Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway

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Monument to Joseph Thomson, African Explorer - - 1389934.jpg
Monument to Joseph Thomson
Dumfries and Galloway UK location map.svg
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Location within Dumfries and Galloway
OS grid reference NX877954
  Edinburgh 54 mi (87 km)
  London 298 mi (480 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Thornhill
Postcode district DG3
Dialling code 01848
Police Scotland
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°14′20″N3°46′01″W / 55.239°N 3.767°W / 55.239; -3.767 Coordinates: 55°14′20″N3°46′01″W / 55.239°N 3.767°W / 55.239; -3.767

Thornhill (Scottish Gaelic : Bàrr na Driseig) [1] is a town in the Mid Nithsdale area of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, south of Sanquhar and north of Dumfries on the main A76 road. Thornhill sits in the Nithsdale valley with the Carsphairn and Scaur range to the west and the Lowther hills to the east. It was initially a small village, planned and built in 1717 on the Queensberry Estate on the road linking Dumfries to Glasgow. The Earl of Queensberry initially named the village 'New Dalgarnock' however the name did not achieve popular approval. [2]


The town is primarily comprised a grid pattern with the main street of Drumlanrig Street (the A76), East and West Morton Streets, New Street, Townhead Street and Gill Road (the A702).

The town is near Drumlanrig Castle, a 17th-century turreted mansion once the ancient Douglas stronghold, now home to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. The grounds contain Tibbers Castle which was founded in the 12th or 13th century.

The most recently published Census data from 2001 puts the population at 1,512 inhabitants. [3]

Public Transport

The town's bus service is operated by the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANS) [4] incorporating a number of local and national operators.

Thornhill railway station, closed in 1965, is on the old Glasgow and South Western main line from Carlisle and Dumfries to Kilmarnock and Glasgow. The nearest train stations are located in Dumfries or Sanquhar.

In 2016 the local community council distributed a survey, and residents showed overwhelming support of the re-opening of the station. Recently a community action plan was released, which outlined the next steps for village development, and the station's redevelopment is a current goal for the village.


The recently rebuilt school gained its name, Wallace Hall Academy, on amalgamation with the nearby Closeburn school of that name. The original Closeburn school was founded in 1723 by John Wallace, a merchant in Glasgow and native of Closeburn.

Wallace Hall Primary School and its Nursery moved into a new building in January 2010, as part of a shared campus with Academy. [5]

Alumni include the golfer Andrew Coltart. Bobby Black (Scottish League internationalist and Scottish League Cup winning footballer and also all England bowls champion) is also from Thornhill. Colin Peacock, A long serving Scottish International Bowler and Commonwealth Games representative in 2006. Swimmer, Moira Brown represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and represented Great Britain in the 1972 Munich Olympics as well as several other internationals.

Notable residents

A monument to the explorer Joseph Thomson (after whom the Thomson's Gazelle is named), who lived in neighbouring Penpont and Gatelawbridge, can be found close to the school. There is also a column topped by a winged horse, the emblem of the Queensberry family, in the centre of the town.

The Very Reverend Dr James Harkness, first non-Anglican Chaplain-General of the UK Armed Forces and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1995, is from Thornhill. [6]

Helen Armstrong, née Hyslop worked for thirty years at the Buccleuch Arms as a cook. She is said to have been an illegitimate daughter of Robert Burns and Helen Hyslop from Moffat.

Samuel Wallace, a Victoria Cross recipient, was born in the town. A plaque was recently placed by the Thomson memorial [7]

John McLachan (architect) (1843-1893) was born here. [8]

Joseph Laing Waugh, an author, was born and raised here. [9]


Thornhill has a bowling green, a squash court, a golf course [10] and is renowned for the excellent fishing in the nearby River Nith and tributaries.

Thornhill also features a wide variety of retail outlets, such as clothes boutiques, a chocolate shop, chinese takeaway, cafes, pubs, food stores, a large pharmacy, an ironmonger, an electrical retailer, gift shops and two hairdressers. The large Victorian post office stands on the north side of the town, along with a Royal Mail sorting office which serves a large rural area. There is also a garage and a small backstreet filling station. The town also has a public wash rooms [11] and a small cottage hospital. [12]

Thornhill Music Festival

Beginning in 2012, Thornhill Music Festival has grown into a spirited annual community event, with regular attendees from all over the UK coming each year. The festival has grown each year thanks to the help of the local community, the committee, the venues, and other participants.

