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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Sorbie, a village and a coast parish of SE Wigtownshire. The village stands 2 5/8 miles W of Garliestown and ½ mile S by E of Sorbie station on the Wigtownshire railway (1875-77), this being 6 miles N by W of Whithorn and 6¼ S of Wigtown. It has a post and railway telegraph office, a neat little Free church, with belfried gable to the street, and a handsome school, erected in 1875-76 at a cost of more than £1000; but its damask factory, established about 1790, and long famous through many parts of Britain for the quality of its goods, is now a thing of the past. The parish, containing also the seaport village of Garliestown, consisted anciently of two divisions, Great and Little Sourbie, each with a church; and now comprises the ancient parishes of Sourbie, Cruggleton, and Kirkmadrine, united about the middle of the 17th century. It is bounded N by Kirkinner, NE and E by Wigtown Bay, S by Whithorn, and SW by Glasserton. Its utmost length, from E by N to W by S, is 6 miles; its utmost breadth is 5 3/8 miles; and its area is 11, 366¼ acres, of which 1608 ¼ are foreshore and 147 water.* The coast, with a total extent of 10 5/8 miles, is low and flat on the NE, fringed by the broad expanse of the Baldoon Sands; but on the E is rocky and precipitous, in places rising to over 100 feet, and pierced near Palmallet Point by two curious caves, the larger of which is 120 feet long, 100 high, and 36 wide. The chief indentations are Garliestown Bay and Rigg or Cruggleton Bay, which are flanked on the N by Eagerness Point, on the S by Sliddery or Cruggleton Point. The interior, attaining a maximum altitude of 225 feet at the Gallow Hill, is prettily diversified with gentle eminences and fertile vales; and from several standpoints one gains a superb prospect of the Irish Sea, the Solway Firth, and their far-away mountain screens. One of the vales runs eastward through the centre of the parish, from the bed of Dowalton Loch to the head of Garliestown Bay. The rocks are chiefly Silurian; and the soil, a heavy clay in some of the vales, is elsewhere mostly of dry brownish earth mixed more or less with till or gravel. Nearly 500 acres are under wood; about 730 are pastoral or waste; and all the rest of the land is in tillage. The old Tower or Place of Sorbie, 1 mile to the E of the village, is a mass of ruin 60 feet high, which forms two sides of a quadrangle, and has been four stories high. It has lost its pepperbox turrets; and the fine old trees, which, till lately, surrounded it, have nearly all been felled. From the beginning of the 16th till the latter part of the 17th century, it was the seat of the Hannays, one of whom, Patrick, served the ` Winter King ' in the Thirty Years' War, and published a very scarce volume of Poems (1622). Another minor poct, Robert Cowper, M. D. (1 750-1818), was born at alsier Farm. The antiquities of Cruggleton, Eagerness, and Kirkmadrine are noticed separately, as also is Galloway House, whose owner, the Earl of Galloway, is chief proprietor, 2 others holding each an annual value of more than £500, and 2 of between £100 and £500. Sorbie is in the presbytery of Wigtown and the synod of Galloway; the living is worth £292. The new parish church, successor to one at Sorbie village, is situate at Millisle, 1 1/8 mile WNW of Garlicstown. Built in 1874-76 at a cost of £2500, it is a cruciform Early English edifice, with 450 sittings, a SW tower and spire over 60 feet high, and a stained E window in memory of the late Earl of Galloway. Two public schools, Garliestown and Sorbie, with respective accommodation for 171 and 160 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 132 and 113, and grants of £140, 8s. and £101, 8s. Valuation (1860) £11,307, (1885) £15, 648, 7s. 7d. Pop. (1801) 1091, (1831) 1412, (1861) 1814, (1871) 1667, (1881) 1696.—Ord. Sur., shs. 4, 2, 1857-56.

* According to the Ordnance Survey, but this water-area has been almost reduced to nil by the draining in 1862-63 of Dowalton Loch, at the meeting-point of Sorbie, Kirkinner, and Glasserton parishes.

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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