Place:Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Scotland

Coordinates54.733°N 4.417°W
Located inWigtownshire, Scotland     (350 - )
See alsoDumfries and Galloway Region, Scotlandregional administration 1975-1996
Dumfries and Galloway, Scotlandunitary Council Area since 1996
Contained Places
Whithorn Priory
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

Whithorn was a parish located in the former county of Wigtownshire. Both county and parish ceased to exist following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1974. The parish had an area of 47.7km2 (18.4 sq. miles). and had 2 neighbouring parishes: Glasserton and Sorbie.

The parish included the settlements of Bishopton, Isle of Whithorn, Portyerrock, Prestrie, and Whithorn Village.

Whithorn is now located in the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, some 16 miles (25 km) south of Newton Stewart.

the text in this section is based on a section of an article in Wikipedia

Whithorn is also the name of the area of 10,000 acres in Wigtownshire, 11 miles south from Wigtown, about eight miles in length, and varying from two to five miles in breadth, anciently divided into baronies, each controlled by a baron of the court of the barony, for example, Houston, Baron of the Barony of Busbie or Busby. [1] [2]

Whithorn was first known (in Latin) as Candida Casa. 'Whithorn' is a modern form of the Anglo-Saxon version (actually a literal translation) of this name, Hwit Ærne, 'white house'. In Gallovidian Gaelic, it was called Rosnat, or Futarna, the latter a version of the Anglo-Saxon name. (Gaelic has no sound corresponding to English 'wh'.)


Research Tips

Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses

  • Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.

Notes for Wigtownshire

  • The Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society website may point to material of interest to the general researcher. Amongst their publications are indexes for the 1841 census. These are prepared as small booklets, one for each parish, and are alphabetically indexed transcriptions. Obtainable from the D & G FHS, address at website.
  • The FreeCen Project has a searchable (not browsable) transcription of the whole of Wigtownshire online for the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses, with the 1871 census partly completed.
  • The Wigtownshire Pages is an accumulation of links to various websites with genealogical information about Wigtownshire, including Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Wigtown Free Press, an index of a list of people living in Wigtownshire in 1684, and a small website of monumental inscriptions.
  • Wigtownshire Links is a similar webpage to the one above which may include other websites.
  • The Whithorn Parish Registers for the Church of Scotland provide records of baptisms (1763-1854), marriages (1796-1854) and burials (no records retained). See the FamilySearch Wiki article on Whithorn for other church denominations.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on Whithorn. These articles often include a bibliography.
  • The Gazetteer for Scotland article on the parish of Whithorn. The tabs on the right provide more information, and a map of the parish within its surrounding area, with small settlements highlighted and linked to more information.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki article on Whithorn provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the parish.
  • The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
  • The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
  • Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.


  1. Burke's Peerage Lineage: This Baronet is heir male of the HOUSTOUNs O.C., the chiefs of which were heritable Baillies and Justiciaries of the Barony of Busbie, Wigtownshire.
  2. Scottish feudal barons sat in Parliament by virtue (and only by virtue) of holding their lands 'per baroniam', that is as barons. (Believed to have ceased in 1707.)
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Whithorn. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.