudal days, knew the danger of paying too much attention to a ward of the king, declined the invitation, when he found himself suddenly surrounded by the attendants; and the lady riding up, seized his bridle, and led off the knight, by gentle violence, to her castle of Turnberry. Here, after fifteen days' residence, the adventure concluded as might have been expected. Bruce married the Countess without the knowledge of the relations of either party, and before obtaining the king's consent; upon which Alexander seized her castle of Turnberry and her whole estate. The intercession of friends, however, and a heavy fine conciliated the mind of the monarch. Bruce became, in right of his wife. Lord of Carrick: and the son of this marriage of romantic love was the great Robert Bruce, the restorer of Scottish liberty’ ".


In 1350,John Kennedy of Dunure extended the influence of his family by acquiring the lands of Cassillis. The feudal system, under which tenants were required to perform certain services for their lords in return for the use of land had been introduced into Carrick three hundred years before. This system which operated in much of Western Europe from the eleventh to the sixteenth century was greatly developed after the accession of Edgar, son of Malcolm Canmore, to the Scottish throne in 1097. He owed his accession mainly to the help of an Anglo-Norman army, and having lived in England part of his life, and being married to a Saxon, he had a partiality for the habits of the South. Noted Saxon families came north to escape from the Norman invader and were later joined by disgruntled Normans, and many married Celtic heiresses. David 1 married an English countess, and both the Stewarts and the Bruces of Annandale and Carrick were Anglo-Norman. Paterson writes:"From the great numbers of foreigners settled in the richest districts of the country, it would appear that the constant wars between Scots, Picts and Britons, and their domestic feuds had greatly thinned the inhabitants".

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The Feudal System did not, however, bring peace. It provided a new setting for internal quarrels, mainly between different branches of the Kennedy family. The dwellings of the powerful men of the time were made to withstand attack. A good example is Kilhenzie Castle, a typical Feudal Keep, which belonged to the Kennedys of Bargany in 1429. Fighting was, however, governed by certain rules. The code of Chivalry was followed, due in no small measure to the Legends of King Arthur, which were told and sung from the fifth to the fifteenth century, when some of them were embodied in the famous book, "Morte D'Arthur".


Unrest and intrigue developed further after the disaster of Flodden, and the long minority of James V, when two great factions arose in Scotland, the French Party and the English Party.


Chantry Chapel Later Collegium, or

Collegiate Chapel


At the same time religion was dividing the country. In 1371, when Sir James Kennedy of Dunure built the Chantry Chapel, which is the oldest surviving building in Maybole, the country was Roman Catholic. This Chapel, on 18th May, 1441, became a Collegium, having a corporation of priests, a daily service like a cathedral, and was the first of its kind in Scotland. Under the High Altar the Kings of Carrick were buried. It was last used for worship in 1563, when two hundred Kennedys assembled there to worship God in accordance with the Roman Catholic faith.


The Debate between John Knox and Quentin Kennedy


This took place just after the Reformation, when the Scottish Parliament enacted that henceforth Scotland was to be a Protestant country (1560). John Knox, who was a follower of the French theologian, John Calvin, much of whose work is associated with Switzerland, was the principal propagandist of his views in Scotland. In 1562, John Knox, who had been appointed by the General Assembly to visit the churches of Carrick, was challenged by Quentin Kennedy, Abbot of Crossraguel, and uncle of Earl of Cassillis, to a public conference on the doctrine of the Mass.


The challenge was originally made in Kirkoswald, and Knox proposed to speak in the Chapel there. The Abbot, fearing a disturbance made a counter proposal, which resulted in the debate taking place in the house of the Provost of the Collegium. This house is in the Back Vennel, now known as "John Knox Street". The debate lasted for three days, and eighty people squashed into

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the small room, while others gathered outside Although the result of the debate was inconclusive, a famine was caused in the town by the influx of visitors


Roasting of the Commendator


As always happens in a time of violence and civil strife, outrages are committed for private gain. Thus in 1570 the Earl of Cassillis, enticed Allan Stewart, Commendator of Crossraguel to his castle at Dunure. The Earl's object was to obtain certain lands of Crossraguel for himself. When the Commendator was not willing to oblige he was roasted in the Black Vault. He first signed the necessary document, but afterwards refused to ratify it. He was eventually rescued by his brother-in-law, the Laird of Bargany. The Earl, who had been summoned by the Privy Council appeared personally before the Regent and the Secret Council. He was treated extremely leniently, but the incident was the cause of great feud between Cassillis and Bargany


A few years later, in 1584, Baltersan Castle was built on the land near Crossraguel. As Crossraguel fell into decay, the lands around Baltersan were set out in magnificent splendour. Until two hundred years ago they were covered with fine orchards, parks and decorative gardens.

Union of the Crowns


In 1603, on the death of Queen Elizabeth of England, James VI, King of Scotland and son of Mary, Queen of Scots, became James I of England. Thus Scotland and England were united under one crown. To symbolise this, a new flag combining the banners of St Andrew and St George was fashioned in 1606. It was called the Union Jack. A Gold Piece issued by James I and VI a "Jacobus" valued at 25/- sterling, bore the Latin inscription “I will make them one nation".

