The parish of Maybole lies south of Ayr on the coast of the county. The moderately large parish includes some open country around Brown Carrick Hill, the town of Maybole itself and the villages of Greenean, Auchendrane, Minishant and Dunure.
An 1837 description of Maybole, including a listing of the key personalities of the town, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from Queensland.
Maybole burgh grew as a market centre on the main road skirting Carrick and provided residences for landed families of the area. The improvement of communications in the 19th century allowed the gentry to move into Ayr and allowed the town to develop some industry based on farm products, notably the manufacture of boots and shoes. By 1890 there were ten factories employing more than 1,500 staff and producing over 1 million pairs of boots annually. Alexander Jack established a major agricultural machinery plant of national repute. Both industries were expanded by the arrival of the railway in 1859. But recession set in after World War I, hastened by competition from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas. The last shoe manufacturer closed in 1962 and the last tannery ceased trading in 1969.
Maybole Castle, dating from the early 17th century, was built for John Kennedy, 6th Earl of Cassillis, hereditary bailiff of Carrick. Extensions were added in the late 19th century to serve as a factor's house and offices for the Marquess of Ailsa's estate.
Dunure is a small fishing village based on a small harbour created in 1811. The village has grown around the ruins of Dunure Castle, an early tower-house. The cellars of the castle were the scene of the roasting of Allan Stewart, the Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey, one event in the long-standing feud between the Kennedys of Bargany and the Kennedys of Cassillis.
The Electric Brae, or Croy Brae, which lies on the A 719 coastal road between Dunure and Maybole, is noted for an unusual optical illusion. The effect is that while driving downhill, the road appears to be rising - allowing an illusion of free-wheeling uphill!
Researchers into Maybole's local history and genealogy may like to visit Rich Pettit's Maybole site.