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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Eskdale, the eastern and smallest one of the three districts of Dumfriesshire. It is loosely understood to be conterminous with all the Scottish territory within the basin of the Esk river; but it has sometimes been treated as excluding the basin of the tributary rivulet Ewes, which often is styled Ewesdale; and, on the other hand, it is commonly taken to include the parish of Half Morton, which lies beyond the basin of the Esk, and is drained into the Sark. The parishes undoubtedly comprised in it are Eskdalemuir, Westerkirk, Langholm, and Canonbie. The first and the second of these parishes, most of the third, and all Ewes, are hilly or mountainous, lyingg within the Southern Highlands, and thinly peopled; but the southern part of Langholm and all Canonbie and Half Morton are a fine flat country. Eskdale, in the early part of the 12th ccntury, was nearly all divided among the Anglo-Norman families of Avenel, Soulis, and Rossedal; in the times of Robert I. and David II., was mostly acquired by the Douglases; continued to be held by them till their forfeiture in 1455; passed then to the Maxwells, and continued to be held by them throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. A regality over it was erected in favour of the Douglases; passed, through the Maxwells, to the Scotts of Buccleuch; and, at the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions in 1747, was compensated by the payment of £1400 to the Duke of Buccleuch.

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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