Birtwhistle Street in Gatehouse-of-Fleet?

My cousin Rob MacLaren got in touch recently about my John Birtwhisle of Dundeugh Coat of Arms? post. Rob is the brother of Hamish who I collaborate with on the Ancestorium.com family tree site collaboration. He mentioned the post because it references an Alexander Birtwhistle (1750-1810) in Gatehouse-of-Fleet being given a silver cup containing the Crest and Motto from the Dundeugh Coat of Arms by the ‘Gatehouse Volunteers’ (the local Militia of whom he was the Commanding Officer). Turns out there’s a street named after him there:

According to his mum (my aunt), Alexander was a mate of Robert Burns and appears in 2 of his poems. The Burns Encyclopedia includes a record for an Alexander Birtwhistle that describes him as follows:

A Kircudbright merchant, and Provost of the Burgh. He is supposed to have carried on a substantial foreign trade from the town.

And Burns referred to him in his ‘Election Ballad for Westerha”:

“To end the work, here’s Whistlebirk,
Long may his whistle blaw, Jamie”

In his ‘Second Ballad on Mr Heron’s Election‘ he called him “roaring Birtwhistle”. That’s maybe why my aunt described Alexander in Scottish slang which makes his leadership of the local miltia seem surprising at that time, but there’s nothing been found on Google to support this.

2 thoughts on “Birtwhistle Street in Gatehouse-of-Fleet?

  1. Hi Justin,
    I believe if u look in our book u will find a picture of Birtwhistle street sign and also more detail on the Burns quotes. I am out of the US for a few more days so I don’t have access to our book.
    Alan

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