Embrace the romantic history
the Marriage Anvil at Gretna Green
Robert Burns' house
the World Famous Old Blacksmiths Shop
Explore the romantic connections of this region and you’ll find countless tales of true love and of couples who overcame all the odds to be together in Gretna Green.
This village in the east of the region, just on the Scottish side of the border, is famous for the weddings that have been held here. Due to the more relaxed marriage laws in Scotland, many couples made their way up north to tie the knot.
Visit the World Famous Old Blacksmiths Shop to discover more about the town. Enter the ancient black and white building with the cottage and workshop which remains virtually untouched since days gone by, and contains a fascinating collection of memorabilia and artefacts. See letters, telegrams and marriage certificates of people from all ages who defied their friends and family, and stand in the actual room where they were married.
The exhibition contains a number of different rooms filled with authentic items. See the ‘Repentance Stool’, a gallery of ‘Blacksmith Priests’ and even the original anvil, which the priest used to strike to declare the couple officially married.
You’ll find a further romantic monument on the Solway Coast Heritage Trail - Sweetheart Abbey. This splendid ruin of a late 13th century abbey was built by Lady Devorgilla in memory of her late husband, John Balliol and is thought to have inspired the creation of the word sweetheart. After he died, she carried his heart with her in a casket, referring to her ‘dulce or’ - latin for sweetheart - which is what they abbey was named by monks when she died just a few years later. She was buried beneath the high altar alongside her late husband’s heart. The graceful building still inspires all who visit with its tale of divine love.
Robert Burns, who lived in the region for the last eight years of his life, wrote many romantic poems such as Ae Fond Kiss and A Red, Red Rose. Find out more about his romantic side and love of the lassies at his former house, now a Burns museum in Dumfries, and his local pub, the Globe Inn.
Discover the sweeter side of Dumfries & Galloway’s history at these cherished monuments.
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