Port William, Scotland

Port William, Scotland

Port William, Scotland

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Port William is a small fishing village in the county of Wigtownshire in south west Scotland. At present it comes under the administrative authority of Dumfries and Galloway. It is surrounded by the hamlets of Elrig, Mochrum and Monreith.

The original settlement was known as Killantrae, meaning 'The Church on the Beach' in Gaelic, and was probably founded not long after St Ninian arrival in nearby Whithorn towards the end of the 4th century.

Killantrae was swept away following the intervention of developer and landlord Sir William Maxwell of Monreith. In the five years until 1776 he built an entirely new village, complete with a good harbour and was renamed Port William. One of the earliest buildings still standing was the corn mill, located on the side of the Killantrae burn to take advantage of the power provided by its water. Port William is an example of a planned village, lying on the eastern shore of Luce Bay in Galloway. The harbour, built for the convenience of his tenant farmers, was one of the first in western Galloway.

The harbour was extended in 1790 and again in 1848, and it continued to have commercial importance until the end of the First World War. It then steadily became what you see today, a haven for small fishing and leisure craft. Further work was done to protect the harbour in the 1980s by building a breakwater to the western side of the harbour.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Port William was known as much for the illicit activities of its smugglers as...
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