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Wigtown became a Royal Burgh in the reign of King David II, probably well before 1341, maybe even 1263, although the early town site may now be lost to the bay. There was once a castle with a sheriff, though its early battles were mainly commercial to retain its "liberties" or trade monopolies, while its later ones were religious. Strongly presbyterian or covenanting kirkgoers resented central imposition of rectors on their congregation, and a very famous memorial of the times commemorates the late 1600s judicial drowning of two women who refused to toe the official line. A monument tops the hill above the town and the view on our home page from that point is very little changed even today. The massive 1863 Town Hall in the fine wide main street with its many book shops, dominates the vista over the bay to Kirkmabreck in 2001 as in 1895. Below the town, past the long closed railway, is the harbor, from which the Whitehaven steamer sailed every week in the mid 1800s, and the Liverpool steamer every two weeks.
The parish is bounded in the north by the Bishop Burn and in the south by the River Bladnoch and its outlying parts are farms typical of the rounded green Machars hills. At Torhouse in the west will be found a prehistoric stone circle of nineteen granite boulders, one of the best preserved in Britain. To the south is the village of Bladnoch, home to Scotland's most southerly whisky distillery.
"The 'Old' (1791) and 'New' (1834-45) Statistical Accounts of Scotland provide detailed parish reports - and in the case of the 'New' county reports - for the whole of Scotland, covering a wide spectrum of subjects including agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs." (EDINA, hosted by Edinburgh University Data Library).
This is a must read, as it contains excellent physical and social descriptions of the parish, Use the link below to access the scanned extracts. You may choose to read county reports which give a more general view of Wigton(Wigtown), or go directly to the pages devoted to your parish of interest.
|1855-1875||C119011 or M119011|
|1706-1819||C119012 or M119012|
|1819-1855||C119014 or M119014|
General information on all Wigtownshire census is more fully explained on Wigtownshire Census Records.
The 1851 Census is today available, as a full transcription,
on the Dumfries and Galloway local government's library
system web site, for Dumfries and for the two Galloway
counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbright, and we are
pleased to cite their URL where you can browse it as you
wish. To access the census directly, enter:
But please do remember that these are transcriptions, and therefore, despite best efforts of the volunteers who worked on them, they are liable to introduced errors. The information should therefore always be backed up by reference to original data, using for example the LDS film of the original census.
This 1851 census has also been indexed by John Roy, by Heads of Households, and we are very happy that we are able to include his invaluable key on these pages. In a rather compact manner, it offers both an index and an overview for those who need a more rapid feel for the location of entire groups of families by surname, for instance. Also, if you intend to use the D&G census you may find it useful to refer to John Roy's index to obtain the page number, as the noted URL reference doesn't give that information..
Census references are by parish number / enumeration district number / page number, for example the first entry of the first district on the Leswalt film will be 891/1/1. The exception to this was in 1851 where the page numbers were abandoned and replaced by 'entry numbers'. Therefore, the first entry in Leswalt will have the same number as other years but the second entry, which will normally be on the same page, will read 891/1/2.
The on-line 1851 census developed by the Friends of the Dumfries Archives does not use parish numbers in the search fields, instead, you need to type in the parish name (be careful with the spelling) if you are narrowing the search down to an individual parish. Once you find a likely candidate for the family you are searching for you can start a new search by typing in the parish name and the reference number in district / household number format That will bring up all of that entry only.
|1841||1042848 and 101941|
|1851||1042558 and 103775|
|Parish Registers (Church of Scotland), 1706-1855|
Marriages, 1707-1854, 1772-1782
Neglected Birth Entry, 1830.
|1068042 Items 6-7
addtl'film Vault 102359 Item 2
|Wigtown Free Church, 1844-1847|
|Baptisms, 1844-1847||889477 Item 1|
|304671 Item 30|
|United Associate Congregation registers of Wigtown|
|304671 Item 29|
|Wigtown Associated Congregation Church records, 1835-1922|
|Session minutes, 1849-1901. Account books, 1835-1922. Baptisms, 1849-1901 (with marriages, 1847-1855). Communion roll, 1849-1897.||Vault 1886485|
|Births and christenings, A thru Z 1706-1855, 2 fiches||6901698|
|Marriages, A thru Z, 1707-1782 1832-1850,1 fiche||6902405|
The following volunteers from the Sct. Wigtownshire mailing list have kindly offered to share their resources and time with other researchers. When asking for a lookup please be specific. Provide surname, forename, and other details that would make the lookup easier to perform. Blanket searches for one surname, i.e. "Please supply all Brown information", must be avoided. To view all parish lookups available, please click here.
|1841 census||Bruce McDowall and Carrie Gulline|
|1841 census, Parish and Burgh||Darlene Vernon|
|1851 census||Bruce McDowall|
|MIs||Janet Tenant or Wayne Hannay|
O.P.R.s refer to Old Parish Records which prior to civil registration in 1855 were ledgers in which the parish cleric entered vital information such as marriage, birth/christening, and in some cases deaths. Parish registers were kept only as well as the cleric had time and inclination to do so. In some parishes, within a particular time, the records are exact, precise and a joy to read, in other periods of time, the same parish records could have sporadic, or barely legible, entries. To read more about Old Parish Records, and see image samples, please view Old Parish Records (OPR)for Wigtownshire
Covers period between 1706 and 1855.
Published in 1916, Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684 contains nominal rolls recorded in 1684 of all persons, male or female, over the age of 12, by parish, and domocile. To read more about this index, and to find a link to the Wigtown parish roll, [click here].
To view pictures of Wigtown, please click here.