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(Reguidit frae Sanquhar)

Sanquhar fae the sooth
Sanchar is located in Dumfries and Galloway
Location within Dumfries an Gallowa
Scots leid
OS grid referenceNS781099
Cooncil area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnitit Kinrick
Post tounSanquhar
Postcode destrictDG4
EU PairlamentScotland
UK Pairlament
Scots Pairlament
Leet o places
55°22′05″N 3°55′29″W / 55.36793°N 3.92463°W / 55.36793; -3.92463Coordinates: 55°22′05″N 3°55′29″W / 55.36793°N 3.92463°W / 55.36793; -3.92463

Sanchar (Inglis: Sanquhar, Scots Gaelic: Seanchair)[1] is a toun on the River Nith in Dumfries an Gallowa, Scotland. It lies north o Thornhill an wast o Moffat. It is an umwhile Ryal burgh.

Sanchar is kenspeckelt for its peerie post office, estaiblisht in 1712 an haudit tae be the auldest wirkin post office in the warld. It wis the place an aw whaur the Covenanters, that cried again the episcopalisation o the kirk, adheebitit the Sanchar Declaration, renuncin thair allegiance til the king, an event commemoratit bi a moniment in the main street.

The kirk o St Brides conteens a memorial tae James Crichton, a 16-century polymath. The ruins o Sanchar Castle staund nearby. Nithsdale Wanderers F.C., the local team, wis formt in 1897. In 1924-5, the Wanderers wan the Scots Fitbaa League Thrid Diveesion.


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The names Sanquhar an Sanchar baith come fae the Scots Gaelic leid Seann Cathair, meanin "auld fort". The're a 15t-century castle ruin that looks ootower the toun, bit the name even predates this auncient fort. The antiquary, William Forbes Skene, conseedert it the like location o the dounset name't Corda in Ptolemy's Geographica. Wi this location alang the River Nith, Sanchar his been a major sheddins for centurys. Artifacts hae been fund here fae the Neolithic Age. The remeens o several prehistoric Breetish fors can be fund in the aurie as weel as hints o a Roman ootpost.

The auncient hill fort at Tynron Doun is locatit aboot 17.5 mile awa fae the toon. This fort is descrived in Archaeology of late Celtic Britain and Ireland bi LR Laing (1975) as "a weel-preserved multivallate hill fort" that mebbe begoud its existance in the Airn Age an conteenaed tae be uised ootthrou the Daurk Ages an intil the early Middle Ages. durin Roman times the fort wad hae been in Selgovae laund, efter the Romans depairtit it lay on the mairches o the Kinrick o Strathclyde an the Galwyddel. This place is associatit wi a local leegend o a "heidless horseman" that is supposed hae ridden doun fae it as a warnin weird o deith, a story that mebbe his some oreegin in a Celtic heid cult. The Poetical Works o Sir Walter Scott (1822) attest that Robert the Bruce hidit in the forests aboot this hill efter he hid kilt ane o his rivals, John "the Reid" Comyn.

In the 9t an 10t centurys, waws o Gaelic sattlers cam til the aurie fae Ireland. These Scoto-Erse fowk replace't the native Breetons an becam the dominant woners for hunners o years. In the 12t century, Norman colonization o the Breetish Islands brang a feudal seestem o government an branglin barons an shirras rule't the laund for several centurys. Sanchar is in the coonty o Dumfriesshire that lies aside the English mairch. Thir border coonties wis constant in a state o strowe as groups reived ither athort the dividin lines.

Durin the Wars o Scots Unthirldom the English airmy teuk ower the auld castle at Sanchar. The Laird o the Castle, Sir William the Haurdy, Laird o Douglas, leart o this an cam up wi a cliver pack whaur ae man sneakit intil the castle an appent the yetts, allouin Laird Douglas tae seize it. The English begoud a conter-attack, bit William Wallace leart o the battle an cam tae rescue. As the English airmy retreatit, Wallace chase't them doun an kilt 500 o them. Wallace veesitit the castle on several occasions.

The Crichton faimily

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It is beleived dthe Crichton faimily cam tae Breetain fae Hungary. Durin the ring o Robert the Bruce thay obteent the launds aroond Sanchar an rule't ower the aurie fae the mid-14t until the mid-17th centurys. Mary, Queen o Scots, (a cuisin o Queen Elizabeth I o England) cam tae Sanchar in Mey 1568 efter her defeat at the Battle o Langside. Laird Crichton o Sanchar wis leal tae Mary, an herbourt her until she escapit ower the River Nith. For this, he wis puinisht efter the Scots lairds beseiged an capturt the caste ance mair.

