Castle Douglas

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Castle Douglas
King Street, Castle Douglas - - 1538897.jpg
Castle Douglas, King Street with Town Clock tower at centre
Castle Douglas is located in Dumfries and Galloway
Castle Douglas
Castle Douglas
Location within Dumfries and Galloway
Population4,080 (mid-2016 est.)[1]
OS grid referenceNX765625
• Edinburgh76 mi (122 km)
• London285 mi (459 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtDG7
Dialling code01556
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
54°56′28″N 3°55′44″W / 54.941°N 3.929°W / 54.941; -3.929Coordinates: 54°56′28″N 3°55′44″W / 54.941°N 3.929°W / 54.941; -3.929

Castle Douglas (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Dhùghlais) is a town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It lies in the lieutenancy area of Kirkcudbrightshire, in the eastern part of Galloway, between the towns of Dalbeattie and Gatehouse of Fleet. It is in the ecclesiastical parish of Kelton.


Castle Douglas, The Library, built 1904.

Castle Douglas is built next to Carlingwark Loch in which traces of prehistoric crannogs can be found, evidence of early inhabitation of the area. A large bronze cauldron containing about 100 metal objects was found in Carlingwark Loch near Fir Island about 1866. The hoard of tools of iron and bronze is probably Romano-Belgic of the late first or early second centuries AD and is likely to have been a votive offering. It is now in the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. To the North of the town Glenlochar is the site of two successive Roman forts, the first being erected during the invasion of Agricola and the second during the Antonine period. They appear to have been for cavalry units and evidence has been found that a "vicus" grew up around them. They were abandoned completely about 160.[2]

Nearby Threave Castle was a seat of the powerful "Black" Earls of Douglas. A small collection of cottages developed by the shores of Carlingwark, which was a source of marl. These cottages can still be seen on the Western approach to Castle Douglas and are known as The Buchan. The development of a military road through Galloway built by Major William Caulfeild passed through the Carlingwark area and improved transportation connections in the 18th century.

Traditionally Mary Queen of Scots is said to have lodged at the House of Fuffnock on the Crossmichael Road on her journey to Port Mary in 1568 after the Battle of Langside.[3]

Castle Douglas was founded in 1792 by William Douglas, who claimed, but had no close connection with the ancient Douglases of Threave Castle. He had made his money in an 'American Trade' and created a planned town on the shores of Carlingwark Loch. The town's layout is based upon the grid plan pattern of streets as used in Edinburgh's New Town, built around the same time. Sir William Douglas also created a number of industries in Castle Douglas, including hand-woven cotton factories from which Cotton Street derives its name.

The Torrs Pony Cap

The Torrs Pony-cap and Horns is an Iron Age bronze horned cap for a pony found in Torrs Loch at Castle Douglas in 1812. It was acquired by Joseph Train, FSA Scot., the local antiquarian and author who presented it to Sir Walter Scott for his collection of antiquities at Abbotsford House. It is now in the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The completion of the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway in 1859 further improved the town's connections, and it soon developed into a major market town for the surrounding area. This is still true today and the 1900 hexagonal market building is in constant use. Although the railway was closed in 1965, the A75 trunk road was developed roughly following the lines of the original military road and passes through Castle Douglas. The many hotels and pubs which derived from coach stops are an indication of the town's importance as a stopping place for travellers.

Castle Douglas Town Hall was built in 1863 to the designs of Dumfries architect James Barbour.[4]

The Clock Tower was built 1934-35 and stands at the corner of King St and St Andrews St and is a listed Category C building. It was designed by the architect William Forrest Valentine (1885-1957).[5] The first tower, built by Sir William Douglas, was destroyed by fire in 1892 as was a second clock tower forty years later. A plaque records that in 1935 Henry J. Hewat of Paterson, New Jersey, USA, donated the present clock tower to the town. Capt Hewat was a native of Castle Douglas who had emigrated to the US in 1893.

Freeman Wills Croft set a key scene in his 1930 novel "Sir John Magill's Last Journey" at Castle Douglas Railway Station.

St John the Evangelist Catholic Church was built in 1867 by the London architect George Goldie and is Category B(S) listed building.

The former Castle Douglas Parish Church (St Andrew's) was remodelled by Robert Lorimer in 1900. It was converted into a theatre now known as The Fullarton.[6]

The Castle Douglas War Memorial was designed by Captain Frank Mears and was unveiled in 1921.[7]

Castle Douglas was a reception area for Glasgow's evacuated children during World War II.

From March 1943 to April 1944, the town was the base for 92nd (Loyals) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, which was training for Operation Overlord, the invasion of occupied Europe. Their headquarters were at Craigroyston, a large Victorian house near the railway station. Nissen huts were set up at Carlingwark Loch to house the troops while other billets included a church and a bowling clubhouse.[8]

Sights and attractions[edit]

Castle Douglas Art Gallery is an offshoot of the Stewartry Museum at Kirkcudbright. It was bequeathed to the town by local artist Ethel Bristowe and opened in 1938. It is an exhibition space and used as such by local artists to display their work. It was designed by the Kirkcudbrightshire County Council architect William MacKinnell.[9]

Near the centre of town is Carlingwark Loch, a loch and SSSI, home to numerous water birds.

Nearby stands Threave Castle, the family castle of the Black Douglas line of the House of Douglas. It lies on an island in the middle of the River Dee, admission includes the short ferry journey.

Also to the west of the town are Threave Gardens, a National Trust for Scotland property.

