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Galloway today refers to the former counties of Wigtownshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in southwest Scotland. It is part of the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland.

The Romans named the inhabitants of Galloway the Novantae. According to tradition, before the end of Roman rule in Britian, St. Ninian established a church at Whithorn in Galloway in 397.

Table of contents
1 Anglians
2 Gaels
3 Fergus of Galloway


Galloway remained a Brittonic (a form of Welsh) speaking region until the late 7th century when it was taken over by the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia. Local historian Daphne Brooke has suggested that the Anglians took over the more fertile land and religious centres like Whithorn, leaving the native inhabitants the less fertile upland areas.


Anglian control ended during the 10th century when the Gall-Gael took over. The Gall-Gael (meaning foreign Gaels) were Hiberno-Norse, Gaelic speaking descendents of Vikings who settled in Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland. Dublin was their main centre and they appear to have established trading posts in Galloway at Whithorn and Kirkcudbright.

Their influence extended into Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire and Renfrewshire in southwest Scotland. By the early 12th century this wider area was described as 'Galloway' from Gall-Gael. At the same time, the Scottish King Duncan I was attempting to expand his kingdom. He placed Norman and Flemish families like the Bruces and Douglases and the future Stewarts around the edges of Galloway in Annandale, Clydesdale and Renfrewshire.

Fergus of Galloway

If it had not been for Fergus of Galloway (ruled 1120-1160) who established himself in Galloway, the region would rapidly have been absorbed by Scotland. This did not happen because Fergus, his sons, grandsons and great grandson Alan of Galloway shifted their allegiance between Scottish and English kings.

Alan died in 1234. He had three daughters and an illegitimate son Thomas. The 'Community of Galloway' wanted Thomas as their 'king'. Alexander III of Scotland supported the daughters (or rather their husbands) and invaded Galloway.

The Community of Galloway was defeated,and Galloway divided up between Alan's daughters, thus bringing Galloway's independent existence to an end.