Marking 500 years of Maybole burgh

Provost Helen Moonie and Lord David Kennedy. Marquess of Ailsa, open the exhibition
Provost Helen Moonie and Lord David Kennedy. Marquess of Ailsa, open the exhibition

King Robert the Bruce’s sword and a necklace owned by Mary Queen of Scots were among the attractions at an exhibition celebrating Maybole’s 500 years as a burgh.

Officially opened by Provost Helen Moonie and Lord David Kennedy, Marquess of Ailsa, the exhibition was held in the Town Hall and the Carrick Centre.

Lord David’s family had contributed a number of artefacts to the exhibition, including a sword which belonged to Robert the Bruce, who was Earl of Carrick prior to becoming King, and a necklace gifted by Mary Queen of Scots to a member of the Kennedy family who tied the handkerchief round the queen’s eyes at her execution.

South Ayrshire Council contributed a number of items from their archives including a framed copy of the original charter creating Maybole a Burgh, the provost’s robe last worn by William Cuthbert, the Town Council’s visitors book which had been donated to the town in honour of a visit by Prince Edward on March 9, 1926.

He was the last Earl of Carrick to visit Maybole and later became King Edward VIII but abdicated in favour of his brother King George VI. Prince Charles is the current Earl of Carrick.

A wall hanging had been specially commissioned by Maybole 500 and created by local volunteers, who worked with support from the Create With Fibre textile project. They first learned to weave, then designed and created the wall hanging.

Almost all the volunteers were complete beginners when the project began. The work is woven from British wool and has hand dyed fleece inserted into the weaving to add texture. Hand ‘needle felting’ techniques were then used to create the sheep which were added to the piece afterwards. Other displays featured town twinning, embroidery and boards outlining some of the town’s history. The boards will be retained and be part of a future mobile exhibition.

At the Carrick Centre family history could be researched and there more boards and contributions from local people. These featured the Maybole boot and shoe industry when there were 10 factories in the town producing over a million pairs of boots and shoes annually; a hoe made by Thomas Hunter and a hand cart made by Alexander Jack.

A new information board has also been erected at the Greenside. It shows some of the town’s history, routes of walks and events to mark the 500th anniversary.

As well as the exhibition, over the same weekend there were guided walks and bike tours around Maybole and there was the opportunity to have safety checks and repairs on residents’ bicycles by Dr Bike from the Active Travel Hub in Ayr.