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XHIS is R large and important shire in the south of Scotland, bounded on tbe east by the counties of Roxburgh and Selkirk
on the north-west by Ayrshire, on the south-west by the stewartrv {or county) of Kirkcudbright, on the north by the countiea of Lanark,
Peebles, and part of Selkirk, its south and south-eastern boundary is washed by the Solway Frith, and its south-eastern base is skirted
by Roxburghshire and the English county of Cumberland. The length of the county, from north-west to south-east, is nearly fifty-five
miles, and its extreme breadth, from the south to where it touches Peebleehire on the north, is nearly thirty miles. According to the
latest and best surveys it embraces an area of 1,103 square miles, or 705,946 statute acres of land.
Early History.— At the epoch of the Roman invasion under Agricola, in the year 80, this part of Scotland was inhabited by a race
called the Selgovm, who spread themselves as far as the banks of the river Dee, in Galloway : these people continued independent till
the year 875, when they were overpowered by the Northumbrian Saxons, who retained the ascendancy for two centuries; during the
lapse of this time, however, immense swarms of adventurers from Ireland and Cantji-e effected a settleraent, and from these
intermixtures sprung the Picts, who progressively acquired the paramount sway. At this period Dumfries-shire is understood to have
formed part of Cambria, which district Edgar bequeathed to his youngest brother David, who encouraged the cupidity of many opulent
Anglo-Norman barons, and the country was then divided into extensive baronies. The almost interminable border warfare was a
frightful calamity to the inhabitants of Dumfrics-shire and Cumberland, who for centuries were subjected to all the horrors attendant
upon barbarous incursions and reckless feudal hostility. When the civil war broke out under Charles I., the common people entered
heartily into the covenant, and the shire was disturbed by the exei-tions made by the loyal noblemen and gentlemen in quelling the
insurrection. Attachment to the house of Stuart ruined several of the great families; and humbler causes have conspired to
cxtinquish many names of great local interest. The Tilaxwells were completely ruined by the attainder of the Earl of Nithsdale, in
1715. The Douglasses of Queensberry. and the Johnstons of Annandale, have merged in other families, and out of the general wreck
the noble house of Bucclench has risen to the greatest prosperity and influence of any family in the south of Scotland. From being
thus so frequently subjected to the horrors of early invasion and predatory warfare, and being so partitioned into baronies, the shire
exhibits, even to this day, the remains of some very important castles and places of security.
Soil and Surface, Produce, Manufactures, &c.— The lower parts of Dumfries-shire are based with brown, red, yellow or white
sandstone, with dips generally to theSolway; a considei'able body of limestone also lies in this quarter, and beds of ironstone are
occasionally found to accompany the other strata. Coal prevails in great plenty in the upper portions of Nithsdale and lower parts of
Eskdale, the two extreme points of the county. The limestone of the shire has been of great value in improving the lands ; marl
likewise abounds in various tracts, and of freestone and whinstone there is a sufficiency in all directions : marble is also procured for
different useful and ornamental purposes, and near the northern confines of the county, at Wanlock Head, there are inexhaustible
mines of lead. As in most districts of the south of Scotland, there is a very general mixture of arable and pasture land. The upper
part of the shire, or Annandale, Eskdale and Ewesdale, is princixially devoted to sheep-feeding; in the lower portion the farms are
larger and more adapted to agriculture, the plantations and pleasure grounds are consequently more numerous, and are remarkable for
tlieir beauty and richness.
_ The following are the principal eminences in Dumfries-shire, with their alMtude above the level of the sea : —
Moss Paul (Inn and Stage, Vale ) ^on
of Ewes) f '■■■ **^"
Langholm Hill 1,204
Tinnis Hill 1,366
Wisp (in Ewes) 1,940'
Etterick, or Phawhope Penn 2,220
Wardlaw (in Caerlaverock) 826 Annan Hill 2iJ6
Auchioleck 1,500 Repentance Tower 350
■\Vanlockhead (village) 1.564 Brunswick Hill (Tundergarth parish) . . 740
Cairn-Kennow inear Drumlanrig) 2,080 Erickstane Brae 1,118
Queensberry Hill 2,250 i Loch-Skene l.GUO
Black Larg (border Ayrshire) 2,890 } Hartfell (near Moffat) 2,C2a
Lowthers (near Wauiockhead) 3,150
In Annandale the improvement in tbe breed of cattle has been most apparent, at the Highland Society's meeting some of the
choicest specimens of the pure breed of Galloway cows, heifers and bullocks are exhibited. The number of oxen, sheep and pigs
nurtured in this county are invariably more than adequate to the demands of its population; and exportation, therefore, of the excess
product takes place— and the same may be observed of corn, wool, hides and skins. The condition of the county is represented as
having greatly improved within the last sixty years, and at present its affairs may be considered in as prosperous a state as those of
any other district of Scotland. Dumfries-shire cannot be ranked as a manufacturing county : the principal branches under this head
are the manufacture of hosiery goods, tweeds and cotton spinning; the chief seat of the former is limited to the capital of the county —
the last to the town of Annan.
