Hoddam, an Annandale parish of S Dumfriesshire, comprising, since 1609, the ancient parishes of Hoddam, Luce, and Ecclefechan, and containing near its E border the post-town and station of Ecclefechan. It is bounded N by Tundergarth, E by Middlebie, SE by Annan, SW by Annan and Cummertrees, and W by St Mungo. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 5¾ miles ; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 3½ miles ; and its area is 7564½ acres, of which 50¾ are water. The river Annan flows 43/8 miles south-eastward along the south-western border ; its affluent, Milk Water, over the last 5 furlongs of its course, roughly traces part of the western boundary ; and Mein Water, after flowing for 7 furlongs just beyond the south-eastern boundary, runs 9½ furlongs across a southern wing, and falls into the Annan at a point 1½ mile SSW of Ecclefechan. The south-western and southern district is low and level, sinking little below 100, and little exceeding 200, feet above sea-level ; from it the surface rises northward to 474 feet at Three Well Brae, 503 at Relief, 550 at Douglashall, and 920 at conspicuous Brunswark Hill. The parish generally is richly embellished with hedgerows, clumps of wood, and high cultivation, and combines, with surrounding heights, to form a finely picturesque landscape. The rocks comprise sandstone, limestone, clay-slate, clay ironstone, and thin seams of coal. The soil along the Annan is a rich, deep, alluvial loam ; in the lands further E and N is light and gravelly, yet fertile ; and in the higher grounds towards Brunswark Hill inclines to clay, incumbent on a cold till. Some 70 acres are under wood ; about one-tenth of the entire area is sheep-pasture, chiefly on Brunswark Hill ; and all the rest of the land is in tillage. The Hoddam estate, held from the 14th or 15th century by the powerful Herries family, was acquired from the sixth Lord Herries about 1627 by Sir Richard Murray of Cockfoot, whose nephew, the second Earl of Annandale, conveyed it about 1653 to David, first Earl ol Southesk. Charles, fourth Earl of Southesk, in 1690 sold castle and barony to John Sharpe, w hose ancient line ended in the four brothers-.General Matthew Sharpe, Liberal M.P. for the Dumfries burghs from 1832 to 1841 ; Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe (1781-1851), the ' Scots Horace Walpole ; ' Admiral Alexander Renton Sharpe (d. 1858) ; and William John Sharpe (1797-1875), of sporting celebrity. In 1878 the property was purchased by Edward Brook, Esq. (b. 1825). The original castle, said to have been a seat of the royal Bruces about the beginning of the 14th century, stood at Hallguards, on the left bank of the Annan, 2 miles WSW of Ecclefechan, and was demolished in terms of a Border treaty. The present castle stands in Cnmmertrees parish, 3¾ miles WSW of Ecclefechan, near the right bank of the Annan, and at the foot of Repentance Hill (350 feet), with its conspicuous square, thick-walled beacon-tower, 25 feet high, and dating from the 15th century. Hoddam Castle itself is of the same period, massive and picturesque, enlarged by a wing in Gen. Sharpe's time from designs by Mr Burn, and commanding a view of one of the loveliest Dumfriesshire straths. Knockhill, 1½ mile WSW of Ecclefechan, is the only mansion in Hoddam parish, whose chief antiquities are noted under Brunswark. The birthplace and grave of Thomas Carlyle are described under Ecclefechan, but it may be added that a tombstone was erected to his memory in the summer of 1882. When in 573 A.D.St. Kentigern returned from Wales to the Cumbrian region, ' King Rydderch Hael and his people went forth to meet him, and they encountered each other at a place called Holdelm, now Hoddam. . . . Here he fixed his see for a time ; but afterwards, warned by divine revelation, he transferred it to his own city Glasgow ' (Skene's Celtic Scotland, ii. 191, 1877). Five proprietors holds each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 3 of between £100 and £500, 5 of from £50 to £100, and 16 of from £20 to £50. Giving off a portion to Bridekirk quoad sacra parish, Hoddam is in the presbytery of Annan and synod of Dumfries ; the living is worth £344. The present parish church, 9 furlongs SW of Ecclefechan, was built in 1817, and contains 500 sittings. At Ecclefechan are a Gothic Free church (1878 ; 280 sittings), a Gothic U.P. church (1865 ; 600 sittings), and Hoddam public school, which, with accommodation for 294 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 180, and a grant of £157, 4s. Valuation (1860) £7538, (1883) £11,087, 14s. 10d. Pop. (1801) 1250, (1831) 1582, (1861) 1653, (1871) 1598, (1881) 1548, of whom 1445 were in the ecclesiastical parish.Ord. Sur., sh. 10, 1864.
Note: This text has been made available
using a process of scanning and
optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical
errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from
the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be
different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original
text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity.
This information is provided subject to our