Articles tagged with the topic ‘History’

Displaying 1 - 50 of 528


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.’


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.


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.


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.


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.


A. E. MacRobert

Were the Wigtown Martyrs Drowned? A Reappraisal

Recent, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 84 (2010), 121(3.44 MB)


This article explores the vituperative controversy which erupted in the mid 19th century over whether the Wigtown Martyrs were drowned. As the available evidence is neither easily accessible nor widely known, it is explained and evaluated. The conclusion is that they were drowned but there remain several mysteries including what happened to a reprieve from the Privy Council. Some historians have therefore been unable to agree that the drownings took place.


Alex Anderson

The ‘Old Edinburgh Road’ in Dumfriesshire and Galloway

Recent, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 84 (2010), 101(3.44 MB)


The ‘Old Edinburgh Road’ marked on Ordnance Survey maps of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright forms part of a route of great antiquity. A brief summary of its history before the turnpike era was given by the writer in a previous paper.2 The following notes are intended as an amplification of this and its extensions into Dumfriesshire and Wigtownshire, based on observations made in the intervening forty years.


A.J. McCulloch

The Gordons of Earlstoun

Mediaeval, Recent, History, Genealogy

TDGNHAS Series III, 84 (2010), 73(3.44 MB)


The Gordons of Earlstoun are interesting in that they, probably more than any other family in Galloway, suffered the most extreme vicissitudes of fortune. Senior cadet branch of the Gordons of Lochinvar (later Viscounts Kenmure), they built up such a large landholding that by the mid-1600s they had become one of the most powerful and influential families in Kirkcudbrightshire, and later they acquired a baronetcy. Yet within a century the family were so reduced that they were compelled to dispose of their estates, and for the next seventy-five years they remained landless. However, in the mid-eighteenth century a younger son emigrated to Jamaica where he became involved in the lucrative sugar trade, and established the foundations for a revival in the family’s fortunes. Building on this, and inheriting the baronetcy, his son was adjudged heir of entail to an estate near Borgue. Consequently the family regained much of its former eminence


Stuart McCulloch

Personal Allegiance in South West Scotland: 1286 – 1356

Mediaeval, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 84 (2010), 57(3.44 MB)


The death of Alexander 3rd in 1286 threw Scotland into tumult and struggle. When, in the same year, the South West was attacked by the forces of Robert Bruce it gave an unpleasant foretaste of what was to come. The strategic position of the region ensured that it became a transit area, traversed by the participating armies at least 13 times during the period. However, through-transit cannot explain the full-scale invasions, almost 30 battles and serious skirmishes and the very frequent harrying of the region throughout a 70 year period of intermittent warfare. Indeed, only 27 of these 70 years were without significant conflict somewhere in the South West. Thus the South West became pivotal in the wars of this period and often exhibited non-conformist and anti-central authority patterns of allegiance and support. The reasons for this persistent local turbulence are complex.


David F. Devereux

The Lochenkit Moor Covenanters – a Newly Discovered Account of a ‘Killing Times’ Incident

Recent, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 83 (2009), 229(WARNING large file size: 5.11 MB)


The killing of four Covenanters by Crown forces on Lochenkit Moor near present-day Crocketford in Kirkcudbrightshire in early 1685 was one of the most notorious events of the ‘Killing Times’. Today, a walled enclosure protects the site of their grave and an impressive obelisk nearby records the circumstances of their killing2. However, an account of the incident has been recently discovered in a manuscript book held in the Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright, which, if accurate, offers an alternative interpretation of the event.


J. Brann, N. Coombey and G. Stell

Glenstocken, Gutcher’s Isle, Colvend

Post-mediaeval archaeology, History, Architecture, Cartography

TDGNHAS Series III, 83 (2009), 91(WARNING large file size: 5.11 MB)


This article illuminates the history of a rare survival of a 17th century farmstead, variously known as ‘Glenstocken’, ‘Glenstocking’, and ‘Nether town of Glenstocking’, on the coast near Colvend and describes a project to consolidate the structure. The scheme was implemented by the National Scenic Area (NSA) project on behalf of the partners (Scottish Natural Heritage, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the East Stewartry Coast NSA Advisory Group). 


