Town Centre, Dumfries

Town Centre, Dumfries, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on Dumfries, the largest town in South-West Scotland which has a long history. The name may derive from a combination of Dun (fort) and praes (thicket) which could indicate settlement dating back to the Iron-Age (about 2000 years ago). A summary of the last 1000 years is provided below.

  • Established as a small village in AD1100 in the then separate Kingdom of Galloway. Subsequently grew in size and importance to become the Royal Burgh of Dumfries within 100 years.
  • Castle founded in 1185 and replaced by a stone castle in the 1260s.By the 13th century three more castles had been built.
  • In February 1306 Robert the Bruce stabbed John Comyn to death in Greyfrairs Church, an act which facilitated Bruce’s control of the Scottish Crown.
  • Seven Trade Guilds established  by the late 1500s.
  • From earliest times the town was empowered to hold two weekly markets.
  • In the 17th century, Dumfries was embroiled in the religious strife linked to covenanting
  • In the 18th century  (Dec 1745) the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie occupied Dumfries and demanded a fine of two thousand pounds.
  • Dumfries prospered on the back of a diversity of trades and industries including tanning, leatherworking, shoe-making, clog making, saddlery, brewing, distilling and milling. Hatmaking  prospered briefly but failed by the 1860s. Hosiery and tweed manufacture were also important in the 19th century.
  • During the early part of the 20th century a motor car industry flourished. There was the Arrol-Johnson car and then the Galloway car.
  • Perhaps the town’s best claim to fame is via the Robert Burns connection. The poet visited Dumfries in 1787  to purchase a farm and moved into a new house there in 1789. Burns died at Dumfries in 1796 age 37 years. Below is an image of the Globe Inn where Burns was a regular customer. 
Globe Inn, Dunfries

Globe Inn, Dunfries, Scotland


I usually include a visit to Dumfries in my tours of the Scottish Borders.

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