This booklet is written for the bazaar which is being held to clear off the debt on the renovation of the Church. It is necessarily small; and the views both into the past and into the present are but glimpses. Yet I hope that it will prove interesting to parishioners and friends.

I am greatly obliged to Mr. Thomas Fraser, Dalbeattie, who gave me generous access to his valuable library: I am also indebted to Mr Maxwell of Munches for the perusal of the ancient charters* and to Mrs. Douglas, Orchardton, who took the photograph.

*As printed in the "Book of Caerlaverock."





Buittle Parish: Past and Present.



THEY say that Galloway was a favoured land what time  — many centuries — strife and havoc prevailed in the strictly Border counties. Galloway is off the line of march. So while in these other counties you find ruins mainly of keeps and castles, in Galloway you find comparatively few of these, but you find rather ruins and other traces of ecclesiastical buildings. It was comparatively a land of peace. The province was dotted all over with houses of prayer, large and small. In Buittle there are traces of several churches or chapels. Of some there is scarcely any remaining record more than the name. While a handy quarry has been made of the sacred edifice, and the stones have gone to build stables and byres, and the plough has turned the very sod on which it stood, the name has remained a memorial more permanent than brass.

Of one church in the parish there is record in "black and white," although in this case the name has almost disappeared from common use. There is a confirmation by Pope Benedict XIII., dated 1397 of (1) a charter by Thomas, Bishop of Galloway, granting to the abbey and convent of Sweetheart, on account of their pressing necessity and known poverty, and the demolition of their monastery by lightning and its being situated on the borders of Scotland and England, where great depredations were frequently perpetrated, the church of St. Colmanell of Butyll, which was free and vacant through the death of Sir Donald Macindole (late rector thereof), and ordaining that they when a vacancy occurred in the vicarage of the church should present to the granters a suitable person to perform divine worship and have the cure of souls, and that the vicar should receive yearly from the abbot and convent in his church of Butyll ten merks sterling for his support, and that he should have in addition the land belonging to the church with the half of the meadow grazing and pasture, the other half with the garden and the ancient manor of the rector to remain with the abbot and convent (done in the church of Kyrmist 16th July, 1381), and (2) a charter by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Lord of Galloway and the Barony of Butyll, granting to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and all saints, and to the abbey and convent of Sweetheart, serving God there for ever, for the welfare of the souls of himself and Joan his spouse and his parents and all faithful Christians, the advowson of the church of St. Colmanell of Butyll in the diocese of Galloway and the whole right of patronage thereof. Dated 1397.

There is a record also that the Pope in 1327 granted to one Master Ricardus de Haveryng the church of St. Colmanell in Butyll.

Now it is not an uncommon opinion that Devorgilla, who founded the abbey of Sweetheart, also built the church of Buittle. The connection established as above told, easily accounts for the growth of that opinion. But these abstracts indicate that the church of St. Colmanell had originally no connection with Sweetheart, and might well have been in existence before Sweetheart was built.

The name of the old church has almost disappeared; it only survives in the name of a well within a bow-shot of the ruins—San Comell. It springs in a field called the "Meikle Kirkland," which was no doubt once the property of the church. San, of course, is Saint, and Comell is an evident corruption of Colmanell.

The position of the well indicates that St. Colmanell stood near probably where the old ruin stands. It doubtless underwent alterations from time to time. I find mention made of a church built in the Barony of Buittle immediately before the Reformation (1560). This was probably one of the last alterations on old St. Colmanell. It is a beautiful ruin with its triple lancet light in the east and its shapely arch, and one can’t help regretting that instead of building the present church, which was built in 1819, the heritors of that day did not spend their labour on another renovation of old St. Colmanell.

Another church in the parish was Kirkennan. It stood in the field immediately to the right of the road first after passing Kirkennan House on the way from Dalbeattie to Palnackie. Old men are not long dead who had seen in the making of the present road marks of a churchyard there—fragments of tombstones, &c. ; and the present stables were built with the stones of the old building. It is said that the church there was transferred to the present site for the greater convenience of the parishioners. That can only mean that the congregation worshipping in Kirkennan was united to the congregation worshipping in St. Colmanell.

