Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway

Last updated

Monument to Joseph Thomson, African Explorer - - 1389934.jpg
Monument to Joseph Thomson
Dumfries and Galloway UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Dumfries and Galloway
Population1,670 (mid-2020 est.) [1]
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 [2] ) is a village 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. [3]


The village 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 village 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 recorded the population at 1,512 inhabitants. [4]

Public Transport

The village's bus service is operated by the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANS) [5] 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 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. [6]

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 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. [7]

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 placed by the Thomson memorial [8]

John McLachan (architect) (1843-1893) was born here. [9]

Joseph Laing Waugh, an author, was born and raised here. [10]

Andrew Coltart, a professional golfer with one Ryder Cup cap was born and learned his trade here.


Thornhill has a bowling green, a squash court, and a golf course, [11] and is known for 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, [12] and a small cottage hospital. [13]

Thornhill Music Festival

Beginning in 2012, Thornhill Music Festival has grown into an 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. In 2018, the Festival launched their own website. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dumfries Town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is located near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth about 25 miles (40 km) by road from the Anglo-Scottish border and just 15 miles (24 km) away from Cumbria by air. Dumfries is the county town of the historic county of Dumfriesshire.

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, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire, the latter two of which are collectively known as Galloway. The administrative centre and largest settlement is the town of Dumfries. The second largest town is Stranraer, 75 miles to the west on the North Channel coast.

Duke of Queensberry Title in the Peerage of Scotland

The title Duke of Queensberry was created in the Peerage of Scotland on 3 February 1684 along with the subsidiary title Marquess of Dumfriesshire for the 1st Marquess of Queensberry. The Dukedom was held along with the Marquessate of Queensberry until the death of the 4th Duke in 1810, when the Marquessate was inherited by Sir Charles Douglas of Kelhead, 5th Baronet, while the Dukedom was inherited by the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch. Since then the title of Duke of Queensberry has been held by the Dukes of Buccleuch.

Dumfriesshire Historic county in Scotland

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

Nithsdale Scottish local government district (1975–1996), part of Dumfries and Galloway region

Nithsdale, also known by Scoticised names Strathnith, Stranith or Stranit, is the strath or dale of the River Nith in southern Scotland, and the name of the local area. The name Strath Nid may represent the Cumbric Ystrad Nidd; Cumbric was the dominant language in this area from before Roman times until the 11th or 12th century, whereas Gaelic influence here was late and transient. The River Nith flows north to south through the Southern Uplands in south-west Scotland, separating the Lowther Hills from the Scaur Hills. Nithsdale has historically been a strategic area as it forms an invasion route from England into central Scotland.

River Nith River in south-west Scotland

The River Nith is a river in south-west Scotland. The Nith rises in the Carsphairn hills of East Ayrshire, more precisely between Prickeny Hill and Enoch Hill, 4.4 miles (7.1 km) east of Dalmellington. For the majority of its 70 miles (110 km) course it flows in a south-easterly direction through Dumfries and Galloway and then into the Solway Firth at Airds Point.

Dumfries and Galloway (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 2005 onwards

Dumfries and Galloway is a county constituency in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was first used in the 2005 general election, and replaced Galloway and Upper Nithsdale and part of Dumfries. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

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.

Crichope Linn

Crichope Linn or Crichop Linn, originally Creehope is a gorge and waterfall near Gatelawbridge in Dumfries and Galloway, southern Scotland. Linn is the Scots language word for waterfall. The etymology of the names 'Cree' or 'Crich' may derive from Gaelic for 'Boundary' and 'Hope' from the Scots for 'a valley among hills,' an apt description.

Sanquhar Castle

Sanquhar Castle, now a ruin, was built in the 13th century; the ruins are situation north east of Dumfries overlooking the River Nith. 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. The castle is a stronghold bounded on the west by the River Nith, to the north by a burn, and made strong by a deep ditch running the remainder of the boundary.

Durisdeer Human settlement in Scotland

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

Thornhill (Dumfries) railway station

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 rural lowland Scotland

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. Most of the Lowther Hills lie in the Administrative County of Dumfries and Galloway, though part in the administrative county of South Lanarkshire moves into them around the village of Leadhills and the Daer Reservoir.

Carsphairn and Scaur Hills

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.

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 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.


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