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Parish of Eskdalemuir

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Eskdalemuir
1834-45: Eskdalemuir

Eskdalemuir, a parish of E Dumfriesshire, whose church stands, 620 feet above sea-level, on the right bank of the White Esk, 14 miles NW of Langholm, under which there is a post office of Eskdalemuir. It is bounded N by Ettrick in Selkirkshire, NE by Roberton and Teviothead in Roxburghshire, E and SE by Westerkirk, S and SW by Hutton, and NW by Moffat. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 127/8. miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 9¼ miles; and its area is 43,518½ acres, of which 236½ are water. The Black Esk, rising on Jocks Shoulder in the W, runs 121/8. miles south-south-eastward, close to the western and south-western border, tracing, indeed, for the last mile of its course the southern boundary with Westerkirk; and the White Esk, from its source on Ettrick Pen, flows 14½ miles south-by-eastward, cutting the parish into two pretty equal parts. By these two streams and their innumerable affluents, of which Fingland Burn and Garwald Water form picturesque cascades, this parish has been channelled into mountain ridges, heathy moorland most of it -hence its name Eskdalemuir. At the confluence of the White and Black Esks to form the river Esk, the surface declines to 490 feet above the sea; and elevations, northwards thence, to the left or E of the White Esk, are the Pike (1001 feet), Blaeberry Hill (1376), *Stock Hill (1561), *Quickningair Hill (1601), and *Blue Cairn Hill (1715), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish. Between the White and Black Esks, again, rise Castle Hill (1054), Ashy Bank (1394), *Ettrick Pen (2269), and *Loch Fell (2256); and lastly, to the right or W of the Black Esk are *Hart Fell (1085), Haregrain Rig (1336), and *Jocks Shoulder (1754). The rocks are mainly Silurian, but include some Old Red sandstone and conglomerate. The soil in general of the pastoral tracts is deep but mossy, carpeted with carices or with coarse herbage at the best; but some of the slopes along the White Esk's banks are green and afford good grazing; and here, too, are some 500 acres of holm-land-naturally wet, but greatly improved by draining-that repay the trouble of cultivation. On every height almost are traces of ancient camps, circular, oval, or rectangular, the most curious of which, that of Castle O'er, has been noticed in a separate article. Of two stone circles upon Coatt farm, the more entire measured 90, and the other (partly destroyed by the White Esk) 340, feet. The Rev. William Brown, D.D. (1766-1835), author of Antiquities of the Jews, was minister for more than forty years. The Duke of Buccleuch owns t2o-thirds of the parish, 2 other proprietors holding each an annual value of more, and 2 of less, than £500. Disjoined from Westerkirk in 1703, Eskdalemuir is in the presbytery of Langholm and synod of Dumfries: the living is worth £405. The church, built in 1826, is a neat edifice, containing 393 sittings. A Free church is at Davington; and two public schools, Eskdalemuir and Davington, with respective accommodation for 60 and 118 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 18 and 32, and grants of £28, 8s. and £42, 19s. Valuation (.1860) £8899, (1882) £11,060, 13s. 5d. Pop. (1801) 537, (1831) 650, (1861) 590, (1871) 551, (1881) 543.—Ord. Sur., shs. 16, 10, 1864.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

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 standard disclaimer

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