Maucline Burns Club
"Born in Alloway, Died in Dumfries, Lived in Mauchline"
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                 Mauchline Holy Fair

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     Further information from Andrew Cooper, Secretary 01290 55930

                    Stop Press

We are very happy to report that essential funding is now in place to enable us to put on a 2014 Mauchline Holy Fair which will be on Saturday 24th May 2014.   We are also very pleased to have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable us to remember those who left for World War 1 and didn't return and the effects of that on families. On the Friday evening (23rd May) there will be a march to the Mauchline War Memorial, an appropriate service there, and a march back to the Loudoun Street Car Park for around an hour and a half's entertainment on the mobile stage which will be there for the Saturday.   For the Remembrance Event and march, we are grateful for the help and advice of the local Branch of the Royal British Legion.



Acts and attractions booked at this time are:-

                  Friday march, service and stage Entertainment:-

                 Isle of Cumbrae Royal British Legion Pipe Band


The Band was formed in 1999, at the instigation of Millport Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland and from modest beginnings the Band has grown in numbers and can now count around 40 members ranging in age from 15- 70


Non-competitive in nature the Band has participated widely in local, National and International events. The Band has played before the Queen at Balmoral and has participated in Armed Forces' Day events in Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as being happy to help out local RBLS branch events on Cumbrae, Perth , Irvine , the Three Towns , and wherever else they might be needed.


Internationally the Band has travelled to Spain , Germany , France , Norway and Belgium to take part in various festivals and cultural events. The Band participated in the Lorient Festival the biggest Interceltic festival in the World in 2010, 2011 and were lead Scottish Band at the 2012 festival.


Throughout all the Band has tried to stay committed to it's Legion roots and in 2007 the Band travelled to Ypres in Belgium to take part in the 90 th Anniversary remembrance of The Battle of Passchendaelle , This included participation in the renowned Menin Gate ceremony and dedication of the newly erected Scottish memorial at Zonnebeke where they first became acquainted with the Mauchline Burns Club and The Somme Memorial Pipe Band who were likewise participating in the dedication ceremonies.


In October 2014 the Band will again return to Belgium in to join in remembrance of the Centenary of the First Battle of Ypres which was the first major engagement of The First World War involving Scottish Regiments.


The Band's signature tune IS NOT by coincidence ‘The Road to Passchendaelle'


The Band wears it's own distinctive Isle Of Cumbrae tartan and anyone who has visited the Isle of Cumbrae will know the significance of the Crocodile emblem on the cap badges and drums !


                      Saturday Holy Fair starting, as usual, at 11am

On the Stages and round about:-

Main Act :- Jai McDowell

Scottish Singer Kirk James

Jill Woodburn's Highland Dancers


Scottish Rain

Scottish Rain presents a tribute to the Legends of Scottish Music. The show includes the hits from five decades of some of the most iconic and unforgettable Scottish pop & rock stars, such as Texas, Deacon Blue, The Proclaimers, Del Amitri, Alex Harvey, Runrig, KT Tunstall, The Fratellis, Simple Minds, Paolo Nutini, The Bay City Rollers, Gerry Rafferty, Nazareth, Pilot, Wet Wet Wet, The Bluebells, Travis, Danny Wilson, Frankie Miller, The Marmalade, Aztec Camera, Hue and Cry, The Corries, Rod Stewart, to name but a few. This makes Scottish Rain a tribute act like no other. Rather than a single artist, the band pays homage to the legacy of some of the best bands the UK has ever produced. It just so happens that they are all Scottish!


Jesse Garron


Earl Haig Memorial Pipe Band from Flanders


Flanders Jocks - WW1 Re-enactment Group from Flanders

Flanders Jocks: Association de reconstitution historique écossaise WW1



Gordon Highlanders

The Gordon Highlanders 1914-1918 is an organisation of civilian re-enactors which exists to re-create as accurately as possible the life of the soldiers of the Gordon Highlanders during the Great War 1914-18.
All members of the Regiment wear the exact uniform and equipment of the period and carry the Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle (S.M.L.E.).

Dumfries Aviation Museum Exhibition


Mauchline Burns Club Presents 1914


Uncle Billy Williamson - Childrens Entertainer


Jolly Beggars Cantata

Screaming Preachers

Charlie Chaplin Comedy

Stilt Walker

Old Mauchline 1914 Media Presentation Kenny Baird/ Stewart Howie

Tractors of the 1914-18 period.

                  1914-18 Fundraising Tank Reconstruction.

