Buildings of Lochmaben
Lochmaben Town Hall
The construction of a Tolbooth was discussed in 1720 and was constructed by 1723. In 1741 the Marquis of Annandale contributed £150 to build a meal house and add a steeple to the Town Hall. A Minute of the Town Council mentions a shop beneath the Tolbooth. Thus the building consisted of a shop, a 2 cell jail, Town Hall and a Court House on the first floor. In 1869 under the Rev William Graham's guidance the Town Hall was, by public subscription, enlarged and reconstructed. The money for two valuable stained glass windows depicting Wallace and Bruce (recently restored and protected) was raised in the same way while the mason in charge, William Ballantyne of Park House, carved the lions and eagle which adorn the top balustrade. The cost of the alterations was £2000! The Municipal Bell which hangs in the steeple weighs two hundredweights. Originally the bell was rung at 6 o'clock in the morning and again at 10 0'clock in the evening as a sign that the dram houses should now close. The clock,made in 1862 in Edinburgh, no longer sounds on the hour as it is now powered by electricity. A consequence of this "progress" is that time stands still when there is a power failure. Outside the Town Hall stocks used to stand and attached to the outside wall were the "jougs", a collar by which convicted criminals were secured as part of their punishment.
The Coronation Fountain. was positioned in front of the Town Hall before it was moved to its current location at Townhead. The Merkat Cross was also located in front of the Town Hall before it was relocated to make way for the statue of Bruce eventually coming to its present position beside the Church Hall.
Lochmaben Town Hall above is viewed from the High Street with a statue of King Robert the Bruce in front of it. Rev W Graham's statue is located above the front door.
In 2014 the Town Hall was refurbished with the Library being moved to the Upper Hall, new toilets including a disabled facility put in, a lift installed and the Council Chambers redecorated. Customer Services now operates from the Library. The impressive windows of Bruce and Wallace have been renewed.
Lochmaben Parish Church
The present building was opened in 1820 at the south end of the High Street. It is built from rough freestone and whinstone blocks although the tower in contrast is composed of finely chiselled and cut freestone. Gothic windows ensure that maximum daylight is enjoyed by those attending services. A fine German pipe organ costing £420 was installed behind the pulpit in 1903 and it was refurbished a century later at a cost of over £20,000. Other features are the War Memorial plaques from the Free Churches--the Barras, Victoria and St Margaret's, a Dove with a twig in its beak and a wrought iron Organ Screen.
In 2008 a new Meeting Room at the back of the church was built with a new disabled toilet and coffee/tea making facilities available.
Lochmaben residents who died in the First World War and the Second World War are commemorated on the War Memorial at the southern end of the High Street, beside the Church. 65 gave their lives in the first conflict and 17, including 2 women made the ultimate sacrifice in the latter.
A very youthful KOSB statue stands on this small memorial. Note he also has a stand collar rather than a stand and fall collar of the 1902 pattern tunic. A wide variety of regiments are listed including the Ghurkas.
Halleaths Mansion House was taken over by the army in WW2 and preparations for D-Day were practised on the Kirk Loch by a reconnaissance regiment stationed there!
The Merkat Cross was originally sited in front of the Town Hall in a wide area known then as now as "The Cross". It had steps at its base and was removed to its present location in the park beside the Church Hall to make way for the Bruce Statue. The shaft of the cross is oblong in section with splayed edges. The whole is crowned by a circular neck supporting an arrangement of sundials on all four sides with a ball on top-this section is dated 1729. Only the north and south sides possess a gnomon.
The Mercat Cross was an important place as bargains made in its shadow were considered specially binding. Public pronouncements were also made from its steps. Tradition has it that the Mercat Cross was destroyed in Warwicks attack on Lochmaben in 1463 but it had been replaced by 1497. It is thought that the present Cross may have been gifted by the Laird of Elsieshields in 1564 in exchange for the mill and mill lands of Lochmaben.
This fountain was presented to the Royal Burgh by a sister of the Laird of Halleaths in 1911 in memory of King Edward the Seventh. Originally located in front of the Bruce Statue in the High Street, it moved to its present position at Townhead several years ago.