New Statistical Account of the Parish of Buittle.

Written by the Rev. Alexander Crosbie in 1844.


Name. "VARIOUS opinions," says Mr Maxwell, in the former Statistical Account of Scotland, "are entertained as to the derivation of the name. Some have thought that Boot-hill or Butt-hill was the original name of that territory which now composes the parish of Buittle, on account of the frequent musters of cavalry or archers that must have taken place in the vicinity of the castle after-mentioned. With as much probability, however, it may be suggested, that the word Buittle is but a contraction of Bowet-hill or Bowet-hall, an appellation occasioned by the beacons in the neighbourhood of the castle alluded to, or from the great light which it displayed on festive or solemn occasions." In Chalmers's Caledonia, Vol. iii. p. 316, it is stated, that "the word Buittle is obviously the Anglo-Saxon Botle, domicilium valla. This Anglo-Saxon word appears very often in the topography both of England and Scotland, as Bootle near Liverpool, Bootle in Cumberland, Wall-bootle on Severus' wall, New-bootle in Mid-Lothian, El-bootle in East.Lothian, and Mer-botle, which is now Morbattle, in Roxburghshire."

Boundaries. The parish is bounded on the north, by the parishes of Crossmichael and Kelton; on the south, by the bay of Orchardton ; on the east, by the parishes of Urr and Colvend, from which it is separated by the river Urr; and on the west, by a small stream which separates it from Kelton and Rerwick. The river Dee, which runs past Kirkcudbright, may, at some remote period, by flowing through Carlinwark loch and Glengagrie and into the sea at Orchardton bay, have formed the boundary on the west side. This supposition is strengthened, and in some measure confirmed, by there being a place on this line denominated the Doagh, which would then have been a station for catching salmon. Besides, when the river Dee is swollen, it flows into Carlinwark loch, and nothing prevents the water issuing from that loch in this direction, but a narrow ridge of accumulated gravel at Burntstick, elevated a few feet above its present level.

The length of the parish from north to south is 10 miles, and its breadth, which is irregular, may average about 3 miles.

Topographical Appearance. The surface is finely diversified with hill and dale, and though it does not abound with grand and sublime prospects, affords much beautiful and picturesque scenery. In the lower and middle districts, the ground is broken and uneven, and frequently juts out into steep banks and rocky knolls covered with furze and broom. In the upper district, it presents a more level and arable appearance.

It is evident that the sea has receded from this coast, and that at a former period it must have flowed up the Urr, as far as Furth-head, or Frith-head, two miles from its present boundary, and considerably above its present elevation at high water, covering a great extent of ground on each of its banks.

Climate. The climate is mild and salubrious, as the longevity of many of the parishioners testifies. There are at present eight individuals about 90 years of age; and sixteen individuals, either upwards of 80 or approaching nearly to that age. Twelve years ago, one individual died at the age of 103. There are no diseases peculiar to the parish.
Woods. The cultivation of wood has been greatly extended during the last forty years, and might be profitably extended still farther. Much ground, at present waste and uncultivated, and many places naked and exposed to every blast, might be protected and sheltered, and rendered capable of producing both grain and pasture of a better quality. The soil, climate, and situation are in general well adapted for planting and raising wood, as the rapid growth of various kinds of trees testifies. In some of the woods at Munshes, there are larches of thirty years' growth, girthing four feet and a-half at three feet from the ground; some of the poplar and willow tribes, not yet twenty years planted, girthing four feet. The Spanish chestnut thrives well, and increases rapidly, trees of this species, not above thirty years planted, girthing four feet. The Scotch firs are of large size, and highly ornamental. There are also oaks containing upwards of 100 feet of timber, and beeches 160 feet.

Although the larch grows vigorously for a time, it has not anywhere in the parish attained to a large size. There are larches at Munshes, from seventy to eighty years of age, which would not yield more than 40 or 50 feet of timber. Most of them are evidently not in a healthy state.
Upwards of 100 acres of natural wood, on the estate of Kirkennan, are now in the course of being cut down. This wood consists of oak, ash, birch, &c. It is thirty years old. The woods on the estates of Kirkennan, Barlochan, Almerness, and Castlegower, are from one to thirty-five years planted. There is wood on the estate of Munshes much older. All the woods in the parish consist chiefly of oak. Yearly thinning and pruning, though in some places neglected, have in general been well attended to.

Number of acres under wood.

