Parish of Penninghame
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enninghame, a parish of NE Wigtownshire, containing the post-town and station of Newton-Stewart, 7 miles N by W of Wigtown and 49¾ W by S of Dumfries. It is bounded N by Colmonell in Ayrshire and Minnigaff in Kirkcudbrightshire, E by Minnigaff and Kirkmabreck in Kirkcudbrightshire, S by Wigtown, and W by Kirkcowan. Its utmost length, from NW to SE, is 14¾ miles; its breadth varies between 9 furlongs and 57/8 miles; and its area is 543/10 square miles or 34,762 acres, of which 851 are foreshore and 262½ water. The ' crystal Cree ' winds 18 miles south-south-eastward along part of the northern and all the eastern boundary to the head of Wigtown Bay; and the Bladenoch, issuing from Loch Maberry (1¼ mile x 3 furl.; 405 feet), at the meeting-point with Colmonell and Kirkcowan, winds 17 miles south-south-eastward along all the western and ¼ mile of the southern boundary till it passes off into Wigtown parish. Bishop Burn, rising near Merton Hall, runs 6¾ miles south-eastward-for the last 4 along the Wigtown border-to the upper part of Wigtown Bay; and seven burns or rills rise in the interior and run to the Cree, ten to the Bladenoch. Of twelve other lakes and lakelets the largest are Loch Dornal (5 x 4½ furl.; 380 feet), on the Ayrshire boundary; Loch Ochiltree (7 x 4½ furl.; 390 feet), 1¼ mile ESE of Loch Dornal; and triangular Loch Eldrig (22/3 x 1 furl.; 180 feet), 3¾ miles W of Newton-Stewart. Springs of pure water are numerous; and one is chalybeate and medicinal. Cree Moss, occupying the SE corner, along the Cree to Wigtown Bay, is a flat tract of nearly 2000 acres, which seems to have been successively submarine, forest, and moss; and has, to a considerable extent, undergone reclamation into productile corn land. The rest of the surface, in a general view, is a long, broken swell, inclining to the rivers, and, from S to N, attaining 401 feet at Barraer Fell, 322 at Eldrig Hill, 451 at Glenhapple Fell, 493 at Glassoch Fell, and 604 at a point ¾ mile E by S of Loch Ochiltree. It presents, for the most part, a tumulated moorish aspect; and; though somewhat embellished in portions of the southern district, is everywhere else prevailingly bleak. Many beautiful and agreeable spots lie among the moorlands, especially along the Cree; and much of the moorlands themselves is capable of reclamation into arable land. Greywacke of several varieties is the predominant rock, and in one place has been quarried for building; whilst granite, abounding in boulders from a few pounds to many tons in weight, is sometimes mixed with red or green syenite, and is much used for both rubble and polished masonry. The soil in Cree Moss is a heavy clayey loam; on the higher arable lands is dry, and suitable for various crops, particularly barley; and in the northern district, ranges from marsh to a quality similar to that on the higher arable lands. Rather less than one-third of the entire area is regularly or occasionally in tillage; some 1450 acres are meadow, and 570 under wood; and the rest of the parish is either pastoral or waste. The old military road ran from Newton-Stewart towards Glenluce; and near Loch Ochiltree are traces of the Deil's Dyke. Other antiquities are Castle-Stewart, 3 miles NNW of Newton-Stewart; ruins of the old parish church at the decayed hamlet of Penninghame, 3 miles S of Newton-Stewart; the site of Penninghame Hall, a little further S; ruins of St Ninian's chapel (1508), 1¼ mile N of Castle-Stewart; and the site of Kery or Keir chapel, of earlier erection, 2½ miles further N. The bishops of Galloway resided at Penninghame Hall; and the Rel. Dr William M `Gill (1731-1807), a minister of Ayr, whose Practical Essay on the Death of Jesus Christ occasioned a strong sensation in the latter part of last century, was born at Carsenestock. Penninghame House, on the right bank of the Cree, 4 miles NNW of Newton-Stewart, is a fine building, with very beautiful grounds. Its owner, Edward James Stopford-Blair, Esq. (b. 1826; suc. 1868), holds 37, 268 acres in the shire, valued at £9036 per annum. Other mansions are Corsbie, Corvisel, and Merton Hall; and 4 other proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 7 of between £100 and £500, 14 of from £50 to $100, and 54 of from £20 to £50. Giving off its northern portion to Bargrennan quoad sacra parish, Penninghame is in the presbytery of Wigtown and synod of Galloway; the living is worth £490. Its file churches hale all been noticed under Newton-Stewart. In 1883 seven schools, with accommodation, average attendance, and grant, were:-Corsbie infant (121, 118, £76, 11s.), Grange (100, 50, £56, 11s.), London (54, 38, £43, 5s.), Newton-Stewart (150, 89, £78, 16s.), Challoch Episcopal (30, 31, £26, 10s. 6d.), Douglas Academy (187, 62, £61, 19s.), and Roman Catholic (180, 43, £37, 18s. 6d.). Valuation (1860) £15, 490, (1884) £22,248, 3s. 8d. Pop. (1801) 2569, (1831) 3461, (1861) 4061, (1871) 3940, (1881) 3940, of whom 2645 were in Newton-Stewart and 3777 in the ecclesiastical parish.Ord. Sur., shs. 4, 8, 1857-63.
An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is
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