infobox UK place
country = Scotland
gaelic_name= Cille Chuithbeirt
population= 3447 (as of 2001)
Dumfries and Galloway
The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
constituency_westminster= Dumfries and Galloway
constituency_scottish_parliament= Galloway and Upper Nithsdale
postcode_district = DG6
Kirkcudbright, (pronEng|kɚˈkuːbriː ("Kirr Coo Bree")) ( _gd. Cille Chuithbeirt) is a town in the south of
Scotlandin Dumfries and Galloway.
The town lies south of
Castle Douglasand Dalbeattie, in the part of Dumfries and Galloway known as the Stewartry, situated at the mouth of the River Dee, some six miles from the sea. It was the county town of the former county of Kirkcudbrightshire.
The early rendition of the name of the town was Kilcudbrit, derived from the
Scottish Gaelic"Cille Chuithbeirt" (Chapel of Cuthbert), the saint whose mortal remains were kept here for seven years between exhumation at Lindisfarneand re-interment at Chester-le-Street.
Spottiswood, in his account of religious houses in Scotland, mentions that the Franciscans or Grey Friars had been established at Kirkcudbright from the 12th century. No traces of the Greyfriars or Franciscan dwellings remain in the parish of Kirkcudbright.
In 1453, Kirkcudbright became a
Royal burgh[ [http://www.old-kirkcudbright.net/index.asp Old Kirkcudbright history] ] , and about a century later the magistrates of the town obtained permission from Queen Mary to use part of the convent and nunnery as a parish church. From around 1570, Sir Thomas Maclellan of Bombie, the chief magistrate, received a charter for the site, its grounds, and gardens. Maclellan dismantled the church in order to obtain material for his proposed castle and proceeded to have a very fine house, MacLellan's Castle, built on the site.
After defeat at the
Battle of Towton, Henry VI of Englandcrossed the Solway in August 1461 to land at Kirkcudbright in support of Queen Margaret at Linlithgow. The town also successfully withstood a siege in 1547 from the English commander Sir Thomas Carleton, but after the surrounding countryside had been overrun was compelled to surrender.
The Tolbooth was built between 1625 and 1629 and served not only as the
tollbooth, but also the council offices, the Burgh and Sheriff courts, the criminal prison, and the debtors' prison. One of its most famous prisoners was John Paul Jones, hero of the American navy, who was born in nearby Kirkbean.
The Kirkcudbright Railway opened in 1864, but the railway line and station closed in 1965.
Stewartry Museumwas founded in 1879 and was at first based in the Town Hall until it became too small. The collection moved to a purpose-built site and contains the local and natural history of the eastern part of Galloway, formerly known as Kirkcudbrightshireand now known as the Stewartry.Britain's earliest surviving sporting trophy, the Siller Gun [ [http://www.old-kirkcudbright.net/pages/siller.asp Siller Gun] ] , is part of the collection, as are paintings by many local artists.
The Tolbooth building is now used as an Arts Centre. [ [http://www.kirkcudbright.co.uk/oldhighst/tolbooth.htm Tolbooth Arts Centre] ]
Kirkcudbright has had a long association with the Glasgow art movement, which started when a colony of artists, including the Glasgow Boys and the famed
Scottish Colourists, such as Samuel Peploeand F. C. B. Cadell, based themselves in the area over a 30-year period from 1880 to 1910.
Many of them moved to the town from Glasgow, including E A Hornel, George Henry, and
Jessie M King, and their presence led to Kirkcudbright becoming known as "the artists’ town", although this moniker may have originated more from tourist board publicity [ [http://www.kirkcudbright.co.uk/ Kirkcudbright: Artists' Town official website] ] rather than local usage.
whodunit" Five Red Herrings" by Dorothy L. Sayersinvolves the artistic community of Kirkcudbright. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072502/ Five Red Herrings] ] In 1975, the book was made into a film shot in the town, with Ian Carmichaelplaying the lead role of Lord Peter Wimsey.
The town also featured in the cult 1973 horror film "The Wicker Man". Several parts of the town can be easily recognised in the film.
* [http://www.fallingrain.com/world/UK/0/Kirkcudbright.html FallingRain Map - elevation = 65m]
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