There are several mentions of Roman roads
in the Accounts. A main road ran north from Carlisle
to Burnswark and then to Moffat, Crawford and beyond.
A branch road led from this over to Lochmaben and Nithsdale
from where it ran north past Durisdeer to rejoin the
main road at Crawford. Also mentioned was a road up
to the camp at Netherby and to Langholm.
More unusual and unconfirmed references to Roman roads
are for a road up to Castle O'er and reports that a
road had been found at Overcassey in Eskdalemuir parish,
a road across the Nith to Doon of Tynron and a road
running through Tynron parish. In Wamphray parish there
were a number of standing stones along the line of the
main road north that were conjectured to be Roman milestones.
The usual remarks about roads are made. Under the statute
labour system roads were often poorly made and maintained.
Parts of some parishes were inaccessible in the mid-1700's,
although in other parishes the roads could be fine.
There were improvements when a monetary payment could
be made rather than carry out the actual labour. This
commutation system could be unfair at times as in Holywood
where the commutation rate was higher where it was more
difficult to make the roads. In St Mungo's parish, those
needing poor assistance were employed on the roads at
2d below the normal rate to avoid a drain on the poor
funds. Poor women were employed to gather stones and
The first turnpikes were made under an
act of 1776 and led to a great improvement and the usual
benefits to the local economy though there were the
usual grumblings from some. A network of main roads
was quickly established joining the main towns, and
the county with Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Carlisle, Portpatrick
etc. and stagecoach and carrier services became more
frequent. Many bridges date from this time, some replacing
dangerous fords and ferries where people had drowned.
The Nith could be forded at very low tides to reach
New Abbey, and the Solway could be crossed at Dornock
but at great risk.
The Military Road from Carlisle to Portpatrick has a
few mentions. It had been made by the government but
needed maintenance which it did not always get and so
deteriorated. It was eventually made a toll road but
was generally replaced by other roads, in some cases
like in Mousewald running parallel to it.
The larger towns of Annan, Langholm, Dumfries, Lockerby
and Moffat had regular markets, and Wanlockhead and
Leadhills were a ready outlet for local produce. Droving
was carried out with 20,000 black cattle passing through
Lockerby each year on their way to England; Irish cattle
also passed through Dumfries. There was a fair for lambs
at Langholm and pig farming was becoming established
at the time of the NSA in the parishes of Hoddom, Johnstone,
Mousewald and Lockerby with markets at Dumfries and
Annan. It had been common practice in hard winters for
farmers in upland areas like Eskdalemuir to bring their
sheep down to Nithsdale, Annandale and lower Eskdale
for the winter months but the practice had ceased due
to enclosures and using turnip for winter feed.
Numerous harbours and landing places along the Solway
coast are mentioned and there was considerable trade
with Cumberland and Liverpool, particularly of imports
like coal and slate and exports of agricultural produce.
Coal was also available from Sanquhar and near Canonby
and early depots were set up in Sanquhar and Dunscore,
constantly supplied by wagons from the New Cumnock area.
Some peat was used where available. Lime for manure
could be had a various locations. There are several
mentions of the vagrant poor.
A number of great roads, now turnpiked, pass through
the parish. These are Dumfries to Carlisle, Annan and
Edinburgh by Moffat, and Edinburgh by Langholm.
Cross roads have been made and repaired by conversion
money. This is 3d per L.Sterling of real rent for those
living in the burgh and 12 s. on each 100 merks for
those living in the landward part of the parish.
The town has a port.
There is a considerable port here with export of grain,
wool etc. to Liverpool and the Lancashire towns, and
the import of merchant goods. A fine road, some 40 feet
wide, was made about 4 years ago from the town to the
jetties. This is always busy when the steamers are due.
A fine new bridge replaced the old one in 1824. While
it was being built a wooden temporary one was used.
The old bridge had been rebuilt in 1724 but was long
thought to be dangerous and inconvenient because of
Roads - The Dumfries to Carlisle coach road passes through
as well as a road to Edinburgh by Kirtlebridge and Langholm
and one by Stapleton, Kilpatrick and Chapelknow to join
the Edinburgh and Carlisle road near Canonbie. There
is a branch from the Langholm road to Ecclefechan where
it meets the Carlisle to Glasgow road and another road
to Brydekirk village. All these roads are funded by
tolls and public assessments.
