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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.[1]

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.[2]

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 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.[3]

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). [1] 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. [2] 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 .[4]

The Castle Douglas War Memorial was designed by Captain Frank Mears and was unveiled in 1921. [5]

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.[3]

Sights and attractionsEdit

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 I938. It is an exhibition space and used as such by local artists to display their work. 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.[6]


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 (2.4 km) west of the town centre.

Climate data for Threave, 73m 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[7]


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 (Co-op and Tesco) and a Scotmid 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.[8]

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 Wallet's Mart, a livestock market visited by Queen Elizabeth II in July 2010.[9]

There are several churches in Castle Douglas, including a Church of Scotland, a Betheren who have recently acquired a new building, an Episcopalian St Ninian's and the New Life Church Castle Douglas an Elim Pentecostal Church.[10]

Castle Douglas Cottage Hospital. The cottage hospital in Castle Douglas 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. [4]

The town is home to The Fullarton, a theatre opened in the mid 1990s in the building of the old St Andrew's Church. It's 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 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.

Notable peopleEdit

  • Sir William Douglas, 1st Baronet 1801, (1745-1809), Founder of the burgh of Castle Douglas. Buried in the Douglas Mausoleum on Kelton Hill overlooking the town
  • Ted McMinn, born 1962, former professional footballer and commentator, was born in Castle Douglas.
  • 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... " .[11] 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.
  • Arthur Smith (rugby union), (1933-1975) Scottish rugby player
  • The Rt Hon Dr David Clark, Baron Clark of Windermere, born 1939
  • Major-General Sir Victor Fortune (1883- 1949)
  • Kirsty Wark, journalist and television presenter, born in Dumfries, lived in Castle Douglas in infancy before the family moved back to Kilmarnock. Ayrshire.
  • Samuel Rutherford Crockett 1859-1914 author of The Raiders and many other works of historical fiction, lived at 24 Cotton Street, Castle Douglas and attended Cowper's School also in Cotton Street.
  • James Clerk Maxwell, 1831 -1879, physicist and author of Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, 1873. Maxwell lived at Glenlair, he died in 1879 and is buried in the churchyard at Parton Kirk. His work influenced Albert Einstein who kept a framed photograph of him on his study wall.[12]
  • William Stewart MacGeorge, ARSA, RSA, 1862-1931, artist associated with the Kirkcudbright School. Lived at 120 King Street.
  • Stansmore Richmond Leslie Dean Stevenson (1866 –1944) was a Scottish artist known for her oil paintings. Associated with the Kirkcudbright School of artists.
  • Ethel Bristowe 1862-1952 artist and assyriologist, bequeathed to Castle Douglas the art gallery at the library on Market Hill.
  • Sir John Nairne, 1st Baronet (1861-1945) Chief Cashier of the Bank of England and a founding director of the BBC.[13]
  • Charles Dickens visited the antiquarian and author Joseph Train, FSA Scot, (1779-1852) at his home Lochvale Cottage and wrote about it in his periodical Household Words, [14] no.173 July 1853, which appeared after Train’s death.  A commemorative marble plaque to Train on his life and friendship with Sir Walter Scott can be found in Castle Douglas Town Hall.
  • Matthew Holden, 1893-1926, was a pioneer in the aviation industry. He was the first white man to attempt to cross the Irish Sea in a plane constructed from low carbon steel. However, the flight was not successful and 19 minutes into the flight he crashed into the Irish Sea and died. Lessons were taken from Holden’s design and many claim that elements of the control philosophy were taken and applied in Boeing’s 737 max.[according to whom?]
  • Brown Derby (5 May 1914 – 17 July 2000) was a Scottish film and television actor.[15]
  • Kay Mander ( 1915 –2013) was a documentary film director and shooting continuity specialist. She spent most of the rest of her career working in continuity on feature films such as From Russia with Love, The Heroes of Telemark and Fahrenheit 451. In her later years she lived at Castle Douglas.[5]
  • Alan Temperley author of children's and young adult fiction including Harry and the Wrinklies and his reworking of traditional stories Tales of Galloway.
  • David McMath, born 1996 is a Scottish sport shooter. He competed in the men's double trap event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, winning the gold medal.[6].
  • Louisa Ramsey, born 1994 is a Scottish Rugby player and ex-professional mountain biker. She currently plays for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks as outside centre and is the first Scottish woman to score more than 10 tries in the Women's Premiership

2016 Tour of BritainEdit

The first stage from Glasgow of the 2016 Tour of Britain ended in Castle Douglas on 4th 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.

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Somerset Fry, Roman Britain, P 508
  2. ^ "British Listed Buildings". Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  3. ^ Basic biographical details of James Barbour at the Dictionary of Scottish Architects Biographical Database.
  4. ^ Basic biographical details of (Sir) Robert Stodart Lorimer at the Dictionary of Scottish Architects Biographical Database.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Videos of previous Civic Week events are hosted on their community web site along with videos of Stewartry Agricultural Show and Food Town
  7. ^ "Threave climate". KNMI.
  8. ^ "Castle Douglas Food Town". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  9. ^ "The Queen's visit, 14 July 2010". Archived from the original on 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2010-07-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Link, David. "Castle Douglas Churches". Castle Douglas, Scotland. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  11. ^ Burns, Robert (1834). Cunningham, Allan (ed.). The Works of Robert Burns: With His Life. London: Cochrane and McCrone.
  12. ^ "Media Library". Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  13. ^ Bell, James (n.d.). "John Gordon Nairne of Castle Douglas". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  14. ^ Dickens, Charles (1853). "Joseph Train". Household Words (173): 475–476.
  15. ^ "Actor Brown Derby". n.d.

External linksEdit