Estates.  Imperial acres.
Kirkennan 247
Orchardton, 190
Almerness, 163
Munshes, 156
Castlegower and Craigton, 76
Halketlaths, 44
Barlochan,   34
The other estates may contain  50


At Hopehead, on the line of the old military road from Castle Douglas to Dumfries, there is a common plane tree, known by the name of the Forge-tree, equalled by few if any, in this neighbourhood. It girths 15 feet at three feet and a-half from the ground. Its branches extend horizontally, and form an exact circle of 76 feet in diameter, the extremities of which are not more than five feet from the ground. The top is of a conical shape, and, when covered with foliage, affords an agreeable shade, and presents a magnificent appearance. There are no records from which its precise age can be ascertained; but, according to tradition, it was a full-grown tree in the reign of King William III.; and it may have derived its name from His Majesty having passed that road with his army on his way to Ireland, and his cavalry having erected a forge there for the purpose of shoeing their horses. The trunk contains 100 feet, and the branches upwards of 200 feet of measurable timber. There is a considerable cavity above the first row of branches, the depth of which has not been ascertained, owing to its being filled with stones. This is the only mark which it exhibits of decay.

At Little Knox, in the immediate vicinity of the church, there is a variegated plane tree, which girths 11 feet at three feet and a-half from the ground, and contains upwards of 200 feet of solid wood. Whether the variegation in the foliage of this tree has been accidentally produced, or has been effected by budding or engrafting, is not known; perhaps the former supposition is the correct one. This description of plane does not propagate its own variety. It sheds seed around it, which produces abundance of plants. Some of these were found, having the first tree leaves variegated like the parent tree. They were selected and transplanted, with the view of raising variegated planes; but, beyond the two first tree leaves, the variegation did not extend.


" The castle of Buittle, (says Mr Maxwell in the former Statistical Account of Scotland,) is assuredly the most considerable remains of antiquity in the parish. Some have affirmed that it was formerly called the Castle of Knare, Nare, or Bar-nare, and was the chief residence of the Reguli of Galloway. An adjoining hill, named Craig-nair, gives some weight to this supposition. Certain it is, however, that the ruins of Buittle Castle denote it to have been a place of strength and even magnificence. The vaults and ditches are all that remain of this proud structure. Besides the Castle of Buittle, the only other remembrance of ages equally rude and remote, is one of those ruins commonly called vitrified forts, standing on the north-west border of Buittle parish, within a farm called Castlegower, which lies along the march of Kelton."

Wells. - There are two wells in this parish, mentioned in Symson's description of Galloway, as having been, at a former period, much resorted to by valetudinarians on the first Sunday of May. - One of these wells, called the Rumbling Well, is situated within the farm of Buittle Mains, on the march of Little Knox and Guffocgland, and its water was considered to be a panacea for the cure of all diseases which afflict the human body. The other well is supposed to be situated on the march between Buittle Mains and Buittle Place, and was held in estimation for the cure of a disease called the Connach, which affects cattle. These wells issue out of rocks, and discharge copious streams of pure water. Like many of the wells in this parish, they partake more or less of a chalybeate nature; but they do not appear to - be so much impregnated, by any mineral substance, which could in the least degree prove more efficacious in the cure of disease than any other well in the neighbourhood; and the belief in those supernatural qualities, with which superstition had invested them, being dispelled, they have long ceased to be resorted to by invalids.

" In this parish of Bootle, about a mile from the kirk, towards the north, is a well, called the Rumbling Well, frequented by a multitude of sick people for all sorts of diseases. on the first Sunday of May, lying there the Saturday night, and then drinking of it early in the morning. There is also another Well, about a quarter of a mile distant, towards the east. This well is made use of by the country people when their cattell are troubled with a disease called by them, the connach. This water they carry in vessells to many parts, and wash their beasts with it, and give it them to drink. It is, too, rememb'red, that, at both the wells, they leave behind them something by way of a thank-offering. At the first, they leave either money or clothes; at the second, they leave the bands and shacles wherewith beasts are usually bound." - Symson's Description of Galloway, page 16.

Parochial Registers. - These consist of minutes of the kirk session, and of the records of marriages and baptisms. They commenced in 1736, and were regularly kept till 1780. From 1780 to 1807, the record of baptisms is somewhat defective. From 1736 to 1807, the date of the baptism is always entered; that of the birth only occasionally. Since 1807, the date of both the birth and baptism is recorded. The average number of marriages for the last three years is 6; of baptisms for the same period, 22; of deaths, 7. The register of baptisms is not so complete as it ought to have been, owing to Dissenters not choosing to enter the births of their children in the parish register. The entries are chiefly made by parents belonging to the Established Church.



