Top: Grave“Erected by Alex Dunbar in memory of his father Anthony Dunbar who died this year 1825 aged 82 years. Also his mother Janet McLelland who died the year 1836 aged 90 years. Also his brother John who died the year 1800 aged 18 years. Also his son Alexander who died the year 1842 aged 25 years . Also his son John who died the year 1845 aged 28 years .Also his son Stewart who died in Manchester the year 1855 aged 29 years. Also 2 sons and 2 daughters who died in infancy. Also his grandson Alex who died in infancy. Also the said Alexander DUNBAR, who died August 1857 aged 71 years. Janet McClure his second wife who died 30th January 1875 aged 73 years.”
Bottom: Kirkinner Church.
When John Todd Ferguson met and married Grace Alexandra Dunbar in Manchester he was marrying into a family who were well established as merchants and shopkeepers. The shop keeping tradition can be traced back to the earliest known related Dunbar that I could trace. Anthony Dunbar was born in 1743 and worked as a grocer in Kirkinner parish, Wigtownshire Scotland. It is likely that he lived at nearby Culmazie for it was here that his children were born.
The Dunbar name however had long been associated with the Barony of Mochrum which included Culmalzie farm and Kirkinner parish (see insert below).
Anthony married Janet McClelland who was born in 1745. They had two children
Anthony died in Kirkinner in 1825 at age 82, and was buried in Kirkinner churchyard (see opposite). Janet died in 1835 in Kirkinner age 90, and is also buried in Kirkinner churchyard.
Their youngest son Alexander Dunbar worked as a Hand Loom Weaver. An explanation of this occupation can be found below.
Alexander’s first wife was Margaret Kelly. Margaret was born in 1786 and died in 1829 at age 43. They had 5 children :
After Margaret’s death Alexander married Janet McClure, on 28 May 1831 in Culmazie. Janet ,born in 1802, was the daughter of James McClure and Hannah McClelland. Janet and Alexander had 4 children
Alexander died in 1857 in Kirkinner at age 71 and Janet died 30th Jan 1875,also in Kirkinner, at age 73. Both Alexander and Janet are buried in the Kirkinner churchyard
The lands of Mochrum (of which Kirkinner and Culmalzie were a part) were given in 1368 to Thomas Dunbar, second son of Patrick, Earl of March. The Dunbars, his descendants, who took title from Mochrum, and had their seat at the Old Place of Mochrum, were a distinguished family.
Cadets of the house founded the families of Dunbar of Clugston and Dunbar of Baldoon, the latter now represented by the Earl of Selkirk. Gavin Dunbar, son. of Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum, became prior of Whithorn about the year 1504, was afterwards was made preceptor to James V., and became in 1524 Archbishop of Glasgow, in 1528, was made Lord-Chancellor of Scotland, and, in 1536 one of the Lords of Regency during the king's visit to France. The family was raised to the baronetcy in 1694, and is now represented by Sir William Dunbar, seventh Bart. (b. 1812; suc. 1841), Liberal M.P. for Wigtown 1857-65. Since the close, however, of the 17th century, the Old Place and the estate of Mochrum have been held by the Earls of Dumfries and Marquises of Bute.
Hand Loom Weaver
“Weaving was a staple industry in Scotland during the 19th Century, with most of the output produced by hand loom weavers working from home. By Victorian times the output of weavers was as impressive as it was diverse. Quality tweeds were produced in the Borders and elsewhere, cottons came from the West of Scotland, damask and other fine linens from Dunfermline, patterned shawls from Paisley and jute products from Dundee.” www.ancestralscotland.com
Literary and operatic connections.
David Dunbar at Kirkinner wrote a poem on the morning of the funeral of Janet Dunbar (née Dalrymple) at Kirkinner in 1669 which may have been read at the funeral. Her strange death on the night of her marriage forms the basis of the plot of Walter Scott's novel The Bride of Lammermoor.
which in turn inpsired Donnizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor