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Mauchline Holy Fair
Please click here for our
from Andrew Cooper, Secretary 01290 55930
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.
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.
Information on :- www.mauchlineburnsclub.com
Find us on Facebook
Some images courtesy of
Brian Connelly from our brilliant day below:-
All above images courtesy
of Brian Connolly
below are from the top of the Kirk Tower at the start
of the Holy Fair and are courtesy of Ayrshire History.com
2013 Holy Fair Programme
10am – 4pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
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.
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.
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.
note: Access within this historic building is limited.
11am – 4pm on Holy Fair day
at other times by appointment (contact the Burns House
spectacular views over the Ayrshire countryside, the tower
was built in 1898 was one of the first memorials to Robert
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.
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.
Kirk Session Minute Book and William (Daddy) Auld Chalices
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.
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 www.ayrshirehistory.com
- in association with Mauchline Burns Club.
'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
All the above images
courtesy of Gavin Lyell
All the images below courtesy of Brian
Images Below courtesy of Dalry Burns Club
(See links page for link)
BURNS CLUB'S ELEVENTH HOLY FAIR
before the 2012 Holy Fair)
Saturday 2nd June 2012 from 11am
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.
has been estimated that approximately 10,000 to 12,000
visitors are attracted to this remarkable event.
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.
in his poem The Holy Fair emphasised the attendance in
1786 was- ‘In droves that day.'
we are repeating that.
Let's jump back in time, to 1786.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Burns make all this up? Did he exaggerate?
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.'
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.
back to today
which may be a bit of an anti- climax, but we do our best.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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'
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
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
of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it is hoped to stage an
exhibition of appropriate photographs from 50 years ago.
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
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.
Lyell, Hon. President.