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Ecclefechan Hotel - - 179951.jpg
Ecclefechan Hotel
Grid reference: NY193748
Location: 55°3’42"N, 3°15’51"W
Population: 746  (2001)
Post town: Lockerbie
Postcode: DG11
Dialling code: 01576
Local Government
Council: Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale
and Tweeddale

Ecclefechan is a small village in Annandale in Dumfriesshire. The village is known as "Fechan" to the local residents. It has two shops, one of which is no longer a Post Office, a hairdresser, a church, a doctors' surgery and a primary school "Hoddom Primary School". It also has three hotels: "The Ecclefechan Hotel" with its white-painted frontage is prominent on the High Street and the main junction in the village; the "Cressfield Hotel" which has an adjoining caravan park; "Kirkconnel Hall Hotel" which sits to the north.

The village is most famous as being the home of the historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle's birthplace in the village is prominently signposted from the motorway.

The name of Ecclefechan is from Old Welsh, the name being reconstructed as Eglwys fechan, menaing "small church". A later idea arose that the name derived from the 7th century St Féchín of Fore, who in fact had no connection with the area.

Geography and administration

Ecclefechan lies in the valley of the Mein Water, a tributary of the River Annan, five miles north of Annan and eight miles north-west of the Cumberland border. The A74(M) runs immediately north of the village and J19 of this motorway is just northwest of the village.

The High Street of the village has a burn which runs through a culvert below it. This culvert was constructed in 1875 by Dr George Arnott at his own expense.

Places of interest

[[File:Burnswark Hill - - 19873.jpg|right|thumb|200px|Burnswark Hill Thomas Carlyle's birthplace "The Arched House" is a tourist attraction and has been maintained by the National Trust for Scotland since 1936.

Ecclefechan lies at the foot of a large Roman Fort, Burnswark, whose flat top dominates the horizon. Burnswark is one of the many locations suggested as the location of the famous Battle of Brunanburh of 937, referred to in one later Chronicle as Bruneweorc, though this identification is not supported by any archaeological remains yet found.

Two miles from the village centre lies Hoddom Castle, a caravan and holiday park.

Notable residents

Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), the essayist, satirist and historian was born in Ecclefechan on 4 December 1795 at The Arched House. Carlyle left Ecclefechan at the age of 13 and walked the 84 miles to Edinburgh in order to attend university. In 1828 Carlyle moved to Craigenputtock with his wife Jane. He never forgot his roots and insisted that Ecclefechan should become his final resting place. He was buried in Ecclefechan churchyard on 5 February 1881.

Archibald Arnott (1772–1855), Napoleon's doctor on St Helena, was born in Ecclefechan on 18 April 1772 at Kirconnel Hall. He returned to Ecclefechan in his retirement and he was also buried in the Ecclefechan churchyard.

William Harkness (1837–1903) who was an astronomer was born at Ecclefechan.


The birthplace of Thomas Carlyle
  • Robert Burns (1759–1796) composed a song entitled The Lass O' Ecclefechan.
  • Ecclefechan also has links to the Guinness family, the story of the Whistling Ploughboy of Ecclefechan under the title A Guinness With a Difference was produced by ministries and charts the ploughboy's influence under God on the Guinness family.
  • "Oor Wullie" of The Sunday Post fame once got a day off school for spelling "Ecclefechan" correctly, and the Jocks and the Geordies of The Dandy once reminisced the Great Battle of Ecclefechan.
  • Local produce includes Ecclefechan butter tart and a blended whisky called "The Fechan" whose label denotes the Arched House. The Ecclefechan Tart gained national prominence in late 2007 when the supermarket Sainsbury's promoted them as an alternative to mince pies at Christmas, and the tarts proved to be very popular with over 50,000 packs sold in November alone.[1] A version made by the Moray confectioner Walkers is now nationally available throughout the United Kingdom.