Best Western Station Hotel

49 Lovers Walk, Dumfries, DG1 1LT, United Kingdom
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Travel Tips for Dumfries

Dumfries - The Queen of the South

by socheid

Ignore the headings about favourite things and fond memories on this page. The following is basically a dump of info people may (or may not) find useful.

The following websites are useful for Dumfries and the surrounding area





Queen of the South football club

by socheid

The team in the Scottish football league representing Dumfries and the surrounding area is named after the town's nickname - Queen of the South.

Queens (as they are affectionately known) due to the relatively small size of the town will never be a giant of world football. They do though provide an important outlet for those in Dumfries who want to use football as a means and expression to represent and support the local community.

If you want to go and take in a game all are welcome. See the website below for more info.

A very short history of the club goes something like this:-

* 1919 - club formed

* 1933 - promoted to the top division of Scottish football achieving a highest ever finish of 4th in 1934. From then, excluding war time interruption, the club spent only one season out of Scotland's top division until 1959 and remain competitive until the mid 60s. QoS are top of the Scottish league at New Year 1953/54 before the season fades.

* 1967 Willie Harkness becomes club chairman. The club under achieve throughout Harkness' long reign. As the long time dominant figure Harkness becomes a hugely unpopular figure with supporters who seemingly universally perceive his stewardship of the club as having dragged the club down from its previous achievements.

* 1994 - the Harkness era ends and with 1 notable exception in 2000 the club progresses to today enjoying some of the success last experienced in the pre Harkness era. This includes beating Aberdeen 4-3 in the 2008 Scottish Cup semi final before going down in the final 3-2 against Rangers.

To check the above info out for yourself try:-

As a slightly amusing curiosity it is widely claimed that Queen's are the only senior football team to have it's name mentioned in the bible. Should anyone want to check the reference out for themselves:-

* Luke 11, 31

* Matthew 12, 42

For info the wording in the bible goes something like:-

"The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with the men of this generation"

The most famous players to have played for QoS are:-

Hughie Gallacher began his pro career at QoS before going on to become one of the biggest names in UK football of his era. A magician when in possession of a football, in 624 senior games, Gallacher scored 463 times. He is the Scotland national football team's the most prolific goals per game scorer with 23 goals from his 20 internationals, a strike rate of more than a goal a game. Gallacher was one of the Wembley Wizards who beat England 5–1 at Wembley Stadium in 1928. Gallacher is also the last man to captain Newcastle United to be English Champions. He won the Scottish Cup with Airdrie and also scored for Chelsea, Derby and Grimsby in England's top division and in the lower leagues with Notts County and Gateshead.

Dave Halliday was from Dumfries and his 38 goals for Dundee in 1923-24 made him top scorer in Scotland's top flight that season and 43 goals in 1928–29 for Sunderland gave him the same distinction in England's top flight that season. He scored 376 senior goals as well as scoring at two then non-league clubs. As a manager only Halliday and Alex Ferguson have guided Aberdeen to be Scottish champions. Halliday and Gallacher are among the group of only 27 players to have scored over 200 goals in England's top division. Halliday also scored for Arsenal, Man City, Orient and was player manager at Yeovil. He also managed Leicester City to promotion to England's top division.

Ian Dickson was born in Dumfries and it was after his departure from QoS to Aston Villa that Gallacher was signed for QoS. Dickson top scored at Villa in 1921/22 with 28 goals in his 42 games. he then played for Middlesborough. He is the grandfather of music mogol Ian 'Dicko' Dickson who appears on Australian tv programs such as 'Australian idol'.

Willie Ferguson was from nearby Kirkconnel and signed for QoS after making 294 appearances for Chelsea (playing at Chelsea alongside Hughie Gallacher). In his first season at QoS the club finish fourth in Scotland's top division, their highest finish to date.

Billy Houliston was another from Dumfries and gained three full caps for Scotland while playing for QoS. He scored 2 debut goals against Northern Ireland but arguably his finest moment was his performance in the 3-1 win against England at Wembley in 1949. He won all three of his full international games (the last was against France). Such was his effectiveness the most prolific post war scorer in Scottish football, Lawrie Reilly, was played out of position for Scotland to accommodate Houliston at centre forward. In nine games for Scotland at all levels Houliston was never on a losing side. His international career ended was he picked a serious ankle injury in a Summer tour to North America with Scotland. This ultimately led to his premature retirement as a football player.