Andrew Breeze

Rosnat, Whithorn and Cornwall

Early Mediaeval, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 83 (2009), 43(WARNING large file size: 5.11 MB)


For nearly four hundred years, historians have been perplexed by the location of ‘Rosnat’, a British monastery and house of studies mentioned in the lives of various Irish saints. It was long taken as Whithorn in Galloway, and this is still argued, as we shall see. However, what follows discusses the problem and then (on the basis of new evidence) suggests that the place was Old Kea in Cornwall, on a tidal creek between Truro and Falmouth. If so, it allows us to identify (somewhat unexpectedly) a home of Celtic learning and spirituality that for centuries enjoyed international fame, was the intellectual centre of Cornish or south-western Christianity in the sixth century, and has implications for our understanding of religion in early Scotland, as elsewhere in Britain and Ireland. The present paper may here seem ungracious in trying to show that a home of early learning was not at Whithorn. But, being published in Dumfries and Galloway, it perhaps suggests that, if there was not much learning there in the sixth century, there is a great deal in the twenty-first. 


D. Patrick

Union of the Parliaments 1707-2007

Proceedings, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 82 (2008), 156(2.63 MB)


Since the 1960s the historiography of the Union has been dominated by those historians who believe it was achieved by means of corruption, English threats and the venality of Scots MPs, and on the other hand, those who have concentrated on Scotland’s de


C. Nicolson

The Ordeal of Patrick McMaster: A Galloway Merchant in the American Revolution

Recent, Recent (Social), Genealogy, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 81 (2007), 99(2.95 MB)


Patrick McMaster was born on March 19, 1741, at Currochtrie in Kirkmaiden parish. This article describes the various vissisitudes that befell him while in business in Colonial Boston at the time of the American War of Independence. The article aims to con


M.M. Stewart

The Brus Family in England and Scotland 1100-1295 by Ruth M Blakely. A Review

Review, Mediaeval, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 80 (2006), 174(3.8 MB)


Ruth Blakely’s magisterial study of the rise of the Brus family, from its Norman roots, through its acquisition of land in both Scotland and England throughout the 12th and 13th centuries, defines the power base from which its most famous descendant, Robe


Alex Anderson

The 'Classified Summary' of the Minutes of the Road Trustees of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright

Recent, Industrial Archaeology, History

TDGNHAS Series III, 80 (2006), 168(3.8 MB)


The purpose of this addendum is to make it known that copies of the above summary have been deposited for reference in the Ewart Library and the Archive Centre, Dumfries and the Stewartry Museum. It may be used to locate references to roads, bridges and


A.R. Williams and P.G. Williams

A Field-Study Meeting in Galloway, August 1939: The Institute of Sociology, Le Play House

Recent, Recent (Social), Recent (Literature & Art), Geology, Botany, Archaeology (General), Agriculture, Industrial Archaeology, History, Antiquarian, Field Meeting

TDGNHAS Series III, 80 (2006), 143(3.8 MB)


Between 1st and 15th August 1939 the Institute of Sociology, Le Play House, 35 Gordon Square, London held a field study meeting in Galloway. Centred on Newton Stewart the group set out to investigate the natural history, history and social science of the


R.D. Oram

Warrior, State Builder and ... Failure? The Career of Fergus of Galloway

Mediaeval, History, Genealogy

TDGNHAS Series III, 79 (2005), 191(4.05 MB)


A summary of the Cormack Lecture for 2004 - delivered to the Society on 3rd December 2004 by Dr Richard Oram of Stirling University.
A great deal of myth has built up around Fergus of Galloway as there is little in the way of definite information about h


D. Hextall

Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society

Early Mediaeval, Mediaeval, Post-mediaeval archaeology, Recent, Recent (Social), History, Parish History, Proceedings, Industrial Archaeology

TDGNHAS Series III, 78 (2004), 155(4.91 MB)


Summary of a lecture delivered to the Society on 16th January 2004 by Derek Hextall of the Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society. The society was set up in 1997. The society has developed several projects to mark the vast heritage of the parish. Cairn School