The population in 1755, by Dr Webster's report, was  899
1793, by last Statistical Account, 855
1808, census taken by the minister, 914
1811, census taken by direction of Parliament, 943
1821, census taken by direction of Parliament, 1023
1831, census taken by direction of Parliament, 1000
1836, census taken by the minister, 1018
1841, census taken by the minister, 1059


1793 1808 1836
Members of the Established Church 678 694 847
Cameronians 67 43 5
Seceders 34 59 15
Roman Catholics 75 103 94
Episcopalians 1 1 11
Relief - 14 -
Independents - - 45
Baptists - - 1
Total:  855 914 1018

Proprietors. - There are 15 proprietors of land belonging to the parish whose properties are of the yearly value of L50 and upwards, of which 7 reside in it, and 8 are non-resident.


Agriculture. - Though farm produce has not for several past yielded a remunerating price, yet both landlords and tenants have adopted and prosecuted every plan of modern improvement with a degree of eagerness, perseverance, and success, not surpassed in any other part of the country. The turnip husbandry is greatly extended beyond what it was a few years ago. Feeding of sheep, for the last five or six years, has, with the exception of 1834, been profitable to the farmer; and the facility with which they are conveyed to the Liverpool market, by means of steam vessels, has contributed to produce this result.

The kinds of grain raised in this parish consist of oats, barley, and wheat. The cultivation of wheat is chiefly confined to the clay soil, on the banks of the Urr and Bay of Orchardton. On the dry and lighter soils, adapted to turnip husbandry, barley is extensively cultivated. The 'chevalier' barley was introduced about three years ago, and bids fair to exclude the common sort, which was formerly, and still is cultivated. It is considered to be a finer grain, more productive, and of greater weight per bushel. The rotation of crops most approved of on land under tillage is a white and green crop alternately, though in some instances the practice of taking two white crops in succession is followed. Besides the manure which the farm affords, lime and bone-dust are employed to stimulate and fertilize the soil.

The breeding and rearing of cattle is an object of great importance to the farmers, as they generally calculate on realizing a considerable part of their profits from this source. Our well-known breed of Galloway cattle bears a higher character, in almost every point, than any other. It yields beef, which, when well fed, is of the first-rate quality, and is said to bring, in the Smithfield market, a higher price, by at least 1s. per stone, than the best beef of England. The carcase weighs, on an average, from 50 to 6O stones, and, in some instances, 100 stones and upwards. Few Galloway bullocks are fed in this parish. They are generally sold to the cattle-dealers at two or three years old, and driven to England, where they are fed for the English markets. On three farms in this parish, the Ayrshire dairy system has been partially adopted with success.

The farmers hold their lands by leases varying in duration from fifteen to nineteen years, and pay rents from L.50 to L.700 per annum. There are several small patches of less value. The farms are enclosed by stone dikes, sunk fences, or hedgerows. The real rent of the parish, independent of the value of woods and plantations, as taken in 1830, was upwards of L.8000 per annum. The valued rent in Scotch money is L.3461 per annum.

Rate of Wages. - Male servants, who reside in their master's house, are paid from L.l0 to L.12 per annum. Female servants are paid from L.6 to L.7 per annum. The rate of a labourer's wages during summer is 1s. 6d. per day, and during winter ls. 3d. per day, without victuals. Women, during summer, earn 9d. per day; during winter, they are seldom employed at outfield work. Masons, 2s. 6d. per day; carpenters, 2s.

The subjoined letter, written by the late John Maxwell, Esq. of Munshes, to the late W. M. Herries, Esq. of Spottes, and published in the appendix to the first and only report of the Stewartry Agricultural Society in the year 1810, shows the state of society, the value of land, and the condition of agriculture, in this parish and neighbourhood, upwards of a century ago. As the report alluded to had only a local circulation, and is now entirely unknown, it is thought proper, for the preservation of so valuable a letter, to insert it in the Statistical Account. Mr Maxwell was a native of this parish, and died at Munshes in 1814, at the age of ninety- four.