Jimmy Binning was full back at QoS when selected for the Scotland world cup squad for the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland. An ex QoS player, George Hamilton was also selected for the squad but neither played in the finals. Then at Aberdeen managed by Dave halliday, Hamilton scored four goals in five games for Scotland.

George Farm signed for Queens from Blackpool in 1960. Farm had been at Blackpool since 1948 and was goalkeeper through the tangerines' 1950s golden era. This included 2 F.A. Cup Final appearances including winning the 1953 'Matthews' Final and also Blackpool's highest ever top league finish – 2nd in 1956. While at Blackpool he gained 10 Scotland caps. Farm went on to make over 100 league appearances for Queen of the South, as player-manager for three of his four years with the club. He guided them to promotion back to the top division in 1961–62. Farm later managed Dunfermline to their greatest achievement to date by following up the 1967/68 Scottish Cup win by reaching the semi final of the 1968–69 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup losing by 1 goal to eventual winners Slovan Bratislava (Slovan beat Barcelona in the final).

Ivor Broadis was a protege of Bill Shankly who enjoyed a successful career in England's top flight with Sunderland, Manchester City and Newcastle United. He played 14 times for England scoring eight goals. This included the England goal in the 1954, 7-1 defeat by the Hungary team of Ferenc Puskas. Broadis was the first player to score twice in a game for England at a World Cup finals (1954 in the 4-4 draw v Belgium). He was player manager of Carlisle aged just 23. His last 2 seasons as a player were at QoS that he later described as the 2 happiest of his career. He then enjoyed a long career as a football journalist.

Neil Martin signed from Alloa in 1961. After leaving QoS he gained 3 Scotland caps in a journeyman career where he scored consistently as a hard working centre-forward. He hit 44 goals in 78 games at Queens. After Queens he played top division football for Hibs (playing for Jock Stein), Sunderland, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest (scoring the first goal of Brian Clough's reign) as well as playing for Brighton and Crystal Palace. He has the distinction of being among the first players to score 100 league goals in both Scotland and England.

After playing for QoS, Sam Malcolmson emigrated to New Zealand who he played for at the the 1982 World Cup, ironically against his native Scotland. While New Zealand lost the group game 5-2, the two goals meant the Scots were eliminated on goal difference after drawing their next game 2-2 with USSR.

Ted McMinn (another local lad) played for Queens from 1982 – 84 before going on to play top flight football in Scotland, Spain and England. McMinn achieved hero status with Rangers, Sevilla, (following in the footsteps of Hughie Gallacher) Derby County and Burnley (at Burnley he was a Wembley play off winner). McMinn also played senior football in England for Birmingham City. He also played a season in Western Australia for Joondalup.

Bernie Slaven was an unrecognised talent at Queens. He played only two first team games for Queen of the South in late 1983. On leaving Queens for Albion Rovers the goals started to flow quickly. Following in the footsteps of Ian Dickson, Slaven joined Middlesbrough where he scored consistently hitting 146 goals in 381 games. In March 1993 Slaven left Premier League 'Boro for Port Vale and scored the winner in a 2–1 victory over Stockport County in the Autoglass Trophy Final at Wembley. He was awarded 7 Republic of Ireland caps scoring once and was in their squad for Italia 90.

Andy Goram, ex-Rangers and Scotland goalkeeper, played for Queens in the 2002–03 Scottish Challenge Cup Final win. Added to the medals Goram gained at Rangers this makes him the first player to collect a complete set of all four senior Scottish football winners medals.

Stephen Dobbie scored 47 goals in 83 QoS and was part of the 2008 Scottish Cup final team. He has since moved South playing for Swansea and at Blackpool where he was part of the team that won the 2010 play off final earning Blackpool a return to England's top division.

