Troqueer Church

A frequent place of worship for many Norwegians in Dumfries and is now the site where some now rest.

James Hutcheon, Town Clerk at the time, noted that the Norwegians worshipped at many churches in Dumfries, but particularly Troqueer and St Michael’s. As recorded by The Burns Howff Club, “Troqueer manse was a second home for many of them and Mr. and Mrs. Wilson kept open house every Friday and Saturday evening, where very many enjoyed their hospitality.”[1] Upon the army’s departure for the new Carronbridge camp in 1942, Major Myrseth spoke highly to the Kirk Session and Congregation of the hospitality they had received.[2] Hutcheon remarked that “as was their invariable custom they left memorials of thanks… In Troqueer a baptismal font.”[3] The silver baptismal font bears this inscription:

To Troqueer Church

in gratitude

from the Norwegian Army

1940-1941

When exiled from our own country

we found in this House of God

Peace and Strength.

Among other annual celebrations observed by the Scottish Norwegian Society since the 1940s, Norway’s Constitution Day or ‘Grunnlovsdag’ on 17th May is the most significant.[4] A sombre and important aspect of this that remains intimately connected with Dumfries is the tradition of visiting Troqueer Churchyard each May to place flowers on the graves of Norwegian soldiers and sailors buried there.[5] Although many Norwegian ties to Dumfries have faded in the intervening decades, this tradition endures and is apparent in how neatly tended the eight graves still are, as well as the replacement of simple crosses by more elaborate headstones.

Outwith Grunnlovsdag, members of the Scottish Norwegian Society paid special visits to Dumfries on 5th June 1966 and 2nd September 1991 to mark the Society’s 25th and 50th anniversaries.[6] As described in the Society’s account of the latter visit, they came at the invitation of Rev William Mckenzie to meet the elders and congregation for a service at Troqueer Church before laying flowers at the war graves.[7] During this “joyful occasion”, the baptismal bowl “was held up for all to see – a fine token of friendship and regard.”[8]

[1] The Burns Howff Club, ‘Walks in Burns Country: Riverside’ [accessed 30.1.2017] <http://www.electricscotland.com/travel/burns3.htm>

[2] The Burns Howff Club, ‘Walks in Burns Country: Riverside’ [accessed 30.1.2017] <http://www.electricscotland.com/travel/burns3.htm>

[3] James, Hutcheon, ‘When the Norwegians Came to Dumfries’, pp.4-5 – Courtesy of Dumfries Museum

[4] James McKenna, ‘History of the Scottish Norwegian Society’ (2002), p.15

[5] James McKenna, ‘History of the Scottish Norwegian Society’ (2002), p.6

[6] James McKenna, ‘History of the Scottish Norwegian Society’ (2002), p.9

[7] James McKenna, ‘History of the Scottish Norwegian Society’ (2002), p.19

[8] James McKenna, ‘History of the Scottish Norwegian Society’ (2002), p.19

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