Six miles of the Carlisle to Edinburgh and Glasgow turnpike
runs through the parish. This was made about 15 years
ago and has been of great advantage. The London - Glasgow
mail coach passes through daily and there are carriers
each day to Glasgow and to Carlisle and further south.
There is a stage at Dinwoodie Green where the coach
stops and horses are changed. This is 5 miles from Lockerby
where there is a post office. It is 11 miles to Ecclefechan
and 11 miles to Moffat both of which are also stages
and have post offices.
A diligence runs through Moffat to Edinburgh three times
a week - travel to Edinburgh and Glasgow is easy.
Markets and Means of Communication - The nearest markets
are at Lockerby and Lochmaben.
The Glasgow-Carlisle-London road runs through the parish.
In addition to the mail coach there is now a light-mail
coach that travels at 11 mph.
There are two bridges over the Annan: one is on the
Glasgow road and the other is on the road leading from
Dumfries over to Eskdale. They were built in 1818 and
1827 respectively. In the Sibbaldie part of the parish
there are two stone bridges and a wooden bridge over
Fair, Inns etc - There used to be four annual fairs
here but they are no longer held. There is an inn, used
mostly by those on the Glasgow road. Toll keepers for
a time held licences to sell spirits but are now restricted
to selling "malt-liquor".
Fuel - Peat obtained locally. Such coal as is used comes
from Cumberland via Annan.
; see also p.362
There are harbours at Keltown and Glencaple which can
take vessels of 80/90 tons. Larger vessels unload at
the Carse, 6 miles below Glencaple Key.
The Nith can be forded at low water; at very low
tides New Abbey can be reached. On the other side of
the parish, Lochar Moss is only passable on foot in
the driest months of summer.
There is a quay at Glencaple where larger vessels can
unload. A steamer sails regularly to Liverpool. The
quay generates considerable traffic both of passengers
There is a market in Dumfries every Wednesday which
is well attended from this parish. There is no turnpike.
Fuel - Peat is the most common fuel but coals may be
had at the coast. Some lime is also landed here but
mostly comes from Kellhead, 10 miles away.
A road is proposed which would run from Glencaple quay
through the moss to the Annan road at Mouswald, which
would be a great benefit. The Dumfries and Annan mail
used to pass through here by Bankend on a road which
while in a reasonable condition in this parish has practically
disappeared in Ruthwell parish because of the incursions
of the Solway. A road from Bankend bridge to Annan to
replace this would be advantageous. The road from Glencaple
to Dumfries is in "tolerable repair."
Great progress has been made in recent years. Twenty
years ago, much of the parish was inaccessible except
for those parts near the River Esk or in a very dry
summer. Since then roads have been made on the east
and west sides of the parish with branches to almost
To make and maintain these roads the Duke of Buccleugh
has set aside 5 per cent of the land-rent of the parish
along with £50 from his own pocket. This was supplemented
by a levy on the carriage of coal and the statute labour
commutation money, which of itself was quite inadequate
for its purpose.
There is a toll at the Scotch Dike, the money being
applied to the upkeep of the post road.
There are about 10 bridges of one arch, and many smaller
ones in the parish. There are two larger bridges over
the Esk. One of three arches was built about 50 years
ago after the boat, used for ferrying people to and
from church, overturned and a number of people were
The other bridge was finished last summer and has shortened
the route to the colliery at Byreburnfoot and removed
a steep climb on the post road. It also disclosed "new
romantic scenes to the traveller that mock all description."
Another bridge nearby will be built next year.
There are remains of a Roman camp about a mile east
of Gilnockie, presumably on a line between the camps
at Netherby and Castle O’er.
Market-towns - Langholm is the nearest market and post
town, although markets at Longtown and Carlisle are
Sixty years ago most places outwith the valley of the
Esk were almost inaccessible except in a very dry summer.
Now there are good roads on both the west and east sides
of the parish with branches to the main farms. The statute
labour conversion money was insufficient to make and
repair the roads so the Duke of Buccleuch raised sufficient
funds out of the land rent of the parish, supplemented
by some of his own money and a toll on loads of coal.
The post road is funded by the tolls raised at the toll
bar which was situated at the Scotch dike.