Munshes February 8, 1811.
DEAR Sir, - The last time that Mr Young of Youngfield was here he signified to me. as you had previously done, that John Christian Curwen of Workington Hall, Esq. had mentioned, that he was very desirous of knowing the state of agriculture in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and in Nithsdale, as far back as my remembrance goes.

I was born at Buittle, in this parish, which, in old times, was the fortress and residence of John Balliol, on the 7th day of February, old style, 1720, and do distinctly remember several circumstances that happened in the year 1723 and 1724. Of these particulars the falling of the bridge of Buittle which was built by John Frew in 1722, and fell in the succeeding summer while I was in Buittle garden seeing my father's servants gathering nettles. That same year many of the proprietors enclosed their grounds to stock them with black cattle, and by that means, turned out a vast number of tenants at the term of Whitsunday 1723 whereby numbers of them became destitute, and, in consequence, rose in a mob when; with pitchforks, gavellocks, and spades, they levelled the park-dikes of Barncailzie and Munshes, at Dalbeattie, which I saw with my own eyes.

The mob passed by Dalbeattie and Buittle, and did the same on the estates of Netherlaw, Dunrod, &c , and the Laird of Murdoch, then proprietor of Kilwhaneday, who turned out sixteen families at that term. The proprietors rose, with the servants and dependents to quell this mob, but were not of sufficient force to do it, and were obliged to send for two troops of dragoons from Edinburgh, who, upon their appearing, the mob dispersed; After that, warrants were granted for apprehending many of the tenants and persons concerned in the said mob. Several of them were tried, those who had any funds were fined, some were banished to the plantations, whilst others were imprisoned, and it brought great distress upon this part of the country.

At that period, justice was not very properly administered for a respectable man of the name of M'Clacherty, who lived in Balmaghie parish, was concerned in the mob, and, on his being brought to trial, one of the justices admired a handsome Galloway which he rode, and the justice told him, if he would give him the Galloway, he would effect his acquittal, which he accordingly did. This misfortune, with what happened to the Mississippi Company in the year 1720 did most generally distress this quarter of the kingdom. It is not pleasant to represent the wretched state of individuals as times then went in Scotland.

The tenants, in general, lived very meanly on kail, groats, milk, graddon ground in querns turned by the hand, and the grain dried in a pot, together with a crook ewe now and then about Martinmas. They were clothed very plainly, and their habitations were most uncomfortable. Their general wear was of cloth, made of waulked plaiding, black and white wool mixed, very coarse, and the cloth rarely dyed. Their hose were made of white plaiding cloth sewed together. with single-soled shoes, and a black or blue bonnet, - none having hats but the lairds, who thought themselves very well dressed for going to church on Sunday with a black kelt-coat of their wife's making.

It is not proper for me here to narrate the distress and poverty that were felt in the country during these times, which continued till about the year 1735. In 1725, potatoes were first introduced into the stewartry by William Hyland, from Ireland, who carried them on horses' backs to Edinburgh, where he sold them by pounds and ounces. During these times, when potatoes were not generally raised in the country. there was, for the most part, a great scarcity of food, bordering on famine ; for, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright and county of Dumfries, there was not as much victual produced as was necessary for supplying the inhabitants, and the chief part of what was required for that purpose, was brought from the sand beds of Esk in tumbling cars, on the Wednesdays, to Dumfries; and when the waters were high, by reason of spates, and there being no bridges, so that these cars could not come with the meal, I have seen the tradesmen's wives in the streets of Dumfries crying, because there was none to be got.

At that period, there was only one baker in Dumfries, and he made bawbee baps of coarse flour, chiefly bran, which he occasionally carried in creels to the fairs of Urr and Kirkpatrick. The produce of the country, in general, was gray corn, and you might have travelled from Dumfries to Kirkcudbright, which is twenty-seven miles, without seeing any other grain, except in a gentleman's croft, which, in general, produced bear or big for one-third part, another third in white oats, and the remaining third in gray oats. At that period, there was no wheat raised in the country; what was used was brought from Teviot, and it was believed that the soil would not produce wheat. In the year 1735, there was no mill in the country for grinding that sort of grain, and the first floor mill that was constructed in these bounds, was built by old Heron at Clouden, in the parish of Irongray, some years after that date.