Above Ground replica Trench.

Over 70 Stalls including Owl Magic below:-

Owl Magic is Ayrshires Premier Owl Display Team with over 50 birds ranging from our smallest owl, Titch, the pygmy owl who is no larger than a sparrow to our largest Galaxy, the milky eagle owl. All our birds are hand reared and enjoy human interaction.

We are well travelled not only in Ayrshire but all over Scotland !! We have been well recieved at the Mauchline Holy Fair over the past few years and have received a lot of interest. All our handlers are trained to excellent levels and are full of information regarding the birds and their habits. We look forward to seeing our many friends at Mauchline Holy Fair again this year.


____________________________________________                                 Last Year


                 Our 12th Successful Holy Fair was held from 11am on Saturday 25th May 2013. It was a beautiful day and more people came, they came earlier and stayed longer. Over all, in the region of 14,000 people visited Mauchline to see former Runrig front man, Donnie Munro & his Band; Jill Woodburn's Highland Dancers; Sensational Band ‘Jive Express'; Muirkirk & District Pipe Band; Dalmellington Junior Brass Band; Aeolian Choir; Scottish Singer, Kirk James; Mauchline Burns Club's, Ian Lyell presents ‘The Kilmarnock Edition'; ‘Living History' re-enactors present ‘The Road to Bannockburn' on the Bleaching Green; Children's Magician 'Gordon's Magic' in the Church Hall; Children's funfair, street magicians and street entertainers, Slideshows of Old Mauchline, visit over 80 stalls and much, much more.                  

More Information on :-

or Find us on Facebook 

        Some images courtesy of Brian Connelly from our brilliant day below:-






                         All above images courtesy of Brian Connolly


Images below are from the top of the Kirk Tower at the start of the Holy Fair and are courtesy of Ayrshire


                  2013 Holy Fair Programme



Burns House Museum

Open 10am – 4pm (Tuesday to Saturday)


Whether you are a first–time visitor to Mauchline or returning to this historic town, the Burns House Museum is definitely worth a look. Robert Burns farmed in Mauchline, and his wife Jean spent some time living in the building that is now the museum.


Featuring a recreation of the room they lodged in, and full of original objects and documents relating to Burns' time here, his friends, family and contemporaries, the museum also brings the Burns story up to date.


Mauchline is also famous for the manufacture of curling stones, and for the decorative souvenir boxware known as Mauchline Ware, both of which are featured in displays here.


Please note: Access within this historic building is limited.



National Burns Memorial

Open 11am – 4pm on Holy Fair day

Access at other times by appointment (contact the Burns House Museum).


Offering spectacular views over the Ayrshire countryside, the tower was built in 1898 was one of the first memorials to Robert Burns.


Please note: Access is extremely limited. There are many spiral stairs to the viewing platform. Numbers and access will be controlled by staff on site and unaccompanied children will not be allowed to access the viewing platform.



Burns Head

A rare opportunity to see the recently created life-size head of Robert Burns, as featured in the STV programme ‘In Search of Robert Burns' in January. Reconstructed using state-of-the-art forensic technology by Professor Caroline Wilkinson at the University of Dundee, the head is on display at the Burns House Museum from Tuesday 21 st to Saturday 25 th May. With acknowledgements to Mr Rab Wilson and The Hunter Foundation.



Mauchline Kirk Session Minute Book and William (Daddy) Auld Chalices

A special feature of the Holy Fair display this year is the unique Mauchline Kirk Session book. Each parish in Scotland had a Kirk Session, which acted as a church court dealing with public order and moral issues such as drunkenness and swearing. In 1788 Robert Burns and Jean Armour were brought before the Session to explain their ‘irregular marriage'. The book, containing the hand-written notes of the Session, and on loan for the Holy Fair by arrangement with Mauchline Parish Church and the National Records of Scotland, is rarely displayed and features the signatures of Burns and Armour, alongside the minister at the time, Rev. William ‘Daddy' Auld. Also on display are two chalices used by the Rev. Auld, which have only recently been re-discovered.



Old Mauchline slideshow

From Tuesday 21 st to Saturday 25 th May the Burns House Museum will also be hosting digital slide show of images of Mauchline from the past, from the archives of - in association with Mauchline Burns Club.




Mauchline 'Queen's Diamond Jubilee' Holy Fair took place on Saturday 2nd June 2012 to co-incide with the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend. It was the best ever with almost 12,000 people coming to Mauchline.

