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About the Midsteeple

The Midsteeple is an historic listed building in the centre of Dumfries.

image of the Midsteeple in the 1800's
On the 30 May 1705 the foundation stone was laid after the burgh was granted a share of Scottish customs and foreign duties. A new town-house with an imposing steeple was built at the highest point on waste ground at the back of the Market Cross. It was used as a prison, Council house and clerk's chamber for keeping the charter chest and records of the burgh. It was also used to keep the town's arms and ammunition. The official completion was in 1707. The first floor was a court room and town hall. The ground floor contained a weigh-house and prison accommodation in the steeple. With the construction of Greyfriars original church and St Michael's Church, the Town House became commonly known as the Midsteeple.

In 1796 the body of poet Robert Burns lay in the courtroom of the Midsteeple until his funeral on Monday July 25th.  A huge procession ran all the way to St Michael's Church.

There are two large stone crests on the side of the building , the Royal Arms of Scotland and St Michael, the patron saint of Dumfries. There is also a relief map of the town as well as a mileage table erected in 1827 showing local distances and includes Huntingdon, 272 miles where cattle were herded to trade.

In the early 1970's the steeple was found to be leaning and was on the verge of being demolished.  But, "The Save Our Steeple" campaign won and it was then strengthened. It became the headquarters of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and many weddings took place here right up to the late 90's.

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the new Plainstanes area on 14 July 2010.  Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a plaque to commemorate the event.  The plainstanes hosts the annual "Guid Nychburris" festival, with the enactment of receiving the charter granting Dumfries Royal Burgh Status and crowning of the Queen Of the South.

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