The end o the Crichton faimily pouer in the aurie wis the upshot o a lovitch pairty. In Julie 1616, the King o Great Breetain, James VI, Keeng o Scots (King James I o England), traivelt throu Scotland tae Glesga, an on his wey hame steyed at the castle in Sanchar. The Crichtons walcome't him wi a paraffle sae muckle that it bankruptit them. It is said that Laird Crichton convoyed the king tae his bed cairyin a lichtit torch made fae £30,000 in bond notes that the king wis awin tae Laird Crichton. Bi 1639, the Crichtons hid flittit tae Ayrshire, an selt thair haudins in Sanchar til the Yerl o Queensberry.

A joke in the region is that mony a young wumman that wrocht for the Crichtons wad "gang in the servand's ingang an come oot the faimily wey". Houiver, ae well-regardit member o the Crichton faimily was James Crichton, kent as "The Admirable Crichton".

Releegious upheavin

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The Sanchar Declarations Moniment

A new speal o disruption cam in the form o releegious rebellion. The Covenanters wis dedicatit Scots Presbyterians devotit tae mainteenin Presbyterianism as the anely form o kirk organisation in Scotland. Thay led Scotland intil England's ceevil wars o the speal conter Keeng Charles I an later Oliver Cromwell. Ootthrou the 17t century the war fechtin an persecution bi baith sides.

The year 1685 saw the seicont declaration, bi James Renwick that teuk an aw a lairge airmt pairty intae Sanchar, frichtenin aw the tounsfowk that thocht a battle wis comin. The Sanchar Declarations, as thay is kent, set furth the steid o releegious freedom in Scotland, Sanchar's location led an aw thaim that wis huntit and herrit tae pass throu o hide in the aurie.

In the Victorian era the toun's mercat cross wis transformt intil a moniment beirin the inscription: In commemoration of the two famous Sanquhar Declations which were published on this spot, where stood the ancient Cross of the Burgh; the one by the Rev. Richard Cameron, on 22 June 1680; the other by the Rev. James Renwick on 25 May 1685, the killing time. If you would know the nature of the their crime, then read the story of that killing time. 1864.

The end o the Covenantin speal in the early 18t century wisna the last releegioius upheavin for the aurie. The Kirk o Scotland wis torn bi several branglins ower the years. Ane o the major issues wis whether the local populations o the kirk heidquarters coud hire local meenisters. In the 1830s mony kirks seceded an in 1843 a lairge nummer or kirks brak awa tae form the Free Kirk o Scotland. The time wis kent as the "Great Disruption". In Sanchar the meenister wis leanin taewart the new splinder groups, maistly at the promuivin o his guidwife. Whan she dee'd he tyne't his nerves. The split cam an he steyed ahint, alang wi maist o his pairishioners. He keepit his job an his kirk hoose, but tyne't the respect o the community. The creaution o the Free Kirk in Sanchar, an the wauchlin o the meenister left mony haurd feelins in the toun. The war haurdly a family that wisna torn apairt bi the branglins. At this pynt the pairish records become a raivelment, an haurdly a birth o mairiage wis recordit until ceevil registration stairted in 1855.

Sanchar wis legal acknawledged bi the croun as early as the 15t century an wis made a ryal burgh in 1598. In maugre o politeecal wanrest in the aurie, agricultur begoud tae floorish in the early 18t century. Local industrys cam intae thair ain, particular coal minin. Coal hid been dug in the aurie for hunners o years, bit mair advance't methods helpit the industry tae growe. Ither industrys that lippent coal, sic as weavin, cairpet makkin, an smiddies begoud tae appear.

Robert Burns

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In the 1780s, the Scots makkar Robert Burns wis a frequent veesitor tae Sanchar. Whan he wish renovatin a ferm in 1788, he aften passt throu on the wey back tae his guidwife, Jean, in Ayrshire. Efterhaund he becam a weel-kent face acause o his excise duties. Burns cried the toun "Black Joan" in his ballad "Five Carlins that he representit the local burghs as chairacters in. He wad stey owernicht at the Queensberry Arms in the Heich Street, makkin freends wi the awner an cawin it "the anely tholeable inn in the place."