This Festival was started by The Lewis Hamilton Band who noticed a steady decline in available live music, and so in 2012 they decided to put on something similar to the established and successful Blues Festivals such as Shetland, Arbroath, Callander and in particular Montrose (they played at all of them several times), where all the bands are paid directly by the venues, but differing in that they wanted to broaden the musical scope. All venues apart from the Bowling Club are free entry all weekend.

From 2018, with the assistance of funding received from National Lottery Awards, Thornhill Music Festival is planning on bringing the music so enjoyed in the village venues, to those who are unable to attend. With the agreement of the local school, Wallace Hall Academy, they plan to provide the music to both the Dementia Group at the Friendship Club and also to Briary Park Old People's home. It's hoped to start this program in June.

In 2018, the Festival launched their own website [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dumfries and Galloway Council area of Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway is one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland and is located in the western Southern Uplands. It comprises the historic counties of Dumfriesshire, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and Wigtownshire, the latter two of which are collectively known as Galloway. The administrative centre is the town of Dumfries.

Dumfriesshire Historic county in Scotland

Dumfriesshire or the County of Dumfries is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area of Scotland.

Kirkconnel Human settlement in Scotland

Kirkconnel is a small parish in Dumfries and Galloway, southwestern Scotland. It is located on the A76 near the head of Nithsdale. Principally it has been a sporting community. The name comes from The Church of Saint Conal. In 1850 the village had only a single street. Next to Kirkconnel is a separate village called Kelloholm.

A76 road road in Scotland

The A76 is a major trunk road in south west Scotland.

Gatelawbridge is a hamlet in the region of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It is situated two and a half miles east of Thornhill and near the gorge Crichope Linn. The origin of the name is unknown though in the past the locals called it Gateley Bridge, so perhaps it takes its name from a type of bridge over the Cample River in the centre of the settlement. The river divides the parishes, with all those east of the river being in Closeburn Parish, and those west of the river being in Morton Parish.

Sanquhar Castle castle

Sanquhar Castle, now a ruin, was built by the Crichton family in the 13th century. Situated on the southern approach to the former royal burgh of Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, south west Scotland, it sits on the trail of the Southern Upland Way, and is passed by hundreds of visitors who walk through the grounds each year.

Morton Castle castle in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK

Morton Castle is located by an artificial loch in the hills above Nithsdale, in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. It lies 2.5 miles north-east of Thornhill, and once formed part of a chain of castles along the strategically important Nith Valley, which runs from the Solway Firth north to the Clyde Valley.

Wallace Hall Academy is a secondary school in Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway, in the south-west of Scotland, currently with a roll of over 600 pupils.

Durisdeer village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK

Durisdeer is a small village in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. It lies 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Thornhill, above the Carron Water, a tributary of the Nith.

Thornhill is a closed station. It served the country town of Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway. The station site is a mile or so from the town. Four miles north of Thornhill is Drumlanrig Castle, home to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. The Glasgow and South Western main line rail route between Kilmarnock and Dumfries is forced to make a long detour to the east of Thornhill and through a long tunnel, rather than the more logical route nearer Thornhill town centre and up the Nith Valley, so as not to be seen from the Buccleuch estate. The distance of the station from Thornhill may be one reason that passenger use was light and stopping services ended in 1965. There was formerly a busy livestock market near to the station, which eventually closed around 2001.

Closeburn, Dumfries and Galloway village in Scotland, UK

Closeburn is a village and civil parish in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The village is on the A76 road 2 12 miles (4 km) south of Thornhill. In the 2001 census, Closeburn had a population of 1,119. Closeburn is recorded as Killosbern in 1185. The first element of the name is Gaelic cill 'cell or church'. The second element is a saint's name, but none has definitely been identified.

Lowther Hills geographical object in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK

The Lowther Hills, also sometimes known as the Lowthers, are an extensive area of hill country in the Southern Uplands of Scotland, though some sub ranges of hills in this area also go under their own local names - see "Hillwalking" below. They form a roughly rhomboidal or lozenge shape on the map with the acute angles being to north and south. It has river valleys along its boundaries to north east (Clydesdale) and south west (Nithsdale) which carry the two largest arterial routes northwards into the west side of the Central Belt of Scotland. A string of small towns have long since developed along these routes.