In these times, cattle were also very low. I remember of being present at the Bridge-end of Dumfries in 1736, when Anthony M'Kie of Netherlaw sold five score of five year old Galloway cattle, in good condition, to an Englishman, at L.2, 12s. 6d. each; and old Robert Halliday, who was tenant of a great part of the Preston estate, told me, that he reckoned he could graze his cattle on his farms for 2s. 6d. a head, that is to say, that his rent corresponded to that sum.

At this period, few of the proprietors gave themselves any concern anent the articles of husbandry, their chief one being about black-cattle. William Craik, Esq. of Arbigland's father died in 1735, and his son was a man of uncommon accomplishments, who, in his younger days, employed his time in grazing of cattle, and studying the shapes of the best kinds, - his father having given him the farm of Maxwelltown to live upon. The estate of Arbigland was then in its natural state, very much covered with whins and broom, and yielding little rent, being only about 3000 merks a year. (18 merks make L.1. Sterling, or L.12 Scots.). That young gentleman was among the first that undertook to improve the soil; and the practice of husbandry which he pursued, together with the care and trouble which he took in ameliorating his farm, was very great. Some of it he brought to such perfection, by clearing off all weeds and stones, and pulverized it so completely, that I, on walking over the surface, sunk as if I had trodden on new fallen snow.

The estate of Arbigland was bought by his grandfather, in 1722, from the Earl of Southesk, for 22,000 merks.

In 1735, there were only two carts for hire in the town of Dumfries, and one belonging to a private gentleman.

About the years 1737 and 1738 there was almost no lime used for building in Dumfries, except a little shell-lime, made of cockleshells burned at Colvend, and brought to Dumfries in bags, a distance of twenty miles, and in 1740, when Provost Bell built his house, the under storey was built with clay, and the upper storeys with lime, brought from Whitehaven in dry ware casks There was then no lime used for improving the land. In 1749, I had day-labourers at 6d. per day, and the best masons at 1s. This was at the building of Mollance House, - the walls of which cost L.49 Sterling.

If you think that anything mentioned here can be of any use or entertainment to Mr Curwen, I give you full leave to make the same known, with my best respects; and I am, Dear Sir, Yours sincerely, - (Signed) John MAXWELL. To W. M. Herries, Esq. of Spottes.

Rent of Land. - The average rent of land varies from 15s. to L1, 10s. per acre, according to soil and situation ; hill pasture from 3s. to 10s. per acre. A cow may be grazed during summer for L.3, and a sheep pastured at the rate of 6s. The average charge for feeding a full-grown sheep, on clover after harvest, and turnips during winter, is 3d. per week; young sheep, 2d. per week.

The gross amount of raw produce raised in the parish cannot be ascertained with any degree of accuracy.

Mosses. - The greatest part of the tract of flat land lying along the river Urr, from Craignair-hill to the march of Kirkennan, extending to nearly 400 acres, was, about seventy years ago, an unimproved moss, of little or no value. The late Mr George Maxwell of Munshes commenced its improvement, by cutting large open drains, and putting in a number of covered drains filled with heath. For many years, he kept a boat constantly employed in bringing up seashells, from extensive shell banks at the mouth of the river. The boat carried nine cartloads, for which he paid 6s. These shells were discharged along the sides of the river; and he took his tenants bound to cart and apply to their respective farms a certain quantity annually. Their effects upon the moss were most astonishing. They destroyed the heath, and when ploughed, the ground from the outset brought good crops. The use of shells has been completely given up for that of lime. But many are of opinion that, on wet land in particular, shells are a better, a more gradual, and a more lasting stimulant than lime.

The moss in question lay to the depth of many feet, on a blue clay. In some parts, the moss was removed by burning; but without this, the drainage and tillage have had the effect of consolidating and exhausting it; so that moss, formerly three or four feet deep, has nearly disappeared, and now the plough generally reaches the clay. Thus the moss and clay are incorporated into a fertile black mould. John H. Maxwell of Munshes, the present proprietor, has, by a judicious system of tile-draining, and other extensive improvements, greatly ameliorated this soil, and added much to the beauty of the landscape.

The following information was most obligingly communicated by Mr Train of Castle Douglas, well known to the world as a zealous antiquary.

