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Wigtownshire Antiquarian & Natural History Society


Meetings will be held in Stranraer Library, Upper Meeting Room.

Bill Gill Memorial Lecture:

The Wigtownshire Antiquarian & Natural History Society hosts a lecture each year in memory of the late Bill Gill, local historian and former Principal Teacher of History at Stranraer High School and Stranraer Academy.

Thursday 20 September 2018


Stranraer Library

Bridgescapes: A Journey Through Scotland’s Bridge Building Heritage

L Bruce Keith

In this illustrated talk, debut author Bruce Keith will discuss his book ‘Bridgescapes’: a personal journey through history, celebrating Scotland’s bridge building heritage. As well as reflecting on the illustrious history of bridge-building in Scotland, the presentation will highlight the contribution of Scottish engineers to projects around the globe and consider notable structures in south west Scotland. Bruce is a surveyor and environmentalist with a passion for Scottish history, geography and landscapes and is a former President of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Copies of Bridgescapes will be available on the night.

Thursday 18 October 2018


Stranraer Library

Responses of People in Prehistory to Coastal Change: Case studies around Luce Bay

Dr Richard Tipping (University of Stirling)

Dr Richard Tipping of the University of Stirling will present the findings of recent research which he and colleagues have carried out in the Luce Bay area. The work has been enabled by support from Stranraer and District Local History Trust and is based on reconstructing environmental change over the last 12,000 years. Explaining the science clearly, the research will be related to a range of antiquarian interests and includes extraordinary results generated at Dunragit to accompany Julian Thomas’ excavations.

Thursday 15 November 2018


Stranraer Library

Hunting Witches in Galloway

Dr Lizanne Henderson (University of Glasgow)

From the mid-sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, Scotland experienced witch persecutions equal to some of the worst affected nations in Europe. The southwestern counties of Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire, though spared the high number of prosecutions found in some parts of the country, were certainly not immune. This talk will discuss witch trial evidence from Galloway and explore the nature of witch beliefs from this region. Dr Lizanne Henderson is Senior Lecturer in History at University of Glasgow and author of an award winning book: Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment: Scotland, 1670-1740.

Thursday 17 January 2019


Stranraer Library

Logan Gardens: Past, present and future

Richard Baines (Curator, Logan Botanic Garden)

The Garden dates back to 1869 and 100 years later, in 1969, after it was gifted to the nation, it became Logan Botanic Garden, a regional Garden of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Curator Richard Baines will explain how Logan’s almost subtropical climate has enabled it to develop the reputation it has today as Scotland’s most exotic garden. From early beginnings to the latest introductions find out how Logan has established a unique collection of plants focused on the Southern hemisphere.

Thursday 21 February 2019


Stranraer Library

Rev William Symington, Reformed Presbyterian Minister in Stranraer 1819-39

Rev Stephen Steele (Current Reformed Presbyterian Minister in Stranraer)

2019 will be the 200th anniversary of the Reverend William Symington’s ordination in Stranraer where he commanded significant influence on the south west of Scotland and the wider ecclesiastical scene. A noted evangelical in the covenanting tradition, Symington was none the less outward-looking and deeply involved in social issues such as slavery, illiteracy, and poor working conditions. As the current Reformed Presbyterian minister in Stranraer, and with an MA in history, the Reverend Stephen Steele will present the findings of his research into one of Scotland’s most powerful and eloquent preachers.

Thursday 21 March 2019


Stranraer Library

AGM & Members’ Night All welcome!

The AGM will be followed by an open forum with short talks from Members. This will include a report on the recent Stranraer Probus visit to Wanlockhead Lead Mining Museum. Anyone with an interest in the Society is welcome to attend.

Annual membership of the Society is a bargain at £10. Visitors are welcome to attend any of the talks for £3 per evening, with students being free.

Anyone interested in joining our sister organisation, Wigtownshire Antiquarian and Natural History Society should contact the Secretary, Pam Taylor, Email -   Telephone Number: 07717 571720

Scottish Charity No SC021441