Biggar - a brief history

The town of Biggar is in the Southern Uplands lying between the river Clyde to the west and the river Tweed to the east.

Occupied since Mesolithic times the present day High Street (A702) follows the line of a Roman road. In the 12th century the Normans came to the area. Built around 1150AD there is a motte and bailey castle in the town, which belonged to Baldwin of Biggar who had emigrated from Flanders in France.

The town has kept its medieval layout of a wide road running through the centre to allow markets and fairs to be held, with closes running to parallel back streets and buildings with long gardens.

Biggar was made a burgh of barony in 1451 which allowed it to hold a market on Thursdays. You can see the medieval road layout on the Biggar heritage trail map and the old market space in front of the Corn Exchange.

The town prospered in the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time a number of banks opened, fairs were held each year, the Gasworks was established, the rat-infested Meal House was replaced with the Corn Exchange and a new parish school was built.

Most of all, Biggar's prosperity was helped by the coming of the railway in 1860. Large country houses became a feature in and around the town. The railway made a daily journey to Glasgow easy for industrialists, professionals and trades people alike.

And today Biggar is a busy, thriving town full of diverse shops and local businesses.

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