                 A Few Images from the 2012 Holy Fair


                                All the above images courtesy of Gavin Lyell

              All the images below courtesy of Brian Connelly

               Images Below courtesy of Dalry Burns Club (See links page for link)








                                        History and Description

                             THE MAUCHLINE BURNS CLUB'S ELEVENTH HOLY FAIR                                                                               (Written before the 2012 Holy Fair)

                                             Saturday 2nd June 2012 from 11am


The Mauchline Burns Club's Holy Fair has over the last ten years become a showpiece for local talent in its music and drama. The wide variety of stalls also displays a wide range of local craft skills. These stalls now number around 70, attracting participants from all around.

It has been estimated that approximately 10,000 to 12,000 visitors are attracted to this remarkable event.

This is very much to the profit of the village, not only financially, but also by putting Mauchline to the forefront of the Burns' world, a rightful position many of us have struggled for over the years.

Burns, in his poem The Holy Fair emphasised the attendance in 1786 was- ‘In droves that day.'

Fortunately we are repeating that.

  Let's jump back in time, to 1786.

The Kirk Burns worshipped in in Mauchline was a 17 th century building which he described as —‘as ugly a lump of consecrated stone as ever cumbered the earth.' The interior was as bleak, with a floor several feet below ground level due to subsidence. It was lit by six small windows supplemented by a few candles. The sermon was expected to last an hour and one passage of scripture was expected to be examined over several weeks. One year, eight verses of one psalm provided material for sermons for the next 19 months.


The Kirkyard was in as bad a state as the Kirk itself. The Session records describe it as- ‘ a sort of dunghill, a receptacle for all filthiness so that one can scarce walk to Kirk with clean feet. Disorderly people break the windows and break the tombs and deface the engravings .' And it was in this Kirk and in these grounds that the original Holy Fairs were held.

The fair was actually an opportunity for people all round Mauchline to take communion. Some Kirks held communion irregularly, so hordes flocked to Mauchline on the second Sunday in August for the service. The occasion lasted 3 days: Saturday for cleansing and preparation, Sunday for the services, and Monday for reflection. It was also a continuation of the Covenanters open-air conventicles.

In 1788, 1800 people took communion, 400 only being Mauchline folk, but the Kirk could cope with only 200 at a time. So the crowds had to mingle in the Kirkyard for

hours as they waited. Two elders stood at the gate opposite Poosie Nansie's with the collection plate. Stalls like Punch and Judy shows, offered pulpits to local preachers. The communicants entered the Kirk in groups of 80 taking 15 or16 sessions to cater for the crowds. Tents supplied food and drink while various hucksters offered other entertainment, and Racer Jess, Poosie Nansie's daughter, plied her trade at the gate.

Did Burns make all this up? Did he exaggerate?

Certainly not.

A 1759 pamphlet, written as a complaint to the Scottish Kirk authorities is a prose version of Burns' verses. It concludes -‘in this sacred assembly there is an odd mixture of religion, sleep, drinking, courtship, and a confusion of sexes, ages, and characters.'

There is an idyllic painting in the Burns House Museum of the crowds. Everybody is behaving doucely, listening attentively to the preachers. The only transgressor is an old fellow, who has succumbed to the joys of 40 winks. But this idyllic picture of an important religious celebration is far from the truth. And it is thanks to Robert Burns that not only does posterity havean accurate, realistic picture of the event, but also as a result of the poem being printed in his Kilmarnock Edition, the scurrilous, bawdy, scandalous circumstances, were reformed by the Scottish Kirk.


But back to today which may be a bit of an anti- climax, but we do our best.

The established dramatic opening of our modern Holy Fair at 11am is the lone piper on the Kirk tower, followed by the skirl of the pipes from Muirkirk Pipe Band; and it is all systems go.


This year 70 stalls will again cater for all tastes and interests. Most come every year, which results in a huge demand for stalls and it is felt that the stalls make a considerable contribution to the atmosphere, spread as they are through the 18 th century lanes.  

Some years ago we expanded our sites to take in the large car park with more stall space but particularly with fairground attractions to cater for children and young folk. In 2012, this area will take in the Main Stage to give more room for visitors.


Another source of constant amusement are our Screaming Preachers. These two fine fellows unexpectedly pounce on visitors and performers alike making sure that they are aware of their sins.


Each year on the Bleaching green we try to ring the changes. This year, we have a circus tent with performers and circus lessons for young people and we hope to again have an Army Cadet Tug o' War competition.  

