Kirkmaiden shown within Dumfries and Galloway
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Scottish Parliament||Galloway and West Dumfries|
Kirkmaiden, named after the mediaeval Saint Medan, is a village and an area about ten miles in length and from a mile and a half to nearly four miles in breadth of 13,000 acres, of which 4000 are arable, 6000 meadow and pasture, 300 woodland and plantations in Wigtownshire in the Rhins of Galloway, District Council Region of Dumfries and Galloway, the most southerly in Scotland.
The harbours (the two main settlements in Kirkmaiden) are, Port Logan in the bay of Portnessock, and Drummore. At both of these, commodious quays have been erected, where vessels of any burthen may land and take in their cargoes, and find safe anchorage in the bays; but the former cannot be entered at low water by vessels of great size
The Kirkmaiden Natural History Group is based in Drummore and holds monthly indoor meetings and conducts field outings throughout the year. It has a very interesting website with photos etc.
In AD1500 Patrick M'Douall of Logan's "Balzieland Tower" was burned.
The Chapel and Churches
1. * The ruins of St Medan's chapel and cave are halfway down to the sea shore, located at NX1431. (click on photo of chapel and cave below)
2. * The parish church was originally some five miles south of Drummore, at a site on the Kirkburn, near Portankill and not far from the Mull of Galloway located at NX1332. (click on photo of the 'old' Kirkmaiden Church site below). The site of the Portankill Fort may be in the background.
3. * In 1638 the parishioners, citing the inconvenience of the journey to church, secured the building of the "Newer" church, on the southern outskirts of Kirkmaiden Village.
The patron (after c.1700) was the Earl of Stair. The population of the parish was 1,051 in 1755, 1,380 in the 1790s and 1,613 in 1801. A number of endowments for the poor of the parish are mentioned, including £100 from Andrew McMurray a merchant in London, £100 from Andrew McDowal (Lord Bankton, one of the judges of the Court of Session: the McDowal family were lairds of Logan), and £400 from William Adair of Flixton, Suffolk, England (d.1783) who was the Secretary of Virginia, America, based in London, England. William Adair was the brother of Dr. John Adair of London of Quebec fame, and also brother of Mrs. Anderson, wife of the Minister at Kirkmaiden, and they were children of Rev. Patrick Adair of Belfast, Ireland. Rev. Patrick Adair was son of William Adair of Corgie, Kirkmaiden, and his wife Ann McDowell, dau of McDowell, Laird of Logan.
4. * Following the Disruption of 1843, a "New" Saint Medan's church was built in Stair Street, Drummore, for worshippers in the Free Church of Scotland and early in the 1900s the two congregations were reunited.
Largest Iron Age stronghold in Britain
A substantial earthwork measuring 400m long, cuts off an area of about 57ha at the eastern end of the Mull of Galloway. In most places it comprises three ditches with medial banks, the inner bank being the larger, measuring between 3.1m and 4m in thickness with an external height of up to 2.2m. It is believed the ramparts make this the largest Iron Age stronghold in Britain. It is situated 330m south-southeast of the earthwork at the Tarbet.
About 330m north-northwest of the above earthwork, and situated at the narrow isthmus between the bays of East and West Tarbet, an earthwork cuts across the neck of the Mull of Galloway south of the enclosed fields of the Mull farm. The bank is 2.3m wide and 0.5m high with possible facing stones exposed.
See Archaeological and Historical Collections relating to Ayrshire and Galloway. vol.V. pp. 62–63 by Rev. George Wilson wherein he describes forts : (a) 2 across the narrow isthmust from east to west Tarbert. (b) One north-west of West Tarbert, not on O.S. map. (c) Dunora or Dunorrich. (d) Three forts with only traces of ditch. (e) Dunman, a large fort. (f) Crummag Head, a circular stone fort. (g) One between Clanyard and Logan Bay. (h) Dunichinie, large circular fort north of Mull of Logan. (i) Moat Hill at Drummore.
(e) Dunman Fort an Early Iron Age Fort on the western shore of the Rhins. The defences along the inner crests of the natural gullies on the north-east and south-east consisted of a wall originally 8'-12' thick. The internal measurement is about 110m north-west by 100m south-east, but no structures were visible in the interior. There are entrances on the north to north-east and south, with a possible third on the north where a natural terrace provides access to the interior immediately beyond the end of the wall.
Walling is visible on the north, east and south sides and some on the east, consisting of an inner wall face and heather-covered rubble about 3.0m wide. The wall which follows the crest of a scarp over 7m high around the north, east and south sides of the summit. The wall peters out on the north and south to south-west, and there are no visible defences on the west where the ground falls away steeply to the sea 150m below.
