TDGNHAS Series III, Volume 85

Volume PDF (public)
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Contents of this volume

Morag Williams

Rosa Gigantea – ‘Sir George Watt’ Part II: Including ‘Sir George Watt’ Escorts ‘Banaras Dawn’ to Scotland by Girija Viraraghavan

Botany, Recent

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 1(3.42 MB)


Readers of the Transactions issue LXXXIV 2010 will recall the story of Rosa Gigantea ‘Sir George Watt’, which ended on a note of hope that the rose might be grown successfully in Scotland. There was great despair at the lack of success of the various packages which had been sent from India at considerable cost by the ever-hopeful Girija Viraraghavan and her husband, Viru. In Scotland, Richard Baines at Logan Botanic Garden in the West of Dumfries and Galloway remained just as optimistic and willing to keep trying to achieve success. After two failed attempts Morag Williams perhaps planted the seed of an idea in Girija’s mind, which lay dormant because there did not seem to any possibility of its happening. She said that the main reason for the lack of success seemed to be the time taken by these tender cuttings to reach their destination in Scotland and receive attention. If only someone travelling from India to the UK could bring them by air it would improve the chances of success. Better still, if a rooted plant, instead of cuttings, could arrive by this means there would be greater hope of a successful outcome. Even so, such a move would provide another hurdle to overcome: a plant would require certification to travel. There follows in Girija’s own words the second instalment of the journeying of the Rosa Gigantea ‘Sir George Watt’ from India to Scotland, which first appeared in January 2011 in The Indian Rose Annual XXVII 2011. Girija has kindly given consent for publication in the Transactions.

L.R. Griffen, D. Skilling, R.T. Smith and J.G. Young

The 2010 Dumfriesshire Rookery Census: Including comparisons with the surveys of 1908, 1921, 1963, 1973, 1975, 1993, 2003, 2004 and 2008


TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 9(3.42 MB)


Completion of the whole-county 2010 census of Rook Corvus frugilegus nests in Dumfriesshire is the most recent in a series which began in 1908. The results confirm that the decline in the number of Rook nests, first noted in 20035 , continues and now at 12,350 is at the lowest level ever recorded. This number is less than 50% of that recorded in 1993 when 25,489 nests, the largest number for the area was counted, meaning that the number of breeding Rooks has more than halved in the 17 year intervening period since that survey. In 1993, 22 colonies each held more than 200 nests, in 2010 (as in 2008) only one colony (not the same one) had more than 200 nests, symptomatic of the unabated fragmentation of large rookeries that has occurred resulting in ever smaller average rookery size, now just 33 nests per rookery.

D. Coles, A. Sheridan and Crane Begg with Philip Abramson, Charles French and Jane Murray

Excavation and Recording of Three Sites at Knocknab on Torrs Warren, West Freugh

Archaeology (General), Neolithic

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 17(3.42 MB)


In 1992, during a routine reconnaissance of MOD land at West Freugh, a scatter of artefacts was observed eroding out of a former land surface within the dunes at Knocknab. Initially the assemblage was recorded in situ and surface artefacts were collected. However, when it became evident that archaeological layers were being exposed and then undermined by severe storms, limited excavation was also undertaken. Over the following three years, the area was periodically monitored and artefacts collected where present. The great majority of the assemblage comprised lithics and ceramics located on the old ground surface and within pits. A radiocarbon date of 3940–3700 cal BC, obtained from Sorbus charcoal from a pit in Area 1, established an early Neolithic context for the material. The aim of this report is to bring the results of this investigation into the public arena, with particular emphasis on an analysis of the lithic and ceramic assemblages. It is not intended to provide a more wide-ranging synthesis of the material from Luce Sands but it is hoped that the information within this article could be incorporated into such a synthesis in the future.

Magnus Kirkby

Neolithic, Bronze Age, Anglian and Later Discoveries at Lockerbie

Archaeology (General), Neolithic, Bronze Age, Early Mediaeval, Post-mediaeval archaeology

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 53(3.42 MB)


Four areas of archaeological significance covering a timescale from early Neolithic to post-medieval periods were identified during initial fieldwork at Lockerbie Academy.2 The earliest site identified was the remains of a Neolithic timber hall, which was situated on top of the flat plateau towards the north-west end of the site. At the summit of the rounded knoll in the centre of the area, a Bronze Age phase consisting of a cremation and inhumation cemetery enclosed by a possible ring-cairn was identified. At the base of the rounded knoll, the remains of an Early Historic timber hall were identified. This Anglian timber hall reoccupied the site of a post-built structure, which was interpreted as a timber hall, possibly belonging to an earlier British tradition. A corn-drying kiln was identified cut into the same knoll as the Bronze Age cemetery and has been dated to the late medieval or early post-medieval period. A segmented ditched enclosure was located towards the north-east end of the site, but the poor survival of this feature combined with a lack of finds and palaeobotanical evidence means that it remains undated.

Alex Maxwell Findlater

Sir Enguerrand de Umfraville: His Life, Descent and Issue

Mediaeval, History, Genealogy

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 67(3.42 MB)


The relationship of the Balliols and Umfravilles of Redcastle and Urr has caused historians problems, even to the extent of the suggestion that there might have been two of the name Enguerrand (Ingelram) de Umfraville. The most recent book3 shows Enguerrand in an altogether different position in the pedigree, without annotation, but obviously as an attempt to make sense of the evidence. I shall show that Sir Enguerrand de Umfraville enjoyed an exceptionally long life, being born about 1245 and dying after 1321, that he was the first cousin and co-heir of Sir Enguerrand de Balliol II (d 1298) son of Sir Eustace (d 1270/76), and that his mother was indeed Eustace’s sister Eva, daughter of Sir Enguerrand de Balliol I (d ca 1244) of Urr and Redcastle. Furthermore I reposition Sir Henry de Balliol of Cavers as the son, not the brother, of Sir Enguerrand de Balliol I, both on chronological grounds, and on the evidence that Sir Enguerrand had a son Henry who also had a son Henry, as did Sir Henry de Balliol of Cavers have a son Henry, so giving two matching pairs of Henrys.