Famous fans include:-

Allan McNish - twice winner of Le Mans 24

Calvin Harris - record producer and music chart #1

Bill Drummond - ex KLF

Andrew Coltart - Ryder Cup golfer

Hunter Davies - writer

Stephen Jardine - tv presenter and son of ex club director

Len Lungo - champion race horse trainer

Barry Nicholson - Scotland international footballer who played in the 2008 Scottish Cup semi final for Aberdeen against the team he supported as a boy. QoS ended up 4-3 winners as mentioned above

Nicky Spence - opera singer

Sweetheart Abbey

by CliffClaven

Nestling at the foot of Criffel, the highest hill in southwest Scotland, is the village - only two pubs - of New Abbey. It was here in 1273 that Lady Devorgilla founded Sweetheart Abbey in memory of her husband, John Balliol, founder of Balliol College at Oxford University. The abbey got its name from the fact that Lady Devorgilla carried her dead husband's embalmed heart everywhere with her. Stroll through the melancholy ruins, and then revive your spirits with home-baked scones at the Abbey Cottage tea-shop.

Lincluden Collegiate Church

by socheid

The following is from Wikipedia:-

"Lincluden Collegiate Church, known earlier as Lincluden Priory or Lincluden Abbey, is a ruined religious house, situated to the north of the Royal Burgh of Dumfries, Scotland. Situated in a bend of the Cluden Water, at its confluence with the River Nith, the ruins are on the site of the Bailey of the very early Lincluden Castle, as are those of the later Lincluden Tower. This religious house was founded circa. 1160 and was used for various purposes, until its abandonment around 1700.

The foundation of the priory is accredited to Uchtred who had co-ruled Galloway with his brother Gille Brigte. Uchtred did not have the benefit of the relative peace of his father's reign in Galloway. Fergus of Galloway had founded such establishments such as Soulseat Abbey, St Mary's Isle Priory, Dundrennan Abbey, the foundation at Kirkcudbright (Kirk of St. Cuthbert) and re-established the foundation at Whithorn, the historic community of St Ninian. Uchtred's focus of power was in Eastern Galloway, while his brother's was in the west, their reigns were marked by turbulent relationships between themselves, the Kings of Ailech, the King of Scots, William the Lyon, and the King of England, Henry II. Lincluden was the first and only monastic house that Uchtred would found, meeting his death at the hand of his brother in 1174.

Prior to the foundation of Lincluden, there had been only been houses of Monks in Galloway, Uchtred's new house was the first Nunnery within the Lordship. The first intake of religieuses, were probably Cluniac sisters from France or England, later being supplemented by local novices."

The following is from

"The story of Lincluden Collegiate Church begins in about 1160, when a priory of Benedictine nuns was formed here. At about the same time the now wooded motte to the south east was formed to support a small castle.

In 1389, Archibald, 3rd Earl of Douglas, better known as Archibald the Grim of Threave Castle, was granted permission by the Pope to replace the priory with a college of canons. The college took over the buildings of the priory, which comprised a priory church with a range of domestic buildings to its north.

Extensive building works to make Lincluden a much grander establishment were under way through most of the 1400s. Part of the renovation was to accommodate the spectacular tomb of Princess Margaret in a rebuilt choir after her death in 1450. She had been daughter of King Robert III and widow of the 4th Earl of Douglas.

It is thought that a lot of the finer rebuilding of Lincluden in the early 1400s was done by Paris-born John Morow, who also produced similar work at Melrose Abbey and Paisley Abbey.

The Reformation of 1560 inevitably brought change to Lincluden Collegiate Church, as it did to all religious communities across Scotland. Lincluden was attacked and badly damaged by Protestant reformers.

Repairs were quickly completed by William Douglas, the younger brother of the last Provost of the college, for the considerable sum of £3,000. This proved a sound investment when he was then granted the college and associated "mansion" (probably the rebuilt north range) by his brother. The sunken garden to the east and remodelling of the motte as a large garden ornament probably date back to around this time.

After passing through various hands the buildings of Lincluden Collegiate Church were abandoned by 1700, and then used as a quarry until 1882 when the laird stepped in to consolidate and tidy up the ruins. The church was later passed into State care and is now looked after by Historic Scotland.

