Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks by James T. Gray,
Alloway Publishing, Ayr. First published 1972. Copyright ©
Permission for display on this site granted by David Gray. You may view
and download chapters of this book for personal research purposes only. No other
distribution of this text is authorized.
The story of this ancient Ayrshire town from its
early beginnings in the 12th century through its growth and
development until the nineteen sixties. A fascinating record of the
history of a town including a wealth of factual information on its
outstanding buildings growth of industry etc., the book also
gives an insight into the life of the community and townsfolk
Table of Contents
In the Charter dated 1516 power was granted to the
townspeople to make "free burgesses" and this was an honour much
sought after by old Minniebolers. They were originally to be "admitted,
created, and received for good deeds done, and to be done by them, to the said
town" and had to be "good and loyal subjects of His Majesty". The
Charter stated they would have the right to elect annually Bailies and all other
Officers in the Burgh and it may
be presumed they elected the first council of civic fathers. As time went on,
however, the councillors gradually started to elect their own nominees to
replace vacancies caused by the death or retiral of council members and based
their claim to do so on a Statute of 1469, in the reign of James IV, which
ordained that "Touching on the election of officeraries in Burghs as
Aldermen, Bailies and other Officeraries, because of great contention yearly for
the chusing of same, through multitude and clamour of cummunes simple persons
the auld Council suld chuse the new." There are no records of any annual
elections by the burgesses of the council and certainly
this was not done in the
eighteenth century, although the counciliors faithfully submitted a list of
council members to the Earl of Cassillis for him to name the two Bailies for the
ensuing year, until nearly the end of the century when this procedure was
dropped until it cropped up again in the reforming dispute of the 1820s. The
burgesses at that time tried to regain their right and maintained the Town
Charter granted powers to them to "elect annually" all councillon and
the matter was taken to the Court of Session who ruled the charter did not
supersede the earlier Statute. It was not until 1857 that the burgesses regained
the right to elect their councillors annually when the Police Commissioners
superseded the old councillors.
Originally burgesses were created free of charge but later a
fee was made for admittance to the Burgher Roll, One Guinea being charged
strangers and ten shillings for sons of burgesses. Most well doing townsmen
applied to be admitted as burgesses as they obtained quite a few privileges over
their fellowmen and many minutes of the old Council refer to the admittance of
Burgesses and state the fees collected. A burgess ticket was necessary before
one could trade in the burgh, it entitled one to buy seats in the church and, of
course, only burgesses had any chance of being elected to the council.
No records of admittance of burgesses can be traced before
the eighteenth century but certainly all councillors and traders would be on the
roll. The custom of selling burgess tickets was dropped about the middle of the
nineteenth century but in recognition of their services to their town and
country many of the townsmen who served in the Boer War were admitted. There
have been no new burgesses for many years, although the Freedom of the Burgh has
been conferred from time to time on some ex-Provosts and also on President
Eisenhower of America in October, 1946. An old list of Burgesses in Maybole
between 1834 and 1837 is still in existence and the following excerpt from it
gives many names which are familiar in the town to this day.
List of Maybole Burgesses
1834 Nov. 6 Allan Hunter Jr. Grocer.
" " 20 John Spellman. Residenter.
1835 Jan. 8 Richard Cowan. Plumber.
1835 Oct. 1 Charles Crawford. Shoemaker.
1838 Aug. 2 Thomas Holligan. Weaver.
" Oct. 4 William Forsyth. Grocer.
1839 Nov. 7 John Hannay. Grocer.
1840 Dec. 7 John Campbell. Baker.
1843 Jan. 5 William Baird. Shocmaker.
" " 21 John Hindmarsh. Weaver's Agent.
" Jly. 20 Hugh McCrindle. Tailor.
1846 Oct. 7 Thomas Dunlop. Weaver.
" Nov. 9 Thomas Dykes. Factor.
1847 Oct. 9 John Austin. Wright.
1853 " 3 Peter Sinclair. Gamedealer.
" " " Arthur Muir. Draper.
" " " William Galbraith. Merchant.
" " 4 Alexander McWhirter. Draper.
1860 Sept. 28 John Kennedy, Jnr. Grocer.
1863 Oct. 5 Adam Gray. Shoemaker.
1864 - Joseph Pealing. Cattledealer.
1868 Oct. 7 Adam Goudie. Merchant.
1872 " 19 Robert Allan. Auctioneer.
" " James Lambie. Clothier.
" " John Gray, Jnr. Shoemaker.
" " Malcolm Gillespie. Innkeeper.
" " John Cameron. Ironmonger.
" " David Templeton. Watchmaker.
1874 Jne. 5 Robert Muir. Grocer.
" " John McGeachie. Flesher.
" " Mathew Gutbrie. Baker.
" " John Watson. Private
" " 5 John McMath. Flesher.
" " James McKissock. Draper.
" " James McCubbin. Draper.
" " Thomas France. Ironmonger.
1876 Oct. 13 Robert Allan, Jnr. Accountant.
" " John Gilmour. Clerk.
1876 Oct. 13 Richard Hunter. Joiner.
" " John Riddoch. Plasterer.
" " Hugh Hunter. Innkeeper.
" " John Marshall. Millowner.
" " James Gray. Shoemaker.
" " James Gibson. Solicitor.
" " John Chapel. Teacher.
" " David Brown. Solicitor.
" " Thomas Rennie. Banker.
" " John Dunn. Carrier.
" " James Goudie. Weaver.
" " John Gray. Shoemaker.
" " George Wilson. Weaver.
It will be seen that all included in the list were men of
substance with a stake in the town’s trade and an interest in its welfare. The
Grays and Crawfords started the great shoe industry. Hindmarsh was a notable
wool merchant, Marshall brought fame to the old firm of Jack & Sons and the
others were all sound tradespeople, etc. who depended on the custom of the
people in the town and surrounding district. Many old Burgess tickets must still
be laid away in old drawers, etc. in houses in the town although most would
probably be lost or destroyed when older people’s possessions were disposed of
on their deaths, as few of the younger generations would appreciate how prized
they were by the holders who were proud to be Burgesses in the old Capital Of