This church was dedicated either to St. Inan, an Irish saint who lived in the fifth century, or to St. Adamnan, the successor and biographer of St. Columba.

Again there is Chapelcroft. The name certainly indicates that there was a chapel here. The only traces are the remains of a circular stone wall in one of the fields.

Again one of the fields in East Logan is called "The Kirkhill," indicating that there was a church in that quarter. Mr M’Vinnie, the farmer, tells me that there are several carved stones built into the farmhouse and offices, and these, it is supposed, were from the ruin of the old church in Kirkhill field. In that field the son of Mr M’Vinnie found a Queen Elizabeth sixpence. The greenness of the field—greener than the neighbouring ones—was long and commonly explained as due to there being once a churchyard there.

When you think of the expense of all these buildings and their upkeep (some of them, of course, were rude enough), you may say that they were "sair sancts" in those days. But you must remember that it was in this way they thought, like that lord of Galloway mentioned above, to benefit their own souls, the souls of their spouses, the souls of their parents, aye, of all faithful Christians.

Now I give a list taken from Scott’s " Fasti Ecclesiae Scotticanoe," of those who have served this cure from the Reformation with brief notes on some.

James Parker, exhorter. 1567
It was impossible at first to supply all the parishes with qualified ministers, and so "readers" " exhorters" served in many.

James Carruthers, exhorter. 1574

David Aikman. 1588
Perhaps he was murdered by Mures at Kirkcudbright.

Patrick Adamson, A.M. 1614
He was deposed for drunkenness, and disobedience to the Presbytery.

John Somerville. 1640

John Dunlop, A.M.  1642
He died aged 29 or 30.

Robert Fergusson, A.M.  1645
He continued with others to hold meetings of the Presbytery after they had been discharged, 9th January, 1662. That was after the Restoration when it was sought to re-introduce Episcopacy into the Scottish Church. He was carried to Edinburgh in the June following, from which, however, he speedily returned, hut be was deprived on the establishment of Episcopacy, and called before the Privy Council, 24th February, 1663.

William Harvie. 1666
He deserted his charge, and fled the country.

John Logan, A.M.  1669
He was admonished to wait upon his charge more diligently.

James Walker, A.M.  1676
He was outed by the people in 1689. This was the common occurrence throughout the country known as the "rabbling of the curates." When we mourn over the sufferings of the Covenanters, justice bids us remember also "the rabbling of the curates." Strangely, I had a letter two years ago from a descendant of this man in London asking me if I could furnish him with any details of his life here, and telling me that after being outed from his charge he suffered great hardships.

Alexander Dunlop. 1693

All who follow after spent long years of ministry here, and their bodies are buried in the churchyard. Space forbids me to copy their epitaphs, according to which they were all men of learning and piety.

William Tod. 1699
The Presbytery records show that he took part in the Macmillan controversy, siding first with Macmillan and then with the majority.

John M’Naught, A.M  1736
He had been chaplain to Colonel William Maxwell of Cardoness. He died aged 94, and had been "father" of the Synod for years. He published in 1783 a booklet entitled "Specimen of plain and practical Catechising." It is small — consisting of only 55 pages. It is, however, the only publication of any minister of Buittle that has come within my knowledge besides the account of the parish contributed to the "Old Statistical Account of Scotland" in 1796 by the Rev. George Maxwell, and the account of the parish contributed to the " New Statistical Account" in 1836 by the Rev. Alexander Crosbie.

George Maxwell of Glenarm.  1785
He was a man of considerable ability, evidenced by the account of the parish he wrotc for Sir John Sinclair’s Statistical Account. Burns counted him worthy of his satire:--

"Buittle’s apostle,
Wha’s mair o’ the black than the blue."

" Here’s a little wad-set,
Buittle’s scrap o’ truth,
Pledged within a pawnshop
To quench the holy drouth."

