Work began on the Midsteeple, one of the key characters of central Dumfries, in 1705 and was completed in 1707 based on the designs of John Moffat of Liverpool. Originally built on waste ground behind the Market Cross, it was used as a prison, council house and clerk’s chamber- as well as the town’s store of weapons and ammunition. Although not its original name, it became known as Midsteeple after the construction of Greyfriars church and St Michael’s church.
Upon the death of Robert Burns, it was used as the place where his body was temporarily kept until his funeral and in the 1970s, after a fierce campaign to save the building, it became the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and many weddings took place there.
It is well worth stopping for a moment to examine the Midsteeple a little more closely as you can see two crests, one of the Royal Arms of Scotland and another of St Michael the patron saint of Dumfries, as well as a relief map of the town.
The Plainstanes area was opened in 2010 and is now used to host the many festivals that take place during the year.