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Halfmorton, Dumfriesshire

Historical Description

HALFMORTON, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 6 miles (N. W.) from Longtown; containing 737 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its having formed part of the ancient parish of Morton, on the suppression of which in the early part of the seventeenth century, one-half was merged in the parish of Canobie, and the other, named Halfmorton, though it still remained as a parish quoad civilia, was ecclesiastically united to the parish of Wauchope. On the subsequent erection of Wauchope and Staplegorton into the present parish of Langholm in 1703, the minister of that parish officiated only every fourth Sunday at Halfmorton, which in 1839 was consequently disjoined from Langholm by a decree of the Court of Teinds, and erected into an independent parish. It is situated in the south-eastern part of the county, and is bounded on the east by the river Sark, which separates it from Cumberland. The parish comprises an area of about 5700 acres, of which 125 are woodland and plantations, 400 moss, and the remainder chiefly arable, with a due proportion of meadow and pasture. Its surface is agreeably diversified, and the scenery embellished with thriving plantations. The Sark is the principal river, and a small stream called the Logan flows through the parish: in both these are found trout, but not in great abundance.

The soil along the banks of the river is deep and rich, and the arable grounds produce valuable crops: there are considerable tracts of peat-moss. The system of agriculture is improved, and the lands have been drained and partly inclosed. On the pastures are kept sheep of the Cheviot breed, and black-cattle; a considerable number of horses are reared in the parish, mostly for agricultural uses, and on some of the farms great numbers of swine are fed. The substrata are chiefly red sandstone, clay, and gravel; and limestone is found in several places. The annual value of real property in the parish is £3176. The only approximation to a village is the small hamlet of Chapelknowe, in which the church is situated. A few persons are employed in hand-loom weaving for the manufacturers of Carlisle. There are a subscription library, and a library belonging to the church. Facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in good order by statute labour. Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Langholm, synod of Dumfries: the minister's stipend is about £200; patrons, the Crown, and the Duke of Buccleuch, alternately. Halfmorton church, a plain structure built in 1744, has been lately enlarged. There is a place of worship in connexion with the Free Church. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £25. 13., with a house and garden, and the fees average £30. There are no remains of the ancient church of Morton; but the churchyard is still used.

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