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Report - Old Parish Church, Maybole, Ayrshire - May 2014 and fire July 2015

MacMan

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
The Old Parish Church on Cassillis Road, Maybole was built in 1808 and finally closed its doors to worshipers in 2005. It has lain empty since with its general condition deteriorating over the years. Having been left largely unsecured, it became a magnet for vandals who went about smashing windows, spray painting and generally doing everything they could to wreck the building. This deterioration reached its climax on the 15th of July 2015 when the building caught fire around 6am and was completely gutted. The future of the site is uncertain, however there is planning in place for a large number of houses to be constructed on neighbouring land and there is speculation that the church could now be demolished to make way for more houses.

Buildings at Risk register entry: http://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/details/913615

We visited the church on a sunny May afternoon in 2014 and had a good explore. The site consists of a large, square plan sandstone church with a smaller, rectangular church hall behind it. The whole site was very overgrown at the time and the buildings were lying open for anyone to walk in. There was nothing left in either of the buildings but it was good to have a look at the woodwork and stained glass windows. Both buildings were heavily vandalised and there was evidence of the buildings being used by homeless people.

Church hall with main building in background:
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Inside the hall (sorry, it was quite dark):
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Windows in main church, we suspect the organ used to be in the gap between them as the blower was still there:
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Stairs up to gallery and a bit of graffiti that made us chuckle:
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On the morning of Wednesday 15th of July I heard on the local radio that the A77 through Maybole was closed due to a building fire at a church - immediately I could guess where it was. Some photos posted by someone on Facebook shortly afterwards confirmed it:

Credit: A Facebook user
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A re-visited to the church today established the extent of the damage: the main building is gutted with the roof gone, the blackened roof beams are now exposed. The road is still partially closed while cleanup work is going on and the whole site was secured. Interestingly there was a large digger parked immediately next to the building. It appears that the church hall behind escaped the destruction.

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MacMan

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#3
It's a pity because it's a very prominent building on the main road through Maybole and meant a lot to local people who used it in the past. It has been in a dreadful state the last few years and it was inevitable that something like this was going to happen. The new housing development beside it might acquire the land if the church is demolished. This was very much a case of the wrong building in the wrong location, if it had been in Ayr it would probably have been converted for another use quicker or may never have closed in the first place.
 

Cliffjockey

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#4
It's a pity because it's a very prominent building on the main road through Maybole and meant a lot to local people who used it in the past. It has been in a dreadful state the last few years and it was inevitable that something like this was going to happen. The new housing development beside it might acquire the land if the church is demolished. This was very much a case of the wrong building in the wrong location, if it had been in Ayr it would probably have been converted for another use quicker or may never have closed in the first place.
Very true. Unfortunately all of the old historic buildings went the same way. It's sad to see my home town loose it's ties to history because of arsonists.
 

Lucas60

28DL Member
28DL Member
#7
Windows in main church, we suspect the organ used to be in the gap between them as the blower was still there:
19809265365_89f2485c67_c.jpg
Terrible to read that this church was destroyed by fire! In September 2005 I was here to remove the organ. There was a man on the street shouting "You have stolen this organ!", but I replied: "No mister, we are rescuing it". It was not my intention to say something profetic, but afterwards we can say that at least the organ was not destroyed by the flames...
Indeed, the organ stood in the tower. There is a picture on this site:
http://www.maybole.org/community/churches/MayboleOldChurchWindows/mayboleoldchurchstainedglass.htm
We left the blower there because it was very heavy and in a very bad state. We restored this instrument and it is now in Forchheim, Germany. It can be seen on this site, with repainted front pipes (as it was done original): http://www.frfeenstra.nl/en/forchheim_en.html

Luuk Sikkema, the Netherlands
 
Last edited:

Cliffjockey

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#8
That's amazing that you managed to save a piece of history. The church is still standing at the moment, and there may be plans afoot to try and save it.
 

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