From the 1600s onwards, the Coach and Horses was a tavern on the Dumfries Whitesands. The landlords were not unsuccessful - the room beyond the bar was once the stable of horses for the local stage-coaches, which ran from a yard where the Tourist Information Office now stands. The Coach and Horses also sold food and drink to the cattle-drovers who traded on the Whitesands during the Whitsun and Matinmas cattle-fairs.
However, the tavern was said to be the haunt of the dockside low-lifes and their molls, with its most scandalous claim to fame being the brothel on the first floor. Here, where now one can enjoy honest food, were the rooms of 'Munkery Meg', or 'Muirland Meg' whose real name was Margaret Hogg. Margaret died in 1811, but not before Burns had immortalised her in the 'Ballad of Muirland Meg'.
The Burns Connection...
In 1791 Robert Burns and Jean Armour moved with their young family into rooms on the first floor of 11 Bank Street, then called 'Stinking Vennel'. They were there for about two years whilst Burns restored his fortunes as a Customs Officer (Gauger, Exciseman) and then moved on in 1793 to what is now 'Burns House' in Burns Street. However, though his wife no doubt disapproved, Burns certainly visited the Coach and Horses, though whether he actually went up to the brothel is another matter. More about Burns.
The Muirland Meg Restaurant
The Maxwells have completely re-built the restaurant since buying the Coach and Horses, so this new restaurant offers you good food where Margaret Hogg originally plied her trade. Even Jean Armour would have found it acceptable, so come and try the restaurant for yourself.
The Bar downstairs still retains much of the character of the early tavern. Whilst there may be a resident poacher or two, the drovers and wharfingers have long gone, as have the whores whose manners affronted some and intrigued others.
Methods of Payment...
We take cash (British Pounds Sterling), cheques on United Kingdom banks supported by cheque cards, plus the major Credit and Debit cards - Master Card, Visa, Delta, Visa Electron, Switch, Solo and JCB.
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