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KIRKCUDBRIGHT in the Early Days of Queen Mary

By: J. Robison

From: The Gallovidian. 1910. pp 95 – 104

One of the most picturesque among the many incidents in the history of Kirkcudbright is that of the attempted storm of the town by Sir Thomas Carleton in that dreadful period of Border warfare after the disastrous battle of Solway. It occurred in February, 1547, a year in which Dumfriesshire, especially in the neighbourhood of Dumfries and Annan, suffered severely. The neighbouring county of Roxburgh participated in the general harrying and reiving to a similar extent, and it was by way of Teviotdale and Canonbie that Carleton came to siege Dumfries. Here a proclamation was issued in the name of King Henry, calling upon all men to come and make oath to the King’s Majesty. The great majority of the natural leaders of the people, despairing, no doubt, of making a successful defence, submitted to the demand. It is to the honour of Kirkcudbright, at a time when practically the whole of the Borders was in the possession of the “auld enemy,” and the people lay under the English yoke, that it refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Henry. As was to be expected, Carleton, with a strong force of his Cumberland cavalry, left Dumfries to burn down the town as an example – a mode of warfare which had succeeded only too well in the case of Annan.

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