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Buittle, Kirkcudbrightshire

Historical Description

BUITTLE, a parish, in the stewartry of KIRKUDBRIGHT, 4 miles (S. E. by S.) from Castle-Douglas; containing, with the village and port of Palnackie, 1059 inhabitants. This place, whose name is of very uncertain derivation, is of great antiquity; and there are still some remains of its castle, supposed to have been the principal seat of the ancient lords of Galloway. The parish is bounded on the east by the river Urr, and on the south by the bay of Orchardton in Solway Firth. It is about eight miles in length, and nearly three in average breadth, The surface is diversified by hill and dale; in the middle and lower districts it is broken with numerous rocky knolls, covered with furze and broom, but in the upland districts the ground is more uniformly level, and better adapted for the plough. The soil is various, and, on the arable lands, generally fertile; the chief crops are oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is improved; the lands have been extensively drained, and large tracts of moss have been brought into profitable cultivation. Great attention is paid to the rearing of cattle; they are usually sold to the dealers at two or three years old, and driven to England, where they are fed for the English markets. Considerable numbers of sheep are also reared; they are fed upon turnips, and mostly sent to Liverpool. The annual value of real property in the parish is £7757. The plantations, which have been greatly extended within the last few years, now comprise about 960 acres. They consist chiefly of oak, ash, larch, and Scotch fir; and on some of the lands planted at an earlier date, are remarkably fine specimens of luxuriant growth; though many of the larches, after flourishing vigorously for a few years, degenerate. The substratum is chiefly granite, of very excellent quality, of which an extensive quarry was opened some time since at Craignair Hill, and afforded employment to about 200 men; blocks weighing from seven to eight tons were for some years shipped for Liverpool, but the quarry at present is only wrought to a very limited extent, for home use.

For ecclesiastical purposes the parish is within the hounds of the presbytery of Kirkcudbright and synod of Galloway: the minister's stipend is about £230, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, situated in the centre of the parish, and erected in 1819 at an expense of £1000, is a handsome structure in the early English style, containing 400 sittings, and, from the height of the walls, well adapted for the erection of galleries, if additional seat room should be required. In the churchyard are the walls of the ancient church, covered with ivy, and forming a beautiful ruin. There are two parochial schools, the masters of which respectively have salaries of £28 and £23, with dwelling-houses, and the fees. On a farm called Castlegower, on the north-west border of the parish, are the remains of a vitrified fort. There are two wells, formerly held in high repute, and one of which was celebrated for the cure of diseases peculiar to cattle; but they are now totally disregarded.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis