Kirkbean shown within Dumfries and Galloway
|Population||643 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||Dumfries and Galloway|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Kirkbean is a small village and civil parish near the Solway Firth in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. According to the 2001 Census[update], the Parish of Kirkbean - which comprises four small villages - has just 643 residents in total.
Among its most famous sons was John Paul Jones, the founder of the United States Navy, who was born in Arbigland, Kirkbean on July 6, 1747. A memorial font exists in the church, by sculptor George Henry Paulin. This illustrates USS Bonhomme Richard. Also born at Arbigland was the novelist and poet Helen Craik in 1751. The Kirkbean cemetery is the burial place of Jean Thurot (1755–1833), son of the famous Francois Thurot, French naval commodore and privateer.
Kirkbean is also the birthplace of another great seafarer, John Campbell, who was born in 1720. He went on to become a British naval officer, navigational expert and colonial governor of Newfoundland, today part of Canada.
The parish was the departure point for thousands of Scots seeking a better life in the American and Australian colonies during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Convicts were also transported to Australia from here, making the parish a rich source of genealogical history with many hundreds of thousands of people worldwide having a connection to this beautiful part of Scotland.
Today, the local beaches and the bird-rich merse, where millions of seabirds live or over-winter, are part of the rich natural heritage of the parish. Visitors to the National Nature Reserve on the far side of the Nith come by the coachload to watch birds on the Carsethorn foreshore, before continuing to the nature reserves at Southwick and Mersehead.
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