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Gatehouse of Fleet (Scots: Gatehoose o Fleet Scottish Gaelic: Taigh an Rathaid) is a town in the civil parish of Girthon, Kirkcudbrightshire, within the district council region of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, which has existed since the mid-18th century, although the area has been inhabited since much earlier. Much of its development was attributable to the entrepreneur James Murray's decision to build his summer home, Cally House there in 1763. The house is now the Cally Palace Hotel.
Over the next hundred years, the town developed into a centre for industry, particularly cotton mills. The western approach to the town is dominated by the imposing Cardoness Castle. Gatehouse of Fleet is the birthplace of Victorian artist John Faed. The renowned inventor of clockwork mechanisms, Robert Williamson, was also known to have set up a workshop in the town in 1778, which burned to the ground in 1794, killing him.
The town takes its name from its location near the mouth of the river called the Water of Fleet which empties into Wigtown Bay at Fleet Bay, and its former role as the "Gait House" or "the House on the Road on the River Fleet" or toll booth of the late 18th century stagecoach route from Dumfries to Stranraer, now the A75 road. It was a haven along this route, and travellers would often stop in the area rather than furthering the journey at night due to the high numbers of bandits and highwaymen at the time.
Cally House was designed by Robert Mylne and built in 1763. The house was sold in 1933 and became a hotel, which opened in 1934. It was used as a residential school for evacuees from Glasgow during the Second World War, reopening as an hotel in the later 1940s.
The settlement of Anwoth is one mile (1.5 km) to the west of Gatehouse of Fleet; this is where Samuel Rutherford was minister from 1627 to 1636.
Gatehouse has the second oldest average population of towns in Scotland.Jeanie Donnan, (1864-1942), "The Galloway Poetess", was born here before moving to Whithorn in Wigtownshire where she lived on George Street and where she is commemorated by a plaque. She wrote poetry about local events. Her works include Hameland: The Poems of Jeannie Donnan, 1907; War Poems, 1915; The Hills of Hame, 1930. Many of her poems were also published in the Galloway Gazette.Church of the Resurrection, 1971 designed by Sutherland, Dickie & Copland. The church is lit by a dramatic clerestory window. Metal sculptures of the Resurrected Christ and Our Lady by Liverpool artist Arthur Dooley (1929-1994) formerly on the sanctuary wall. Since the closure of this church on 1 February 2020 and ahead of its demolition, the sculptures have been removed to St Andrew and St Cuthbert Church in Kirkcudbright.
The Swallows is an artwork created in willow by local artist Lizzie Farey and was a memorial commission. The last Mass was celebrated on 1 February 2020 by the Bishop of Galloway, William Nolan and parish priest Rev Fr William McFadden. The church will be demolished and the site sold for housing.Part of the action of Five Red Herrings, a 1931 Lord Peter Wimsey detective novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, takes place in Gatehouse of Fleet.
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