Parish of Canonbie

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: Canonbie
1834-45: Canonbie

Canonbie, a Border village and parish of Eskdale, SE Dumfriesshire. The village stands on the Esk's left bank, ¾ mile WSW of Canonbie station, on a branch of the North British, this being 5¾ miles SSE of Langholm, 1¼ NNW of Riddings Junction, 15¼ N by E of Carlisle, and 85½ S by E of Edinburgh; at it are a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments, an hotel, the parish church, and a school. The parish also contains the hamlets of Rowan Burn and Overtown, 1¾ mile ESE and 3 miles W of the village. It is bounded NW by Langholm and Ewes, E by Castleton in Roxburghshire, SE and S by Cumberland, and W by Half Morton; and in outline rudely resembling a triangle, with the English Border for base, it has an extreme length from NNE to SSW of 11½ miles, an extreme breadth from NW to SE of 5¼ miles, and an area of 24,360 acres, of which 218 are water. The Esk, followed closely by the railway, flows 5¾ miles SSE through the interior, next 5 furlongs SSW along the Border; and its tributaries, Tarras Water, running south-south -westward, and Irvine Burn, east-north-eastward, trace nearly all the boundary with Langholm. Liddel Water, traversing a rugged channel, between picturesque and romantic flanks, and falling into the Esk, traces for 7¾ miles the south-eastern boundary; whilst Archer Beck and Rowan Burn, running to the Liddel, Byre and Glenzier Burns to the Esk, drain large portions of the interior. Most of the waters afford good sport to anglers. The surface may be described as comprising the low grounds of Eskdale, including haughs and other strips of low flat land along the banks of the principal streams; is elsewhere diversified by numerous undulations, ridges, and hilly eminences; and has a general descent southward and south-eastward from the neighbouring mountainous tracts of Liddesdale, Ewes, and Langholm. In the extreme S, where the Esk passes into Cumberland, the surface sinks to 98 feet above sea-level, thence it rises north-westward to Outer Hill (548 feet) and Viewy Knowe (652)-north-north-eastward to Harelawpike (614), the Craigs (707), Bruntshiel Hill (820), the Haunches (1090), and Black Edge (1461)- The rocks are partly eruptive, partly Silurian, and extensively carboniferous. Slate clay of a greyish black and ash-grey colour, and rich in both animal and vegetable fossils, is found. Coal, limestone, and a friable sandstone occur chiefly in hollows over the Silurian rocks, and are largely worked. Several chalybeate springs are within the parish; and near Tarras Water is a famous petrifying spring. The soil along both sides of the Esk, and on the banks of the Liddel, is a light and very fertile loam; that on the higher grounds is variously retentive clay or moist humus, naturally barren, but now greatly improved by draining. About eight-elevenths of the entire area are under the plough, and some 1500 acres under wood; the remainder is mostly hill pasture. The Duke of Buccleuch is sole proprietor, and the chief residences, held in feu from him, are Woodhouselees, Forge, Marsh House, Crookholm, and Woodslee. Remains of a Roman station crown a rising ground near Gilnockie station; and ruins of famous mediæval strongholds are at Hollows and Harelaw- Remains of other mediæval strengths are at Mumbyhirst, Auchenrivock, Hallgreen, Woodhouselees, and Sark- Vestiges of an Austin priory, founded about 1165, and destroyed by the English after the battle of Solway Moss in 1542, are at HallgreenAt Woodhead, in 1864, three silver mediæval brooches, now in the Edinburgh Antiquarian Museum, were found along with coins of Edward I- and II-, John Baliol, and Alexander III. Canonbie is in the presbytery of Langholm and synod of Dumfries; the living is worth £506The original church, St Martin's, was often called the ' Liddel Church' from its situation on the bank of the Liddel; a subsequent one stood on the peninsula between the Liddel and the Esk, and was long subordinate to Jedburgh Abbey. The present parish church, erected in 1822 at a cost of £3000, is a good edifice, with 1400 sittings. There is also a Free church, 1 mile NNW, on the opposite side of the Esk; and 4 public schools-Canonbie, Gilnockie, Glenzier, and Harelaw-with respective accommodation for 242,99,70, and 70 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 204,58,44, and 49, and grants of £195,13s., £24,0s. 10d-, £29,4s-, and £28,8s. Valuation (1881) £14,123,1s- 9d. Pop. (1801) 2580, (1841) 3032, (1861) 3219, (1871) 3055, (1881) 2714. -Ord- Sur., shs. 10,11,1864-63.

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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