Threave Rovers are the local football team in Castle Douglas, they play at Meadow Park in the South of Scotland Football League and their strip colours are black and white stripes.

Castle Douglas hosts an annual Civic Week which is the focal event of the year. Its usual format is a week of events around the last week in July, culminating on Douglas Day when a street procession and carnival in Lochside Park takes place.[10]


The town is commonly used by tourists as a base for exploring the rest of the area. There is a camping and caravan park by Carlingwark Loch and many hotels.

The main shopping street in Castle Douglas is King Street. It has a wide range of shops, including many shops not often found on many town high streets. Castle Douglas has two supermarkets and a convenience store. Also on King Street are Italian, Chinese and Indian restaurants as well as pubs and hotels serving meals and several take-aways. Castle Douglas is designated Scotland's Food Town and boasts some 50 outlets connected with the food industry.[11]

Parking in the town is free. There is a large car park at Market Hill at the top of the town next to the Heart of Galloway Visitor Centre. There is also free parking on many of the side streets that lead away from the town centre.

As a Regional Market Town, Castle Douglas accommodates Wallets Mart, a livestock market visited by Queen Elizabeth II in July 2010.[12]

There are several churches in Castle Douglas, including a Church of Scotland, a Betheren, an Episcopalian St Ninian's, the New Life Church Castle Douglas and an Elim Pentecostal Church.[13] The Catholic Parish of St John the Evangelist offers Mass in St Ninian Episcopalian Church.[14]

Castle Douglas Hospital was built in 1897 as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was designed by Richard Park of Newton Stewart and opened on 13 October 1899.[15]

The town has a vibrant Community Centre on Cotton Street with over 600 users and is home to The Fullarton, a theatre opened 1996 in the building of the former St Andrew's Church. It currently hosts plays and conferences as well as providing a local cinema.

2329 (Castle Douglas) Sqn[a] Air Training Corps is located in the town and are active within the local community, as well as offering young people between the ages of 12 and 20 opportunities to fly, visit RAF stations across the UK and experience adventures.

There is a library, swimming pool and bus hub in Market Street.

Castle Douglas Library[16] situated on the Market Hill, was designed by architect George Washington Browne and opened in 1904 with funding from Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish - American industrialist and philanthropist. As well as books and a local history section it offers a range of services including internet access.

The swimming pool has a fitness suite attached. The bus hub provides services throughout Dumfries and Galloway, and onward through Scotland and England.

Robert Burns[edit]

Robert Burns spent the night here at the Carlinwark Inn while on his Galloway Tour. From here he wrote a letter to Mrs Dunlop in Ayrshire dated 25 June 1794 beginning" Here, in a solitary inn, in a solitary village... " .[17] Here also he wrote his last letter to Agnes McLehose with the lines,
Ah ! My ever dearest Clarinda !
...Here am I set, a solitary hermit,
in the solitary room, of a solitary inn,
with a solitary bottle of wine by me.

Notable people[edit]

2016 Tour of Britain[edit]

The first stage from Glasgow of the 2016 Tour of Britain ended in Castle Douglas on 4 September. The winner was Germany's André Greipel (Team Lotto–Soudal). Mark Cavendish who had been favourite to win crashed on the final corner. Cavendish rode away from the crash, which also involved Team Sky's Elia Viviani.

2019 Tour of Britain[edit]

The first stage from Glasgow of the 2019 Tour of Britain which ended in Kirkcudbright on 7 September passed through Castle Douglas. The winner of this stage was Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo–Visma).


As with the remainder of the UK, Castle Douglas has a climate classified as Oceanic (Köppen: Cfb), resulting in moderate temperatures, year round rainfall, and windy, often cloudy conditions. The nearest Met Office weather station is at Threave, about 1+12 miles (2.5 km) west of the town centre.

Climate data for Threave, 73 m (240 ft) asl, 1971–2000, Extremes 1960–
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.1
Average high °C (°F) 5.8
Average low °C (°F) 0.5
Record low °C (°F) −13.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 144.7
Source: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  2. ^ Somerset Fry, Roman Britain, P 508
  3. ^ "British Listed Buildings". Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  4. ^ Basic biographical details of James Barbour at the Dictionary of Scottish Architects Biographical Database.
  5. ^ "Historic Environment Scotland".
  6. ^ Basic biographical details of (Sir) Robert Stodart Lorimer at the Dictionary of Scottish Architects Biographical Database.
  7. ^[bare URL]
  8. ^ "The Scottish Military Research Group - Commemorations Project :: View topic - Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson". Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - Architect Search". Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  10. ^ Videos of previous Civic Week events are hosted on their community web site along with videos of Stewartry Agricultural Show Archived 21 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine and Food Town
  11. ^ "Castle Douglas Food Town". Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  12. ^ "The Queen's visit, 14 July 2010". Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2010.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ Link, David. "Castle Douglas Churches". Castle Douglas, Scotland. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Home". Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Richard Park". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Castle Douglas library".
  17. ^ Burns, Robert (1834). Cunningham, Allan (ed.). The Works of Robert Burns: With His Life. London: Cochrane and McCrone. p. 279.
  18. ^ "Media Library". Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Actor Brown Derby". n.d.
  20. ^ Dickens, Charles (1853). "Joseph Train". Household Words (173): 475–476.
  21. ^ Stuff, Good. "66 St Andrew Street, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway". Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Obituary: Kay Mander, documentary film-maker".
  23. ^ "David McMath - Shooting".
  24. ^ Bell, James (n.d.). "John Gordon Nairne of Castle Douglas". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  25. ^ "Threave climate". KNMI.


External links[edit]