History of Mauchline
Mauchline or in the old spelling of Machlin, or Mauchlin is derived from the Gaelic “Magh” and “Lyn” – the plain with the pool: In former days Loch Brown was about 1 mile west of the town, but was drained when the railway from Kilmarnock was built.
The first mention of Mauchline is in reference to a battle fought on Mauchline Moor in 681 when the Picts did battle with the Scots, a further battle being fought in 702.
In 1165, Walter, son of Alan, High Steward of Scotland granted a charter to the Cisterian Monks of Melrose of the lands of Mauchline, in those days the parish extended to the boundaries of Lanarkshire at Glebuck. Here the monks were to find a barren, buggy and unfruitful land on which they built an abbey, the ruin of which was known for many years as Hunters Tower, and now better known as Mauchline Castle.
Mauchline was created a burgh of Barony by James 4th in 1510 and was granted a further charter in 1610, both these charters however have been lost, and are believed to have perished in a fire at Registrar House, Edinburgh in the 17th century.
In 1544 Protestantism was greatly aided in Mauchline by the visit of two influential figures. George Wishart was to find the doors of St Michaels church barred against him. His reaction to this was to retreat to Mauchline Moor and to preach for over three hours to a large congregation, and under the watchful eye of the Sheriff of Ayr and an armed force.
In 1599 following his return from exile in France and Switzerland, John Knox preached at Kingencleugh. In deed it was to Robert Campbell of Kingencleugh that Knox entrusted the care of his widow and children on his death. When the Scottish parliament adopted the “Confession of Faith” in 1560 the reformation was immediately accepted in Mauchline.
In 1684 the Covenanter James Smith was wounded during a skirmish at “Burn of Ann” in Kyle, taken to Mauchline where he died in prison, and in 1685 five men were dragged out of their homes and executed at the loan. A monument was placed over their grave. This was removed in 1861, and was replaced by a plinth. The original being built in to the wall of the school shed, where it stands to this day. A covenanter’s flag hangs in the church, which was first used at an engagement between covenanters and royalist troops on Mauchline Moor and was later carried at the battles of Drumlog and Bothwell brig. That Mauchline was a covenanter’s stronghold can be seen from the fact the minister, the Rev. George Young, signed the covenant in Greyfiars church in Edinburgh in 1633 and subscribed to solemn league and covenant in 1643.
In 1647 another battle took place on the moor, between the kings, troops & covenanters with the covenanters claiming victory. After the reformation the lands of Mauchline passed into the hands of the Earls of Loudoun, no further historical events are recorded in the parish.