New Galloway

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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Galloway, New, a post-town and royal burgh in the parish of Kells, Kirkcudbrightshire, is situated on the right bank of the Ken, at the intersection of the road from Kirkcudbright to Ayrshire with that from Newton-Stewart to Dumfries, 17½ miles NE by E of Newton-Stewart, 19 NNW of Kirkcudbright, 25 W of Dumfries, and 38 SE of Ayr. It stands, 200 feet above sea-level, at the foot of an irregular ridge of ground in the vicinity of Kenmure Castle; and it is surrounded by charming and picturesque scenery. Loch Ken, 1¾ mile SSE, and the neighbouring streams are good trouting waters. Although New Galloway is a place of municipal dignity, it can hardly be described as more than a village. It consists for the most part of a main street running N and S, cut by a cross street about half as long running E and W, and a scanty sprinkling of detached houses; while the population has been almost stationary in point of number for the last eighty years. The burgh is clean and neat. At the centre or cross stands the town-hall, with a neat spire, and a clock placed there in 1872 by subscription. The office of the Clydesdale Bank is a neat granite edifice. 72 Half a mile N, but not within the royalty, the parish church of Kells, built in 1822, raises its neat stone front and square tower. A handsome stone bridge of five arches, erected in the same year as the church, spans the river ½ mile to the E. The station of New Galloway is about 6 miles SSE of the town; and a 'bus runs between them twice a day. A sort of suburb of the burgh, in the form of a number of detached cottages, called the Mains of Kenmure, lies scattered to the E between the town and the bridge. King Charles I. bestowed upon Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar a charter, dated 15 Jan. 1629, empowering him to create a royal burgh of Galloway on his estates in Kirkcudbrightshire. The site fixed upon was probably St John's Claughan of Dalry, but no settlement seems to have followed this first charter, which was changed by another charter under the Great Seal, dated 19 Nov. 1630, and confirmed by Act of Parliament in June l633 Under this latter charter the present site was selected, and the burgh privileges seem to have soon attracted a few settlers; but the place could never acquire any trade or manufacture, and the inhabitants were for the most part simple mechanics, agricultural labourers, and a few ale-house and shop keepers, while the houses were, even at the beginning of the present century, low, ill built, straw-thatched, and often dilapidated. Since then, however, the appearance of the houses and the social condition of the people have made considerable advances. By charter the corporation of the burgh was to comprise a provost, 4 bailies, dean of guild, treasurer, and 12 councillors; but by the sett, as reported to and sanctioned by the convention of royal burghs on 15 July 1708, the council was then declared to consist of 1 provost, 2 bailies, a treasurer, and 15 councillors. In 1832 the entire parliamentary constituency, as enrolled, was 14, and consequently it was quite impossible to supply a council of the usual number. The corporation consists of a provost, 2 bailies, and 9 councillors. Fairs are held here on the first Wednesday of April o. s., and on the Thursday of August before Lockerbie. Justice of Peace courts are held on the first Monday of every month, and steward's circuit small debt courts on 6 Feb., 12 April, and 25 Sept. The burgh has a parliamentary constituency of 60, and unites with Wigtown, Stranraer, and Whithorn in returning a member to parliament. The Kells parochial school, at New Galloway, with accommodation for 193 scholars, had (1881) an average attendance of 123, and a grant of £115, 15s. Valuation (1875) £896, (1882) £1044. Pop. of parliamentary burgh (1841) 403, (1861) 452, (1871) 407, (1881) 422, of whom 232 were females. In the royal burgh beyond the parliamentary limits the population, in 1881, was 4. Houses, inhabited 98, vacant 8, building 0.—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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