Important history lesson for Dumfries
Sir – 2017 is the 400th anniversary of King James VI’s last visit to Dumfries – his only visit since succeeding Queen Elizabeth on the English throne.
The burgh pulled out all the stops to celebrate the occasion, including the presentation by King James of a Siller (silver) Gun to the Trades, a gun that is preserved in the museum.
Although I now live far from Dumfries, I have reason to recall the occasion, as I am a direct descendant of Francis Irving (d.1633), who was Provost of Dumfries and the King’s host on that occasion. Indeed, his tombstone is the second oldest in St Michael’s churchyard (pictured). At the same time, his wife, Agnes Raining, made a presentation to the King on behalf of the loyal ladies of the burgh. The events are fully documented for all to read, should they care.
I was, therefore, horrified to learn that none of the officials of the burgh were apparently aware of these facts, and no celebrations have been planned. Do these officials even know anything of the burgh’s history? Judging by the way the heart of old Dumfries has been torn out in recent years, the answer must be a resounding no.
It greatly saddens me that the history of such an ancient burgh is brushed aside in this way. What are they teaching in the schools these days?
Alastair Maxwell-Irving FSA, FSAScot Formerly assistant to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monumentrs of Scotland Telford House Blairlogie