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LOCHMABEN
\varcl the view is only stopped by tlie MoiTat and
Queensberry Hills ; the Beacon and Pinnacle Hills
bound the western side of the valley, and Brunswark
the eastern ; whilst to the S lies Annandale stretched
to view, the eye at last resting on Skiddaw and Scafell.
The town itself is regularly built. Its High Street, J
mile long, is wide and spacious. At the S end stands
the parish church, at the N end are the toNvn-hall
and market-place. Until within the last few years
most of the houses were thatched with straw, but
now there is only one that has not been roofed with
more stable materials. There are no buildings of
much pretension, but two or three deserve a passing
notice. '
The new town-hall, successor to one of 1723, is a
handsome edifice in the Scottish Baronial style, erected
in 1878 from designs by the late David Bryce, R.S.A.,
at a cost of over £2000. Since 1879 six of its win-
dows have been filled with stained glass. In front,
on the site of the ancient market-cross, is a freestone
statue, S feet high, of Robert Bruce, by Mr John
Hutchison, R.S.A., unveiled on 13 Sept. 1879, and
surmounting a pedestal of Dalbeattie granite, 10 feet
high. The parish church, built in 1818-20 at a cost
of £3000, is a Gothic structure, with 1400 sittings,
a bold square tower, and two good bells, one of which
is said to have been the gift of the Pope to Robert
Bruce. Its predecessor, at the W side of the town,
on the shore of the Kirk Loch, was a Gothic edifice,
with a large choir, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.
The Maxwells, after their defeat by the Johnstones in
the battle of Dryfe Sands (Dec. 1593), having taken
refuge in this cliurch, the Johnstones iu-ed it, and
forced them to surrender. Near the site of it is St
Magdalene's Well, enclosed with a stone and lime
â– wall, and roofed with freestone. The Free church,
built in 1844 at a cost of £800, and greatly improved
in 1867, contains 700 sittings ; and a U.P. church,
on a rising-ground in the northern division of the
town known as Barras, was built in 1818, and contains
800 sittings. Lochmaben has a post office, with money
order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a
branch of the National Bank, a local savings' bank,
5 insurance agencies, 3 hotels, a gas company, a
masonic lodge, 2 curling clubs, a reading and recrea-
tion room, and a boating club. Monday is market-
day ; fairs for the sale of pork are held on the
first and third Mondays of Jan., Feb., and March,
the fourth Monday of Nov., and the second and fourth
Mondays of Dec. ; and one for pork and seeds is held
on the fourth Monday of March. A considerable
manufacture of coarse linen cloth, for sale unbleached
in the English market, was at one time carried on, but
has many years been extinct ; and the weaving of
stockings and shirts is now the only industry. To-day
the town, in many respects, is nothing better than
many a village, but it looms large and important
when seen through the haze of antiquity. Under the
fosterage of the Bruces it must have sprung into
vigour before the close of the 12th century, and probably
soon acquired more consequence than any other town
in the SW of Scotland. Like other Border towns, it
suffered severely and lost its records from the incursions
of the English ; but it is traditionally asserted to
have been erected into a royal burgh soon after Bruce's
accession to the throne. Its latest charter, granted
in 1612 by James VI., confirms all the earlier charters.
In 1463 the town was burned by the English, under
the Earl of Warwick ; and in 1484 the recreant Earl
of Douglas and the treacherous Duke of Albany attempted
to plunder it on St Magdalene's fair day, but were
repelled by the inhabitants. The corporation consists
of a provost, a bailie, a dean of guild, a treasurer,
and five councillors. I'hey once possessed considerable
property, but so squandered and alienated it as to
Become bankrupt ; and the corporation revenue now
is only from £10 to £45. Lochmaben unites with
DuMFKiES, Annan, Sanquhar, and Kirkcudbright in
retui-ning a member to parliament. The municipal and
LOCHMABEN
the parliamentary constituency numbered 210 and 166
in 1884, when the annual value of real property
amounted to £2794 (£2257 in 1873). Pop. of royal
burgh (1861) 1544, (1871) 1627, (1881) 1539 ; of par-
liamentary and police burgh (1841) 1328, (1851) 1092,
(1871) 1244, (1881) 1216, of whom 634 were females.
Seal of Lochmaben.
Houses in parliamentary bui'gh (1881) 299 inhabited, 13
vacant, 4 building.
Lochmaben Castle, the ancestral residence of the
Bruce, stands 1 mile SSE of the burgh, on the extreme
point of a heart-shaped peninsula which juts a con-
siderable way into the S side of the Castle Loch.
Across the isthmus at the entrance of the peninsula
are vestiges of a deep fosse, which admitted at both
ends the waters of the lake, and converted the site
of the castle into an island, and over which a well-
guarded drawbridge gave or refused ingress to the
interior. Within this outer fosse, at brief intervals,
are a second, a third, and a fourth, of similar character.
The last, stretching from side to side of the penin-
sula immediately at the entrance of the castle, was
protected in front by a strong arched wall or ledge,
behind which a besieged force could shield themselves
while they galled, at a distance, an apiproaching foe,
and midway was spanned by a drawbridge which led
into the interior building, and was probably the last
post an enemy required to force in order to master
the fortress. Two archways at the north-eastern and
south-western angles of the building, through which
the water of the fosse was received or emptied, remain
entire. But no idea can now be formed of the original
beauty or polish either of this outwork or of the
magnificent pile which it helped to defend. Vandal
hands began generations ago to treat the castle of
the Bruce as a convenient quarry ; and, for the sake
of the stones, they have peeled away every foot of
the ashlar work which lined the exterior and the in-
terior of its walls. So far has barbarian rapacity
been carried, that now only the heart or packing of
some of the walls is left, exhibiting giant masses of
small stones and lime, irregularly huddled together,
and nodding to their fall. Many portions of the pile
have tumbled from aloft, and lie strewed in heaps
upon the gi-ound, the stone and the lime so firmly
cemented that scarcely any effort of human power
can disunite them. The castle, with its outworks,
covered about 16 acres, and was the strongest fortress
of the Border country, all but impregnable till the
invention of gunpowder. But what remains can hardly
suggest, even to fancy itself, the greatness of what
that which Vandalism has stolen. Only one or two
small apartments can be traced, and they stand in
the remoter part of the castle, and excite but little
interest. The enclosed space around is naturally
barren, fitted only for the raising of wood ; and
its present growth of trees harmonises well with
the ruin. The view of the loch and of the cir-
cumjacent scenery, from all points in the vicinity,
is calmly beautiful. The date of the castle is un-
certain, but probably was the latter part of the
13th century — the period of the competition for the
Crown.
639

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