The remains themselves can be confusing, and are best viewed from the motte to the south east. It is easy to start with an assumption that the church must have run, unusually, from north to south, given the trend of most of the stonework on view.

It didn't. This impression is given because most of the nave of the church has disappeared, leaving just the walls of the south transept and a neighbouring piece of the south wall of the nave containing the outline of two magnificent windows.

The walls of the choir are largely complete, and contain some fine examples of decorative stonework, some of it still remarkably crisp. Lady Margaret's tomb and the nearby door to the Sacristy are the highlights. To the north of the Choir are the remains of a range of domestic buildings, today comprising a series of vaulted ground floor rooms, some now roofless. At the far north end the stonework of a taller tower still remains, pointing raggedly to the sky."

"Lincluden Collegiate Church is signposted to the east of the A76 a little north of its junction with the A75 Dumfries bypass. It lies in a bend of the Cluden Water near its confluence with the River Nith, and on the eastern edge of the housing estate that today forms most of Lincluden itself. Parking arrangements are not obvious: you are probably best leaving your car near the Abbey Inn and walking along the narrow road beside it. This becomes a track leading past the gate in the metal railings surrounding the remains of the church, a couple of hundred yards from the Inn."

Further info is available from:-

Being Famous is Not Always Nice

by ringleader

"About Robert Burns, Chapter 1"

I would like to talk about Robert Burns, this is the story I wanted to tell you before. It concerns my Ancestor and namesake James Kerr, who lived in St Michael Street in Dumfries, about 100 yards from Robert Burns house.

Robert Burns died in 1795, I have a Newspaper report of the day describing his funeral, where all
the Great & the Good turned out, so many wished to carry his coffin, instead of 6 men carrying him to his
resting place, the coffin was passed from hand to hand down the full length of the street, each group
taking him a short distance until they reached the Graveyard of St Michaels Church. ( I will get some
photos of this place for you soon ). Despite his fame, Robert was not a wealthy man, his widow, of
modest means could only afford a simple burial next to the East wall.
After a while, the people of Dumfries started to gather a collection in order to provide a more suitable resting place for such a man. In 1813 a Mausolium was built with a Crypt below, large enough to contain Robert, and in time the rest of his family.

The period from mid 1700s through the 1800s are known as the Enlightenment, when great strides were made in many fields, with Scots making an indelible mark upon the world. Between the Nepoleonic Wars and the start of the
First World War, nearly 50 million emigrants left Europe for North America and Australasia to seek a better life.

Of these 2 million were Scottish, fleeing the Highland Clearances or the Slums of the urban Central Belt.
If Scots taking the High road to England are included, this Scottish diaspora is probably larger in relative terms than any other single nation. They include Andrew Carnagie, who left his native Dunfermline for the USA in 1848 and became the richest man in the world; or Alan Pinkerton, who fled to America to escape arrest for his part in the Chartist agitation of the 1840s and became President Lincoln's bodyguard and founder of the famous Private Detective Agency.
John Paul Jones, founder of the American Navy, began his career as a Slave Trader in Dumfries, it was the Scots who invented Paper Money. I could go on and fill a book with this stuff, but to return to our story, the Age of Enlightenment
also included Medicine, which was in its infancy. Life-saving operations were nonexistent, the removal of a gangerous limb was a last resort, and usually resulted in death anyway.

The centre of learning at that time was in Edinburgh, and the Medical Schools had an insatiable need for bodies to disect and examine. At first they had to be satisfied with the output of the Hangman at Edinburgh's Tollbooth, where
public executions took place several times each week, but their need soon outgrew this supply. Wherever there is a market, someone will meet that need, grave robbing became a national pastime, the newly buried would be dug up and sold to the Surgeons within hours. Watchtowers were built in Graveyards, burial plots were covered with huge flagstones, relatives would guard the grave until the body was no longer of any use, one man had himself buried vertically 50 feet down to beat the bodysnatchers. Then along came two Irish men who decided to cut out the middle-man and avoid all that digging. Burke & Hare hung out in the Taverns and public places at night, select a likely victim, slit their throat and sell the body, no questions asked for a fresh body instead of a decaying Cadaver.
In the end, they became the objects of study themselves, when the hangman was finished. There is a top and bottom to every market, the bottom of course was the low life from the hovels in Edinburgh, the top, well if you could get your
hands on an Aristocrat or a famous person, that would fetch a princely sum.

