Im­por­tant his­tory les­son for Dum­fries

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - STANDARD VIEW -

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

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