Dumfries

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Dumfries town is situated in Dumfries & Galloway southwest Scotland, 72 miles east of Stranraer, 23 miles west of Gretna.

Dumfries attracts visitors for its shopping, largest in the area, many museums most are free, restaurants, famous bar diners, river fishing, golf, and the poet Robert Burns who spent his final years in the town, with his home and grave now top attractions.

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See also a large Click On Map for the area Top Attractions.

The Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum is a top attraction 3 miles east of the town.

The image top is of the street named White Sands that runs alongside the River Nith with a large free car park. You need a disk from a local shop to show how long you are using the park.

There are scenic walks alongside the river with interesting bridges.

Buccleuch Street runs from White Sands up to the town centre with a number of fine buildings built from local hard wearing red sandstone.

These buildings include the Sheriff Court, Town Hall and Robert the Bruce bar diner. This bar diner is situated close to where Greyfriars Monastery once stood, where Robert the Bruce murdered Sir John Comyn in 1306 so he could become king of Scotland.

At the top of Buccleuch Street, east end of the High Street, is Greyfriars Church / Kirk completed in 1868 in neo-Gothic style, as the largest church in the town.

A Bronze Age hoard was found during excavations for the church in the 1860s, with four axes from the hoard on display in Dumfries Museum.

The statue of Robert Burns is in front of the church, carved in Carrara by Italian craftsmen to designs of Amelia Hill. The Earl of Rosebery unveiled the statue on the 6th April 1882.

The Midsteeple was built in 1705 on the High Street by the Market Cross. It was used as a prison, council offices, and to store arms and ammunition. It now serves as a booking office for events in the area.

Also on the High Street by the large shopping centre is the Dumfries Fountain, unveiled on the 5th of December 1882 by Provost Lennox. This is a popular spot for bursars.

The Globe Inn is situated by the fountain, opened in 1610, it was a favourite pub of Robert Burns.

The Hole in the Wall bar diner is another famous pub in Dumfries, situated on the High Street by Greyfriars Church. The original hole in the wall is still there, where people not allowed in the pub would have their beer passed through.

Robert Burns House is a free museum situated on Burns Street, a short walk from the High Street. This is the house Burns lived in from 1793 till his death in 1796, a top museum with scenic gardens.

The statue of Burns wife Jean Armour is situated at the end of Burns Street, outside St Michael's Church.

St Michael's Church is the oldest church in Dumfries with records going back to the 1100s. The present church is the third on this site, completed in 1746.

Robert Burns was buried at St Michael's on the 25th of July 1796, in a cramped plot at the rear, in the left corner of the graveyard.

The Robert Burns Mausoleum was completed in 1817. Burns and two of his young sons were then re-buried in the Mausoleum.

The Suspension Bridge is situated at the south side of Dumfries centre crossing the River Nith, built in 1875.

The bridge leads to the north side of Dumfries with a large peaceful grassland area.

The Robert Burns Centre is a former 1700s watermill on the north side of the river, directly across from the main riverside car park. It is a short walk across the Suspension Bridge or the Old Stone Bridge.

The Robert Burns Centre is a film theatre, cafe / diner, and free museum giving information on Robert Burns and the History of Dumfries.

The Dumfries Museum is situated a short walk up behind the Robert Burns Centre. This is a free museum crammed full of interesting artifacts from the area over many centuries.

The Dumfries Museum also contains the Camera Obscura from 1836, the oldest still in use in the world, providing panoramic views over the town and countryside. There is a small fee for the Camera Obscura. Part of this building used to be a windmill.

Devorgilla Bridge connects the town centre to the north side. The bridge seen today was built in the 1600s, but there were a number of bridges on this spot before.

The Nith is known for great floods, sweeping away a number of earlier bridges, including the original Devorgilla Bridge from the 1270s, built for Lady Devorgilla of Galloway, great niece of King William the Lion.

Lady Devorgilla is best know for the building of Sweetheart Abbey seven miles south of Dumfries. She had the Abbey built after the death of her husband, Baron John de Balliol.

The house on the north side of the bridge is now the Old Bridge House Museum, free to visit with a Victorian family kitchen, nursery, bedroom, and an early dentist’s surgery.

This is the oldest house in Dumfries, built into the bridge in the early 1600s. It once served as an Inn.

Dumfries History

300s? - the area of present day Dumfries is thought to have been inhabited by Roman's during their incursions into Scotland.

410 - the Roman's left Britain leading to the Scots and English fighting over the border. The Dumfries area was often under English control.

1160 - Lincluden Abbey is built 2 miles north of the present day town centre. There are remains of an earlier castle close to the Abbey remains.

1186 - the Scots king William the Lion made Dumfries a Royal Burgh. This king was known for fighting to extend Scotland's border south.

1100s - the first St Michael's Church is built in Dumfries.

Dumfries grew from this time as a market town.

1237 - the Treaty of York between Scotland and England defined the border between the two countries, close to what is seen today.

1200s - a Royal Castle was built in the area now known as Castledykes Park. Nothing of that castle remains.

1297 - William Wallace and his army pass through the town in pursuit of a fleeing English army after the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

1300 - King Edward I of England leads his mighty army through Dumfries as he sets about taking control of Scotland.

1306 - Robert the Bruce slew his rival John Comyn at Greyfriars Monastery in Dumfries so he could become king of Scotland.

1306 - Bruce's brother in law and two companions were executed in Dumfries by the English for the murder of Comyn. The brother in law was executed by hanging then beheaded.

1314 - victory at the Battle of Bannockburn by Stirling led to Bruce becoming king of an independent Scotland.

1659 - ten women accused of being witches were taken to the Whitesands where they were tied to stakes, strangled, and burnt to ashes.

1705 - the Midsteeple is completed on the High Street for council buildings and to serve as a prison.

1745 late - Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at the Commercial Hotel on Dumfries High Street while his army was camped outside the town during the Jacobite Risings. The risings ended after the Battle of Culloden by Inverness in 1746.

1788 - Robert Burns takes a lease on a farm at Ellisland by Dumfries.

1791 - Robert Burns moves into a small flat in Bank Street in Dumfries town.

Dumfries Images
 

1796 - Robert Burns dies and is buried at St Michael's Church.

1800s - quarries at Dumfries produce vast amounts of a hard wearing red sandstone for local buildings and grave stones.

This premium red sandstone was also used for many buildings in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Country Mansions, and for the steps of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour.

1848 - the Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway was opened.

1868 - Greyfriars Church is completed in Dumfries centre as the town needed a larger church.

1940 - RAF Dumfries was opened for light aircraft training.

1960 - RAF Dumfries is sold to a private operator.

1977 - the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum is opened on the grounds of the former RAF Dumfries, 3 miles east of the town.

Today - the town is the main town in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Locharbriggs Quarry at the northeast of the town still produces this hard wearing red sandstone.

Viewing the many historic buildings in Dumfries, you will see they are like the day they were built.

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