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Kirkcudbright is situated at the mouth of the Dee, 6 miles from the sea and 30 miles South West of Dumfries. The old form of the name of the town was Kilcudbrit, from the Gaelic Cii Cudbert, the chapel of Cuthbert, the saints body having lain here for a short time during the seven years that lapsed between its exhumation at Lindisfarne and the re-interment at Chester-le-Street.

The town, which witnessed much of the international strife and Border lawlessness, was taken by Edward I. in 1300. It received its royal charter in 1455. After the battle of Towton, Henry VI. crossed the Solway (August 1461) and landed at Kirkcudbrightto join Queen Margaret at Linlithgow. It successfully withstood the English siege in 1547 under Sir Thomas Carleton, but after the country had been overrun was compelled to surrender at discretion. Lord Maxwell, earl of Morton, as a Roman Catholic, mustered his tenants here to act in concert with the Armada; but on the approach of King James VI. to Dumfries he took ship at Kirkcudbright and was speedily captured.

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