Wigtown:
Scotlands National Booktown


Wigtown is Scotlands only Booktown.


With a long and varied history, from King Galdus in 86 AD., (from whom it is said Galloway got its name) to its present status as Scotlands national Booktown, Wigtown has flourished and withered on an almost regular basis. Granted a Royal charter in 1457 Wigtown grew from a small settlement to a thriving town and was the county seat of Wigtownshire. Modern Wigtown has many attractions and spectacular scenery, with the hills of Galloway to the North and surrounded by the gentle hills and beautiful beaches of the Machars peninsular. During the twentieth century Wigtown and the surrounding area has suffered from the effects of a falling population. Now, in the last years of this century as people have realised that quality of life is important the seclusion and quiet of the area plus the relatively low property prices has resulted in an ever growing number of people moving into the area, bringing new skills and ideas. Now that Wigtown is distinguished by its Booktown status it is hoped that even more people will visit and, who knows, may even join those of us who are already living, working and trading in this area. For the more active visitor the area boasts several excellent Golf courses, Salmon, Trout, coarse and Sea Fishing, Shooting and Watersports, as well as Walks to suit everyone, from the Southern Upland Way to the Whithorn Pilgrims Way.

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Local History


Wigtownshire and the surrounding areas have a long and varied history from Romans to Reivers to the present day. The town became known as Wic ton in the 8th century when it was a settlement built next to a Saxon fort. It was at this time that the Bishopric of Candida Casa was revived under the rule of the Northumbrian Anglo-Saxons. Anglo-saxon and Pictish Gallovians merged over the next few centuries, united in their resistance to the Britons and the Scots. Anglian crosses from this period can be seen at the Whithorn dig. The time of peace and relative security came to an end with the arrival of new invaders, the Vikings, although the monks at Whithorn seemed to have reached an understanding with the Norsemen as the abbbey was left relatively undisturbed, in fact in time the Vikings were won over to the Christian faith.

As the viking influence waned several different factions fought to gain control. Galloway was at this time mainly under English control, and it was not until 1342 under the reign of David II that the region came under the control of the Earl of galloway Sir Malcolm Fleming. The charter states that,"because the said place of Wigtoun was lookt upon as the prioncipal manor of the whole sherrifdom, the King ordained that the said Malcolm and his heirs should for ever take the name of Earl and be called the Earls of Wigtoun"The earldom did not descend in the Fleming family beyond the third generation.

Last updated 13th December 2010

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