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Crocketford owes its foundation as a village to a strange religious sect

Historical image of Crocketford

Crocketford owes its foundation as a village mainly to an 18th century religious sect founded in Ayrshire and known as the Buchanites - followers of Elspeth Buchan who claimed to be a prophet and Biblical figure named in the Book of Revelation. 

As with many controversial religious sects existing at the time, the Buchanites were increasingly disapproved of by mainstream society and, following death threats, they fled Irvine, North Ayrshire and settled in Closeburn, near Dumfries in 1784. 

By 1787, they were again expelled from Dumfriesshire and settled in what it is now Crocketford. 

Despite her claims to immortality, Elspeth Buchan died of natural causes in 1791 and sect formally came to an end when its last adherant, Andrew Innes, also died in the Buchanites’ last abode, ‘Newhouse’ in Crocketford in 1846. 

Newhouse still stands today. Many Buchanites were buried (or reburied) in a graveyard next to the north-west wall of ‘Newhouse’, in the expectation that they would ‘ascend’ to Heaven with Elspeth Buchan. 

Click the PDF file icon below to download the full history of the Buchanites.

Click the PDF icon to download a history of the Buchanites.

About the Anderson Memorial Hall...

It has not been possible so far to find an exact date for the building of the Hall, but Rev. David Frew, writing in 1909 in his History of the Parish of Urr, states that in Crocketford “The condition of things, as it appeared in 1825, was prosperous and thriving”. 

He also states that “though not possessed of a church of its own, Crocketford has not been without a fairly regular supply of religious ordinances, a preaching station upon undenominational lines having been established in the village school, so far back as 1839”. 

The school, which had been built thanks to the generosity of a local landowner and benefactor, remained in use until 1912, when a new one was built and in 1922, according to an article in The Weekly Scotsman, Mr. W.J. Hay, John Knox’s House, Edinburgh, states “Lovers of ‘ Bairnies Cuddle Doon’ and the other delightful poems of Alexander Anderson, as well as those who had the privilege of meeting him during his lifetime will be glad to learn that the old schoolhouse in Crocketford which he attended as a boy has been purchased for the purpose of providing a public hall for the villagers. 

Acting on a suggestion of mine, the Trustees have decided to make the building a Memorial of its quondam pupil, who worked his way from its simple teachings to be acting librarian at the University of Edinburgh.” 

Alexander Anderson

Crocketford Millennium Book

Click the PDF icon to download the Crocketford Millennium Book

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