Carsphairn and Scaur Hills geographical object in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK

The Carsphairn and Scaur hills are the western and eastern hills respectively of a hill range in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. Ordnance Survey maps don't have a general name for the hill area as a whole. Also, Ordnance Survey use "Scar" rather than the local spelling of "Scaur" - the word is pronounced as "Scar" however. In their Landranger Series of maps it requires four separate sheets to cover the area.

Battle of Dryfe Sands Scottish clan battle between Clan Maxwell and Clan Johnstone in 1593

The Battle of Dryfe Sands was a Scottish clan battle that took place on 6 December 1593, near Lockerbie, Scotland. It was fought between the Clan Maxwell and Clan Johnstone after several years of feuding between them. The Johnstones won a decisive victory over the Maxwells.

Brownhill Inn inn building, now residence, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Brownhill Inn, now just called Brownhill, is an inn approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) mile south of Closeburn, on the A76, which itself is about 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Built in approximately 1780, this old coaching inn has undergone extensive changes, and only the south side of the original property remains. The inns facilities used to include the once-extensive livery stables on the west side of the road, but these have been sold and converted to farm buildings. The inn was the first changing place for horses hauling coaches from Dumfries.

Dalgarnock Human settlement in Scotland

Dalgarnock, Dalgarno, Dalgarnoc was an ancient parish and a once considerable sized village in the Nithsdale area of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, south of Sanquhar and north of Dumfries that enclosed the parish of Closeburn but was annexed to Closeburn in 1606 following the Reformation, separated again in 1648 and finally re-united in 1697, as part of the process that established the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It was a burgh of regality bordering the River Nith and Cample Water and held a popular market-tryst or fair from medieval times until 1601 when the Earl of Queensberry had them transferred to Thornhill, commemorated in song by Robert Burns, shortly before its demise and now only a remote churchyard remains at a once busy site.

Enterkinfoot Human settlement in Scotland

Enterkinfoot is a small village or hamlet which lies 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Thornhill on the A76 on the route to Sanquhar, in Dumfriesshire, Durisdeer Parish, in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. Its original nucleus was the old mill with associated buildings, the school and the famous Enterkin Pass and path that followed the course of the Enterkin Glen to Wanlockhead and from there to Edinburgh. The site features the A76 that runs through the centre of Enterkinfoot, the River Nith and the Enterkin Burn that once powered the mill before joining the Nith. The area is famous for its association with the Covenanters.

Barburgh Mill Human settlement in Scotland

Barburgh Mill is a hamlet composed of an old lint mill, later extended as a woollen mill and associated buildings which lies north of Auldgirth on the A76 on the route to Closeburn, in Dumfriesshire, Closeburn Parish, in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. Its original nucleus was the old mill with associated buildings, the smithy, toll house and the miller's and workers dwellings. The site features the A76 that runs nearby, the River Nith and the Lake Burn that once powered the mill via a lade before joining the Nith. The area is famous for its association with the Covenanters. A Roman fortlet stood opposite the mill and a Roman road is thought to have run through Nithsdale at this point.

Kirkbride, Durisdeer Human settlement in Scotland

Kirkbride, previously Kilbride was an ancient parish close to the village of Enterkinfoot, the lands of which lay on both sides of the River Nith in the old Strathnith area of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, about 5 miles south of Sanquhar and north of Closeburn. The parish was suppressed and divided between Durisdeer and Sanquhar parishes in 1732. The ruins of the kirk are a scheduled monument and the surrounding graveyard is a Category B listed building with the River Nith in the valley below. The Ha Cleuch Burn flows through the glen that lies to the east of the site with a lane reaching it that runs up from Enterkinfoot, ending at Coshogle Farm.


  1. "Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland". Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  2. Mackay, James (1988). Burns-Lore of Dumfries and Galloway. Alloway Publishing. p. 34. ISBN   0-907526-36-5.
  3. "Thornhill Population Stats". GRO Scotland. Archived from the original on 5 April 2003.
  4. "Timetables for Public Transport". Dumfries and Galloway Council. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  5. "Dumfries and Galloway Council : Wallace Hall Primary School". 26 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  6. Who's Who 2008: London, A & C Black, 2008 ISBN   978-0-7136-8555-8
  8. Dictionary of Scottish Architects: McLachan
  10. "". Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  11. "Dumfries and Galloway Council : Thornhill Library and Customer Service Centre". 20 January 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  12. "Dumfries and Galloway NHS - Thornhill Hospital". Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  13. "Thornhill Music Festival". Thornhill Music Festival. Retrieved 19 February 2018.

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