Robert Heron of New Galloway and the Galloway Enlightenment.

Professor Ted Cowan

The ever-popular historian, Professor Ted Cowan, was the guest speaker for our meeting on 14th December 2016.

His chosen subject was Robert Heron of New Galloway (1764-1807), not only an interesting man in his own right, but an exemplar of the many under-appreciated local historians who nevertheless provide a revealing insight into that glorious period in Scottish history known as the Scottish Enlightenment in the latter half of the 18th century.

Heron was born at Creehead, New Galloway, the son of a weaver who also ran a school. After being home–schooled, Heron himself went on to run a school at the incredibly young age of 11. After studying at Edinburgh University he became a licentiate of the Church in 1789, but was in reality a professional man of letters and, as quoted excerpts from his Journal confirmed, he wrote with a refreshing frankness and self-deprecation. For example the entry for 19th September 1789 reads: ‘Prayed carelessly and hastily. At breakfast read my Chapter, carelessly too, although it related the trial and last sufferings of my Saviour.’ The entry for 6th August 1791, reads: ‘Mr Grierson dined with me and drank tea. He, Mr Bradefute, and Mr Burns supped. Left at eleven.’

Continue reading…

Jim Gordon and his Galloway Ancestry’ -a lecture by Dr Jack Gordon, 9th November 2016

Jim Gordon in his 20s.
Jim Gordon in his 20s.

At a well-attended meeting on Wednesday 9th November, over 80 members and guests of Kirkcudbright History Society

gathered  in Kirkcudbright Parish Hall to hear an illustrated talk by Dr. Jack Gordon about his late brother Jim Gordon (1926-2014), in which he described his life, career and interests, and his Halliday, Hilston and Gordon ancestry.  This was a particularly relevant talk for the Society for Jim was one of its earliest members and a regular attender at its meetings.

Continue reading…

The Copland Photographic Collection: John Copland of Dundrennan 1854-1929

A large audience enjoyed a most interesting presentation by Alison Burgess, Dumfries and Galloway Local Studies and Information Officer at our first meeting of the new session. Her subject was John Copland, Artist, Photographer and Illustrator who had a strong affinity and love for Galloway

John Copland in his studio in Dundrennan By courtesy of The Stewartry Museum

A collection of Copland’s photographic plates, illustrations, paintings, cameras and memorabilia was purchased for the Regional Archive. This is a project in progress and Alison is hoping to have help in adding content to the images in identifying people and places.

Continue reading…

Lest we Forget. The Battle of the Somme and the Kirkcudbright men who fell

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front; more than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

Private Samuel Rae
Private Samuel Rae

Private Samuel Rae, 1/5th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers was 27 years of age when he was killed on 1st July 1916. He was a clever boy who had been Dux at the Academy then graduating from Edinburgh University in 1912 Having completed a teacher training course, he had only been a few months at Tiree High School when he was called up.

Continue reading…

The Viking Hoard in Galloway

A vessel with the lid removed
A vessel with the lid removed

The discovery of The Viking Hoard in Galloway was the subject of a joint meeting with the Stewartry Museum on May 18th

“Finding the Viking Hoard”- Andrew Nicholson, Historic Environment Record officer.
In conjuction with Dumfries and Galloway Museum Service.

The Galloway Hoard was found by a metal dectectorists in 2014 and has been described as one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland, Archaeologist Andy Nicholson has led the excavation and shared his amazing experience with a large audience on Wednesday .

Continue reading…

At the last meeting of Kirkcudbright History Society this session members and visitors were introduced to

Society member Stuart Ingram has been collecting postcards for a number of years and has accumulated over 3000 postcards dealing with a wide range of interests and subjects.

Postcards first came into use in a substantial way in the 1880’s and 1890’s. They have been widely used and produced ever since and most people will have sent or received a postcard.

However with a history now of well over 130 years they are a valuable source of images, illustration and record for the historian. Quite apart from any correspondence which may be shown on them and may be of social interest.

Continue reading…

Kirkcudbright Kirkyard Tours 2016

Our Society will once again be offering guided tours of Kirkcudbright’s historic St. Cuthbert’s Kirkyard this summer – every Wednesday from July 13 to August 17 inclusive. If any member would like to join the guide team (training will be given), please speak to Mike Duguid at one of our programme meetings or email David Devereux at

Guides often work in pairs with up to 12 people attending each tour. An appreciative audience is guaranteed – there is so much to tell!