Rivers, &c. — The chief, indeed the only, rivers of consequence are the Nith, the Annan, and the Esk; from these streams the
principal divisions of tbe county obtain their names; from each of these greater divisions divei-ge vales, which likewise have denomina-
tions taken from the waters that are poured through them, such as Moffatdale, Dryfesdale, and Ewesdale. The Nith rises in the eastern
bills of Aryshire, enters Nithsdale by tbe foot of Carsoncone hill, in the parish of Kii-kcounel, and descends into the valley of Sanquhar;
having forced its way through the hills which surround this valley, it receives the Crawick water fi-om the north, and the Euchan from
the south. The river Cairn, which forms the western boundary of the county, unites its stream with the Nith, a little above Dumfries,
a short distance southward from which the latter river empties itself into the Solway Frith. Near to Jarborougb castle, on the banks of
the river Cairn, are to be seen those earthen moimds called "Bow-butts, "where the barons of Gleucairn,with their vassals, used to practice
archery. The river Annan (as well as the Tweed and the Clyde)takes its rise in the mountains above Moffat, and runs through the flat part
of Annandale for upwards of twenty-three miles ; in this course it receives tlie Evan and Moffat waters and the Wamphr«y stream, which
irrigates a x>leasant valley of that name; passing Johnstone, some other tributary rivulets increase its volume; at Loch Maven it is
enlarged by the Ac, and a little lower by the Dryfe, which courses through the vale of Dryfesdale, considered the termination of the vale
of Annan. The higher part of Eskdale, for nearly twenty miles, is mountainous; the Esk,in its progress thi-ough the district, is joined
by the Black Esk, the Maggot, the Ewes, and the Wauchope— (almost tbe Mholc of the division belongs to the noble family of Enccleuch);
after reaching Broomholm, the river traverses a flat country, and a part of Cumberland, before it reaches the Solway Frith ; during this
portion of its course it receives the Liddal from Roxburghshire, and the Line water fr<3m the county of Cumberland : the entire length
of its race is about thirty-eight miles, thirty of which are in the shire of Dumfries. The Solway differs very materially from other estu-
aries, receiving in Scotland the appellation of " Firths :" its waters arc shallow, and have long, sandy reaches at the ebbing of the tide.
The ebbs and flows of the Solway are proverbial for the rapidity of their action, and that is particularly the case during the spring tides
and the prevalence of gales from the South west, the borderers, though well mounted, have, in numerous melancholy instances, been
overwhelmed and drowned, when returning from the Cumberland fairs, in crossing the beJ^of this estuary— even the most experienced
persons are liable to be overtaken by the tides, when they have the best expectation of fording it in safety. The principal lines of Rail-
way now in operation are the " Glasgow and South Western," and the " Caledonian," with their branches.
Divisions and Representation.— The whole county is now popularly apportioned into three districts, namely— Eskdale on the
east, AxNAKDALK in the middle, and Nithsdale on the west. It is ascertained that Dumfries-shire was placed under the government of
a Sheriff in the thirteenth century, at which period it included the stewartry of Kircudbright ; the district of Annandale, however, con-
tinued to be a stewartry from the period when it merged in the Crown by the accession of Bruce, till tbe abolition of the heritable
jurisdiction. Up to the era of the reformation, Dumfries-shire formed part of the extensive diocese of Glasgow, and was divided into the
two deaneries of Nithsdale and Annandale; it now possesses forty-three parishes, which are divided into five presbyteries andonesynod.
There are four royal burghs in the county— Dumfries, Annan, Sanquhar, and Lochmaben ; and six burghs of barony- Moffat, Lockerby,
Langholm, Ecclefecban, Thornhill, and Moniaive. The shire at large sends one member to parliament, and the royal burghs before
named join with Kirkcudbright in returning another representative. The present member (1877) for the county is John James Hope John-
stone, Esq., of Annandale. The parliameutary constituency for 1876-7 numbered 3,229. In 1871, the number of inhabited houses in the
shire was 13,Gi(5; the population at the same period being 74,803.
1-1 573

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