Episcopal Church


James, and later Laud, attempted to establish the Episcopal Church in Scotland. An Episcopal Church is governed by Bishops and is the accepted form in Latin, Greek and Church of England communions.  This Church was, and still is, frequently and erroneously referred to as the "English Church". It is, of course the Scottish Episcopal Church which was the Established Church of Scotland from 1610-1638 and 1660-1690.

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In 1638, Presbyterians in Scotland, strongly resenting the actions of Laud signed a document known as the National Covenant The signatories undertook to fight for their religion with all their power They were known as Covenanters, and Maybole was one of their strongest centres.




In 1678 an open-air communion was held on Craigdow, and in the following year the militant Covenanters of Carrick, destined to fight at Bothwell Bridge, collected at Muster Lea near Gardenrose.  In 1681 Donald Cargill preached to a secret and unauthorised gathering, known as a Conventicle, in a field near Maybole. To mark this field a Memorial, containing fragments of the original whin boulder which served as a pulpit, was erected at the side of the field. On it are inscribed the names of the six Carrick men who were taken prisoner at Bothwell Bridge, imprisoned in Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh, and drowned off the Moul Head of Deer-ness in Orkney.


Union of Parliaments


In 1707 the Act of Union was passed by both Scottish and English Parliaments The two countries were combined into a United Kingdom, known as Great Britain, with the Union Jack devised in the reign of James VI as the National Flag. Paterson writes:"Much as they disliked the Union, the Presbyterians disliked still more the return of the Stuarts and Popery to the throne.

. . . The people of Ayrshire were particularly zealous in the Hanoverian cause, and furnished both men and money to support the government"


In 1715 and 1745 two Jacobite rebellions were defeated, and in 1747 an Act was passed abolishing the power of the Highland Chiefs over the clans and forbidding them to carry arms, wear the kilt, or play the bagpipes. Scots were, however, no longer treated as aliens, having the same trading rights as English people were. Thus trade increased and hamlets grew into towns Some turned their attention to the soil and others joined the British Army, with the result that Scottish Regiments quickly acquired reputations second to none


Gradually the land was enclosed by fences, and became more productive. Industries were developed, and the British Empire expanded, due in no small measure to the energy and genius of Scots.

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In the middle of the eighteenth century roads as known today were non-existent. They were merely mud tracks. To-day they are "Macadamised".


Macadam, the Road Builder

John Loudon Macadam was born in Ayr in 1756 and educated at the parish school of Maybole. He was trained as a merchant by an uncle who had lived for some time in New York. From about 1785 to 1798 he lived in Carrick as a country gentleman. Then he was appointed an agent for victualling the navy, and as a result moved to Falmouth. He spent much of the remainder of his life in the South of England.


It was while working as a road-trustee in Scotland that, after years of careful study, he initiated the method of making roads of broken stone. He first published his method of road making in a report to the House of Commons in 1811, thereafter writing a treatise of the subject which filled several volumes and was translated into many languages. In 1815 he was appointed general surveyor of roads in the Bristol district, and had therefore the chance of applying his theories in practice on a large scale. His success was immediate, and his method was applied to roads throughout Great Britain.


Between 1798 and 1814 he spent two thousand days in studying the conditions of roads, travelled thirty thousand miles, and spent £5,000 of his own money in research.


In 1823, Parliament repaid his expenses, gave him a grant of £2,000 and offered him a knighthood. At his own request this was conferred upon one of his sons, Sir James Macadam, who assisted him and succeeded him as a road engineer. He died at Moffat in Dumfriesshire in 1836.



Sir Gilbert Blane, the Physician


A contemporary of Macadam was born at Blanefield, Maybole, in1749. He became Sir Gilbert Blane, baronet, fellow of the Royal Societies of London, Edinburgh, Gottingen; of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg; and of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris; physician to the fleet in the West Indies, and North America during the American War; one of the commissioners of sick and wounded seamen; and physician to Their Majesties King George IV and King William IV.

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He devoted his long and distinguished life of eighty-two years to the welfare of the British seamen, for whom he had the highest regard. He was the author of a number of books and was among the very first to apply statistical science to the investigation of medical facts and phenomena. He was instrumental in finding a preventative for scurvy, and a vaccine for smallpox. In his 81st year he founded, with the approval of the lords of the Admiralty, gold medals to be conferred on medical officers of naval ships "who have evinced the most distinguished proof of skill, diligence and humanity in the exercise of their professional duty", the awards to be made once in two years.


Lord Rodney wrote of him as follows:


"The gratitude the nation owes Dr Blane, for his care, attention, and assiduity in preserving the lives of thousands of the fleet I commanded, prove that care and attention were only wanting, and a physician of great abilities, to make that climate (the West Indies) as healthy as the climate of Europe. Britain owes this proof to Dr Blane; for to his knowledge and attention it was owing, that the English fleet were, notwithstanding their excessive fatigue and constant service, in condition always to attack and defeat the common enemy".