Alexander Crosbie. 1808
It was in his time the new church was built, which with its square tower and hooded windows and buttresses is an ornament, and deservedly has had the reputation of a "bonnie kirk." I understand it was he also who planted the trees on the glebe—such an ornament to the landscape. This little incident, humorous and pathetic, shows his piety and benevolence. A baby was cruelly left by his mother on the grass outside Breoch Cottage. Those who found him brought him to the Manse. ‘the minister received him kindly. The question soon arose—What name was he to have? After prayer, the minister determined to open the Bible and give the child the first name his eye lighted on. That name, alas ! was Nebuchadnezzar. He could not give the wayside child that name. So he resolved to give him the name nearest in sound, and called him Ebenezer. He grew up an amiable boy, but died at ten years of age.

James Robb Grant, A.M. 1845
The memory of this good man is still green and fragrant. His most lasting memorial in the parish is the beautiful Mission Hall in Palnackie, which he built in 1877, mainly at his own expense. What a benefit it has been to the village ! - a benefit such as few villages of the size enjoy. He died in 1889, when the present writer was appointed to the charge.

The renovation of the church just completed has been accomplished, not by the heritors alone, not by the congregation alone, not by friends alone, but by the hearty co-operation of all. It was begun in 1902, the year of the coronation of our gracious sovereign, King Edward, and the church was re-opened for public worship on 22nd March, 1903, the Kirk-session at this date consisting of :— R. T. Tarbet, moderator; W.J. H. Maxwell of Munches, Wellwood Maxwell of Kirkennan, Robert J. Campbell, George Macaulay; with Hugh Knox, clerk.

The old pulpit was very high. I suppose none felt the extreme inconvenience of this save ministers who preached, and they all did. There were two reasons for its height. The first was that in those days they thought thus to exalt the Word and the Preaching of the Word. There was a large amount of symbolism in the height of the pulpit. And the second was that they anticipated a day when a gallery would be built. A modern and convenient pulpit has taken its place.

The old Communion table ran up the centre of the church, round which. the people gathered in relays. This was seemly, and quite suitable when no time was grudged on the sacred service and ministers were able to come from various parts to serve the various "tables." But times change, and we change with them. Now it is felt to be best to have what is called simultaneous Communion. So a chancel has been built with a beautiful triple light like that in old St. Colmanell, and here is placed the Communion table. It is very meet that that central rite of our faith should have in any Christian edifice decent, honourable place. A vestry also has been built against the chancel

The two beautiful solid silver cups now long in use bear the inscription :— Ex dono pastoris, 1766, ie., "by the gift of the pastor." The pastor then was the Rev. John M’Naught.

The solid silver paten or plate was presented by the Rev. J. Robb Grant in the year 1858 and bears this inscription — Hanc lancem ad usum caoenoe Domini sacrosanctae seposuit Jacobus Robb Grant M.D.CCCLVIII.-- " This plate was set apart for the use of the sacred Supper of the Lord, by James Robb Grant, 1858."

The flagon is of pewter.

The old form of Communion necessitated the use of "tokens," marking the particular table at which a Communicant was to sit. Under the modern form these will be unnecessary. I have many old tokens dating back probably 200 years and more. The last issue was in 1848. As one touches reverently these little things pious fancy conjures up the vast throng who through all the fleeting years have handled the "token" that speaks of man’s eternal hope.

Under the old form we used for the element of bread shortbread. I imagine that it may have been very common throughout the country in a former day when "baker’s bread" was unknown, in country places at least. The late laird of Munches a few years before his death told me that he had thought until then the use of shortbread at Communion was universal, so regularly through his long life had he taken Communion in his own parish church. It is a most inconvenient bread for the purpose. It was chosen, some think, because it is unleavened, but it is more likely because it was the choicest bread available for the sacred service.