Alistair Livingstone

Gaelic in Galloway: Part One – Expansion

Early Mediaeval, Mediaeval, History, Ethnography

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 85(3.42 MB)


For at least 600 years, between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries, Galloway was a Gaelic speaking land. Although both the beginning and the end of Gaelic Galloway are uncertain, that Gaelic was the language of the kingdom of Galloway established by Fergus in the early eleventh century, and was still the main language of the Douglas lordship of Galloway at its end in 1455, is indisputable. In addition to the Gaelic personal and place names recorded in medieval charters, the thousands of Gaelic place names which survived to be recorded by the Ordnance Survey in the 1840s bear witness to Galloway’s Gaelic past. Furthermore, despite the language shift to Scots, there is evidence of cultural continuity between the agriculture of Gaelic Galloway and the farming practice of seventeenth and early eighteenth century Galloway. Then, at the end of the eighteenth century, the process of agricultural improvement began, a process which has continued to the present. The cumulative effect of this process in the lowlands, combined with afforestation in the uplands, has been the erasure of Galloway’s past. The Galloway landscape known to the Galloway Levellers and the Covenanters would have been familiar to the medieval Gaelic farmers who named the land, but none would recognise the landscape of the present.

Frances Wilkins

The Dumfries Collectors and the King’s Boat at Carsethorn, 1764–1799

Recent, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 93(3.42 MB)


For a period of nearly one hundred years the senior customs officers at the port of Dumfries believed that the establishment of a king’s boat at Carsethorn was the best means of stopping smuggling up the Solway Firth. These king’s boats were comparatively small when compared with the revenue cutters stationed round the Scottish coasts – the nearest of these was at Whithorn. They were essentially open boats with four, six or eight sets of oars and a sail. They were manned by a commander with a crew of men, who had been bred to the sea. The main source of information about the king’s boats is the copy books of letters from the Board of Customs in Edinburgh to the collector and comptroller at Dumfries and the local officers’ letters to the Board and to their own staff. This paper describes the relationship between the collectors and the commanders of the king’s boat, during the period 1759 to 1799, for which there is the most detailed information.

David Steel

The Gatehouse Adventure: The Makers of a Planned Town 1760 to 1830

Recent (Social), Industrial Archaeology, History, Genealogy

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 119(3.42 MB)


This paper uses a variety of original sources on planned settlements in South West Scotland and the local industrial archaeology in order to explore the progress of Gatehouse of Fleet from the early 1760s, focusing first on the early feuars in the settlement established by James Murray of Broughton near his new mansion at Cally. The paper tracks attempts to bring industry such as tanning and brewing to Gatehouse. Using legal papers in particular, evidence shows how James Murray, other landowners, his partners in the new businesses and local tradesmen all became caught up in the rapid rise and subsequent failure of the Ayr Bank in 1772. The lasting effects of the bank’s failure on the local economy due to the financial burden on Murray and others is examined and we see how this led to a lack of new building, followed by the emigration of a number of the Gatehouse feuars. Development began to pick up only in 1777 when Murray promoted the settlement in the press and reduced feu duties for all new building. Cotton manufacture came to Gatehouse in 1785 with the signing of a contract between Murray and the Birtwhistle family, which led to the construction of a substantial mill. The rapid but short lived development and subsequent decline of the cotton industry and its effect on Gatehouse is examined in some detail. Finally we see how Gatehouse returned to its earlier role as a supplier of tradesmen to Cally Estate under Alexander Murray of Broughton.

David Dutton

The Decline of Liberalism in Dumfriesshire: Was It the Standard Wot Done It?

Recent, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 85 (2011), 143(3.42 MB)


In its editorial on 14 December 1963 the Dumfries and Galloway Standard and Advertiser declared, ‘The fact must be faced, Liberalism in Dumfriesshire is on its deathbed and nothing short of a miracle will revive it.’ The evidence for such a statement was strong. In the by-election occasioned by the elevation to the peerage of the sitting member, Niall Macpherson, and whose result had just been declared, the Liberal party, fielding a candidate in the constituency for the first time since the General Election of 1945, had secured a derisory 4,491 votes and forfeited its deposit. This figure, suggested the Standard, was ‘amazingly small’. ‘No juggling of the figures can produce a single crumb of comfort for the Liberals.’ The party’s candidate, Charles Abernethy, and his supporters had ‘put everything they had into the campaign, but however strong Liberalism in Dumfriesshire may have been in the past the by-election figures show that the new generation of voters are thinking along different lines’. A week later, following the publication of two critical letters in its correspondence columns, the newspaper felt it necessary to defend itself against the charge that it had itself contributed to the Liberal party’s predicament because ‘it did not throw its whole weight behind the Party, as in the old days’. A newspaper’s primary function, the Standard argued, is ‘to give a fair and unbiased account of the news, particularly in the controversial field of politics’. If, then, the Dumfriesshire Liberals were looking for a scapegoat for the result of the poll, ‘they must look elsewhere. We have no intention of accepting the role.’