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Wigtown Cultural Heritage Project


Wigtown Cultural Heritage Project

Begun in October 1996, this project has constructed a computerised system now containing data relating to Wigtown people and places during the period from the late 17th century to the early 20th century.

The following information is intended to indicate the scope and resources used in compiling the database. The project is still ongoing and we welcome contributions from the public. If you would like to know more about the project or submit  information for possible inclusion, e-mail Mrs. Donna Brewster.

We hope to add various items highlighting some of the data available to visitors as time goes on, subject to popular demand and with the kind permission of Wigtown Book Town.

The database is currently available to members of the public visiting Wigtown at Machars Action. 26 South Main Street. Wigtown. 01988 402633

Wigtown's Built Heritage.
Seperate web site with some information and background on properties in the town


PEOPLE - Information about individuals who lived in the town. They are listed in various contexts.

A census was recorded, for political purposes, in October of 1684. In search of Covenanter sympathisers, every adult over the age of 12 years was listed by the parish minister, with an indication of whether they lived in the burgh or in a farm within the parish boundaries.

A record of all the householders of the parish with the number of hearths each owned (an indication of wealth); contains also a list of the people receiving poor benefit.

1825 - 1877 - 1911
Three separate lists of inhabitants of Wigtown, providing varying records of home addresses or occupations

Cemetery records
Compiled from gravestone inscriptions recorded by the late Mr Birchman, every name is recorded with any details given about the individual entry, including any mentioned family connections.

Information gathered about notable figures of the town during the last five centuries. Sir Patrick Vans, the infamous Provost Coltrane, Thomas Wheatley of railway fame, and many others feature on the list.

Visitors who come to Wigtown searching for their "roots", and who are willing to leave their names and addresses, are recorded in the database with details of their family connections to provide a contact for others searching the same family names.

HOUSEHOLDS - Parish Records, Compilations 1841 to 1891

Old Parish Records
Careful analytical work using the Old Parish Registers has provided a record of family entries including banns of marriages and child baptism between the years of 1707 and 1850. Although these records were never entirely complete or systematically kept, many family details have been gleaned and recorded in a way unique to the Wigtown Tardis database.

1841 - 1851 - 1861 - 1871 - 1881 - 1891
For each of these years, a compilation of information about families, each entry including the location of their house (name of present street) distance along the street, etc. and personal details of those in the household, has been created interpreting public census information with the light of local knowledge.

EVENTS - A record of historical, political, economic, social, religious, educational and individual happenings, listed according to the year of occurrence.

Such items as the building of Wigtown's monastery, developments with regard to to its castle's status, wars, bridge building, cholera or smallpox epidemics, wave of emigration to the New World or immigration from Ireland because of potato blight, the founding of local institutions, fires in the main street, stagecoach crashes, steamship races, the coming of the railway, robberies, murders and the last public hanging are examples of inclusions in this section.

PLACES - Town Features - Houses

Town Features
Historical details of public buildings and monuments, the monastery, railway and castle are given in this section.

Some of the best-known houses in the town have their histories, and that of their occupants, recorded here. Information has been taken from historical accounts, from the personal knowledge of the townspeople, and from title deeds to some of the properties.

LISTS - Provosts - Parish Ministers - Priests - Schoolmasters

From the 14th century to the 20th century.

Parish Ministers
From the Reformation to the present day.

For the last century, not pre-Reformation.

Including details of the educational developments in their times and their assistants.

HELP - Names

A list of names has been compiled to alert searchers to the permutations of spellings down through the ages.




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