Kirkcowan – What's Going On?



According to Ian Donnachiets book, “Industrial Archaeology of Galloway,” this is described as a “small single—storey smithy” on the bank of the Water of Malzie. It “has small breastshot wheel at side driven off the burn, 8′ in diameter by 1 9″ wide, constructed of cast iron with zinc buckets 6″ deep. A fairly modern wheel (replacing an earlier one), it still drives a lathe, drill and bellows.” At the time of writing, 1971, it was still in daily use as a country smithy.


This is now closed, but, when in operation, it did general repairs as well as the manufacture of such things as ploughs, harrows, horseshoes, and metal gates. Sited on the Main Street opposite the Craighlaw Arms Hotel, its last owner was Mr. Sam Griffin. He employed three workers.


The 1897 Ordnance Survey map shows a smithy fairly near to Craighlaw House. It is likely that this smithy was owned by the estate and operated for its own needs.


On the 1897 0.S. map there is also indication of a smithy on the north side of the road at Spittal Bridge. This smithy was in operation until the 1950’s. On the death of Mr. Nichol, the last blacksmith, it closed and has now been converted into a cottage.

A carpenter’s and coach builder’s on the south side of the road and opposite the old smithy has also been converted into a dwelling house.