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Crossmichael, Kirkcudbrightshire

Historical Description

CROSSMICHAEL, a parish, in the stewartry of KIRKCUDBRIGHT, containing, with the village of Clarebrand, 1321 inhabitants, of whom 222 are in the village of Crossmichael, 3½ miles (N.) from Castle-Douglas. This place, which is of remote antiquity, derived its name (in old documents Corse-Michael) from the dedication of its church, which was granted to the abbey of Sweetheart in the year 1275 by Dervorgille, wife of Allan, Lord of Galloway, and mother of John Baliol, King of Scotland. The parish is situated nearly in the centre of the stewartry, and is bounded on the east by the river Urr, and on the west by the Dee. It is about four miles and a half in length, and nearly three and a half in breadth, comprising 9700 acres, which, with the exception of a small proportion of pasture land and a few acres of woodland and plantations, are all arable. The surface is beautifully diversified. Along the banks of the Dee the lands form part of an extensive valley in rich cultivation; but both from the Dee on the west and the Urr on the east the ground rises gradually, towards the centre, into a ridge whose acclivities are marked with gentle undulations, all in tillage. Towards the north-east are several hills affording only pasture for sheep and cattle, but some of which have been planted with larch, adding greatly to the beauty of the scenery. There are three lakes in the parish, of which Loch Roan, situated in the highest district, is about fifty acres in extent, and of very considerable depth; it is supplied with water from no visible source but the clouds, and by two outlets it sends a plentiful supply into Loch Encrogo. This latter loch, in which are two small islands, where sea-gulls formerly built their nests, is smaller than Loch Roan; and if the water were not necessary for driving a corn-mill, it might easily be drained. Loch Smaddy is still smaller in extent. All these lakes abound with trout, perch, pike, and eels.

The SOIL is partly a fertile loam alternated with gravel and sand, producing favourable crops of grain of all kinds, with potatoes and turnips; and the pastures are luxuriantly rich. The system of agriculture is improved, and some of the lands have been drained, though much still remains to be done in that respect. The cattle are generally of the Galloway breed; the cows upon the dairy-farms are the Ayrshire: large numbers of sheep are fed, and many small tenants pay a great part of their rent by feeding pigs, which they sell at Dumfries. The annual value of real property in the parish is £8827. The plantations, which are well managed and in a thriving condition, are chiefly larch. The substrata are mostly greywacke and slate. In this parish the seats are, Greenlaw, Mollance, Danevale, Hillowton, Cullgruff, and Ernespie. Crossmichael village has a post-office under that of Castle-Douglas; and facility of communication is afforded by good roads, of which those from Kirkudbright to Ayr, and from Dumfries to Portpatrick, pass thrnugh the parish. There is a bridge over the Dee at Glenlochar, also a ferry nearly opposite the manse.

For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Kirkcudbright, synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is about £270, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £28 per annum; patron, Mrs. Gauld. Crossmichael church, situated in the western portion of the parish, is a plain structure erected in 1751; it was repaired and enlarged in 1822, and contains 650 sittings. There is a place of worship for the United Presbyterian Synod adjoining Castle-Douglas. Two parochial schools are supported; the master of one has a salary of £31, with a house and garden, and his fees average nearly £30. The other school was built, and endowed with £11 per annum, by William Gordon, Esq.; the master has also a salary of £20, with a house and garden, but no fees. Another school is held, to which the heritors give £10 a year, making, with the fees charged, but a small income for the teacher. All these schools are strictly examined once a year by a committee of presbytery, and prizes given to the most deserving scholars. A Sabbath-morning school is taught by the clergyman of the parish and the Ringanwhey schoolmaster, and prizes given to the scholars twice a year. There is also a parochial library. The parish formerly contained numerous tumuli, in which were found human bones of large size; and there are still several remains of ancient forts. Roman urns and weapons have been discovered by the plough; also, the head of a war-horse in bronze, and other Roman relics. On a steep crag overhanging Loch Roan, are some remains of a hill fortress still called the Kirk of Loch Roan.

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