Post Office an the oo tred

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The auldest Post Office in the warld

Sanchar is kenspeckle for its peerie post office, estaiblisht in 1712 and haudit tae be the auldest wirkin post office in the warld.[2][3] The post office predates the seicont-auldest, in Stockholm, Swaden, by aicht year, while the third-auldest in Santiago, Chile appent in 1772. In November 2019 it wis pit up for sale at £275,000, includin a three-bedchaumer cot, a close, an some ootbiggins. A spokesman said: "The Post Office will be working with the local community to try to find a new postmaster to take on the branch and ensure it remains part of the Post Office network and Sanquhar's unique place is postal history is retained."[4]

The oo tred hid been an imporatant wan in the coastal tredin touns o Dumfriesshire an Kirkcoubrieshire syne medieval times an bi the 18t century Sanchar hid developit as a landwart mercat centere. The Sanquhar Wool Fair, haudit in Julie, raadit the prices for the hale sooth o Scotland. A perqueer twa-colourt pattren o knittin that is widely kent as "Sanquhar knitting" taks its name fae this wee pairish. A traiveler's accoont early in the 18t centurs tells us: "Gloves they make better and cheaper than in England, for they send great quantities thither." Mony a puir fermin faimily uphaudit themsels wi extra income fae thir socht-efter knittit garments. While knittin dee'd oot as an industry, the presentation o tradeetional Sanquhar gloves is an important pairt o local celebrations even nouadays.

Durin the 18t century the life o a weaver wis enviable. Thay wan guid wages an wrocht at thair luims inby, aften at their ain hames. Thay coud wirk whitiver oors thay wantit, and coud take time aff in autumn tae help the fermers wi thair hairsts. It wis said that ony time the war a noise in the streets aw the weavers wad be the first wans tae drap thair wirk, rin oot, an begin claiverin aboot the maitter. Taewart the end o the 18t century, houiver, advances in technology made the hame shaps less profitable, an mony o Sanchar's weavers fund themsels leukin for ither wirk.

Crawick Veelage

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Ither wirk cam in the form o a cairpet factory, alang the Crawick Watter. At first, it consistit o a wheen o separate luims, bit bi the 1830s, the war a lairge factory, blowstin 54 luims at its hicht. The cairpets made here wis warld-renount for thair lest an orders cam fae as faur awa as Sooth America. A feck o thair total production was shippit tae Valparaíso, Chile.

The location alang the Crawick Watter wis the hame an aw o John Rigg's smiddie. In the late 18t century he hid been perswaddit tae muive here fae Dalston in Cumbria tae purvey tuils for the coalfields. He makkit a damheid anent the veelage o Crawick an uised the watter tae pouer his factory. The watter separatit the pairishes o Sanchar an Kirkconnel, an awtho the smiddie wis on the Kirconnel side, Sanchar aye laid claim tae it. The smiddie produce't shuils an ither tuils intil the 20t century.

The veelage o Crawick hid ance been kent as a haven for witches. Ae story is that the pairish meenister's kye begoud makkin milk that wadna kirn. He sent ane o his servands tae tie a brainch fae a rowan tree ower the goit o the witch's hoose in Crawick, that endit the curse. For a lang time, a lairge rowan tree floorished in the front yaird o the kirk, mebbe pairtly tae keep thir frawart speerits awa. Life in Crawick wis descrived beautifu bi James Brown, in his History of Sanquhar:

“Crawick Mill was a clean tidy little hamlet pleasantly embosomed on the banks of the Crawick and sheltered from almost every wind that blew, and there was no happier colony of weavers to be found in any country district in Scotland. They were almost all natives, whose whole life associations were connected with the place. We have no pleasanter memory than that of the weavers playing quoits, of which they were very fond, on the summer evenings on the "Alley", a long strip of ground on the banks of the stream behind the Village, while their wives, with their clean "mutches" sat about or sauntered up and down chatting and gossiping, and the bairns were either scrambling along the wooded banks of the Crawick or "paidling" in its clear water, the pleasant babble of the stream as it rushed over the dam-head mingling with the voices of the men at their game and the joyous shouts and laughter of the children.”

