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Balmaclellan

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.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Balmaclellan (Gael. ` town of Maclellan '), a village and a parish of NE Kirkcudbrightshire. The village, 2 miles NE of its post-town New Galloway, has an inn, a post office, and the parish church (built 1722; enlarged 1833; 366 sittings). In the kirkyard are the grave of a martyred Covenanter, Robert Grierson (1683), a column to five natives who fell in the Crimean War, and a stone to the family of Robert Paterson (` Old Mortality '), whose wife kept a school here from 1765 to 1785.

The parish is bounded NW by Dalry, N by Dumfriesshire, E by Dumfriesshire and Kirkpatrick-Durham, S by Parton, and SW and W by Kells. From its north-eastern to its south-western angle it measures 10¼ miles; its breadth varies between 3½ and 6¼ miles; and its area is 23,346 acres, of which 327¼ are water. The Ken and Loch Ken mark all the western, Loch Urr and its outlet Urr Water great part of the western border, while along the north-western and northern flow Garpel Burn to the Ken, Blackmark Burn and Castlefern Water to the Cairn; along the southern, Dullar Burn to Loch Ken, and Crogo Burn to the Urr. In the interior are Shirmers and many smaller burns, as well as six lochs- Barscobe (2¼ x ¾ furl.), Brack (1¾ x ¾), Howie (6 x 1), Skae (2 x 1½), and the two Lowes lochs, each about 1¼ furlong in length. Most of these waters afford fairish trout fishing, Shirmers Burn being really a first-class stream. The surface has a general north-eastward rise, from Kenmure Bridge (155 feet above sea-level) to Barscobe Hill (825), Troquhain Hill (1139), Blackcraig Hill (1332), and Fell Hill (1775), 3 furlongs SE of Loch Skae. Thence it declines north-eastward to Craigmuie Moor (875 feet), south-eastward to Crerroch (671) and Crogo Mains (500). Belonging to the beautiful district of Glenkens, the western valley, about 2 miles wide, has a light, gravelly soil, and comprises most of the arable area (less than one-fifth of the entire parish), besides some 300 acres under wood. The rest is moorland; and the prevailing rocks are trap and slate, the latter quarried at two points. Mansions are Holm House, ¾ mile NW of the village, with a statue in its grounds of ` Old Mortality,' and Barlay, 2½ miles to the ESE; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 1 holds between £100 and £500, and 1 between £20 and £50. The antiquities include the supposed site of a Roman camp, at the NE angle of the parish; a mote-hill, close to the village; the habitable castle of Barscobe, 1¼ mile NNE, built (1684) by William Maclellan, a scion of the Kirkcudbright family; and the ivy-clad ruins of Shirmers tower, the reputed birthplace of Thomas Gordon (1690-1750), editor of the Inde pendent Whig- The Rev. Geo. Murray (1813-81), poet and antiquary, was minister of Balmaclellan for 43 years. Part of it is included for church, school, and registration purposes in the quoad sacra parish of Corsock; the remainder is a parish in the presbytery of Kirkcudbright and synod of Galloway, its minister's income amounting to £311. There are two schools, a free endowed one at the village, the other at Tronmaccannie, 2½ miles S by E; and the two, with respective accommodation for 145 and 56 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 123 and 27, and grants of £110,10s. 6d. and £36,1s. Valuation (1881) £11,564,18s. 11d. Pop. of quoad sacra parish (1881) 787; of civil parish (1811) 734, (1831) 1013, (1861) 1086, (1871) 1057, (l881) 937.—Ord. Sur., sh. 9,1863.

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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