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Coordinates: 55°22′05″N 3°55′29″W / 55.36793°N 3.92463°W / 55.36793; -3.92463

Sanquhar (Scottish Gaelic An t-Seann Chathair: 'the Old Fort') is a town in the south of Scotland in Dumfries and Galloway, on the River Nith. It lies north of Thornhill and west of Moffat. It is a Royal Burgh.

Sanquhar is notable for its tiny post office (established in 1712), claimed to be the oldest working post office in the world. It was also the place where the Covenanters, who opposed episcopalisation of the church, signed the Sanquhar Declaration renouncing their allegiance to the King, an event commemorated by a monument in the main street. The church of St. Brides contains a memorial to James Crichton, a 16th-century polymath. The ruins of Sanquhar Castle stand nearby. Nithsdale Wanderers F.C., the local team, were formed in 1897. In 1924-5, Wanderers won the Scottish Division Three.


History of Sanquhar

The name “Sanquhar” comes from the Scottish Gaelic language Seann Cathair, meaning "Old Fort". There is an ancient ruin of a castle that overlooks the town, but the name predates even this ancient fort. With its location along the River Nith, Sanquhar has been a major crossroads for centuries. Artifacts have been found here from Neolithic times. Several prehistoric British forts can be found in the area as well as traces of a Roman outpost. Some of the earliest recorded settlers in the area came from Ireland in the 9th and 10th centuries, and these Scoto-Irish people were the inhabitants for hundreds of years. In the 12th century, Norman colonization of the British Islands brought a feudal system of government and squabbling barons and sheriffs ruled the land for several centuries. Sanquhar is in the county of Dumfriesshire, which rests along the English border. These border counties were constantly in a state of turmoil as groups raided each other across the dividing lines. During the war of Scottish Independence the English army took over the old castle at Sanquhar. The Lord of the Castle, Sir William Douglas, Lord of Douglas, learned of this and came up with a clever plot where one man sneaked into the castle and threw open the gates, allowing Lord Douglas to seize it. The English began a counter-attack, but William Wallace learned of the battle and came to the rescue. As the English army retreated Wallace chased them down and killed 500 of them. Wallace visited the castle on several occasions.

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