Not far into Scotland, is a smallish village called Ecclefechan. It’s an interesting place, and although it doesn’t sound much, there is plenty of history present, and some interesting features…
Status: Dumfries and Galloway, Village, Scotland
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Thomas Carlyle Birthplace, Thomas Carlyle Statue, Parish Church, Old School Clock Tower etc
One of the most famous residents from Ecclefechan (pronounced eccle-feck-an) is a man named Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881), whose house is still there today, and is open as a small museum (shown above). Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish Historian, Teacher and Philosopher, and he was born here. He is notable as much of his work was used by Charles Dickens when he came to write a book called “A Tale of Two Cities”.
His house is on the main street, and a stream called the Ecclefechan Burn runs down the street directly in front of the house (you can see the sign pointing at the house).
There are a number of interesting buildings in the village, so let’s start with the Clock Tower of the old Hoddam School.
It was opened in 1872, with the Clock Tower following in 1875. The rest of the building is long gone, having been demolished in the late 1980’s, but the fantastic Clock Tower survives, standing an impressive 80 feet tall.
This is Hoddom Parish Church, built as the Johnstone United Presbyterian Church in 1866. There is another church in the village, that dates from slightly earlier, 1878, but this is the main church in Ecclefechan.
I like the buildings in the village, you have already seen the old stone Church and Clock Tower, and the village has the feel about it that history has left it alone, untouched. There are rows of lovely little bungalows on various streets, in different colours which give the village an added flavour.
At the top of the high street, stands a statue of Thomas Carlyle, sat pondering another social conundrum, as he would have been doing a few hundred years ago. (Ignore the fire engine, there was a small house fire when we visited but it was under control and thankfully nobody was hurt)
Ecclefechan is a pleasant little village, and a great place for a wander, to discover some history. It is sat right next to the A74(M) which becomes the M6 at the English Border about 10 miles south of the village, and goes through Gretna, Carlisle, Lancaster, Preston and further south, whilst northwards it becomes the M74 half way to Glasgow, where it ultimately leads. The train station in the village closed in the 1960’s, however the West Coast Main Line does run very close by, not stopping but giving great views of the local countryside.
Not far away from Ecclefechan, is the impressive Hoddam Castle, which was our next stop that day…