Sunday, 18 May 2014

'Making Dumfries' - a new Charter

Members of The Stove Network are gearing up for Guid Nychburris again. We have been involved in the festivities for the last 2 years and are finding it a brilliant opportunity to work with and talk to people in Dumfries about the future of the town.
Back2Back - The Stove @ Guid Nychburris 2013
Recently we have been inspired by some of our researches into local movements of people working together to make the places that they live in better by thinking creatively and taking practical measures like pooling skills.
The 100 citizens who re-wrote the Irish Consitution (66 ordinary people, 33 politicians and 1 independent Chairperson)
Guid Nychburris celebrates the granting of a Royal Charter to the Burgh of Dumfries in 1395. We thought it would be interesting to speculate about the sort of Charter the people of Dumfries might grant themselves for the future prosperity of the town.
The earliest surviving copy of the Dumfries Burgh Charter was written down in 1580 - the original Charter being given in 1395

For absolute clarity…this idea of a popular Charter is NO way ‘official’ – it will have no formal status at all…it has not been ‘commissioned’ in any way. A group of local artists just thought this could be an interesting contribution to the conversation about the future of the town.

We plan to launch the Charter on Guid Nychburris Day (21st June) – getting people to help us ‘unveil’ it in a typically Stoveish manner and offering people special memorial copies that they can also add to and edit as they choose.
Publishing 'stove style' at Nithraid 2013
We are getting in touch now to invite you to contribute to the new Charter – our idea is that the Charter should focus on people and what is important to quality of life… to paraphrase the US constitution ‘ Each Citizen covenants with the whole people and the whole people covenants with each Citizen that all shall respect certain principles for the common good’

beginning of the US 'Bill of Rights'
The Stove already has long standing partnerships with groups and individuals working in these areas – over the next couple of weeks we will be asking people to help us come up with a phrase (20 words max) for their particular area of interest that we can add to the new Charter.

We propose that the Charter begins with the statement that:

“Dumfries is what we make together.We promise each other that our making together will be shaped by these values, for the common good:”

Our idea is that this opening is followed by a series of statements about how the town regards the following:

·       Young People

·       Diversity

·       People with disabilities

·       Enterprise and opportunity

·       Culture and Creativity

·       Heritage

·       Environment

·       Belief

·       Education 

 Civic Society and Local Democracy

Health and Wellbeing 

This is also a completely open invitation to anyone with an interest in this project to take part….please either leave a comment at the bottom of this post, drop us an email at or contact us through Facebook or Twitter.

Also let us know if you are interested to be involved in being part of the project team to bring all this to fruition for Guid Nuychburris Day and beyond

We are not intending crediting individual contributions on the Charter itself – but we would hope to list everyone involved as part of the project documentation. Please include with your contribution the way you would like to be credited or a confirmation that your contribution should be anonymous


  1. If you're having "Young People", "Diversity" and "People with Disablities" perhaps you should also have "Working Age People" and "Older People"

  2. Fine know what is coming next though - can you send us a sentence for 'working age people' and 'older people'?

    (NB - Stove Rule No1 - Only suggest something you are prepared to do yourself.)

    please send to or post as a comment here


  3. The old Charter gave some basic rights such as the right to bring goods to market and the right to hold festivals or fairs such as the Rood Fair. the new Charter should re-assert these rights given by Royal hand. They should not be left out. Enterprise and Opportunity may be a good section.

  4. Great point John....duly noted and logged!

  5. I *love* this idea! I live way out in Eskdale, but I'd love to be involved in some way.

    (epredota -- gmail)

  6. Hi Elinor - thanks for getting in touch. We will preparing for the launch of the Charter through the week beginning 16th June and are looking for help with that. Please drop us an email at we'd love for you to get involved. Or just come and be part of the launch event on 21st June at 12.30pm on High Street in Dumfries - there is going to be lots for everyone to do. Please tell all your pals about the project - it is getting a great momentum and we are hoping it can inspire many things to happen from here!