There are four approaches to the fort, but only one, in the north-east is faced as an entrance. A shallow hollow descends the scarp at the north to north-east entrance, which is blocked with three large boulders. At the south entrance a natural terrace drops obliquely down the scarp into a hollow 2.5m broad with a bank up to 3m thick and 0.6m high on its outer lip.
(f) Crammag Head on the western shore of the Rhins was circular dun or broch with outworks about 19.5m in diameter over all, but its wall has been reduced to little more than the basal course of the outer face around the west. The granite facing-stones measure up to 1m in length by 0.65m in breadth and 0.65m in height, and a maximum of three courses is visible on the north-west.
The interior on the west, which is now occupied by Crammag Head Light, has been raised up to 1.8m above the outer face with material from a ditch immediately east of the dun.
The ditch is broken by a causeway 2.5m wide which is faced with granite boulders along its south-side. To the north of the causeway the ditch measures 9m in breadth and varies from 1.3m in depth externally to 2m internally, but to the south it is only 6.5m in breadth and 1.1m in depth. The ditch is only visible at the southern end of the rampart and measures up to 5.5m in breadth by 0.3m in depth. The entrance through the outer defence was probably at its southern end where the rampart and ditch stop 3m and 5m short of the edge of the promontory respectively.
About 20m east of the ditch there is an outer rampart with external ditch. At its north end the rampart has been reduced to little more than a scatter of stones but towards the south it is up to 4.4m thick and 0.5m high. "Vitrified" stone was recovered from the outer rampart.
It had an entrance passage on the east where the wall was at least 4.5m to 6m thick.
Core Hill Fort Iron-Dark age Fort is situated on the summit of Core Hill, immediately south of Kirkmaiden churchyard. It measures 28.3m by 21m within the inner rampart, which varies from a low bank 3.4m thick and 0.5m high, to a scarp up to 2.3m high externally. A stone axe was found in the interior.
High Drummore Motte and Bailey in the mid-eastern side of the Rhins. The mound is 10 ft high, but is 23 ft high to the east and protected on the west by a rampart and ditch. The top is about 40 ft in diameter, and has a hollow about 18 ft across and 3 to 4 ft deep, with an entrance from the east. A rampart goes down the slope towards the east with an interspace of 60 ft. On the south there was an entrance about 8 ft wide at the base of the mound and on the south of the base the rampart is about 24 ft thick at base and 6 ft high externally. Between it and the edge of the glen lies a terrace 20 ft wide near the mound, decreasing to the east where it is 6 ft wide. The bailey lies on the east and measures 28m by 20m within a bank up to 7.2m thick and 2.5m high on the south which enclosed the motte.
5th - 6th century grave covered by a stone slab bearing a badly weathered Latin inscription. The original description of the stone (which is now lost) records that the name Ventidius was legible together with another, which translated as "sub-deacon". It is thought that this could be the 5th stone from Kirkmadrine. The grave being of a much later date. A standing stone is situated 460m NNW of Low Curghie.
Castles & Tower Houses
The Gordons of Clanyard Castle were powerful men in the area, and their daughters married into Kirkmaiden families. Alexander Gordon of Castle Clanyard received a bell cast in AD1534 for Kirkmaiden Church. A very interesting Castle Clanyard Reconstruction in Sketchup is on YouTube.
List of Listed Buildings
- History of the Lands and Their Owners In Galloway. P.H. M'Kerlie. New Edition. Volume 1. 1906.
- Richard D Oram (2000), The Lordship of Galloway, John Donald.
- John MacQueen (2002), Place-Names in the Rhinns of Galloway and Luce Valley, Stranraer and District Local History Trust.
- W F H Nicolaisen (1976), Scottish Place-Names, Batsford, London.
- A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, by Samuel Lewis. pub. 1846
- The Gazetteer of Scotland by Robert Chambers. vol.II. Pub.1838. pp.671-672 http://www26.us.archive.org/stream/gazetteerofscov21838cham#page/671/mode/1up/search/Kirkmaiden
- A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, by Samuel Lewis. pub.1846
- See http://www.premontre.org/subpages/loci/imagines/imsoulseat/Soulseat%20Chronological%20History.htm, accessed 26 January 2008
- Statistical Account of Scotland , vol 5, page xxviii; republished 1983
- Statistical Account of Scotland, vol 5, page 432; republished 1983
- Archaeological and Historical Collections relating to Ayrshire and Galloway. vol.V. pp.62-73 http://archive.org/stream/cu31924092901606#page/n115/mode/2up
- Kirkmaiden Church bell, AD1534 http://mull-of-galloway.co.uk/local-history/archaeological-sites
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