Kirkpatrick Fleming
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

Kirkpatrick Fleming

The second part of its name, believed to indicate that medieval land-owners hereabouts were Flemish in origin, was added to distinguish it from the numerous other Kirkpatricks in south-west Scotland.


The village claims a connection with the tale told most often about Robert the Bruce: while hiding from his English enemies in a cave he is said to have taken heart from the plucky persistence of a spider struggling to make its web, the supposed origin of the saying 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again'.

This story is almost certainly apocryphal and, even if it is not, no one knows for sure where such an episode took place. Nonetheless, here in Kirkpatrick Fleming a hidie-hole within a sandstone rockface thirty feet above the Kirtle Water is advertised as the authentic Bruce's Cave, 'the world-famous ancient monument' (admission charge). It can be found south of the railway line on the Cove estate, now run as a camping and self-catering holiday park.

Cove House is an 1844 mansion built on the foundations of medieval Dunskellie Castle and there you may now rent the Bruce Suite (no spiders).

To the south-east of the village, the smart country house known as Mossknowe was built in the late 1760s. Its Palladian-style design is likely to have been the work of the agricultural 'improver' William Craik, who is also thought to have been the architect of his own mansion house at Arbigland on the Kirkcudbrightshire coast.


Kirkpatrick Fleming was the birthplace of James Currie (1756-1805), the first to edit the works of Robert Burns after the poet's death and to write a biography. His father was the kirk minister here.


The village still has a Station Inn - but no station. The railway halt was withdrawn in 1960.


From the Roman road conjectured to have been nearby to the thundering certainty of today's A74(M), the village has always been close to a main highway. Communications past and present were curiously inter-linked in the early 1990s when an area earmarked for the extraction of road surfacing material was found to impinge on the line of the Roman road as suggested on the Ordnance Survey map. There was a statutory obligation to undertake an archaeological investigation before the quarrying could proceed. The results of the dig came as a surprise: 'no trace of a Roman road was found in the anticipated position.'

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

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