Bridges - There are 10 bridges of one arch over various
streams and many smaller bridges. The Esk has two fine
bridges. One was built by the county some 90 years ago
and was much needed as the river was difficult to cross
and indeed dangerous with many people drowning. The
other was built at the private expense of the Duke of
Buccleuch some 42 years ago and is very striking in
appearance. A new line of one and a half miles for the
turnpike road was made which avoids a difficult pull
on the old road and shortens the distance to the colliery
at Byreburnfoot. There is also a new bridge over the
Liddle above Penton Linn which makes for easy travel
between Liddesdale and England.
The mail coach between Edinburgh and Carlisle as well
as other coaches to England pass through the parish.
Fuel - Coal and peat are easily obtained locally.
see also markets
Bridge built 1781-2
road at Dinning south of Closeburn is shown on the
Military Survey of c.1750 - the motte & bailey
on the right suggests it is much older
There are markets for corn and meal at Dumfries (12
miles), and at Wanlockhead and Leadhills (18/19 miles).
The Dumfries to Glasgow and Ayr road runs through the
parish, with a comfortable inn at Bromhill, halfway
between Dumfries and Sanquhar.
There are many bridges and generally the roads are good.
The nearest market town is Dumfries, 12 miles away.
Of turnpike roads there are 8 miles of the road connecting
Annandale with Nithsdale and 6 miles of the Glasgow
Carlisle road that runs via Dumfries. There is a branch
from the latter to Edinburgh. A coach from Carlisle
to Glasgow runs each day, and one from Dumfries to Edinburgh
three times a week.
The Military Road has been turnpiked which is a great
improvement as it had been in disrepair and there had
not been enough funds to maintain it.
A new road to Dumfries, north of the Military Road,
had been built which has made travel easier for those
near the road. The Statute Labour roads are generally
Parochial Economy - The nearest market and post town
is Annan, four miles away. There are 12 miles of turnpike
and the parish roads are good.
Fuel - Peat is mostly used but coal can be obtained
The new turnpike from Annan to Dumfries passes through
The nearest market towns are Annan and Dumfries. Annan
is used for shipping grain and barley to Liverpool.
These towns are easily reached both by the parish roads
and the Carlisle to Portpatrick turnpike.
Fuel - Peat is mostly used but will soon be worked out;
coal from England can be obtained at Annan.
see also minerals,
Vessels of 100 tons can reach to a point 5 or 6 miles
to the east of the parish.
It is possible to cross at risk to Cumberland some 18
The village itself is on the Military Road. This had
been made by the government but was now a toll road.
Some of the cross-roads were Statute Labour, now commuted
but little has been spent on them in the last 5 years.
The parish has 66 carts and 48 wheel cars or tumbrils.
Salmon caught locally are sent to Carlisle.
Parochial Economy - The Carlisle to Portpatrick turnpike
runs through the parish - the mail coach runs on it
as well as a heavy coach to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Many
goods from the area are taken to Bowness from where
steamers sail to Liverpool.
Fuel - What coal is used comes from Cumberland by small
vessels, and lime from Kelhead, six miles away.
see also markets
Peat scarce and expensive. Coal brought long distances
from Sanquhar and Cumberland.
Two fairs and 10 markets held in Lockerbie with considerable
A Roman road runs from the border up to Burnswark and
then to Lockerby, Drysdale Gate and Gallaberry. It divides
there with one branch leading to Moffat then Tweeddale
and Clydesdale, and another crossing the Annan to Lochmaben
where there is a double fort called Woody Castle. From
there it passes up the west side of the Water of Ae
The London to Edinburgh and Glasgow turnpike runs through
Lockerbie and this parish. The mail coach from the south
arrives at the post office every evening and from the
north in the morning. It takes about 50 hours to travel
the 336 miles from Lockerbie to London.
Each spring and after the harvest, some 20,000 black
cattle from the North and West Highlands are driven
through on their way to England. About 50 cartloads
of goods pass each week on their way to and from Glasgow.
The commutation money is about L45 annually and by judicious
application has kept the parish roads in excellent repair.
One benefit has been the carriage of lime which has
improved the ground.
Civil history - A Roman road ran from the borders
of England up to Burnswark then to Dryfesdale gate and
the Gallaberry. From there there was a branch to Moffat
up to Clydesdale and Tweeddale, and a branch westward
over to Woody Castle near Lochmaben, then by the west
side of the Water of Ae and by Nithsdale to the west.