"Chapter 2"

When Robert Burns was moved to his new resting place in 1813, there were a few people who watched with great interest, and their minds were not on prayer, they were mourning all right, mourning the fact that his Mausolium had a vast Flagstone and locked Iron Gate. But these men had a lot of patience, they knew one day that gate would
be unlocked again, to admit the body of his Relic ( widow ).

Robert Burns 2 sons were far from home when their mother, Jean Armour died in April 1834.
One son was in the Diplomatic Service posted to India and had no chance to get home. The other was in London England and by the fastest Mail Coach, would take a week to travel the 400 miles to Dumfries.

This gave plenty of time for the infamous plan to be hatched and put into action, the instigator was a man called Coombs from Edinburgh. Mr. Coombs was a ' Phrenologist ', one who studies bumps on the head. Part of his living was made by touring village and town halls demonstrating his Art, something like the Quack
Medicine Men of the old West. The prize he wanted was a plastercast of the head of Robert Burns, the means to get that was through his association with the Masonic Order. Robert Burns was a member of the Secret Society, as were his Sons, and everyone who was anyone in Dumfries from the Mayor down through the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, the Chief Surgeon, the Newspaper Editor, if you weren't in the Masons, then you weren't in anything, that is their whole reason for being.

When Robert's son stepped off the Mail Coach exhausted from the long journey, these eminent men, along with Mr. Coombs were waiting for him in the Tavern. The put their plan to him, Brother to Brother, gently at first, then more insistent when permission was not forthcoming, they kept him up all night until finally he gave in to their demands.

The day before Jean Armours' funeral, Roberts tomb was opened to admit the burial, the Flagstone was moved and the gates locked again. Six men, good and true were chosen, one of whom had been present when Robert was interred, and could point out the place where his head would be found, one was the Doctor who would describe
the condition of the remains in Medical terms, one was the Newspaper Reporter who would write this down, one to remain above ground keeping watch, and two to dig, one of whom was my Ancestor James Kerr.

"Chapter 3"

At 7:00pm the six made their way to St. Michael's Churchyard, from different directions so as not to attract attention. But, there were too many eyes abroad, and the evening not yet dark, they dispersed to their homes. At 9:00pm, they made a second attempt, as before from different directions, climbing over the walls they met up at the
Mausoleum. Entry was no problem, since another Mason, the Church Warden had passed over the keys to the Gates.

By the light of a darkened Lantern, they descended into the Crypt, the place was pointed out and digging began. Very few shovels were needed to uncover Roberts coffin and the decayed lid prised off, Roberts head was examined. The head was and gathered up, here the thought struck them they had nothing with which to cover it. Deciding to stuff Robert's head in a hat, it was found to be too large for any hat present. This part of their work done, they left as they came, meeting up again at the home of James Kerr in St Michales Street where a plasterer called Fraser was waiting to make a cast. It is said he made a very professional job, producing a perfect
mould. The Skull was taken from house to house, from hand to hand, Hair and Teeth being taken as keepsakes.

It is reported by the Dumfries & Galloway Times that the Head was placed in a Velvet lined Lead Casket and returned to the Crypt before dawn on the day of Jean Armour's funeral. The Crypt was opened once more, when Roberts son was to be buried, this time a Lead box was made to surround all of the remains and filled with molten Pitch which would solidify and seal the grave for ever.

I will leave you to decide whether Mr. Coombs left Dumfries with only a plastercast, whether Roberts Head was really in that Casket which was returned to the grave, would he have been satisfied with a copy when he had the real thing
in his hands, for the taking. The plaster cast is on display in one of Scotland's museums.
Your Kin, James Kerr


The above story is posted in its original form as it was written by one of our Scottish relatives who lives in Scotland. He is quite good at telling stories, with all the detail one could desire - or not desire.


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 Best Western Station Hotel

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Address: 49 Lovers Walk, Dumfries, DG1 1LT, United Kingdom