Kirkconnell History Page 2

Kirkconnell Tower

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The  Kirkconnell House Tower was  built of stone in 1410 by Andrew Kirkconnell.  It is  rumored to be the oldest inhabited structure in Scotland.

Window Stones for the sharpening of the swords.

The tower is part of a mansion built in 1410 by the last Kirkconnell Laird. It is a four story mass of gray & brown stone with a spiral stone staircase of the type found in older Oxford and Cambridge colleges, leading upwards from the cellar to the roof. On the second floor is the lairds great dining hall, with its walls hung with a score of oil paintings of the Maxwell Lairds.  In 1570, all of this house except the Tower was destroyed by an English army under Lord Scrope and the Earl of Essex who burned Dumphries to the ground in the same campaign.

The center  brick section was built by James Maxwell in 1760   while the whitewashed structures to the right were built by Bernard Maxwell in 1600.  Maxwell built a secret Catholic chapel inside the manor house. The Kirkconnell House Chapel would accommodate 150 worshipers and was used until 1953 when it was deconsecrated to avoid being desecrated by intruders.

It is worthy to note that Gilbert Brown, the last abbot of Sweetheart Abbey remained until 1605 in a structure on the Kirkconnell Estate known as the Abbott's Tower.  I understand from a friend that the structure has been purchased and is shown under renovation.

At some distance to the southwest lies a square three acre garden surrounded by a great wall of brick twenty feet high and six feet thick. Built into it are flues by which warm air proceeds from fires built at intervals to add length to the season and hasten fruit ripening. The produce is sold to this day in nearby Dumphries.

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Tower -  1760 structure -  1600 House -   Kirkconnell Hall

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Abbots Tower

Photos taken by Ernie McLearnon

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