Maybole - from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland - Published in 1846
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Click on the seal for a larger viewMAYBOLE, a markettown and parish, in the district of Carrick, county of Ayr, 9 miles (S.) from Ayr, and 12 (N. E.) from Girvan; containing 7027 inhabitants. This place, of which the name is of very doubtful origin, appears to have been the chief seat of judicature for the district of Carrick, and to have been the residence of the earls of Cassilis, in those times denominated Kings of Carrick, and of the principal families of that district; and the town still retains many vestiges of its former importance. It was erected into a burgh of barony by charter of James V., in 1516, which conferred on the inhabitants the privilege of a weekly market, the right of election of bailies and other officers for the due administration of affairs, and all other liberties and immunities appertaining to a free burgh. There are several streets of good houses, and the town is paved, lighted, and supplied with water by the corporation; the approaches have been greatly improved by the formation of good roads in all directions, and many of the streets have been widened: the adjacent scenery is beautiful. A public library is supported by subscription, and there is also a circulating library. An agricultural association called the Carrick Farmers' Society has been long established, and holds meetings in the town for awarding premiums for improvements, and for the exhibition of stock, when, among other prizes, are voted two pieces of plate annually given by the Marquess of Ailsa and Sir Charles Fergusson, of Kilkerran.

The inhabitants are principally employed in weaving for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley, which is not confined to the town, but is practised in every small hamlet throughout the parish; and it is calculated that, on an average, from 500 to 700 are weekly paid to the weavers by the agents of the manufacturers who supply them with work. There are some handsome shops for the sale of different kinds of merchandize; and the various trades connected with an extensive agricultural and manufacturing district are carried on here with success. At Dunure is a small fishing-harbour, where cargoes of lime and bone-dust are landed in vessels from Ireland; but the fisheries have their chief market at Ayr. The post-office has a tolerably good delivery twice a day. The market is on Thursday, chiefly for butter, eggs, and fowls, the grain raised in the parish being generally sent to Ayr; and four fairs are annually held, called the Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, and Hallow E'en fairs, which were formerly amply furnished with stores of all kinds, but are now mostly limited to the hiring of servants. Under the charter of James V. the burgh is governed by two bailies and a council of burgesses, seventeen in number, who supply vacancies, as they occur by death or resignation, from their own body; the bailies and subordinate officers of the corporation are elected annually. The magistrates exercise jurisdiction within the burgh, and hold weekly courts for the determination of civil suits to any amount and the trial of petty misdemeanors, in which the townclerk acts as assessor; they also exercise a summary jurisdiction in a court for the recovery of debts not exceeding six shillings and eight pence. The town-house is old, and but ill adapted to its purpose; and attached to it is a small prison for the temporary confinement of prisoners previously to their commitment to the gaol of Ayr, equally unsuitable.

The parish is nine miles in length and about five in extreme breadth; and is bounded on the north, and partly on the east, by the river Doon, which separates it from the parishes of Ayr and Dalrymple; on the east by the parish of Kirkmichael; on the south by the river Girvan; and on the west by the parish of Kirkoswald and the Frith of Clyde. The surface, generally wavy, is towards the north-east intersected by a lofty ridge called Brown-Carrick Hill, which commands an extensive and richly-varied prospect over the river Doon, the sea, and the spacious tracts of fertile country around, including the districts of Kyle and Carrick, the town of Ayr, and other interesting objects. The rivers are the Doon and Girvan; the former appears to have changed its ancient course, and to have made for itself a shorter and more direct channel previously to its influx into the sea. There are numerous springs of pure water, affording generally a good supply, one of which called the Well Trees Spout, discharges about 1000 imperial gallons per hour; there are also some chalybeate springs, formerly in repute, but not at present much regarded. The soil is various; that of the arable lands is of a light dry quality, and abundantly fertile; in other places is a strong clay, and in some parts moss and moorland. The whole number of acres is estimated at 20,681, of which 16,684 are arable, 955 woods and plantations, about 600 meadow, and 2400 hilly pasture and moor. The crops are, wheat, oats, beans, barley, potatoes, and turnips; the system of agriculture is advanced, and a considerable portion of the moorland was lately reclaimed and brought into cultivation. Very satisfactory progress has also been made by the proprietors in draining their lands. The farm houses and offices on the larger farms are substantial and commodious, but on the smaller many of the buildings are inferior; the lands are inclosed chiefly with hedges of thorn, and the various improvements in agricultural implements have been rapidly growing into general adoption. Considerable numbers of young cattle are fed on the hills; they are now almost exclusively the Ayrshire, which have been found to answer better than the Galloway, formerly fed in the parish. There are but few sheep; they are chiefly of the Cheviot and black-faced kinds, but on some farms the Leicestershire have been lately introduced. The woods and plantations are well managed and in a thriving state. The substrata are, mainly sandstone, limestone, ironstone, and shale; the sandstone is of a reddish colour, and in some instances passes into conglomerate. The limestone is of good quality, but not worked to any great extent; neither are there any quarries entitled to particular notice. The rateable annual value of the parish, according to a recent return of the amount of real property assessed to the Income tax, is 20,742.

The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; and the patronage is in the Crown. The stipend of the incumbent is 314, with a manse built in 1806, a small but comfortable residence; and the glebe comprises several acres, valued at 30 per annum. The church, erected in 1808, is a substantial and handsome edifice adapted for a congregation of 1298 persons; and its distance from many parts of the parish rendering additional accommodation highly necessary, two other churches of the Establishment have been recently erected, one at Fisherton, on the coast, and the second at the west end of Maybole, by Sir Charles Fergusson, affording together sittings for 1100 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and the United Secession; also a small place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction, and is well attended: the master, who has an assistant, receives a salary of 34 with a sum for a house and garden, and an allowance of 5 to be distributed in prizes among the scholars; the fees average about 100. There are various other schools in the parish, of which one is supported by subscription, and two have each a free schoolroom. A savings' bank has been likewise established. There are still some remains of the ancient collegiate church of this place, which was endowed for a rector and three prebendaries, and of which the revenue at the Dissolution was granted to the Earl of Cassilis, by whose family, and by others who contributed to the preservation of its remains, it is used as a place of sepulture. A portion of some conventual buildings is likewise remaining, and the orchards attached to them are yet to be traced. These relics have been recently surrounded with walls, and the inclosure tastefully planted by subscription of the inhabitants. Remains also exist of numerous ancient castles scattered throughout the parish. Of the castle of Maybole, the ancient baronial residence of the earls of Cassilis, the principal part is still in good preservation; and there are considerable portions left of those of Newark, Greenan, Dunduff, Dunure, and Kilhenzie. Of the others, there remain only slight fragments of the dilapidated walls. On the farm of Trees are the vestiges of an encampment; and there are several more in different parts, one of which, near the castle of Dunduff, is in very tolerable preservation. In the Provost's house, now the Red Lion inn, a meeting for discussing the Roman Catholic and Reformed doctrines took place between Quintin Kennedy, Abbot of Crossraguel, who had in his chapel of Kirkoswald proclaimed himself ready to defend the mass against all objectors, and the celebrated Reformer, John Knox: it was continued for three days. Dr. Macknight, author of the Harmony, and the Truth of the Gospel Histories, was incumbent of this parish; and the late Lord Alloway, one of the judges of the court of session, resided here during the vacations.