Just a word about the manse. It was built, I believe, in 1793. A carved stone bearing that date is inserted in one of the walls enclosing the grounds. It underwent considerable renovation in 1894. It probably stands on the same site as that ancient manor of the rector of old St. Colmanell




THE only visible remains of Buittle Castle are the foundations at the farm of Buittle Place on the edge of the river Urr. Although now the glory of it is departed it was in its day a place of great importance. For here lived John Balliol, the nominee of King Edward of England for the Crown of Scotland, of whom Bruce was the rival. It is strange to think of this parish holding even for a little the seat of the monarch of the realm. All Galloway seems to have been favourable to the English Crown. Balliol, Edward’s nominee, was a son of the daughter of the Lord of Galloway. Bruce found not friends but enemies in these parts. Carrick was his stronghold; but in the high lands of Galloway he was so pressed that his life was nearly taken. He burned Buittle Castle. In Greyfriars’, Dumfries, he slew the Comyn, an agent of the English Crown.

(Speaking of Bruce, when he came to power he granted, I read, certain lands in this district to one Richard Corbett, of which the evidence to this day remains in the name of the estate Corbieton, i.e., the town or dwelling of the Corbetts.)

No evidence remains here of Balliol’s residence, but the Charter of Balliol College, Oxford, is dated at Buittle Castle in the year 1282.

Here, too, lived the Lady Devorgilla, of whose virtuous deeds I subjoin the account as given by Wyntoun the Chronicler. I have modernised here and there where I thought necessary to the understanding—

"Now to rehearse it is my will
Some virtuous deeds of Devorgill.
That lady was, as I heard say,
Alan’s daughter of Galloway.
John, elder Balliol in his life
That lady wedded till his wife,
And on her syne after that
John, the Balliol, the King he gat.
When the Balliol that was her lord
Spoused, as ye heard record,
His soul sent to his Creator,
Ere he was laid in sepulture
She made them open his body tight
And caused his heart be ta’en out quite.
With spices well savoured
And of sorts well flavoured,
That same heart then, as men said,
She embalmed, and caused it be laid
Into a coffin of ivory
That she caused be made therefor,
Enamelled and perfectly dycht (adorned),
Locked, and botind with silver bright.
And always when she hied to meat
That coffin she caused by her be set,
And to her lord as in presence
Aye to that she did reverence.
And that she caused to be set each day
As wont before her lord was aye
All the courses covered well
Into silver bright vessel
Brought from the kitchen and there set.
When she made her to rise from meat
All these courses she caused then
Be ta’en up and dealt to poor men.
She sent all these courses good,
As she them chose, to be their food.
This she ceased never to do
While living in this world was she.
She ordained in her testament,
And gave bidding with whole intent,
That that heart they should then take
And lay it on her breast.
As in duty, they were then with honour
To lay her with that in sepulture.
She founded into Galloway
Of Cistercian order one Abbey.
Dulce Cor she made them all—
That is, Sweetheart—that Abbey call;
And now the men of Galloway
Call that stead the New Abbey.
* * * * *
And in the University
Of Oxford she caused be
A College founded. This lady
Did all these deeds devoutly.
A better lady than she was none
In all the isle of Mare Bretagne,
She was right pleasant of beauty;
Here were great tokens of bounty.

It is in connection with the Castle that the name Buittle and its meaning fall to be discussed. (There is a tradition that the place was once called Bar Nare; with which compare the name of the neighbouring hill, Craignair, and the name of the Balliol’s place in Durham, Barnard.)

It used to be spelt Botel; it is a Saxon word meaning "dwelling" "house." It is the same as "booth." Indeed, the word appears to be an Aryan word running to the foundation of human speech. You have it in the Hebrew "Beth," e.g., "Bethel," meaning "House of God," "Bethlehem" "House of bread." You have the same Saxon word in the names Newbattle, which used to be spelt Newbotel, meaning New House, More-battle meaning Great House. You have the same word in Bootle, Lancashire, and in Battle, near Hastings.

