DUMFRIES-SHIRE, a county, in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by the counties of Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk, on the east by Roxburghshire and part of the English county of Cumberland, on the south by the Solway Firth, and on the west by the county of Ayr and the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It lies between 55° 2' and 55° 31' (N. Lat.) and 2° 39' and 3° 53' (W. Long.), and is about fifty miles in length and thirty miles in breadth, comprising 1016 square miles, or 650,240 acres; 14,356 inhabited houses, and 733 uninhabited; and containing a population of 72,830, of whom 34,137 are males and 38,693 females. The county was originally inhabited by the Selgova, and after the invasion of the Romans formed part of the province of Valentia; upon the departure of the Romans it was occupied by the Northumbrian Saxons, and subsequently by numerous emigrants from Ireland, who had settled first on the peninsula of Cantyre. In the reign of David I. many of the Norman barons obtained possessions here, among whom was Robert de Brus, who procured a grant of the lands of Annandale, and was ancestor of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland. Previously to the reign of James VI., the county was often the scene of sanguinary conflicts between hostile clans, and, from its situation near the border, was subject to repeated predatory incursions of the English. It was anciently included in the diocese of Glasgow, and comprised the deaneries of Nithsdale and Annandale; at present it constitutes the greater part of the synod of Dumfries, and contains several presbyteries, and forty-two parishes. It includes the royal burghs of Dumfries (which is the county town), Annan, Lochmaben, and Sanquhar; and the towns of Moffat, Lockerbie, Langholm, Ecclesfechan, Thornhill, and Minnichive, which are all burghs of barony. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county returns one member to the imperial parliament.
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