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the tale begins

Every story begins somewhere and were it not for the Market Fair in Maybole High Street, Burns parents may never have met, fallen in love and married. Burns was born just over a year later in Alloway.

Burns mother Agnes lived much of her life in Maybole, moving there in 1744 to live with her grandmother and then as a housekeeper to her uncle William Brown. Burns parents were married in Maybole on 15 December 1757.

It is assumed Burns would have often visited Maybole as a young child to visit his great grandmother. Then in later years when he boarded and schooled at Kirkoswald he struck up a friendship with William Niven from Maybole.


Burns stayed with William at weekends and the two often spent time at the ruins of Crossraguel Abbey discussing life and debating many topics. Epistle To A Young Friend was believed to be about William as their friendship fluctuated.

Burns gathered in The Kings Arms Hotel one night with those who had bought his books and they all walked Burns to Lovers Lane the next day. So from a High St Fair to a Lovers Lane parting, Maybole has a part to play in Burns life.


Maybole Town Hall has a bust of Burns. Take in this High Street location to experience where the tale begins ... 

In ploughman phrase,
'God send ye speed'
Still daily to grow wiser
And may ye better reck the rede
Than ever did th' adviser! ...

Epistle To A Young Friend

maybole THE tale begins



Crossraguel Abbey Ruins

One of the best preserved Abbey ruins in Scotland where Burns spent time debating with his friend.



Maybole High Street

Where Burns parents met.

Lovers Lane

The last known sighting of Burns leaving Maybole.

Old Maybole Churchyard

William Niven Gravestone is here.

Kings Arms Hotel

Unmarked. No longer in existance.


Burns parents married at the old church that used to be here.



56. Maybole Town Hall (Bust)

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