It is amusing, now that we know so certainly the meaning of the word—but we need not think too highly of ourselves—to read the old explanations of the name. I find in the old Statistical Account of the parish written in 1796 by the minister, the Rev. George Maxwell that then Buittle was supposed to be "Boothill." "Boothill" describes the place where it was supposed in the glorious days of old, cavalry and archers assembled — booted men. Others derived " Buittle " from " Bowet-hill." "Bowet" is an old word for a lantern, still used to describe the hollowed-turnip lantern carried by youngsters at Hallowe’en. It was called, it was supposed, "Bowet-hill" from the beacons and lights of the Castle on great occasions.

A notable ruin in the parish is the Round Tower of Orchardton. The name Round Tower is misleading; it is not like the round towers proper, like those in Ireland, or like the one at Abernethy. It has been attached to a considerable building, the foundations of which still in part appear. It is not known—it is difficult even to conjecture—what its use was in that secluded hollow. A peculiar interest attaches to it through the legend connected with it out of which Sir Walter Scott wove his tale of" Guy Mannering." That legend is given in full in Harper’s "Rambles in Galloway." In brief it is that a party of rebels from Culloden were found on the coast waiting to escape to the Isle of Man. They were brought to the Round Tower, where they were tried by a Commissary from Dumfries. He seemed to have no other alternative than to condemn them all to death, when he observed a young man among them tearing up a paper. He ordered him and the paper to be seized. It was discovered then that this paper was his commission as an officer from the King of France. So, instead of executing him as a rebel, he was able to detain him as a prisoner of war. He proved to be the only son of the late Sir Robert Maxwell, and the long-lost heir of Orchardton.

Another relic of antiquity is the vitrified fort on Castlegower. The Romans, we know, sometimes used this method of making walls. Instead of building, they welded the stones together in strong fire. So this fort probably dates to the Roman Invasion.

A still more marvellous and more ancient relic of the past lingers yet in the story of the great Cave, but it is only found in story. It was supposed to run deep through Kirkennan hill, the entrance being at the quarry on the left side of the road going from the church to Clone farmhouse. John Maxwell of Munches and Terraughtie, the great-great-grandfather of the present laird of Munches, the "grand old man" of his day in these parts, states that when a boy he descended into it, and says "the bottom was like a swept kirk, and here and there were heads of spears and human bones." I was told that a Dalbeattie man in the early decades of last century declared that he when a boy had been into this cave—so sure was he that, now an old man, he undertook for a consideration to guide to the entrance a deputation of two from the Antiquarian Society of Scotland. Alas! when they got there the entrance had disappeared as if another pied piper like him of Hamelin town had exercised his magic on it, and the wondrous cavern had closed for ever.

There are four bare walls still standing, but crumbling fast away—a successor of mine in the years to come will have difficulty in tracing them—the remains of the little steading called "The Flock." But "thereby hangs a tale." A man born within these walls made great churches and halls throughout the kingdom ring with his eloquence, growing to be a man of vast power— Dr Raleigh.



THE parish is a long and lanky one - over eleven miles long, tapering at either end, and about four miles at its greatest breadth in the centre. The Church is exactly in the middle of the parish. The parish is divided into two sides by a steep hill - the high and the low, the part along the river. The bounds of the parish were fixed before there was a town of Dalbeattie or a town of Castle-Douglas, before there were bridges across the river, and when there were no spring vehicles, when more walking was done, and any carrying was on the backs of Galloway nags to which hills were not a consideration. Buittle is in every respect an old parish. It is not one that would be mapped out in these days.

The Rev. George Maxwell quotes from Buchanan this description of Galloway :- Nusquam fere in montes attollitur sed collibus tantum frequentibus intumescitur—We have no wild great mountains as in the Highlands, but we have the land swelling into "frequent hills." There is no parish in the Stewartry more made up of frequent hills than this. Away from the side of the river there is no large flat expanse. The exposures of the surface are therefore most varied. The late Dr Fraser, minister of Colvend, who was a recognised authority on Botany, told me that there were more wild flowers in Buittle than in any other parish in the neighbourhood, and no doubt that is due to the exceeding variety of the surface.