" A short time ago, some labourers, while draining a moss near Munshes,(At Greenhill, on the estate of Munshes, parish of Urr.) turned up, at the distance of several feet from the surface, the horns of a urus. Only one of those has been preserved. From its very large dimensions, however, some idea may be formed of the corresponding size of the animal. It measures fifteen inches in circumference round the but-end, and its present length is twenty-six inches, although it might have been originally thirty inches. It weighs seven pounds ten ounces. It is well known that the urus, which has now been ascertained by naturalists to be of the same species with the bison, was, at an early period, an inhabitant of this country. A horn of the urus was found near Dunkeld, and is now in the possession of the Duke of Athole. Two horns and a part of the head of the same animal were, some years ago, discovered in the parish of Borgue, and are now at St Mary's Isle, the seat of the Earl of Selkirk. But the only entire head and horns that seem to have yet been discovered, were dug out of a marl-pit on the estate of Castlewig, in Wigtonshire. This very interesting relic was presented by Mr Hawthorn, the proprietor, to Mr Train of Castle Douglas, who again presented it to Sir Walter Scott, and it may still be seen at Abbotsford. The interesting horn first alluded to is in the possession of Mr Train.

"In August 1843, there was discovered at the estuary of the river Urr, within high water-mark, and adjoining the farm of Nethertown the fossil head of a bison, of the following dimensions:

Length of the head, 38 inches.
Distance between the points of the horns, 32
Circumference of horn at the but, 13
Breadth of the head between the eyes, 11
Sockets of the eyes, 3

"In 1841, there was found at Barlochan a Roman coin of Constantine the Great, in a high state of preservation, which Mr Train has in his possession.

"In the summer of 1838, an urn or kirtvean was turned up by the plough on the farm of Breoch. This ancient repository of the ashes of the dead is made of baked clay, coarsely ornamented. It is nine inches in diameter six inches deep, and nearly an inch thick. It contained a quantity of black ashes, and fragments of bones, which are carefully preserved by Mr Maxwell, the proprietor of Breoch. I have in my possession the only remaining part of the urn; but, since its exposure to the air, it has lost much of its calcined adhesiveness, as it crumbles on being removed, however slightly.

" In the spring of the year 1839, a labourer employed in clearing away a bank of earth on the margin of the water of Urr, near the site of the old castle of Buittle, once the residence of Edward Baliol, laid bare with his spade a large block of red sandstone, on which the figure of a regularly formed female countenance, surrounded by ornamental wreathes in bas-relief, is exquisitely carved. The peculiar quality of this stone shows that it must have been brought from a distance of nearly twenty miles to Buittle Castle, of which it evidently formed a part. It may now be seen in the garden of Mr Marchbank at New Buittle."

About thirty-five years ago, the proprietors of the adjoining estates expended L. 500 in widening and deepening the drain which forms the outlet of Kenmore loch, on the confines of Kelton. This drain is upwards of a mile in length, and in some places consisted chiefly of rock. About sixty acres of moss, liable to be covered with water, were thereby converted into productive meadow. This expensive work was also undertaken with the view of gaining access to a bed of marl which the loch contains. But, though the water was nearly all carried off the surface of the loch, yet the moss was not laid sufficiently dry to admit of cartage, and this treasure has not hitherto been obtained.

At Barwhinnie loch, near Palnackie, six acres of moss, covered with water, were lately, by draining and cultivation, converted into meadow of the richest quality.

Embankments. - Twenty acres of carse land, on the banks of the Urr, and bay of Orchardton, subject to be flooded at high spring-tides, have been embanked, and rendered fit for cultivation. Land to a greater extent, on the estates of Orchardton and Almerness, was enclosed by embankments; but these having been ill constructed, or insufficiently executed, were soon broken down, and rendered useless.

Quarries.- A granite quarry was opened, about ten years ago, on Craignair-hill, by the Liverpool Dock Trustees, under favourable auspices, and this quarry for several years afforded occupation to nearly 200 individuals. A large quantity of well-dressed blocks, some of them weighing from seven to eight tons, were shipped to Liverpool. The difficulty, however, of finding blocks of sufficient size, and the great expense attending the operations, led to the abandonment of the undertaking. Were granite to come into more general use, it is very probable that this quarry would again be opened. Independent of the stone being of the first quality, its locality so near a sea-port enables it to be easily removed.

The improvements in quarrying, splitting, and dressing are likely also to reduce the expense. Craignair quarry still gives employment to a few hands for local purposes, such as gate-posts, monuments, tombstones, &c. The ornamental work and lettering of these, and also the polishing of slabs for lobby-tables, watch-seals, &c. show great improvement, and do credit to the workmen in the district.