Means of Communication - The post and turnpike road
from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow passes through
the parish. On this road, there is an old but still
sound bridge over the Dryfe; and another on a parish
road over the Milk at Scroggs. There is a new road from
Dumfries to Langholm by Lockerbie on which a bridge
has been built at Stullahill in 1830. It is of wood
covered with cast iron and is very elegant.
Fairs - Two fairs and several markets, as well as weekly
markets in winter for the sale of pork. All are very
Inns - Chaises and horses can be hired at one of the
two inns in the town.
see whole report
for references in passing
There are two weekly markets and three annual fairs.
The port extends from Southwick (in Colvend parish)
to the foot of Sark Water, although vessels can only
discharge at Dumfries or Annan.
|High Street, Dumfries,
||The old bridge
There is a mail coach to London each weekday and a
daily post between Edinburgh and Portpatrick.
The roads in and near Dumfries are in very good condition.
There are tolls on the roads to Edinburgh, Annan and
Lochmaben. The first of these roads was made about 20
years ago by public subscription, and a road to Annan
through Lockermoss was funded by money paid by a merchant
for tobacco but which was never claimed.
The statute labour roads are made and repaired with
Each week a waggon of 6 horses goes to Carlisle, about
8 or 10 post chaisses are kept at the inns and 5 families
have four-wheeled chaisses and four have whiskies.
Coals are brought from Sanquhar.
|Dumfries Town House
||Mileage Panel on
Town House dated 1827 - note the mention of Huntingdon,
at that time a centre for the droving trade
Means of Communication - Three turnpike roads run in
the parish - each for about three miles. There are daily
mail-coaches to and from London, Edinburgh and Portpatrick,
as well as coaches and carriers to Edinburgh, Glasgow
As the river has been deepened, vessels can reach near
to the town. There are also quays nearer the mouth of
the river for larger boats.
Fuel - Coal is brought from Sanquhar and also from Maryport
and Whitehaven. Some peat from Lochar Moss is also used.
No mention of roads.
Antiquities - On Springfield-hill there are traces
of a military station which may have been Roman as it
is close to an old Roman road which passed through Kirkmahoe
parish on the other side of the Nith. As Burnswark and
the Barhill of Tinwald can be easily seen, it would
have been easy to communicate by signal with the camp
There are two towers which stand on opposite sides of
a narrow pass in Gleneslin. Their names are Bogrie and
Markets etc - Dumfries is the nearest market town, some
nine miles from the centre of the parish. Minnyhive
is a post town but Dumfries is more convenient.
Means of Communication - The Dumfries to Glasgow turnpike
(on which coaches run each day to Glasgow and Edinburgh)
passes through with a branch from Friar’s Carse through
the full length of the parish to Balmaclellan and New
Galloway. Another road leads from Dumfries to Ayr by
Minnyhive and a stagecoach has recently started running
on this every two days. All the roads are good. The
only toll is a side bar serving as a check to the Newbridge
toll in Holywood parish. Dalgonar Bridge has a span
of 80 feet and is the only bridge of any size in the
Fuel - The main fuel is peat, obtained locally. However
there is a coal depot at Allanton in the parish, supplied
from Sanquhar, which is very convenient. The coal waggons
"are constantly plying on the roads" to supply this
|The Well Path -
looking towards the Roman fortlet and road north
To the west a road leads up the Nith to Sanquhar, Ayr
etc; to the north there is a road up the Enterkin to
Leadhills and Edinburgh etc; and to the north-east there
is a straight pass known as the Well Path, which leads
to Edinburgh by Crawford Muir.
Coarse wool for carpets sent to Kilmarnock and Kendal.
The Nith is fordable in only 2 or 3 places - there is
a bridge near the foot of the parish.
Lambs are sent to fairs at Langholm, Lockerby, Lanark
etc and to Edinburgh. Black cattle are sent to England.
The statute labour is commuted but the roads are poor.
A road from Durisdeer to connect the Well Path with
the Sanquhar road would be a great advantage, particularly
in the carriage of coals. Also of advantage would be
a bridge over the Nith, even if of timber: a good site
would be Auchenbreath, where there is solid rock on
each side of the river.
The nearest market town is Dumfries, 20 miles away.
There are 6 miles of turnpike roads in the parish and
a stagecoach to Glasgow each day and Edinburgh three
times a week. There is no post office. Coal is the most
common fuel and is obtained from Sanquhar. Roads and
bridges are much improved since the previous Statistical
|Samye Ling: a Tibetan
monastery situated in Eskdalemuir
In the past the parish suffered from want of proper
communications. Now, however, there is an excellent
road from Langholm to the head of the moor and another
from the church to Moffat, Dumfries and Lockerby. A
bridge is soon to be built over the Esk.