Atween 1885 an 1916, Crawick even hid its ain post office (kent as Crawick Bridge); it hid an aw gas-pouert streetlichts twa year after the lave o the toun o Sanchar. Aw o this cam tae a sad end whan ane o the awners o the factory dee'd, an the tither awners brangle't. Bi 1860, the factory wis shut doun. Mony o the weavers flittit tae lairger ceetys tae keep thair tred. The smiddie, and the nearby colliery, kept fowk emplooyed until the 20t century. Durin the speal after Warld War II mony fowk flittit awa, an the wee clachan wis aw bit desertit. Anely a wheen o hames staund here noo, the woners a bit awaur o the industries that ance thrived here.

Recent history

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The re-appent Sanquhar station fae the roadbrig leukin taewart Kirkconnel. 2007.

Sanchar itsel luckit weel throu the late 19t and early 20t centurys. The dwinnlin o tradeetional industrys in the middle o the 20t century hurtit the toun, bit noo new manufacturers is flittin in an the're a strang sense o community in the burgh. Sanchar hid a public schuil as early as 1793. William Adam, a famous Scots airchitect, designt the towebuith in the centre o the toun that is the anely survivin biggin o this type designt bi him. Built in 1731, much o the biggin materials for it wis taen fae the auld castle in Scanchar an it is nouadays uised as the toun museum, conteenin local artifacts an memorabilia. In 1800, the population o Sanchar wis 2,350. It growed tae 3,268 bi the year 1830, bit by 1991 hid foondert again tae 2,910. Nouadays it staunds at aboot 2,100.

The sport o curlin rins in the bluid o fowk fae Sanchar. The toun his the warld's auldest curlin society, formt in 1774 wi saxty members. James Brown, that wrate an important history o the toun, is creeditit an aw wi writin the rules uised universal for the sport. The witches o Crawick wis kent for castin spells ontil the tither teams. The war kemps whaur the prize wis a seck o grain. The winnin team wad get the fuuid an distreebute it til the puir an needfu in thair hametoun.

In the airts, the Sanquhar Pantomime Group performs a tradeetional Christenmas pantomime in aid o local chairitys. An annual occurence durin the 1990s, it noo alternates wi the local primary schuil.

Ilka year, on the Seturday closest tae 18t August, the Ryal Burgh o Sanchar hauds its annual Riding of the Marches. This week-lang even celebrates the Ryal Burgh, throu the selection o a "Queen" an her "wallies" fae fowert-year girls in the seicontary schuil, an a paraud o larries an horses, tae name anely a wheen o events. Mony o the taverns is busy durin this time - it his been notit that mony o the change-keepers begin tae have phrasins o grandur durin this speal.

The railwey line his remeent appen for fraucht an passenger traffeck, houiver Sanquhar railwey station wis closed an anely re-appent in recent years.

Cyclin history

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Cycling Trophies awardit tae Dave Scott o Crawick Wheelers

In the late 1930s, Sanchar wis the hame tae the Crawick Wheelers, a gey successfu Cyclin Club that wis instrumental in the settin o a nummber o Scots time trial records. The Scott brithers wis birthy in settin thir records alang wi Jack Tudhope. The Scots wis predominant miners in the local collieries an wrocht an 11-day fortnicht finishin wirk on a Seturday mornin. They wad syne ride fae Sanchar tae Dundee or Perth an tak pairt in the Time Trial races afore retourin hame on the Sunday. After Warld War II, Jim Scott muived on fae the Crawick Wheelers an rade for Law Wheelers in Lanarkshire; the Crawick seems tae have fauldit aboot this time.

Neebourin hills

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Sanchar sits in Nithsdale near interestin hills on baith sides, the Carsphairn an Scaur Hills til the wast an the Lowther Hills til the sootheast. Thir hills offer excellent possibeelitys for the ootby enthusiast. The Soothren Upland Wey passes throu the toun on its wey fae Portpaitrick on Scotland's wast coast tae Cockburnspaith on the east.


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  1. a b "Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba ~ Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland". Gaelicplacenames.org. Archived frae the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 27 Mairch 2015. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Gaelicplacenames.org" defined multiple times wi different content
  2. McCarty, Denise (18 Apryle 2014). "World's oldest post office, founded in 1712, offered for sale". Linn's Stamp News. Retrieved 19 Apryle 2014.
  3. "Guinness World Records 2014". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-50301895
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