These frequent hills afford remarkable views. Some are quite striking, as, e.g., the one from Ravens-crag. From this and from several of the hills you see across the narrow Solway to Cumberland on a clear day distinguishing the houses, the hedges, and the crops. When I had taken a friend who had visited Palestine to the highest hill in Little Knox, looking over on Dalbeattie, he exclaimed "Nazareth." It recalled vividly to his mind, he said, the view of Nazareth from the hill, though the environs of Nazareth were bare and poor.

There is a good deal of iron in the rock in parts, and there are marks here and there of workings in a former day. It has been surveyed in recent years, but there does not seem to be enough to pay the cost of working. An amusing incident is told of an old tenant coming down to Munches post-haste early one morning to tell that iron had been found in quantity at last. On the laird going to the spot referred to the wealth of iron that had astonished the old farmer proved to be the accumulated refuse of a smithy that had once stood there!

In the olden days, in the ages of "faith," certain wells in the parish were credited with holy miraculous virtue. One was that well on the hillside overlooking the Dalbeattie reservoir called the "Rumbling Well." People brought their sick children or diseased cattle—I find mention made of people coming from Tongland to this well— and they cast into the well certain gifts propitiatory to the Saint, pieces of silver, bits of old clothing, &c. Another such well was on Buittle Place farm ; it was famous for the cure of a cattle-disease called "Connock." Then there was San Comell, which, when I came, I found famous only for its virtue as grand tea water, but then this is not an age of "faith."

A stranger, one who has been accustomed to look upon flat arable land, coming into this place of "frequent hills" notes what steep hill-sides are cultivated here. The story goes that in the time of Robert the Bruce the Pope, for some offence, laid his ban on Scotland. This was interpreted as applying only to the cultivated parts; and the people, being driven of necessity for food, tilled further up the hills. If this be true, it is one of the few benefits, as the Rev. George Maxwell remarks, that superstition has conferred on mankind.

By the care of the proprietors this is one of the well-wooded parishes of the country. There is one famous tree, a plane, that has stood for many years, in whose branches quite a party can dispose themselves. I have not measured it, but in 1836 its girth 5 feet from the ground was 16 feet. This is the "Forge" tree on Hopehead. It is said to have been there in the time of King William III., and that when that monarch was leading his cavalry by this route to Ireland a forge was set up here for the shoeing of the horses. Hence the name.

The great industry in the parish, apart from agriculture, is the granite industry in Craignair quarry. It is interesting to recall the forecast which Mr Crosbie made in 1835. "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 7 to 8 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, near to a seaport, enables it to be easily removed. The improvements in quarrying, splitting, and dressing are likely also to reduce the expense." How amply that forecast has been fulfilled ! Where would Dalbeattie, the granite burgh of the South, be without Craignair? The granite of Craignair is found in the great Liverpool Docks, in the great Thames Embankment, in many a stately pile of many a city, and the pavement of many a street— all which may be said to be a modern compensation for the departed glory of the residence of knights and dames of high degree.

At the side of Craignair there is a farm whose name illustrates well the corruption of names, often quite obscuring their meaning. It is "Butterhole." A stranger might think he had come into a dairy paradise. The name is, uncorrupted, "Bitternhole "—a resort of the bittern, a bird now hardly ever seen in these parts.

These frequent hills made possible what was known as the "Smugglers’ March." It ran up from the coast, which, with its caves, lay so conveniently near to the Isle of Man. It ran between the hills, and was lighted by beacons (low down, not on the hill-tops), up the Mill o’ Glen, up behind Ben Skeoch (by the way, the highest hill in the parish, 583 feet), and so on. Old Mr. Gordon, who died at Cullinaw, but who lived formerly at Bars-yard, told me that he found on the farm behind this hill a brandy keg; but the brandy had oozed away under the exposure and "time’s destroying sway."

