alloway is an area in southwestern Scotland contained by sea to the west and south, the Galloway Hills to the north, and the River Nith to the east. It has always been slightly isolated due to having 150 miles of rugged coastline and a vast range of largely uninhabited hills to the North.

Geography and Economy

Galloway comprises that part of Scotland southwards from the Southern Upland watershed and westward from the River Nith. Traditionally it has been described as stretching from "the braes of Glenapp to the Nith". Three main river valleys, the Urr, the Dee, and the Cree, all running north-south, provide much of the good arable land, although there is also some arable land on the coast. Generally however the landscape is rugged and much of the soil is shallow. Despite this, the generally south slope and southern coast make for mild and wet climate, and there is a great deal of good pasture for livestock.

Despite its isolation and subsequent economic backwardness, Galloway is known for both its horses and cattle. The annual horse fair, held outside Wigtown, attracts buyers from across Britain, and provides a significant cash income to John de Balliol. Fisheries are active along the coast, and a whaling industry persists around Wigtown, though most of the whaling has shifted northwest to Carrick.

Wigtown and Whithorn are Galloway's two largest settlements, through a significant population has gathered around the former seat of the Fergusson Lords at Cruggleton Castle.


The Romans named the inhabitants of Galloway the Novantae. According to tradition, before the end of Roman rule in Britain, St. Ninian established a church at Whithorn which remains an important place of pilgrimage for the Scottish kings.

Galloway probably remained a Brythonic dominated region until the late 7th century when it was taken over by the English kingdom of Bernicia. The English took over the more fertile land and religious centres like Whithorn, leaving the native inhabitants the less fertile upland areas. English dominance seems to have been supplanted by Norse and then Norse-Gaelic (Gall-Gaidel) peoples between the 9th and the 11th century, though the processes by which this took place are unclear.

If it had not been for Fergus of Galloway who established the semi-independent principality that exists today, the region would rapidly have been absorbed by Scotland. This did not happen because the Fergussons, down to Fergus' great-grandson Alan, constantly shifted their allegiance between Scottish and English kings. Technically vassals of both, they were effectively beyond the rule of either.

The Fergussons' proficiency with external diplomacy did not extend to relations within their own family, however, and the two sons of Fergus, Uchtred and Gille Brigte, after 13 years of shared lordship, fell to war. The fighting was continued by their sons (Lochlann and Donnchadh until in anno domini 1186 Henry II of England brought an army to Carlisle and threatened to invade unless the Fergussons submitted to his judgement. Galloway was split in two, with Lochlann keeping the south and Donnchadh receiving the new Earldom of Carrick in the northwest.

A relative peace descended on Galloway, lasting until the death of Alan in 1234. His legitimate sons had already predeceased him, but the cause of his illegitimate son Thomas was taken up by the Galwegian clans. Alexander II, however, supported the feudal rights of Alan's daughters (or, rather, their husbands), and war came to Galloway again. The Galwegian revolt was aided in no small measure by the magi of the Adademica Septima Superior, a Hermetic covenant in the Galloway Hills, who had fostered Thomas for many years.

It was only the decision of the Academica's magi to remove their entire covenant from Scotland rather than face a death sentence from the Loch Leglean Tribunal of anno domini 1235 that broke the deadlock, allowing the King's forces to break the rebellion. In the aftermath, Thomas fled Galloway and has not been seen since.

Galloway was divided up between the daughters of Alan - the Rhinns to William de Forz, Earl of Albermarle, 'Wigtownshire' and the title of 'Lord of Galloway' to John de Balliol and 'Kirkcudbrightshire' and the office of Constable of Scotland to Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester. The subsequent rule of Winchester, in particular, was harsh, and the Galwegians rose in revolt again in 1247, forcing another royal invasion of the province.


Like their kin in the highlands, the Galwegians are organised into several powerful kin-groups, or clans, for instance, the MacLellans, the MacDowalls and MacCanns.

Through repeated invasions of both England and English-speaking Scotland, the Galwegians have earned a fearsome reputation. They are the barbarians par excellence of the northern chroniclers, said, amongst other things, to have ripped babies out of their mother's wombs.

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