Celebrating regions links to Lady Devorgilla could boost tourism

Wigtown author Kathleen Hart has suggested tourism in the region could be boosted by badging it as Devorgilla Country.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 10:21 am
Kathleen Hart believes proclaiming Dumfries and Galloway as ‘Devorgilla Country’ for tourism marketing campaigns would boost interest. Pic: Colin Hattersley Photography
Kathleen Hart believes proclaiming Dumfries and Galloway as ‘Devorgilla Country’ for tourism marketing campaigns would boost interest. Pic: Colin Hattersley Photography

Kathleen is the author of Devorgilla Days, which is the story of how she ca me to Wigtown and started a new life.

Living in Devorgilla Cottage she developed a fascination with the 13th century Lady of Galloway after which it was named.

In a man’s world she was a powerful woman in her own right – and made a significant contribution to the histories of Scotland, England and the wider world.

Known locally for building a bridge in Dumfries and also founding Sweetheart Abbey (New Abbey), she was the moth er of one Scottish king (John Balliol) and grandmother of another – Edward Balliol.

More enduring still was that she provided the permanent endowment for Balliol College – one of the great colleges of Oxford University and giving its statutes in 1282.

Kathleen said: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to promote this region as Devorgilla Country, in the same way that other areas commemorate important figures linked to them.

“After all she was a truly great woman – a bridge builder, the creator of an abbey and an Oxford college.

"What an inspirational figure, and someone we could all be very proud of.”

Whether or not her idea wins support, Kathleen hopes to spend time carrying out further historical research into Lady Devorgilla, studying the seldom-seen documents from her time that survive in Oxford .