In 1984 the late Miss Ann Hill left a substantial bequest to the Society with the specific remit to carry out and publish research into the history and archaeology of Kirkpatrick Fleming parish in Annandale. The Council of the Society formed a committee under the chairmanship of John Gair to formulate recommendations and carry out the necessary research work to satisfy these requirements. As a consequence a very considerable archive of material on the parish was collected. Some of these materials have been published as articles appearing within the Transactions. Others have been independently published — see the accompanying list.
The Anne Hill Bequest was also used to fund development of a website run by the Kirkpatrick Fleming Community Council for the benefit of visitors, local people and former residents.
In 2018, the decision was taken to wind up the bequest and, as stipulated in the terms of the bequest, the balance remaining was transferred to the local branch of the RSPB.
Publications funded by the Ann Hill Research Bequest
The most significant work of the Committee was the commissioning of an archaeological, paleo-environmental and architectural survey of the parish under the guidance of Mr Roger Mercer, at that time on the staff of Edinburgh University and now Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The results of the survey were published in 1997 as No.6 of the Ann Hill Research Bequest Publications:
Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfriesshire — An Anatomy of a Parish in South West Scotland
The main chapters cover the following:
- The Evolution of the Landscape over the last ten millennia based on pollen analysis and radio-carbon dates.
- Prehistoric, Roman and later archaeological sites including some unpublished cropmarks seen from the air, monuments and finds (with gazetteer).
- Post-mediaeval Settlement and Landscape
- Extractive Industry
- The Buildings of the parish: with plans, photographs and drawings of Kirks, Towers (including those on the west bank of the River Kirtle), Cottages, Public Buildings, Farm Houses and Steadings (some with horsemills), Laird's and Middling Houses and, in detail, the building, growth and fortunes of two 'stately homes' Springkell and Mossknow with full commentary on the effects and cycles of agricultural boom and decline and change in farming practice on the buildings of a rural parish.
These are rounded off with a full discussion and conclusion by Mr Mercer himself.
The last publication funded by the Ann Hill Bequest was
Kirkpatrick Fleming — On the Borders of History
by the late Duncan Adamson and his daughter Sheila Adamson, published in 2011. This is a lavishly illustrated, hard-backed book of 208 pages in A4 format. The main chapters cover the following.
- Origins In the Beginning
- The Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries The Golden Age
- The Fourteenth Century The Wars of Independence
- The Fifteenth Century The Rise of the Clan
- The Sixteenth Century Rivals and Reivers
- The Seventeenth Century An Uncomfortable Union
- The Eighteenth Century The Age of Improvement
- The Nineteenth Century Heyday of the Parish
- The Twentieth Century The Drift from the Land
- Postscript — Kitkpatrick Fleming Today
Thirteen appendices, covering 38 pages, give much detailed information.
The History and Archaeology of Kirkpatrick Fleming Parish
No.1Ann Hill and her Family. A Memorial by D. Adamson (1986)
No.2*Kirkpatrick Fleming Poorhouse by D.Adamson (1986)
No.3*Kirkpatrick Fleming Miscellany
Mossknow Game Register 1875
Diary of J. Gordon Graham 1854
edited by D. Adamson and I.S. MacDonald (1987)
No.4*Middlebie Presbytery Records by D. Adamson (1988)
No.5*Kirkpatrick Fleming Miscellany
How Sir Patrick Maxwell worsted the Devil
Fergus Graham of Mossknow and the Murder at Kirkpatrick
both by W.F. Cormack (1989)
No.6Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfriesshire — An Anatomy of a Parish in South West Scotland
by Roger Mercer and others (1997)
No.7*The Tower-Houses of Kirtleside by Alastair M. T. Maxwell-Irving (1998)
Nos.1 to 5, and 7 are crown quarto in size with a 2-colour titled card cover. No.6 is A4 hardback with reprint in laminated soft cover. Publications marked * are reprinted from the Transactions.
All the above publications are now out of print, but copies are held by the Ewart Library in Dumfries.