Glencaple
The Dumfriesshire Companion
Haig Gordon

THEMES & PERSONALITIES

Introduction

Some Historical Background

The Border

From Westerkirk to Westminster Abbey -
Thomas Telford


Robert Burns - Doonhamer

The Sage of Ecclefechan - Thomas Carlyle

Hugh MacDiarmid and the Muckle Toon

Other Literary Figures

The Artists

Fame and Fortune

Other Pairs of Eyes

Glencaple

The village is entirely the product of Dumfries's need for a harbour to handle the larger craft that could not negotiate the River Nith as far as the town centre. The quay here was initially developed in the 1740s. The first commercial cargo to be landed, on board the aptly named Success, was tobacco from Maryland in north America.

The harbour underwent improvements around 1840. Money continued to be spent on the facility even after the railways were starting to take business away from the sea-going transporters. Writing in the 1870s, the Dumfries historian William McDowall adds to his usual scholarly detachment a piquant dose of taxpayer's disgruntlement:

The latest work of an extensive kind undertaken by the Nith Commissioners was the construction of a huge sea-dyke below Glencaple Quay, which cost no less a sum than 6,000; and though it has had the desired effects of deepening and straightening the channel at that place, it is a matter of question whether these advantages have not been secured at too great an expense, considering how much the revenue has been reduced by the railways and the difficulty which the shipping of the port have in competing with 'the steeds of steam', which carry on the traffic of the district with a speed and regularity that cannot otherwise be rivalled. All the money hitherto spent in improving the Nith has failed to make it a good navigable river.

McDowall favoured a rail link between Glencaple and the mainline at Dumfries but nothing came of that. Though today the quay is largely redundant, the village continues to provide the townsfolk of Dumfries with a breath of seaside air at the end of a brisk walk down the riverside.


The house known as Kirkconnel Lea was built around 1870 for Sir James Anderson (1824-1893), a Dumfries bookseller's son who, as a senior officer with the Cunard shipping line, was at the head of the first successful operation to lay a telegraph cable across the Atlantic.

Various attempts had been made during the 1850s - all failures. The project was revived a decade later. This time the Brunel-designed steamship Great Eastern - launched in 1858 as the world's biggest vessel - was employed and Anderson was its captain.

There were horrendous problems, particularly the breaking of the cable. The first voyage in 1865 had to be abandoned. But when they had another go in the following year, they had double success: not only was a new cable laid from Ireland to Newfoundland but also the earlier lost cable was recovered and completed.

James Anderson


To the north of the village, the nineteenth-century mansion Conheath has an unusual feature in its grounds: its very own private chapel, designed in part by one of the great Scottish architects of Edwardian times, Sir Robert Lorimer. Though first planned in 1909, the chapel was not actually built until 1928, by which time Lorimer had finished working on one of his best known commissions, the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.


FURTHER READING

PLACES

Ae
Amisfield
Annan
Auldgirth
Bankend
Beattock
Bentpath
Brydekirk
Canonbie
Carronbridge
Carrurtherstown
Chapelknowe
Clarencefield
Closeburn
Collin
Cummertrees
Dalswinton
Dalton
Dornock
Dumfries
Duncow
Dunscore
Durisdeer
Eaglesfield
Eastriggs
Ecclefechan
Eskdalemuir
Glencaple
Gretna
Hightae
Holywood
Johnstonebridge
Kettleholm
Kirkconnel
Kirkpatrick Fleming
Kirkton
Kirtlebridge
Langholm
Lochmaben
Lockerbie
Middlebie
Moffat
Moniaive
Mouswald
Newton Wamphray
Parkgate
Penpont
Powfoot
Ruthwell
Sanquhar
Templand
Thornhill
Tinwald
Torthorwald
Tynron
Wanlockhead
Waterbeck

Acknowledgements     XML Sitemap     HTML Sitemap     ROR Sitemap    
Copyright © Galloway Publishing 2012.    All rights reserved