St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church

History & Heritage
St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church, built in 1838, is the latest to be dedicated to the 7th century Northumbrian saint who gave the town its name.

About St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church

St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church opened on 21 October 1838, with seating for 1500, to accommodate a church roll of around 3000. A growth in the town’s population from the later 18th century necessitated the building of the new church, replacing the old church on the Moat Brae. The architect was William Burn, designer of over 300 churches, country houses and public buildings.

The church site was given by the Earl of Selkirk, and the foundation stone was laid on the 22 April 1836. It cost approximately £7,000 to build, much of which was raised from public donations. Built to a cruciform plan and constructed in red sandstone and grey whinstone it was extended to the west in 1886 to accommodate a new vestry and organ.

The original church clock and bells were gifted in 1838 by James Lennox of Dalskairth, near Dumfries. His family originally came from Kirkcudbright and made a considerable fortune as merchants in America in the later 18th century.

The parish church is dedicated to St. Cuthbert (c.634-687). The original 'Kirk of St. Cuthbert' from which the place-name ‘Kirkcudbright’ almost certainly derives, was located in St. Cuthbert's Kirkyard or Cemetery just east of the town. Even as far back as 1162, this church was described as 'ancient’, when it was still an important spiritual centre for the area.

The holy relics of St. Cuthbert and St. Oswald may have rested here in the 790s when they were brought west by the monks of Lindisfarne, then under threat from Viking raiders.

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