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A 76 entering Kirkconnel.jpg
Approaching Kirkconnel
Grid reference: NS7311
Location: 55°23’13"N, 4°0’2"W
Post town: Sanquhar
Postcode: DG4
Local Government
Council: Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale
and Tweeddale

Kirkconnel is a small village in Dumfriesshire, on the A76 near the head of Nithsdale. Kirkconnel led a more quiet existence than neighbouring towns like Sanquhar. Principally it has been a farming community. There are few buildings of any significance.

The name of the village comes from The Church of Saint Conal. In 1850 the village had only a single street 400 yards long. Next to Kirkconnel is a separate village called Kelloholm.

There is a well know ballad named Helen of Kirconnel, but irksomely for local fame, it has no connection with the village.


The early church and settlement were situated at the foot of Kirkland Hill on the drove road from Ayrshire to Lanarkshire, which followed the steep incline beside the Glenaylmer Burn. Whether Saint Conal was an Irish monk or the son of a local shepherd befriended and educated by Glasgow’s Saint Mungo, Christianity came early to this part of Nithsdale. A Celtic cross, erected in 1880 by the Duke of Buccleuch at the instigation of the minister, the Rev. John Donaldson, marks the reputed burial place of Saint Conal. From the neighborhood of the cross, on a clear day, can be seen the churches at Kirkconnel, Sanquhar and Kirkbride, all associated with Saint Conal.

St Conal's Church is one of the oldest church sites in Scotland with archaeological remains dating to the 9th century and the present foundations of a church dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.

Life changed dramatically for this small town in the 1890s when a coal pit was opened at Fauldheld. Coal had always been mined in the district before, but never in large quantities. From then on coal dominated the life of the little town. The coal industry moved away in recent decades, and with it much of the population.

Kirkconnel is served by Kirkconnel railway station on the Glasgow South Western Line.

Outside links


  • Kirkconnel, A Pictorial History, Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society