From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Port William

54° 45′ 36″ N, 4° 35′ 2.4″ W
NX 3383243626

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Port William is a coastal village situated in Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway, in South West Scotland. It is 23 miles east of Stanraer, on the Luce Bay coastline, looking out to the Mull of Galloway.

The village, originally known as Killantrae, is thought to have been founded in the 4th century, not long after St Ninian arrived nearby. In 1771, Sir William Maxwell, 5th Baronet of Monreith House redeveloped the village, as well as building a harbour, completing it in 1776. He re-named the new village after himself. The harbour was one of the first in western Galloway but was infamous for the illicit activities of its smugglers.

The harbour was extended in 1790 and again in 1848, its commercial importance continuing until the end of the First World War. A breakwater was built to the western side of the harbour in the 1980's.

A statue of a fisherman overlooks the harbour, it was once made of concrete, but has since been cast in bronze. The statue was part-funded by the millennium lottery fund. In front of the statue is a plaque with the first verse of the poem Leisure by W. H. Davies.

The RNLI withdrew it's lifeboat from Port William in the early 1980's, so the village raised funds to buy and staff an inshore Rescue Boat, which still operates today, covering Luce Bay, Wigtown Bay and the inshore waters between SW Scotland and the Isle of Man.