Parish of Kirkpatrick Irongray

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: Kirkpatrick-Fleming
1834-45: Kirkpatrick-Fleming

Kirkpatrick-Irongray, a Nithsdale parish of NE Kirkcudbrightshire, containing Shawhead post office, 7 miles W of the post-town Dumfries. It is bounded N by Holywood in Dumfriesshire, SE by Terregles, S by Lochrutton, and SW and W by Kirkpatrick-Durham. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 8 ¼ miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between ½ mile and 45/8 miles; and its area is 13,710½ acres, of which 36 are water. The Old Water of Cluden, from a point 2 miles below its source, traverses the interior, first 32/3 miles east-south-eastward, next 2½ miles northward, till ¼ mile below the beautiful Routing Bridge it falls into Cairn Water which traces 2 miles of the Holywood border; and, as Cluden Water, their united stream continues 41/8 miles east-south-eastward along the Holywood border on its way to the river Nith. Along the Cluden the surface declines to just below 100 feet above sea-level, and thence rises westward to 787 feet near Upper Riddingshill, 1286 on Bishop's Forest, and 1305 on Glenbennan Hill, the north-eastern corner being nearly flat and highly embellished, the central and southern districts being much diversified with undulations, knolls, and broad-based hills; and the western district comprising these two bare hills of Bishop's Forest and Glenbennan. The parish generally is singularly picturesque, and contains many charming close scenes, whilst commanding from several vantage-grounds very brilliant views over Lower Nithsdale, over part of Annandale, and across the Solway Firth to the Cumberland Mountains. The rocks are variously eruptive, Silurian, and Devonian; and the soil along the Cairn and the Cluden is alluvial, elsewhere is chiefly of a lightish character, either sandy or gravelly. Rather more than one-seventh of the entire area is under wood; nearly one-half is in tillage; and the rest is either pastoral or waste. Of two pre-Reformation chapels, the site of one, called Glenhead, is still marked by its long-disused burying-ground. John Welsh, a grandson of his great namesake of Ayr, was minister from 1653 till 1662; and the ` Communion Stones ' on heatherclad Bishop's Forest, 4 miles W by S of the parish church, mark the spot where in 1678 he and three other ejected ministers dispensed the Lord's Supper to 3000 Covenanters. In 1870 a granite monument was erected beside the Communion Tables, the most perfect of their kind in Scotland. Scarcely ¼ mile from the churchyard lie ` Edward Gordon and Alexander M'Cubbine, martyrs, hanged without law by Lagg and Captain Bruce, March 3, 1685; ' and in the churchyard itself is a stone ` erected by the Author of Waverley in memory of Helen Walker, who died in the year of God 1791, and who practised in real life the virtues with which fiction has invested the imaginary character of Jeanie Deans. ' In recent times Kirkpatrick-Irongray has been the scene of the ` Recreations of a Country Parson '-A. K. H. Boyd, D.D. Drumpark and the Grove are mansions; and 5 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 12 of between £100 and £500, 5 of from £50 to £100, and 5 of from £20 to £50. Kirkpatrick-Irongray is in the presbytery and synod of Dumfries; the living is worth £300, exclusive of manse and glebe. The parish church, on the right bank of Cluden Water, 3 ¼ miles WSW of Holywood station and 4½ NW of Dumfries, was built in 1803, and, containing nearly 400 sittings, was repaired and beautified in 1873 at a cost of over £700, a massive Norman tower being added, and mullioned windows inserted, two of which have since been filled with memorial stained glass. A Free church stands 5 furlongs E of Shawhead; and two public schools, Roughtree and Shawhead, with respective accommodation for 62 and 105 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 37 and 68, and grants of £43, 3s. and £50, 2s. Valuation (1860) £7818, (1883) £12, 047, 2s. 6d. Pop. (1801) 730, (1841) 927, (1861) 913, (1871) 815, (1881) 784.—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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