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Dalswinton, Dumfriesshire

Historical Description

DALSWINTON, a village, in the parish of KIRKMAHOE, county of DUMFRIES, 4½ miles (N. N. W.) from Dumfries; containing 94 inhabitants. It is situated in the western part of the parish, and though a small, is an improving village, of recent origin. Here stood the ancient castle of Dalswinton, long the chief seat of the family of Cumming, and on the site of which an elegant and commodious mansion was erected by the late Patrick Miller, Esq., to whose taste and judgment the neighbourhood is indebted for its rapid improvement. Mr. Miller, about the year 1780, introduced the culture of the Swedish turnip. It was first sown by him on his estate at Dalswinton, and propagated from his original plants through the Lothians and elsewhere; and to his example is owing the successful cultivation of this valuable esculent throughout the empire. The first application of the steam-engine to the purposes of navigation, was made by Mr. Miller in 1788, on a piece of water in his own grounds here. A vessel twenty-five feet long and seven broad, with two wheels, and propelled by a small engine constructed by Mr. Symington, was employed for the purpose; and the success of the experiment led to the well-known exhibition, under the same auspices, of a full-sized vessel, on the Forth and Clyde canal, in the following year. The fine estate of Dalswinton is now in the possession of Captain Miller, son of this gentleman, and formerly M.P. for the county.

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