Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland


KIRKCUDBRIGHT, STEWARTRY of, a county, in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north and north-east by the county of Dumfries; on the north and north-west by the county of Ayr; on the south and south-east by the Solway Firth; and on the south-west by the county and bay of Wigtown. It lies between 54° 43' and 55° 19' (N. Lat.), and 3° 33' and 4° 34' (W. Long.), and is forty-eight miles in length, from east to west, and thirty miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of about 882 square miles, or 564,480 acres; 8485 houses, of which 8162 are inhabited; and containing a population of 41,119, of whom 18,856 are males and 22,263 females. This district, which, from its ancient tenure, is called a stewartry, though for all puposes a county, occupies the eastern portion of the ancient province of Galloway. Prior to the Roman invasion of Britain, it was principally inhabited by the British tribe of the Novantes. The Romans, on their invasion of the island, erected several stations in the district of Galloway, and constructed various roads; but though they maintained something like a settlement in this part of the country, which they included in their province of Valentia, they were not able completely to reduce the original inhabitants under their dominion. After the departure of the Romans from Britain, the county, owing to its proximity to the Isle of Man and the Irish coast, became the resort of numerous settlers from those parts, who, intermingling with the natives, formed a distinct people, subject to the government of a chieftain that exercised a kind of subordinate sovereignty under the kings of Northumbria, or kings of Scotland, to whom they paid a nominal allegiance. Upon the death of Allan, Lord of Galloway, in the thirteenth century, the country was distracted by the continual struggles of the various competitors for its government, and fell under the power of Alexander II., King of Scotland. On the subsequent marriage of Devorgilla, one of Allan's daughters, with the ancestor of Baliol, King of Scotland, it became the patrimonial property of that family. During the contest between Baliol and Bruce for the crown, the province was the frequent scene of hostilities; and from the attachment of the inhabitants to the cause of Baliol, it suffered severely. Ultimately it became the property of the Douglas family, on whose attainder it escheated to the crown, and was divided by James II. among several proprietors.

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