Robert Burns


Ten years after the birth of Sir Gilbert Blane, "there was a lad born in Kyle". In 1786, this young man, Robert Burns by name, came to Maybole to collect payment for his poems, they were later translated into nearly every language of the world. The richness of the language which he heard and read was a great asset to him. Basically it was English, not Scottish. That is, it was Anglo-Saxon, not Gaelic. Many of the dialect words, which give it piquancy are commonly found in districts which were once governed by the ancient, and powerful kingdom of Northumbria, which for hundreds of years prior to the Norman Conquest, was a great force in Strathclyde.

On this occasion, as on many others, his form of transport was a hardy, thrifty, weight-carrying pony of the type bred and admired in Carrick. His friends, including his Kirkoswald schoolmaster, Hugh Rodger, entertained him in the King's Arms. This inn, was one of the "stages" in the regular coach service between Stranraer and Glasgow. Maybole is exactly half way between these two towns, and it is this fact more than anything which led to its rapid growth in the nineteenth century.

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Weaving flourished in Northern Ireland, and Maybole became a meeting place for the sellers from Ireland, and the buyers from Glasgow. This resulted in the course of time in weavers from Northern Ireland settling in Maybole. Thus weaving as an industry took root. The population in the Parish of Maybole in 1801 was 3,162: in 1831 it had risen to 6,267, an increase of nearly 100 per cent.


Weaving was then a family task. The typical weaver's house had living quarters upstairs and an earthen floored weaving shop downstairs. The wife and children concentrated on spinning the wool yarn on the spinning wheel upstairs.


The town was practically self-supporting, except for a few commodities such as coal which were unobtainable locally. The town contained three hotels, twelve public houses, four bakers, eleven shoemakers, four blacksmiths, thirteen carpenters, three druggists, two dyers, five butchers, nine drapers, sixteen milliners, one staymaker, one wig-maker, six doctors, thirteen general merchants, eleven tailors and sundry trades such as nail-makers and tin-workers. Two coaches ran twice a week to Ayr, and one coach ran twice a week to Girvan. The "Royal Mail" from Portpatrick to Glasgow called at the King's Arms every night at nine o'clock, and a coach going to Portpatrick from Glasgow, called every night at half-past nine.


Soon after the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century weaving declined, due mainly to the development of the power loom. Its place, as a means of livelihood was taken by manufacturing agricultural implements, by the development of the boot and shoe trade, and the tourist trade.


Agricultural Improvements


At the beginning of the nineteenth century the normal stock of implements on a normal sized farm consisted of a wooden plough, a set of harrows, and a rather crudely shaped grubber. Messrs Jack and Sons and Mr Thomas Hunter who became famous, far beyond Carrick, for advanced and sound design, wrought a revolution in implements.


Mr Alex. Jack, the founder of the business still thriving in Maybole, was born at Galston in 1810. When his father took a

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lease of Guiltreehill he came to Carrick. Much against his father's wishes he went to Ayr to learn the trade of joiner and cabinetmaker. He was persuaded, having served his apprenticeship, to return to the farm, where in 1835 he started in a small way as a wood merchant and agricultural implement maker, in addition to helping on the farm. In 1840 he acquired the sawmill at Auchendrane,  and moved to Minishant. This mill after some years of idleness is again functioning, and obtains its power from the same source - the Doon. While working at Auchendrane the railway from Glasgow to Ayr, and later to Dalmellington, was opened. He eagerly took advantage of the big demand for railway material. Timber being the most important raw material for this trade, he moved to Maybole, in order to be in the centre of the plantations. His project was not, however, universally popular as it was the first occasion on which anyone had attempted to put steam power in Maybole, and some proprietors at first refused to sell him land on the grounds that the erection of a chimney stalk in the town would interfere with the townfolk's laundry work. However, in 1852, he managed to purchase the land, and in November of that year the factory was established.


Boot and Shoe Trade


Sometime about 1850, Mr Charles Crawford started shoemaking  in St. Cuthbert's. Shortly afterwards he was joined by his nephew from Dalmellington, Mr Robert Crawford, and his wife's nephew, Mr James Ramsay. In the early years of the trade it was usual for the workers, many of whom were former weavers, to take the shoes home to work on them. One of the earliest factories was the Ladywell. It came into existence due to an accident. In 1869 an old wife called Sarah Carey was destroying the bugs and lice on her built-in wooden bedstead by scorching them with a candle flame. She somewhat overdid the treatment, as she not only burned them and her own house, but all the other weavers' houses in the row. At a result of this the property came up for sale and Mr John Gray bought it, and the old mill which sat across the bottom of Ladywell Lane. The outer wall of the old weavers' cottage now forms part of the Tannery.


Tourist Trade - King's Arms


In 1881, when Mr and Mrs Thomas McCubbin look over the King's Arms, it was a small country inn. They added an upper storey, built a hall and stables, and bought adjoining property to

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