An Internet Browse Through the History Topography and Genealogy of the Ancient Burgh and Parish of Kirkcudbright

Taken from a selection of contemporary books, magazines, documents, maps, illustrations and ephemera.

The Town of Kirkcudbright is finely situated on the estuary of the River Dee, and is the county town of the County or Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in South-West Scotland.  Collectively with the County of Wigtown, the area was historically known as the Kingdom of Galloway, and now forms the western portion of the present-day local authority area Dumfries and Galloway.

Kirkcudbright is first recorded with Royal Burgh status as far back as 1455, but may have had this distinction even earlier.  Royal Burgh status gave the town authority to trade with ports outside of Scotland and reflected the security of its position, and importance of its fine sheltered harbour.

The original town was built around the old High Street where many old town-houses still survive.  With its castle, harbour and mote, it was protected on all sides by the tidal waters of the River Dee and has prospered over many centuries since.

Kirkcudbright entry in The Gazetteer of Scotland (William Chambers, 1838)

Side by Side Mapping

The website of the National Library of Scotland has a fascinating map viewer. The link given below will open a page showing an early OS map of Kirkcudbright alongside a modern satellite view of the same area. Once open, the maps can be scrolled and zoomed and different map combinations can be selected. Click the image below to view.

Side by side mapping
Side by side mapping

The Stewartry Museum

The Stewartry Museum in the town is an excellent source of information on the town’s history.

The Stewartry Museum was founded in 1879, and first occupied part of the Kirkcudbright Town Hall. As the collection grew, the present purpose-built museum was planned and opened in 1893. The Museum has an old-world charm and exhibits a wealth of objects relating to the area known as The Stewartry of Kirkcudbrightshire.

It also has research facilities and holds an extensive local history library and photographic collection relating to the Stewartry. All of these resources can be accessed when visiting the Museum. Prints of the photographic archive can be supplied, for those unable to visit the museum in person a postal research service is also available for a small fee.

Tel.No. 01557 331643.  Website: Click here.

Kirkcudbright History Society

Kirkcudbright History Society was established in 2001 with the aim of promoting and encouraging interest in the history of the town of Kirkcudbright and its immediate environs, and more generally in the former county of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright (Kirkcudbrightshire).

Their website includes details from the presentations of previous speakers and a programme page listing planned events.

The Society meets monthly from October to March to hear a guest lecturer. Meetings are held in Kirkcudbright Parish Church Hall, St. Mary St., Kirkcudbright on the second Wednesday of the month, starting at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

Website: Click here.

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