Galloway Kite Trail RSPB The Old SchoolCrossmichaelCastle Douglas, DG7 3AP, GB
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Parton GKT Info Shelter (Parton village hall)

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History of Parton

Early History
The place name Parton has been found in records dating back to at least 1275. The name may derive from the Old English 'paerr-tun', 'village within the district', or from the Gaelic 'hilltop', which perfectly describes the situation of the current church. A settlement developed around the fertile lands alongside Loch Ken and River Dee, established by Christian British or Anglian people who arrived in Galloway from Northumbria in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is not known when the first church was built but there is every chance that it was on the same site as that of today, elevated from the risk of flooding. In August 1296, Wautier (Walter) de Derrington, parson of Parton, swore fealty to Edward I of England.

Kirkland Motte

By that time, the Kirkland Motte of Parton would have been well established between the church and the River Dee.  A motte is an ancient mound, usually with a surrounding ditch and bank.  They were thrown up all over the Stewartry, probably as places of refuge in times of conflict.  There is another small one at Balmaclellan, and much larger examples at Dalry and near Haugh of Urr, all well worth a visit.  Kirkland Motte, site of the original House of Barony, was described in 1876 as being 40 feet (12m) high, 120 yards (110m) in circumference and with a nine foot (2.7m) deep ditch, although there has undoubtedly been some ground settlement since then. The current church was built in 1834, next to the remains of an older one dedicated to St Inan and called Kilennan.  This latter structure was itself rebuilt in 1534, but various carved masonry in the ruin and within the current church clearly dates back to an earlier mediaeval building. 

James Clerk Maxwell MA LLD (Edin.) FRSS 1831-1879
Within the ruin of the old kirk lie the remains of James Clerk Maxwell, Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge University and truly a founding father of modern science.  He devised various theories and equations on electromagnetism, optics, molecules etc and published classic works such as Electricity and Magnetism (1878).  Albert Einstein said that Sir Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell were the greatest influences in his own work, of which the theory of relativity is probably the most famous. Clerk Maxwell was born in his family’s house in Edinburgh and came to live at their estate at Glenlair, near Parton, when he was two years old.  This remained his home until he died in 1879.  People from all over the world come here to view his grave and to enjoy the countryside where he grew up.

Parton Cottages
These attractive cottages were rebuilt in 1901 by B. R. Murray, of Parton House, and one was set aside as a library and reading room.  The clock tower was added to an existing byre, which was then converted to a communal laundry.  Murray also provided the village hall in 1908, whilst in 1902 he built the listed octagonal privy in the gardens behind the village (known locally variously as the `bandstand’, the `hooses o parliament’ or the `roundabout’
Dumfries & Galloway Leader Local Action Group