Whithorn and District is steeped in history. View information about history in Whithorn and District by selecting from the following:
Whithorn is at the centre of an area of intense archaeological interest : the sites range from Mesolithic and Iron Age Forts, Standing Stones and Cup and Ring Markings, an 11th Century Chapel, Castles from the era of Robert the Bruce.
| Famous Sons and Daughters
Poets, including the contemporary poet Alastair Reid, an important nineteenth century economist, and the world-famous father of conservation, Gavin Maxwell, were all born in the towns and villages of the South Machars.
Many families from the Whithorn area emigrated to Canada, the United States and Australia from the mid-nineteenth century. Some of the unique Machars surnames were therefore scattered widely all over the world.
The lush farmlands which now cover the Machars peninsula are in fact the result of three centuries of intensive draining and development. In the absence of large-scale industry, the small towns and villages have remained remarkably unspoilt.
| St. Ninian and Early Christianity in Whithorn
St. Ninian’s church in Whithorn is likely to have been founded over a century before Columba’s church at Iona; archaeologists worked here for over a decade, uncovering the evidence for the earliest Christian community in Scotland. Simultaneously, they proved it to be prosperous, literate, and in touch with movements of thought from Europe and beyond.
| The Wicker Man Connection
Fans of the Wicker Man film will know that many scenes were filmed in Whithorn and surrounding area; most famously, the last sequence was filmed on the cliffs at Burrowhead.
| Whithorn’s Burgh Status
The two-storeyed houses which meet your eye as you enter Whithorn are the first indication that you are entering a town, not a village. The surviving Royal Charter dates to the sixteenth century, but archaeological evidence from as early as the fifth and sixth centuries points to the sort of luxury which was only to be expected from settlements with prestige, literacy, and cosmopolitan contacts.