Parish of Dunscore

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: Dunscore
1834-45: Dunscore

Dunscore (Gael. dun-sgoir, ' fort of the sharp rock '), a village and a parish of Nithsdale, W Dumfriesshire. The village, Dunscore or Cottack, standing 3 furlongs from the Cairn's left bank, and 320 feet above sea-level, is 4¼ miles WSW of Auldgirth, and 9 NW of Dumfries, under which it has a post office. The parish is bounded N by Glencairn and Keir, NE by Kirkmahoe, S by Holywood and Kirkpatrick-Durham in Kirkcudbrightshire, and W by Balmaclellan, also in Kirkcudbrightshire; and by Glencairn and Holywood it is all but cut into two separate halves, eastern and western, at a point on the Cairn, 1¼ mile SW of the village. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 11¼ miles; its breadth varies from barely 150 yards to 3¼ miles; and its area is 14,923½ acres, of which 108½ are water. The Nith winds 2¼ miles south-south-eastward along the boundary with Kirkmahoe; Cairn Water courses 21/8 miles southward along that with Glencairn, next for 150 yards across the belt connecting the two halves, and lastly 11/8 mile along the Holywood border; whilst from Balmaclellan Dunscore is separated by Loch Urr (5 x 4 furl.) and Urr Water, flowing 17/8 mile southward therefrom. Through the western half Glenessland Burn runs 4¼ miles east-north-eastward to the Cairn; through the eastern, Laggan Burn 5¾ to the Nith. The surface sinks along the Nith to 80, along the Cairn to 195, and along the Urr to close on 500, feet above sea-level; and the chief elevations are Rose Hill (717 feet), Crawston Hill (711), and Cats Craig (637) in the eastern half, and, in the western, Stroquhan Moor (1027), Craigdasher Hill (958), Craigenputtoch Moor (1038), Knochoute (1070), and Bogrie Hill (1416), the last-named culminating on the north-western border. The parish presents a striking variety of scenery-in the E, the Nith's fertile holms, with soft environment of wooded hills; and in the W, the heathery granite heights and black morasses that stretch through Galloway, almost to the Irish Sea. Its rocks are partly Silurian, partly Devonian; and the soil is a rich alluvium along the Nith and the Cairn, on other low grounds mostly sand or light gravel, and on the uplands a light stony loam, overlying a tilly bottom. Fully one-third of the entire area has never been cultivated, little indeed of it admitting of reclamation; about 60 acres are covered with natural wood, and 440 with plantations of larch and Scotch firs. Antiquities, other than four ancient camps or forts, a ' Druidical ' stone circle, and several tumuli, are the towers of Bogrie and Lag. The latter ruin, 1¾ mile NE of the village, was the seat of the Griersons from 1408, its last inhabitant being that noted hunter-down of Covenanters, Sir Robert Grierson of Lag (1650-1736). He is buried in the graveyard of the ancient church, which, disused since 1649, stood towards the SE corner of the parish, ½ mile SW of Ellisland. The said farm of Ellisland was Robert Burns's home from 1788 to 1791, as Craigenputtoch was Thomas Carlyle's from 1828 to 1834, so that Dunscore has memories such as few parishes in Scotland have. John Welsh himself (1570-1623), John Knox's son-in-law, has been claimed as a native. Friars Carse and Stroquhan House are the principal mansions; and 4 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 33 of between £100 and £500, 11 of from £50 to £100, and 10 of from £20 to £50. Dunscore is in the presbytery and synod of Dumfries; the living is worth £230. The present parish church, at the village, is a Gothic edifice of 1823, with a handsome W tower and 850 sittings. There are also Free churches of Dunscore and Craig and a U.P. church; whilst four public schools-Burnhead, Dunscore, Dunscore infant and female, and Glenessland -with respective accommodation for 96, 88, 58, and 60 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 63, 85, 33, and 55, and grants of £51, 16s., £60, 13s., £25, 12s., and £58, 12s. Valuation (1860) £9881, (1882) £13, 917, 1s. 2d. Pop. (1801) 1174, (1831) 1488, (1861) 1554, (1871) 1504, (1881) 1405.—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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