Dumfries gets its name for the Scottish Gaelic name Dun Phris that means "Fort of the Thicket". During the 13th Century a royal castle was built on the site of present day Castledykes Park but no longer exist. Latter in the century English forces where chased by William Wallace to the gate of Dumfries Castle that was closed firmly.
The town's people stood behind Wallace when he and his men helped attack the English at Cockpool on the Solway Coast. Wallace rested at the Caerlaverock Castle just a few miles from the fight and then came through Dumfries again as he went back to Sanquhar in the north.
The English reeked havoc on Dumfries for nearly its first 500 years. The English attacked and even occupied the town at times in 1300, 1448, 1536, 1542, 1547, 1570 and during the 1640s. During 1300 invasion of Edward I stayed a few days in the town before he and his forces in acted what at that point was the greatest attack to Scotland and he seized Caerlaverock Castle. Once he won over the castle he came back through Dumfries on his way to invade Galloway.
The Scottish nobles received assistance from Pope Boniface VII who held court with Edward in Dumfries where he agreed to a truce that he signed on October 30th. He then sent letters from Dumfries ordering his men to cease fire. The peace only lasted a year however. Some of Dumfries bloody reputation comes from internal sources as well. In 1659 nine women believed to be witches were burned to death and Dumfries held the last public hanging in Scotland in 1868.
The famous poet Robert Burns moved to Dumfries in 1791 and resided there until he died in July of 1796. There is a statue of him designed by Amelia Paton Hill and sculpted in Carrara, Italy in 1882. It is over looked by today's Greyfriars Church. Future Prime Minister Archibald Primrose the 5th Earl of Rosebery unveiled the statue on April 6, 1882. In 2007 the statue was featured on a series of £5 notes that the Bank of Scotland issued. There are a series of tributes around town to what was the most famous poet to come out of Scotland.
Past the Mid Steeple to the south on High Street where the town's toll booth and prison once was you will find a vennel leading to his favorite place to drink, the Globe Inn. His house that is south of the High Street still sits on 24 Burns Street and St. Michael Churchyard is home to his mausoleum. There is a Robert Burns center on River Nith's west side which used to be the town's mill. In Summerhill, a suburb, most of the streets have something to with Burns.
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