The Chronicle of Ken Muir
Kirkcudbright is the largest settlement in Eastern Galloway and the only place that could rightfully be called a toun. The toun is located at the bottom of a hill on the banks of the River Dee in the heart of Desnes Mor. I has a natural, tidal, harbour on the river and many fishing boats and smaller trading vessels can be pulled up on the shore, though at low tide they will be stranded. Larger vessels can be moored in the centre of the river even at low tide, and the shore reached by skiff.
On a hill above town is St. Cuthbert’s Church, a very old institution built in the 8th century and said to have once housed the bones of the saint himself. Further up the hillside, about a half-hour’s walk, lies Castle Fergus, which is built on two islands in a small loch. To the south of town, on a tidal peninsula, lies the Priory of St. Mary’s Isle. Here there is a small community of Black Canons which see to the local church.
Kirkcudbright is a bustling place because of its port and its proximity to the royal demesnes, to the priory, and to Dundrennan Abbey which is located to the south east. On the banks of the river can be found a few warehouses belonging to trading families, monasteries, and the nobility of Galloway. There is one ramshackle inn in town called ‘The Monk’s Rest’ which has several rooms to let and a courtyard for horses and the stowage of goods. It also has a common room and a brewery. One or two other public rooms can also be found in the toun. Most of the homes are made of stone with thatch roofs and wooden doors and shutters.
This map from the late 1800’s shows the town itself on the river and the mud flats around it. Due east lies Loch Fergus and the remains of the castle. Halfway between the two is St. Cuthbert’s Church. St. Mary’s Isle can be seen by scrolling to the south.