The variety of high class musical entertainment - and its great range - is possibly the greatest attraction of what is a tremendous free family day. With two venues- the church and a professional outdoor stage, all tastes are catered for. This year in the Church we have the award winning Newmilns and Darvel Silver Band, who have performed every year since we started the event. Well-known singer Coreen Scott and her musicians will entrance audiences with her melodic offering of Burns' melodies.

Following Coreen, comes our regular item from the Club's Honorary President, Ian Lyell. This time it is entitled ‘Burns the Farmer' and we will just have to wait and see which characters and music Ian introduces into this. The Church entertainment finishes up with Auchinleck organist Billy Garven, giving us ‘his pleasure' on the magnificent Mauchline Kirkrgan.


The Bakery Box will again provide teas in the large Church Hall and Magician and Children's Entertainer, Scott Lovat will entertain in another of the Church Halls. Also, in

honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it is hoped to stage an exhibition of appropriate photographs from 50 years ago.


We hope that the outdoor stage in it's new Loudoun Street Car Park position will attract it's usual large crowd. Here again the variety of music is tremendous. The Muirkirk Pipe Band will start proceedings off there with the sound of the pipes followed by the songs of Scottish Entertainer, Kirk James, helping to create the right atmosphere as they are heard all over the Holy Fair. Kirk will be followed by the team who put on ‘High School Musical' last year. This year their theme isGLEE and we are all looking forward to their two fantastic performances. Coming this year for the first time are ‘The Dukes of Uke.' This group will bring the happy sound of ukeleles and banjos to the Holy Fair.


After that, will be our Headline Act, Capercaillie. We can think of no one better to finish up the formal part of our day. Please come to join in and also to help create the well kent Holy Fair atmosphere. Mauchline Burns Club promises you a happy and pleasant few hours in our village. Updates are on our website and our Facebook page.


Ian Lyell, Hon. President.  

Could we do it?
Yes we could.

Mauchline Burns Club are proud to announce that we now hold the World record for the biggest haggis ever cooked at 1234 pounds, some 534 pounds above the previous record.

Seen below, left to right, are Mauchline Burns Club members, (the late) Fergie McCartney, Peter Scally (who masterminded the cooking) and Jim Davidson.

The biggest haggis the world has ever seen was cooked in Mauchline and it was a half-ton highlight of the Mauchline Holy Fair.

This great chieftain was truly the greatest of all time - a massive 1234 pounds.That's 534 pounds more than the previous record, so the Mauchline record should stand for years to come.

Slow cooking of the haggis began two days before the Holy Fair.

It was cooked in a specially made giant stainless steel tank and no-one could be sure of what would happen. Would the haggis burst open and provide the largest tank of haggis soup the world has ever seen? And, even if it held, would such a monster cook right through?

Would it even survive being lifted out of the tank?

Mauchline Burns Club member Peter Scally, an ex-army cook, was in charge of the process and he watched over the haggis like an expectant father. 

By the morning of the Holy fair, the haggis showed a small split on top and Peter feared it might also be splitting at the bottom. But his nerves were calmed when liquid was drained from the bottom of the tank - and it was clear.

The bag survived cooking and lifting and was duly cut open and addressed in the traditional way by Mauchline Burns Club's Andrew Cooper (see below) before free samples were passed round the crowd.

The great event took place on the Bleaching Green, where Burns met wife-to-be, Mauchline girl, Jean Armour.

Witnesses of the record attempt included Chris McCarthy, managing director of old - established butchers, McKechnie Jess of Greenock, who provided the haggis.

Others were Provost Stephanie Young of East Ayrshire and Torquil MacLeod, Director of Homecoming Scotland.

Mauchline Burns Club are grateful to the many people who helped enthusiastically to create this World Record.


Mauchline Burns Club's International Haggis Addresser, Andrew Cooper, addresses the half ton haggis with a 'knife' worthy of it's size.                                             


On the
Bleaching Green
Were you part of an official attempt to break the Guinness
World Record for the Largest Haggis ever cooked?

Cumnock Chronicle of 8th April said:-

The 800 lb Haggis was provided and donated by McKechnie Jess of Port Glasgow and cooked by Mauchline Burns Club Member, Peter Scally, who is an ex-Army cook, and The 29th Field Kitchen.


Maucline Burns Club
Maucline Burns Club
"Born in Alloway, Died in Dumfries, Lived in Mauchline"
Maucline Burns Club
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