KIRKCUDBRIGHT (pron. Ker-M-bri) , a royal and police burgh, and county town of Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901), 2386. It is situated at the mouth of the Dee, 6 m. from the sea and 30 m. S.W. of Dumfries by the Glasgow & South-Western railway, being the terminus of a branch line. The old form of the name of the town was Kilcudbrit, from the Gaelic Cil Cudbert, " the chapel of Cuthbert," the saint's body having lain here for a short time during the seven years that lapsed between its exhumation at Lindisfarne and the re-interment at Chester- leStreet. The estuary of the Dee is divided at its head by the peninsula of St Mary's Isle, but though the harbour is the best in south-western Scotland, the great distance to which the tide retreats impairs its usefulness. Among the public buildings are the academy, Johnstone public school, the county buildings, town-hall, museum, Mackenzie hall and market cross, the lastnamed standing in front of the old court-house, which is now used as a drill hall and fire-station. No traces remain of the Greyfriars' or Franciscan convent founded by Alexander II., nor of the nunnery that was erected in the parish of Kirkcudbright. The ivy-clad ruins of Bomby castle, founded in 1582 by Sir Thomas Maclellan, ancestor of the barons of Kirkcudbright, stand at the end of the chief street. The town, which witnessed much of the international strife and Border lawlessness, was taken by Edward I. in 1300. It received its royal charter in 1455. After the battle of Towton, Henry VI. crossed the Solway (August 1461) and landed at Kirkcudbright to join Queen Margaret at Linlithgow. It successfully withstood the English siege in 1547 under Sir Thomas Carleton, but after the country had been overrun was compelled to surrender at discretion. Lord Maxwell, earl of Morton, as a Roman Catholic, mustered his tenants here to act in concert with the Armada; but on the approach of King James VI. to Dumfries he took ship at Kirkcudbright and was speedily captured. The burgh is one of the Dumfries district group of parliamentary burghs. On St Mary's Isle was situated the seat of the earl of Selkirk, at whose house Robert Burns gave the famous Selkirk grace: " Some ha'e meat, and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it ; But we ha'e meat, and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit."
Fergus, lord of Galloway, a celebrated church-builder of the 12th century, had his principal seat on Palace Isle in a lake called after him Loch Fergus, near St Mary's Isle, where he erected the priory de Trayle, in token of his penitence for rebellion against David I. The priory was afterwards united as a dependent cell to the abbey of Holyrood. DUNDRENNAN ABBEY, 4! m. S.E., v/as, however, his greatest achievement. It was a Cistercian house, colonized from Rievaulx, and was built in 1140. There now remain only the transept and choir, a unique example of the Early Pointed style. TONGUELAND (or Tungland), 2 m. N. by E., has interesting historical associations. It was the site of a Premonstratensian abbey built by Fergus, and it was here that Queen Mary rested in her flight from the field of Langside (May 13, 1568). The well near Tongueland bridge from which she drank still bears the name of the Queen's Well.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)