Gretna Green

Dumfries and Galloway

Anvil at Prince Charlie's Cottage, Gretna Green
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Anvil at Prince Charlie's Cottage, Gretna Green

A village in Dumfries and Galloway, Gretna Green is internationally known as a centre for marriage. It stands close to the border with England a half-mile (1 km) north of Gretna, from which it is separated by a railway and the A75 trunk road. Gretna Green itself is divided by the A74(M) motorway, with the northeastern section, across the motorway, merging into the adjacent village of Springfield. The original small village of Gretna Green became popular with couples from south of the border seeking quick marriages under the more lenient Scots Law, a situation that lasted from 1573 to 1940. The place is still very popular for weddings, a new Registration Office being built in neighbouring Gretna in 1991. Buildings of note include the Old Blacksmith's Shop Visitor Centre where marriages were originally performed and which now includes a museum and, next to Gretna Old Parish Church, Prince Charlie's Cottage, where Charles Edward Stuart (1720-88) is said to have spent a night in 1745 on his retreat from England. Other facilities include several hotels, a motel and a railway station.

In 1915, Britain's worst rail disaster killed 227 at Quintinshill, a half-mile (1 km) to the north, mostly soldiers heading for the front. Bridge End Nurseries, 1½ miles (2.5 km) north, sells rare and unusual cottage garden perennials.

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