Parish of Leswalt

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: Leswalt
1834-45: Leswalt

Leswalt, a village and a parish in the Rhinns of Galloway, Wigtownshire. The village stands 3¼ miles NW of Stranraer, under which it has a post office. The parish, containing also the Sheuchan suburb of Stranraer burgh, is bounded N by Kirkcolm, E by Loch Ryan, SE by Stranraer and Inch, S by Portpatrick, and W by the Irish Channel. Its length, from NNW to SSE, varies between 27/8 and 55/8 miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 5½ miles; and its area is 13,018¾ acres, of which 473½ are foreshore and 58 water. A number of brooks, rising in the interior, run some to Loch Ryan, some to the Irish Channel; and Piltanton Burn, issuing from tiny Gray Loch, winds 51/8 miles within the parish, and then goes east-south-eastward to the head of Luce Bay. Of four small lakes, the largest is the White Loch (3 x 2¼ furl.), on whose wooded islet stood the ancient Castle of Lochnaw. The tract adjacent to Loch Ryan is flat; but elsewhere the surface has much diversity of feature, attaining 404 feet at the Tor of Craigoch, 484 at the Craighead of Lochnaw, and 500 at three points in the SW. The Tor of Craigoch, or Monument Hill, is surmounted by a conspicuous tower, 60 feet high and 20 square at the base, erected in 1850 to the memory of Sir Andrew Agnew (1793-1849), and commanding a wide view. Greywacke is the predominant rock, red sandstone also occurs, and both are quarried. The soil is very various-kindly and fertile in the eastern district; greatly improved and enriched by culture in the central district; and sandy, gravelly, and otherwise thin and poor in the western and the southern districts. Galdenoch's haunted Castle, built towards the middle of the 16th century, is represented only by its keep, with one little pepper-box turret. lochnaw castle, noticed separately, is the principal feature of the parish; and Sir Andrew Agnew is chief proprietor, one other holding an annual value of more than £500, and one of from £50 to £100. Giving off Sheuchan quoad sacra parish and taking in a portion of Kirkcolm, Leswalt is in the presbytery of Stranraer and synod of Galloway; the living is worth £200. The plain parish church, built in 1828, contains 550 sittings. At the village, ¼ mile to the W, is its ruined ivy-clad predecessor, whose graveyard has been the Agnews' burying-place from the 14th century onward. There is a Free church of Leswalt; and Larbrex and Leswalt public schools, with respective accommodation for 55 and 200 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 33 and 86, and grants of £34,18s. and £81,15s. Valuation (1860) £6942, (1883) £9483, 14s. 4d. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 1329, (1841) 2712, (1861) 2701, (1871) 2496, (1881) 2635; of ecclesiastical parish (1881) 1292, of whom 190 belonged to Kirkcolm.—Ord. Sur., sh. 3, 1856.

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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