Maybole Castle, or Cassillis Castle, is set in an area with a reputation for footwear manufacture and agricultural implements, and of interest to Robert Burns students, as the poet's father and mother first met at Maybole, the castle dates from the 14th Century. It was built originally as an oblong tower; in the 17th Century a square tower was added with an unusual round, hollow newel. This type of staircase, built in straight flights and landings around a flat inner wall instead of revolving round a circular post or column, made a great difference to castle design and improved on the older wheel stairs.
The area around Cassillis Castle was held by the Cassillis Kennedys, who, it is said, owned no less than twenty-eight baronial mansions in the parish. An ancient legend tells that a Countess of Cassillis was imprisoned in the castle because of her association with Johnny Faa, King of the Gypsies. John Kennedy, her husband and sixth Earl of Cassillis, got home in time to catch the pair, hung Johnny Faa, and imprisoned his Countess for life. The tale is romantic but dubious, as surviving letters from John Kennedy to his wife prove that they were happily married for over twenty years.
To Tour Ayr and Kilmarnock