Minerals. - Neither coal nor lime have been found in this parish, these are imported from the opposite coast of Cumberland. From partial workings that have been made on the estate of Kirkennan, there is every appearance that this property abounds with valuable iron ore.
Fisheries. - The salmon fisheries in the river Urr were, at a former period, of considerable value. The report of old inhabitants still alive is that the fishing belonging to the estate of Munshes, in favourable seasons, yielded, during the latter part of the season, from 15 to 20 salmon daily. On one occasion 50 were taken at one draught. And now, for years past, not one-half of 50 has been legally taken during the whole season. It is believed that all the fishings in the Urr would not, if now let, bring L.10 of annual rent.

It is difficult to say to what cause this failure is to be attributed. The stake-nets at the mouth of the river, on Balcary sands, in the parish of Rerwick, erected within the last twenty years, (in which a great number of salmon are now taken,) may in some measure account for it. The proprietors having little interest in the river fisheries, use no vigilance in protecting the breeding fish, so that poaching during the close season is carried on to a great extent. The application of lime to the land, the great extent of drainage, whereby marshes and swamps throw off their superfluous waters at once, and thus prevent the salmon in dry seasons from getting up the river, have all, it has been imagined, tended to injure the river fisheries.

No attempt has hitherto been made by any of the inhabitants to establish the white fishing, along our shores.


Castle Douglas is the nearest market-town. Palnackie is the only village in the parish. It is situated on the river Urr, and has a considerable trade with Liverpool, Whitehaven, Workington, Maryport, and other towns in the north of England ; with Glasgow and Irvine in the west of Scotland, and also with North-America. Coals, lime, wood, slates, and merchant goods are imported. Farm produce, wood, fat cattle, and sheep, are exported.
Trade has greatly increased at the port of Palnackie, since the former Statistical Account was written. The additional quantity of lime used for building and agriculture, the increased consumption of coals, (fifty years ago only two, or at most three, cargoes of coals were imported. The average number of cargoes for the last three years is 124.) the increasing prosperity of the town of Castle Douglas, of which Palnackie may be considered the port, and the general prosperity of the country, have led to this result.
The river Urr is navigable at the lowest neap-tides, from its confluence with the Solway to Palnackie, being a distance of four miles, by vessels drawing from 11 to 12 feet of water; and at high spring tides, by vessels drawing 16 or 17 feet of water. From Palnackie to Dalbeattie, a distance of four miles, it is navigable by vessels drawing 8 feet of water, at a tide rising 15 feet.
There is no regularly built harbour at Palnackie. On one side of the Creek where vessels used to lie, a breast-work, or temporary wooden quay, has been erected, where six vessels can be loaded or discharged at the same time. As the present accommodation is too small for the shipping, were the quay extended along the side of the river, and on the opposite side of the creek, it would give an additional impulse to the trade of this port.
No harbour dues are exacted. One farthing per ton register is levied for river dues, viz., keeping tip ringbolts, mooring posts, and the river road. A customhouse officer is stationed here, and all vessels, except those engaged in foreign trade, are cleared, both inwards and outwards.
The following table shows the principal articles of import and export, to and from the port of Palnackie, for the three years from 1833 to 1836, distinguishing each year.


  Foreign Timber   Coals   Lime - Carlisle   Slates   Bone Manure - Winch-
  Merchant Goods etc.  
Years Cargoes Feet Carg. Ton Carg. Bushels Carg. Tons Carg. Bush. Carg. Ton
1833 2 22,000 124 3720 125 62,500 12 408 4 8,000 25 870
1834 2 22,300 122 3660 111 55,500 11 374 7 14,500 34 1020
1835 2 24,000 126 4032 66 33,000 12 417 9 18,200 47 1408


Grain   Oat-Meal   Potatoes   Timber, oak-bark, sawn boards etc.   Steam Vessels.  
Years Cargoes Quarts Cargoes Tons Cargoes Tons Cargoes Tons Cargoes Fat Cattle & sheep
1833 31 6975 2 85 16 640 57 2580    
1834 42 9450 3 120 7 280 100 4000 15 5100
1835 50 11,250 3 125 17 685 97 3880 22 7480

There are twenty vessels belonging to the river Urr, amounting in all to 1303 tons burthen; and navigated by 75 seamen.

A foot-runner, carrying the mail, passes every afternoon from Castle Douglas, through Palnackie to Dalbeattie, and returns in the evening.

