The Selkirk Memorial and Crossroads

History & Heritage
The granite cross near the corner of the Parish Church grounds and overlooking the St Cuthbert/St Mary Street crossroads commemorates the 6th Earl of Selkirk.

About The Selkirk Memorial and Crossroads

The tall granite cross standing at the crossings of St Cuthbert Street and St Mary Street was erected by Cecily, Countess of Selkirk to commemorate her husband, Dunbar James Douglas, 6th Earl of Selkirk (1809-1885) whose mansion house stood to the south of the town on St. Mary’s Isle. Built of Aberdeenshire granite, it was designed by J A Heaton and carved by Farmer and Brindley in London.

A more modest memorial stands in the Parish Church grounds to Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk (1771-1820), a significant and lauded figure in Canada’s early history. Moved by the plight of Highlanders evicted by the ‘Clearances’, he encouraged their settlement in Canada and was responsible for the foundation of the settlement which became the city of Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba province.

The crossroads here mark the centre of the ‘new’ town, following the expansion of Kirkcudbright in in the early 19th century from its medieval core on the High Street. New housing, shops and public buildings were erected on St Cuthbert and St Mary Streets, including the Parish Church, Parish Church Hall, Town Hall, Bank of Scotland and The Royal Hotel. The alignment of St Mary Street was said to be determined by taking a near-direct line from the north gate of the Earl of Selkirk’s estate on St. Mary’s Isle to the newly opened Tongland Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford and built 1804- 1808.

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