Dumfries and Galloway

Tongland Bridge
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Tongland Bridge

A village of Dumfries and Galloway, Tongland lies on the River Dee, 2 miles (3 km) northeast of Kirkcudbright. In the kirkyard of the parish church (1813) are the remains of an earlier church incorporating a doorway from Tongland Abbey (1218) a Premonstratensian foundation whose last abbot, an Italian alchemist called Damian, attempted to fly from the parapets of Stirling Castle in the presence of King James IV. Also in the churchyard is the granite mausoleum of the Neilsons of Queenshill containing the busts of James Beaumont Neilson (1792 - 1865), inventor of the hot-blast system of iron smelting, and his son Walter Montgomerie Neilson, founder of Neilson & Co, locomotive builders in Glasgow. During the First World War aero-engines were made in a factory that later produced Galloway motor cars and in 1936 the art deco Tongland Power Station was erected as part of the Galloway Hydro-Electric Scheme. Tongland Bridge spanning the Dee was the work of Thomas Telford in 1804-08 and was the first bridge in Britain to carry a road on spine walls rising from the arch rings.

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