The population has not varied very much. From 1755 to 1811 it was about 900; from 1811 to 1836 it was just over 1000 It reached high-water mark in 1861 when it was 1059. In 1901 the population was 879. The rise in the numbers at 1861 was due to the flourishing trade of Palnackie. That trade had reached its zenith about then. It served a wide district in those days, those pre-railway days; and old folks tell how carts stood, on the street leading down to the port, in a long file waiting for their load of coal. In those days, too, a good deal of ship-carpentering was done, and one schooner at least was entirely built. In 1796 there were in the parish, I read, 19 persons between 70 and 100 years of age. How many were just over 70 and how many on the borders of 100 is not said. But even if there were some said to be about 100, could their word be relied on in those pre-registration days? In Urr Churchyard there is a tombstone bearing this epitaph

Here lies * * who died * * aged 101 years.
(According to his own account.)

The words within brackets are meant to assure the reader, but he is apt to read another interpretation into them. When it was a matter of "one's own account" I am afraid exactness in the number of years, especially of a long life, cannot be relied on. It may not, therefore, mean so very much that in 1796 there were 19 between 70 and 100. But, as if to prove that longevity is not decreasing, there is living in the parish now as I write an old man, hale and hearty yet, aged without any doubt 96 years.

It is interesting to mark various differences in the parish between the present day and 100 years ago or so. Take the weather for example. "With great safety," says the minister in 1796, "one might take a bet that, communibus diebus, the thermometer stands higher during the year in Buittle than in London." I don’t know whether it is the weather in London or the weather in Buittle that has changed. "Even a pheasant," he writes, "has been seen in the parish." After reading that I counted 17 pheasants in a field near the manse. It reminds me that the late laird of Munches told me that he remembered as a boy the first rabbit shot on Munches being brought in and shown as a great curiosity, say about 1830. Says the minister in 1796, "Sheep are kept in small numbers, being thought prejudicial to the pasture where black cattle are kept, nor was wool an object of profit."

These numbers of the parish in 1796 speak for themselves in contrast with the present :—Horses, 195 ; black cattle, 2299; sheep, 752; carts, 83, ploughs, 67.

The following figures show that a hundred years ago a parish was more self-contained :—Joiners, 5; shoemakers, 3; tailors, 4; weavers, 8; masons, 3; millers, 3.

The difference in the value of money is clearly marked in the salaries of the public servants of the parish :—Principal schoolmaster, £10 ; second schoolmaster, £3, with bed, board, and washing; minister’s stipend, £73.

The difference in the parish between this and a former day is strikingly marked in the well-known letter written at Munches in 1811 by John Maxwell of Munches and Terraughtie, referred to above as "the grand old man of these parts in his day.’ I take these quotations from the letter. Describing the first half of the 18th century he says :—" 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 crock 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."

"In 1725," he notes, "potatoes were first introduced into the Stewartry when they were sold by pounds and ounces." At that time there was only one baker in Dumfries who carried on creels bawbee baps to country fairs. In 1738 five year old Galloway cattle in good condition were sold in Dumfries at £2 12s 6d a head. "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 £49 sterling."

I take the following from Nicholson’s "History of Galloway," in supplement of the above, describing the latter half of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th—" Their houses in general were miserable hovels built of stone and turf or stone with mud and clay. They were poorly covered with straw or turf, and when it rained the water penetrated through the sooty covering and dyed everything a dingy colour. There were two openings for windows. These with a hole in the roof formed the vent for the smoke. They kept their cows in winter tied to stakes in the end of their dwelling-houses. All entered at the same door, and often there was no partition. The furniture was rude and mean. Many families had no bedsteads; they slept on straw or heath laid on the floor. They had no chairs, but only stools or stones. They had dishes of wood - one dish for all at meals. Each had a spoon made of horn which after use he put in his pocket or hung by his side."

It is surely well worth while thus to recall the past among these hills. It makes us thankful. It makes us realise into what vineyards we have entered that we planted not, into what houses that we did not build.