Newton Stewart

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Scottish town. For the village in County Tyrone, see Newtownstewart. For the community in the United States, see Newton Stewart, Indiana.
Newton Stewart
Scottish Gaelic: Baile Ùr nan Stiùbhartach
Cree Bridge.jpg
The River Cree with Newton Stewart beyond
Newton Stewart is located in Dumfries and Galloway
Newton Stewart
Newton Stewart
 Newton Stewart shown within Dumfries and Galloway
Population 4,092 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference NX405655
Council area Dumfries and Galloway
Lieutenancy area Wigtownshire
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DG8
Dialling code 01671
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Dumfries and Galloway
Scottish Parliament Galloway and West Dumfries
List of places

Coordinates: 54°57′29″N 4°29′31″W / 54.958°N 4.492°W / 54.958; -4.492

Newton Stewart (Gd: Baile Ùr nan Stiùbhartach) is a former burgh town on the Machars peninsula in Dumfries and Galloway, southwest Scotland. The town lies around the River Cree with the majority of the town to the west of the river, and is sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to the Galloway Hills".[1] Newton Stewart has also recently been twinned with the French town of Marcoussis.

The main local industries are agriculture, forestry and tourism. The town hosts a local market, and a number of services to support the farming industry. There are many mountain biking trails in the area. Newton Stewart lies on the southern edge of the Galloway Forest Park, which supplies a large amount of jobs to the town.


There are numerous nature trails nearby as part of Galloway Forest Park, managed on behalf of the state by Forest Enterprise. There is a local museum at St. John's Church, a doll's house exhibition and a butterfly and tropical plant house nearby. The latter two are no longer open for visitors. Newton Stewart is also only 7 miles from Scotland's book town Wigtown.


The town was founded in the mid 17th Century by William Stewart, fourth and youngest son of the 2nd Earl of Galloway. The "New Town of Stewart" was granted Burgh status by charter from King Charles II allowing a weekly market and two annual fairs to be held.

It was on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Ninian at Whithorn in 1329 that Robert the Bruce forded the river where the present bridge stands.[2] Designed by John Rennie the Elder and built in 1813 the present bridge replaced the old bridge of 1745 which was destroyed by floods in 1806.

The industrialist, Sir William Douglas (died 1809), best known for founding the planned town of Castle Douglas, also established cotton mills in Newton Stewart, which was temporarily renamed "Newton Douglas" in his honour.

The nearby village of Blackcraig was once a major lead-mining centre. Granite from the area was used in the construction of most major dock-sides in Britain.


The A75 road runs along the southern edge of the town, and connects the town to Stranraer in the west and Dumfries in the east and forms part of the international E-road, European route E18 from Northern Ireland to Russia. Local transport in and around the town and to places in South Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway is mainly provided by Stagecoach Western,[3] and locally based company James King Coaches.

Newton Stewart's railway station closed in 1965, as a result of the Beeching Axe.[4] The nearest railway stations being at Stranraer railway station and Barrhill railway station which are 25 miles and 18.5 miles away from Newton Stewart respectively.


Newton Stewart has three primary schools:

  • Penninghame
  • Minnigaff
  • St Ninian’s RC

The town has one secondary school, the Douglas Ewart High School.


The horror film The Wicker Man, set on the fictional privately owned Scottish island of Summerisle, was filmed almost entirely on location around Newton Stewart and had its premiere at its cinema in 1972.

Notable people[edit]

The artist and musician Bill Drummond of the KLF and K Foundation grew up in the town.