Tombstone of William Niven - Maybole Notable and Friend of Robert Burns
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(If you wish to use this tombstone for your Halloween or other scary site please feel free to do so.)  In the old churchyard of Maybole, on the site once occupied by the Parish Church, there stands a small granite tombstone, bearing the following inscription :—" In memory of William Niven of Kirkbride, deceased 18th Nov., 1844, aged 85; and of his wife, Isabella C. Niven, deceased 15th Feb., 1841, aged 68. Their mortal remains are laid here." [The Ayr Advertiser of 19th Dec., 1844, says Mr Niven died on 13th Dec., in his 83d year.]

The chief public interest attaching to Mr Niven now is that he was a schoolfellow of Burns at Kirkoswald. After leaving school, Niven was taken home to assist his father in business, but his early friendship with Burns was not forgotten, and when the first edition of our Bard’s poems was published, Niven disposed of seven copies for him, price £1 is. Burns was grateful, and came to Maybole to receive the money.

He lodged in the King’s Arms, and it is traditionally reported that his hire of a horse to take him home was the first hire he ever indulged in. A short time after, he sent the following letter to Mr Niven (original in possession of Mr Rennie, Union Bank) :—