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Ecclefechan, High Street, Arched House

House (18th Century)

Site Name Ecclefechan, High Street, Arched House

Classification House (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Ecclefechan Village, Thomas Carlyle's Birthplace

Canmore ID 66716

Site Number NY17SE 50

NGR NY 19345 74582

NGR Description Centred on NY 19345 74582

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Hoddom
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY17SE 50 Centred on NY 19345 74582

This two-storeyed house, now a museum, was the birthplace of Thomas Carlyle. It was built in 1791. Property of the National Trust for Scotland.

R Prentice 1976; SDD List 1964.

NY 1934 7457. Investigative trenching occurred within the ground floor of the property in advance of the laying of a damp-proof membrane. Indications of a straight-sided pit lying towards the middle of the kitchen area were revealed, the function of which could not be ascertained.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland

P Sharman and J Triscott 1998.


Publication Account (1986)

Ecclefechan ('little church') is the birthplace of the great 19th century philosopher-historian, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), the 'Arched House', where he was born, and the tombstone in the churchyard (NY 192744), where he is interred, being the twin objectives of historical pilgrimage.

By village standards the house is of middling size, a longish two-storeyed block with a central elliptically arched pend (passage). It is divided over the pend into two separate houses with their own doorways. A pairof windows above the arch is linked and framed in such a way as to give the effect of a small Venetian window. Carlyle himself recorded that the house was built by his father and uncle, both masons, to serve as conjoined dwellings, and was completed shortly before his birth, probably in about 1791. There are later additions at the back, and a 1673 date-stone is in re-use above the south doorway. Inside, the house contains Carlyle memorabilia, to which furnishings and artefacts have been added in order to re-create the authentic atmosphere of a village home of about 1800.

Thomas's parents moved to another larger house in the village when he was still in his infancy. The remote farmhouse of Craigenputtock (NX 771823), 20.9km north-west of Dumfries, was inherited from his wife's family, and was their home from 1828 until they moved to London in 1834. Here he wrote the weird romantic masterpiece, Sartor Resartus.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Dumfries and Galloway’, (1986).


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