History Page 2
The Kirkconnell House Tower was built of stone in 1410 by
Andrew Kirkconnell. It is rumored to be the oldest inhabited structure in
Window Stones for the sharpening of the
The tower is part of a mansion built in 1410 by the last Kirkconnell
Laird. It is a four story mass of gray & brown stone with a spiral stone staircase of
the type found in older Oxford and Cambridge colleges, leading upwards from the cellar to
the roof. On the second floor is the lairds great dining hall, with its walls hung with a
score of oil paintings of the Maxwell Lairds. In 1570, all of this house except the
Tower was destroyed by an English army under Lord Scrope and the Earl of Essex who burned
Dumphries to the ground in the same campaign.
The center brick section was built by James Maxwell in 1760
while the whitewashed structures to the right were built by Bernard Maxwell in 1600.
Maxwell built a secret Catholic chapel inside the manor house. The Kirkconnell House
Chapel would accommodate 150 worshipers and was used until 1953 when it was deconsecrated
to avoid being desecrated by intruders.
It is worthy to note that Gilbert Brown, the last abbot of Sweetheart
Abbey remained until 1605 in a structure on the Kirkconnell Estate known as the Abbott's
Tower. I understand from a friend that the structure has been purchased and is shown
At some distance to the southwest lies a square three acre garden
surrounded by a great wall of brick twenty feet high and six feet thick. Built into it are
flues by which warm air proceeds from fires built at intervals to add length to the season
and hasten fruit ripening. The produce is sold to this day in nearby Dumphries.