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Annual General Meeting, May 21st, 2014

Click here to download the meeting agenda

Kirkbean, a parish steeped in history...

John Paul Jones of Kirkbean Parish became known as the Father of the US Navy

The Parish of Kirkbean in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland, is steeped in history, especially maritime. Among its most famous sons was John Paul Jones, the founder of the United States Navy, who was born in Kirkbean on July 6th, 1747.

Kirkbean is also the birthplace of another great seafarer, John Campbell, who was born in 1720 and who went on to become a British naval officer, navigational expert and colonial governor of Newfoundland in Canada.

The parish was also the departure point for thousands of Scots seeking a better life in the American and Australian colonies during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Convicts were also transported to Australia from here, making the parish a rich source of genealogical history, with many hundreds of thousands of people worldwide having a connection to this beautiful part of Scotland.

It is because of this that residents of the Parish recently established the Kirkbean Parish Heritage Society, the aim of which is to  promote and preserve the rich history of Kirkbean Parish.

Please check back regularly as new information will be added to this site on an ongoing basis. We also welcome new members to the Society. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to support our aims and objectives, regardless of whether they live in the Parish or not. You don’t even have to live in Scotland, but, through membership, may wish to establish closer links to an area which may well be significant to your family history. Click here for details.

Do enjoy your visit to our website and we hope that you may also one day make the journey to this area to discover all that it has to offer. You can be sure of a very warm welcome and genuine hospitality.

The historic and picturesque village of Kirkbean in south west Scotland, an ideal holiday destination
Kirkbean village, south-west Scotland
Many convicts were shipped to Australia from Carsthorne in Kirkbean Parish, south west Scotland
Carsthorne, once a busy port
A view of Criffel at sunset, overlooking Kirkbean parish in Bonnie Gallowa'
Criffel at sunset

Wreath's Castle and Preston Cross...

Preston is first mentioned in 1296 when, after the battle of Falkirk, St.John de St. John was granted Balliol's lands of Buittle, Glasserton and Preston'. 
Robert the Bruce granted the lands to Sir James Douglas, along with Buittle and other Balliol lands in 1325. By 1375 ‘all of the barony of Preston' was held by Sir James Douglas of Dalkeith. In 1451 William, 8th Earl of Douglas received a charter of confirmation of the superiority of the lands at Preston, with the lands still held by James Douglas of Dalkeith, but William was murdered 8 months later by James II at Stirling. In 1457 James Douglas of Dalkeith was created Earl of Morton, on the eve of his marrying the kings deaf daughter, Joan Stewart.
The 2nd Earl Morton resigned the lands and barony in favour of his son, also James, who was marrying Lady Katherine Stewart, the king's natural daughter. James and Katherine received a Crown grant for the lands. Wreaths is described as the Mains of Preston in 1529, when James V accused Robert, 4th Lord Maxwell of witholding the lands from Katherine, Countess of Morton.
In 1543 Katherine's grand-daughter, Elizabeth, married James Douglas of Pittendreich, and as part of the betrothal James was granted the earldom of Morton, the lordship of Dalkeith ‘including Preston, Borgue and Buittle' on the death of the 3rd Earl, which occurred five years later in 1548. After the execution of James, Earl of Morton in 1581 his lands and titles were forfeited, and passed to John, the 7th Lord Maxwell; but five years later king James VI changed his mind, reversed the attainder and the land and titles passed to Archibald, Earl of Angus and heir-male of Morton.
When he died three years later without male issue, the Earldom of Morton fell to a distant relative, Sir William Douglas of Lochleven, whose family still hold the title.

Join the Kirkbean Parish Heritage Society today!

We hope that you enjoy visiting our website and learning more about the history of this wonderful part of Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland.
    If you would like to support the work of the Kirkbean Parish Heritage Society in archiving and preserving the history of the parish, you can now join the society online!
    You don't have to be a resident of the parish or even have relatives who descended from the area, we welcome all support. Annual membership is just £3.00 and you help is gratefully appreciated. Simply click the the payment button to make a secure online payment via Paypal.

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