Annan, Dumfries and Galloway

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Annan is located in Dumfries and Galloway
Location within Dumfries and Galloway
Population8,780 (mid-2016 est.)[2]
OS grid referenceNY 192 661
• Edinburgh67 mi (108 km)
• London273 mi (439 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townANNAN
Postcode districtDG12
Dialling code01461
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
54°58′59″N 3°15′58″W / 54.983°N 3.266°W / 54.983; -3.266Coordinates: 54°58′59″N 3°15′58″W / 54.983°N 3.266°W / 54.983; -3.266
Annan, with Mote of Annan to the right
Annan River road bridge

Annan (/ˈænən/ AN-ən; Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Anainn) is a town and former royal burgh in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. Historically part of Dumfriesshire, its public buildings include Annan Academy, of which the writer Thomas Carlyle was a pupil, and a Georgian building now known as "Bridge House". The Town Hall was built in Victorian style in 1878, using the local sandstone. Annan also features a Historic Resources Centre. In Port Street, some of the windows remain blocked up to avoid paying the window tax.

Each year on the first Saturday in July, Annan celebrates the Royal Charter and the boundaries of the Royal Burgh are confirmed when a mounted cavalcade undertakes the Riding of the Marches. Entertainment includes a procession, sports, field displays and massed pipe bands.


Annan stands on the River Annan—from which it is named—nearly 2 miles (3 km) from its mouth, accessible to vessels of 60 tons as far as Annan Bridge and 300 tons within 12 mile (800 m) of the town.[3] It is 15 miles (24 km) from Dumfries by rail,[4] in the region of Dumfries and Galloway on the Solway Firth in the south of Scotland. Eastriggs is about 3 miles (5 km) to the east and Gretna is about 8 miles (13 km) to the east.


Roman remains exist nearby.[4]

The Mote of Annan formed the original home of the de Brus family, later known as the Bruces, lords of Annandale,[4] which most famously produced Robert the Bruce. It was at the Battle of Annan in December 1332 that Bruce supporters overwhelmed Balliol's forces to bring about the end of the first invasion of Scotland in the Second War of Scottish Independence. The Balliols and the Douglases were also more or less closely associated with Annan.[4] Annan Castle once stood in the old churchyard and was originally the church tower.

The Battle of Bruce's Acres was fought near Newbie Castle against the English in the 13th century.

Bruce's Well is a natural spring that lies on the edge of the River Annan just downstream of the Gala Burn and Glen. It is associated with Robert the Bruce as recorded by Historic Environment Scotland.*Bruce's Well

During the period of the Border lawlessness the inhabitants suffered repeatedly at the hands of moss-troopers and through the feuds of rival families, in addition to the losses caused by the Scottish Wars of Independence.[4] During his retreat from Derby, Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed in the High Street at the inn where Back to the Buck now stands.

With the river embanked, Annan served as a maritime town whose shipyards built many clippers and other boats. A cairn on the jetty commemorates Robert Burns, who worked as an exciseman here in the 1790s. Although the port is now mainly dry, a few stranded boats remain.

Annan Academy has a history that goes back to the 17th century[citation needed] and alumni including Thomas Carlyle.[4] Its current campus on St John's Road primarily dates to the 1960s.

After the Acts of Union 1707, Annan, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Lochmaben and Sanquhar formed the Dumfries district of burghs, returning one member between them to the House of Commons of Great Britain.[3] Annan previously formed a constituency of the Parliament of Scotland and the Convention of Estates. In 1871, the Dumfries Burghs had a population of 3,172 and the royal burgh of Annan had 4,174, governed by a provost and 14 councillors.[3] A Harbour Trust was established in 1897 to improve the port.[4] The small Newbie Harbour lay on the other side of the River Annan near Newbie Mill and served the old Newbie Castle and barony.

By 1901, the population was 5,805, living principally in red sandstone buildings.[4]

The railway turntable was designed and developed in Annan; it can be seen today at the National Railway Museum, York.

In 2021, the town was affected by heavy rainfall and flooding, resulting in the collapse of two footbridges.[5]


Just outside the town, the Chapelcross nuclear power station has now shut down and is being decommissioned. The four cooling towers were demolished in 2007.

Nearby, John Maxwell, 4th Lord Herries, built Hoddom Castle (c. 1552–1565).

To the east of the town lies the settlement of Watchill and the similarly named Watchhall.

Part of the A75 between Annan and Dumfries is reported to be haunted.[6][7]


Annandale distillery has now officially re-opened in Annan, which last produced a Lowland Malt 90 years ago, although it is still in early stages.[8]


Annan is served by several churches of different denominations, including:

  • Annan Old Parish Church, High Street (Church of Scotland)[9]
  • St. Andrew's Parish Church, Bank Street (Church of Scotland)[10]
  • Annan URC, Station Road (United Reformed Church)
  • St. John's Church, St. John's Road (Scottish Episcopal Church)
  • St. Columba's Church, 40 Scotts Street (Catholic Church) Built as a Congregational Church in 1794 became a Catholic church in 1839. Added to in 1904 by Charles Walker of Newcastle as the gift of the parish priest the Rev Canon Lord Archibald Douglas.[11]

There is also a local interchurch group, known as Annandale Churches Together.[12]


In the 19th century, Annan was connected to the Glasgow & South Western Railway, the Caledonian Railway, and the Solway Junction Railway. It exported cured hams, cattle, sheep, and grain to England; it also produced cotton goods, ropes, ships, and salmon.[3] By the First World War, it was also a center of bacon-curing, distilling, tanning, sandstone quarrying, and nursery-gardening.[4]


Annan Bridge, a stone bridge of three arches, built between 1824 and 1827, carries road traffic over the River Annan.[4] It was designed by Robert Stevenson and built by John Lowry. There is also a railway bridge[4] and a nearby pedestrian bridge over the Annan. It is still served by the Annan railway station, the old Solway Junction Railway station Annan Shawhill having closed to passengers in 1931 and freight in 1955. Newbie Junction Halt railway station briefly served the old Newbie Tile and Brickworks as well as the Cochran's Boiler Works that stood on the short Newbie Branch.

Outdoor activity[edit]

Annandale Way is a 53-mile (85 km) walking route[13] that was opened in September 2009.[14] The route runs through Annandale, from the source of the River Annan to the sea; it passes through the town of Annan and offers interesting walking both up river and down from the town.

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba ~ Gaelic Place-names of Scotland
  2. ^ "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d EB (1878).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k EB (1911).
  5. ^ "Two bridges 'washed away' by heavy downpours". BBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  6. ^ Cohen, Daniel; Marchesi, Stephen (1992). "The Annan Road Horrors". Railway Ghosts and Highway Horrors. London: Apple. pp. 61–66. ISBN 0-590-45423-4.
  7. ^ rale (18 June 2010). "The Four Most Frightening Roads You Can Travel". Weird Worm. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  8. ^ A Sleeping Beauty Awakens, Annandale Distillery Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-05-05.
  9. ^ Annan Old Parish Church
  10. ^ St. Andrew's Parish Church
  11. ^ "".
  12. ^ "Annandale Churches Together",, retrieved 5 May 2013.
  13. ^ Annandale Way website. Retrieved on 2013-05-05.
  14. ^ The Long Distance Walkers Association – Annandale Way. Retrieved on 2013-05-05.
  15. ^ Andy Aitken in the Queen of the South club history Archived 28 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-05-05.



External links[edit]