Parish of Wamphray

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: Wamphray
1834-45: Wamphray

Wamphray, a parish of Upper Annandale, Dumfriesshire, containing Wamphray station on the main line of the Caledonian railway, 8¾ miles N by W of Lockerbie, 5 ¼ SSE of Beattock, and 67/8 S by E of Moffat, under which there is a post office of Wamphray. It is bounded N by Moffat, E by Hutton, S by Applegarth, and W by Johnstone and Kirkpatrick-Juxta. Its utmost length, from N by E to S by W, is 8¾ miles; its utmost width is 3 5/8 miles; and its area is 203/5 square miles or 13,189¾ acres, of which 56 are water. The river Annan flows 5½ miles south-by-eastward along or close to all the western boundary; and Wamphray Water, rising in the northern extremity of the parish at an altitude of 1480 feet, runs 8¼ miles south-south-westward through the interior till, after a total descent of 1210 feet, it falls near Wamphray station into the Annan, another of whose affluents, Dalmakeddar Burn, rising at 630 feet, runs 4 miles south-by-westward and westward, for the last 1¾ mile along the southern boundary. On Bellcraiglinn Burn, which runs to the Annan along the Moffat boundary, the linn, whence it takes its name, has much mimic sublimity and some fine accompaniments of landscape, and draws numerous visitors from among the ` wellers ' at Moffat; while three cascades upon Wamphray Water, not far distant from one another, and bearing the names of the Pot, the Washing Pan, and Dubb's Caldron, are -justly admired for their mingled picturesqueness and grandeur. In the south-western corner of the parish, at the influx of Dalmakeddar Burn to the Annan, the surface declines to 228 feet above sea-level, and thence it rises to 846 feet at Blaze Hill, 1272 at Fingland Fell, 975 at Dundoran, 1587 at Laverhay Height, 1561 at Craig Fell, and 2256 at Loch Fell, which culminates on the meeting-point of Wamphray, Moffat, Eskdalemuir, and Hutton parishes. All the eastern border is the watershed of a mountain-range, whose summits possess elevations of from upwards of 2200 to about 800 feet above sea-level, and almost regularly diminish in altitude as the ridge recedes from the N. Another ridge, not very much inferior in mean height, and very similar in progressive diminution, runs parallel to the former along the centre of the parish; but, a little S of the middle, is cloven quite through by the vale of Wamphray Water, debouching to the W. The low grounds are principally a considerable band along the Annan, and some small belts along the minor streams; and over most of their breadth they rise at different gradients to the skirts of the hills, so as to form hanging plains. The heights are variously conical, elongated, and tabular; those in the N are partly green and partly heathy; and those in the S either are in tillage, or produce rich and plentiful pasturage. The valleys have a pleasant appearance, and are in some places picturesque. The predominant rocks are greywacke and Old Red Sandstone. The soil along the Annan is a deep alluvium, and that in other districts is for the most part either a light-coloured clay or a light loam of different shades. About one-fourth of the entire area is in tillage; 270 acres are under wood; and the rest is chiefly hill-pasture, but partly heath and moss. Near Poldean (once a famous hostelry) a large grey monolith marks the spot where Charles II. halted with his army on the march to Worcester (1651); and the highway here follows the line of a Roman road. Not far from the parish church some fine Scotch firs adorn the site of the strong old tower of Wamphray, which in the latter half of the 16th century was held by William Johnstone, the ` Galliard.' His horse-stealing raid and his death, with Willie o' the Kirkhill's revenge for the same, form the theme of a well-known ballad, The Lads of Wamphray. Other antiquities are the site of a stone circle and traces of Roman and Caledonian camps. Robert Jardine, Esq., M.P., whose seat, Castlemilk, is in St Mungo parish, is the chief proprietor; 2 others holding each an annual value of more, and 6 of less, than £500. Wamphray is in the presbytery of Lochmaben and the synod of Dumfries; the living is worth £305. The parish church, 1¾ mile NE of Wamphray station, is prettily situated on the left bank of Wamphray Water, but itself is a plain structure of 1834, containing 248 sittings. Over the W door is a curious sculptured stone from the pre-Reformation chapel of Barnygill, 3 miles higher up the glen. Near the station is Wamphray U.P. church; and Johnstone and Wamphray Free church stands just across the Annan in Johnstone parish. Wamphray public and Newton girls' schools, with respective accommodation for 88 and 53 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 62 and 23, and grants of £41, 4s. and £20, 15s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £4204, (1885) £6759, 9s. 3d. Pop. (1801) 423, (1831) 580, (186l) 559, (1871) 505, (1881) 455.—Ord. Sur., shs. 10, 16, 1864.

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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