Ecclesiastical State. - The church stands in the centre of the parish, and is accessible to all the inhabitants. It was built in 1819, at an expense of L.1000 Sterling, on an elevated situation adjoining to the burying ground, and of a construction more commodious for the people than the old church, as well as more ornamental to the neighbourhood. It is calculated to hold 400 sitters on the ground area; and the walls are of sufficient height to admit of galleries being erected at any future period, should the population increase. There is no other place of worship in the parish. The patronage of the church belongs to the crown.
The old church stood in the centre of the burying-ground, and bore evident marks of remote architecture; there are no records respecting the period of its erection. The east end of it, which comprehended the choir, was wider than the rest of the building, and was divided from it by a Gothic arch. The walls still remain entire, and are covered with ivy, forming a beautiful ruin.

In Symson's description of Galloway, it is said that " the kirk was of old called Kirkennen, and was situated upon the river of Urr, near the mouth of it ; but for the more conveniency, was translated to the very centre of the parish, and called Bootle, because built in the baronie so called."

No vestige of the old church of Kirkennan now remains, though the place where it stood, is still pointed out. About seventy years ago, when digging the ground around it, handles of coffins and fragments of human bones were discovered. This burying-ground has long been subjected to the plough; it probably ceased to be used as a place of interment when the church was removed to Buittle, and a burying-ground was established there. No monuments or grave stones were erected at Kirkennan, at least, no fragments of any such memorials now remain; perhaps, at a remote period, these were not erected in country parishes. The oldest grave-stone in Buittle church-yard, was erected to the memory of a person who died in 1701.

The manse and offices were built in 1793, and have undergone frequent repairs.

The stipend, as modified in 1831 by the Court of Teinds, is 16 chalders, half barley and half meal ; and since that period, the average amount of stipend, converted into money according to the fiar prices of the Stewartry is L.211 , 2s. 3 1/4d. per annum.

Education. - There are two parochial schools in the parish. One of the teachers has a salary of L.28, 6s. 5d. The other has a salary of L.23, Os. 2d. The teachers have commodious dwelling houses and school-rooms, built by the heritors in 1817. One of the teachers has a small garden free of rent; the other pays L.1 per annum for less than a rood of ground. The number of scholars attending the parochial schools, on an average, is about 130.
Poor and Parochial Funds. - The average number of industrious poor on the roll of the kirk-session for the last three years is 18. There is no parochial assessment. The weekly collections in the church, with the interest of a small sum of money, and the annual donations of a few charitable individuals among the non-resident heritors, have hitherto been sufficient for the support of the poor. The funds are divided quarterly, and the industrious poor receive on an average 8s. 6d. each. Besides the industrious poor, there are at present one pauper entirely supported out of the poor's funds, at the rate of L.7 per annum, and another supported by the heritors, at the rate of L.10 per annum.


Since the former Statistical Account was written, the parish has undergone considerable changes. Zeal for agricultural improvements has greatly increased, new implements of husbandry have been introduced, and better kinds of grain cultivated. Drainage has likewise been extensively practised, the system of turnip husbandry generally adopted, and greatly extended by the application of bone manure, and the land improved by the turnips being fed off with sheep. Plantations, by which the country is sheltered and adorned, have been greatly extended, the farmhouses have been rebuilt or enlarged, and are now neat and commodious, and the office-houses substantial and extensive. The comforts which the farmers enjoy, and their modes of living, have changed greatly for the better. The cottages and their inhabitants have also shared in the general improvement.

The increase of population, though not rapid, has been progressive. This increase is chiefly confined to the village of Palnackie, which, in 1808, contained only 7 houses and 29 inhabitants. It now contains 29 houses and 190 inhabitants.

Roads have been greatly improved within the last thirty years. New lines have been opened, and the old lines in many places altered, so as to avoid acclivities, and conduct them in a more level and convenient direction. Besides the turnpike roads passing through the parish, there are eighteen miles of parish roads kept in repair, from the Conversion money in lieu of Statute Labour. This amounts, at the maximum assessment, to L.51, 18s. 3d. Many of the most important of these roads were made at a great expense by heritors, through whose lands they passed, advancing money without interest, to be repaid when the road funds of the parish would admit. Twenty years ago, the debt thus created amounted to L.549. It has now been reduced to L.136, - principally by the heritors having for many years assessed themselves with an extra sum of L.17, 6s. 1d. annually.

Drawn up November 1836.
Revised February 1844.