The parish of Mauchline, established in 1670, is a small area in central Ayrshire surrounded by the parishes of Galston, Sorn, Stair, Tarbolton and Craigie. Mauchline town, the core of the parish, lies ten miles north-east of Ayr by road or rail. Its origins lie in the administration of the Ayrshire estates owned by Melrose Abbey. It developed as the crossroads between the east-west road following the valley of the Ayr and the north-south road between Kilmarnock and Dumfries. Mauchline stone, from the quarries of Ballochmyle and Boswell has been used in Victorian era buildings throughout south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland. Later Mauchline was noted for its curling stone factory, an agricultural implement works and a plastics manufacturer.
Mauchline is considered the 'Mecca of Burns pilgrims'. Most of the buildings associated with the poems have gone, but Poosie Nansie's hostelry remains. The churchyard was the scene of 'The Holy Fair', and here are the graves of Daddy Auld, Mary Morison, Holy Willie and many others mentioned by Burns. Close by the churchyard and the ruins of Mauchline Castle is the house where Gavin Hamilton lived and where Burns and Jean Armour were married.
An 1837 description of Catrine, Sorn and Mauchline, including a listing of the key personalities of the towns, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from Coast of Queensland.
The Mauchline district was famed for the manufacture of Mauchline Ware.
Mauchline Castle, known also as Abbot Hunter's Tower, dating from 1450 was the base for those managing the Ayrshire estates for the monks of Melrose Abbey. Only two square towers remain of the original structure, the remaining buildings having been added over the intervening centuries.