The Meikle Yett and the Selkirk Arms Hotel

History & Heritage
The site of the Meikle Yett (the great gate) marks the landward limit of the town in the medieval period. The Selkirk Arms Hotel nearby was once a coaching inn.

About The Meikle Yett and the Selkirk Arms Hotel

In the tarmac surface of the High Street opposite the house called ‘Meikle Yett are two small square areas of granite setts, which mark the site of the gate sockets of the ‘Meikle Yett’ or the great or main gate of the town. Kirkcudbright had a town wall and two gates; this one on the landward side and the water gate at the other end of the High Street, opening on to a ford across the river.

The gate was rebuilt on at least two occasions and in 1547 resisted a siege by an English force. It was finally demolished in 1771 when, with a growing population, the town needed to expand beyond its medieval bounds; the gate was an obstacle. But although the gate has long gone, the curfew bell in the Tolbooth still tolls each evening to announce its closing for the night.

Just beyond the Meikle Yett is the Selkirk Arms Hotel. This is one of the oldest inns in the town, simply known as Robert Cochran’s inn in the 1790s and Mrs Kissock’s up to 1830. By 1836 it had become known as the Selkirk Arms, possibly after the 6th Earl of Selkirk celebrated his coming of age there. In the summer of 1830 it was a regular departure point for the 3.30 am coach which arrived in Dumfries four hours later, in time for the 8.00 am coach to Edinburgh, a further ten hour journey!

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