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Durisdeer

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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Durisdeer, a village and a parish of Upper Nithsdale, NW Dumfriesshire. The village stands, 575 feet above sea-level, on the left bank of Kirk Burn, 2 miles NNE of Carronbridge station, this being 24¾ miles ESE of Old Cumnock, 17¾ NNW of Dumfries, and 6 N of Thornhill, under which Durisdeer has a post office. The parish, containing also part of the village of Carronbridge, and since 1727 comprising half of the ancient parish of Kilbride or Kirkbride, is bounded NW by Sanquhar, NE by Crawford in Lanarkshire, SE by Morton, SW and W by Penpont. Its utmost length is 8½ miles from N by E to S by W, viz., from Lowther Hill to the Nith above Morton Mill; its breadth, from E to W, varies between ½ mile and 6¾ miles; and its area is 19,852 acres, of which 134½ are water. The Nith has here a south-south-easterly course of 7¾ miles, partly along the Sanquhar and Penpont borders, but mainly through the interior, and here receives Enterkin Burn and Carron Water, which last traces 3¼ miles of the boundary with Morton. In the furthest S the surface sinks along the Nith to less than 200 feet above sea-level, thence rising north-westward and north-north-westward to 595 feet near Auchenskeoch, 744 near Mar, 696 near Cleuch-head, 1229 near Ballaggan, 1128 at Birny Rig, 1195 at Fardingmullach Hill, and 724 near Crairiepark; whilst to the left or E of the Nith, the chief elevations from S to N are High Enoch (676 feet), Nether Hill (1290), *Scaw'd Law (2166), *Durisdeer Hill (1861), Black Hill (1740), Coshogle Rig (1214), *Well Hill (1987), Thirstane Hill (1895), and Lowther Hill (2377), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate right on the Lanarkshire border. The leading formation of the northern uplands, a portion these of the wild, bleak Southern Highlands, is Silurian; and a reddish friable sandstone prevails over most of the low tracts to the S. The soil is wet and heavy in some of the arable lands, in others gravelly or sandy; but, as a rule, is loamy and very fertile. About two-fifths of the entire area are either regularly or occasionally in tillage; woods and plantations cover more than one-ninth; and the rest is either pastoral or waste. A charming glimpse of the scenery of Durisdeer is given by Dorothy Wordsworth, who with her brother and Coleridge drove up from Thornhill to Wanlockhead on 19 Aug. 1804:-- About a mile and a half from Drumlanrig is a turnpike gate at the top of a hill. We left our car with the man, and turned aside into a field where we looked down upon the Nith, which runs far below in a deep and rocky channel; the banks woody; the view pleasant down the river towards Thornhill; an open country, cornfields, pastures, and scattered trees. Returned to the turnpike house, a cold spot upon a common, black cattle feeding close to the door. Our road led us down the hill to the side of the Nith, and we travelled along its banks for some miles. Here were clay cottages perhaps every half or quarter of a mile. The bed of the stream rough with rocks; banks irregular, now woody, now bare; here a patch of broom, there of corn, there of pasturage; and hills green or heathy above ' (Tour in Scotland, ed. by Princ. Shairp, 1874). Then, too, there is the Enterkin, made famous by Defoe and the author of Rab and his Friends; and Well or Wald Path, the Roman way from Nithsdale to Strathclyde, runs up from Carronbridge to Durisdeer village, 7 furlongs NNE of which are remains of a Roman camp. Drumlanrig Castle is the most prominent object, and the Duke of Buccleuch is sole proprietor Durisdeer is in the presbytery of Penpont and synod of Dumfries; the living is worth £302. The cruciform church, at the village, was built in 1699, and contains 540 sittings; its northern transept is the Douglas mausoleum. Here is a sumptuous marble monument with two sculptured figures in the Roubilliac taste, brought from Rome, and representing James, second Duke of Queensberry (1622-1711), and his Duchess; the vault beneath contains twelve Douglas coffins, ranging in date between 1693 and 1777. There is also a Free church preaching-station; and Birleyhill and Durisdeer public schools, with respective accommodation for 107 and 103 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 54 and 62, and grants of £61, 6s. and £56, 12s. Valuation (1882) £9501, 13s. Pop. (1801) 1148, (1821) 1601, (1861) 1320, (1871) 1189, (1881) 1107.—Ord. Sur., shs. 15, 9, 1864-63. See Dr C. T. Ramage's Drumlanrig Castle, with the Early History and Ancient Remains of Durisdeer (Dumf. 1876).

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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