John Paul Jones and Filey Bay
The John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum Trust
Early in 2005 , members of the Filey Bay Initiative (FBI) visited the John Paul Jones Birthplace museum at Arbigland near Dumfries. The museum is situated near to the head of the Solway Firth south of the city of Dumfries in an area rich in history. The scenery around the area is very soft and gentle, with fertile farmland rolling down to the Solway populated by well fed stock and terminating at the shore upon which are situated occasional low lying sandstone weathered cliffs with reed and cockle shell strands that harbour the trees and branches deposited by last winterís storms.
The museum is situated two fields distant from the Solway on rising ground which commands a wide view of the water and the opposite shore. The museum has recently been refurbished and it is an excellent small museum that focuses on John Paul Jones and his life. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the museum in order to make the maximum use of space available and is complimented by some very good visual displays. The museum has FBI's personal recommendation and the warm and inviting staff will do everything to make the visit both welcoming and informative.
Visitors start in the Visitors' Centre by meeting the staff and view the presentation video about John Paul Jones's life and then move and view the panel displays, including the excellent model of the Bonhomme Richard by Martin Harrop. The visitor Centre has a small shop ands there is also a WC facility.
The cottage has an audio description of life in the 18th century cottage and the museum's staff will provide headsets for this upon request.
In a rear room of the cottage there is a 1:1 reconstruction of the Great Cabin of the Bonhomme Richard. In this cabin there is an audio visual display of Jones's most famous victory, the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779 using an eyewitness account of his Midshipman.
FBI visited the museum again in 2008 and met with David Lockwood at one of his excellent lectures held at Gatehouse of Fleet. It is also understood that Dr Robert Neyland of Ocean Technology Foundation visited the museum and was due to carry an archaeological investigation at the site, however we do not have any further details of this.
In addition to the museum, the Kirkbean Parish Heritage Society devotes much of its work to John Paul Jones, a native of the Parish