It is of interest that Castle Oer has a line of
sight with other encampments down the Esk to Netherby
and down the Water of Milk to Middleby.
There is a Roman road from Netherby to near Langholm
and reports that it may have been discovered near Over-Causeway
at the head of this parish.
A fair was formerly held where the Black and White
Esk rivers meet.
Two new roads are to be made:
- from the church at Langholm to Hawick either by Borthwick
Water or Glendinning and Teviot Head. This would save
the journey by Waugh-hope-dale or Ecclefechan for the
Dumfries to Hawick road;
- Langholm to Edinburgh by Eskdalemuir, Tima, Crosslee,
Benbengarburn, Traquair, Innerleithen and Middleton.
the Roman camp at Raeburnfoot and the Craik Cross
Until the start of the present century (1800), farmers
used to take their sheep to Annandale if the winter
was too severe. A memorandum notes that in 1802 sheep
were taken from Crawfurdmuir, Tweedsmuir, Ettrick, Yarrow,
the head of Teviotdale, Ewes and Eskdalemuir down to
Nithsdale, Annandale and lower Eskdale. The practice
has ceased partly because of enclosures in Annandale
and partly because ways have been found of feeding the
sheep in winter.
Means of communication - There are no turnpike roads
here. The twenty-one miles of parish road are made and
maintained by an assessment on heritors and tenants.
There is a bridge over the White Esk and one over the
Black Esk, with plans to build another over the Black
Esk on the road to Lockerby, Lochmaben, Dumfries and
Moffat. This will allow the lime-works in Middlebie
parish to be easily reached.
A survey, under the superintendence of Mr Telford, has
been completed for a coach road from Carlisle through
Gariston Bridge, Middleby, Eskdalemuir, Ettrick, Yarrow,
Innerleithen and Middleton to Edinburgh. This would
be 12 miles shorter than the present road through Langholm
Fuel - Abundant supplies of peat are available locally
although if there is wet weather there can be difficulties.
The Edinburgh to Carlisle road by Hawick and Langholm
runs along the banks of the Ewes. It was planned by
a Mr Pulteney and built in 1765. Another public road
leads east to Liddesdale, and another allows access
to Dumfries and Moffat.
Langholm is the nearest market and post town.
There are good roads in all directions. The Edinburgh
to Carlisle road by Hawick and Langholm follows the
Ewes for some 8 miles in the parish; several coaches
to London run on this road as well as the Carlisle mail
coach. Mr Pulteney of Westerhall obtained an act of
Parliament in 1763 to allow this road to be built.
A road runs eastwards into Liddesdale and another to
Dumfries and Moffat. Both these roads are funded by
an assessment on the rents of the heritors, and the
statute labour commutation money obtained from the tenants.
Ecclesiastical state - there was a church at Ewesduris
at the head of Ewesdale where a pass runs into Teviotdale.
The name comes from the British or Irish word for pass.
Fuel - Peat as well as coal from Canonbie is used.
Ewes Valley, An Historical Miscellany, by Brenda
I. Morrison and R. Bruce McCartney
There is a stone bridge near to Minnyhive (Moniave)
and Dunreggan over the Dalwhat Water.
There would be advantages if the Ayr to Dumfries road
by Dalmellington could join the great road from Wigton
to Galloway, if this were completed, at the head of
Craigdarroch, a distance of only 5 miles.
Dumfries is the nearest market town and is 15 miles
away. A daily post goes to Minnyhive. There are 18 miles
of turnpike road in the parish, with a coach three times
a week between Dumfries and Glasgow. The turnpike has
four good bridges on its line with six other bridges
on the parish roads. Three fairs are held each year
in Minnyhive; a market for lambs was recently established
and promises to be successful. Peat is 4 miles away
and coal 16 miles.
Shop beside the old Glasgow road
Vessels of 120 tons can reach Sarkfoot. There are landing
places at Sarkfoot, Hiedkirkpoint and Brewhouses but
vessels can also lie on the shore.
The roads north to Moffat for Edinburgh/Glasgow, the
Portpatrick Road, and the Glasgow road by Sanquhar,
Muirkirk etc separate at Headlesscross, close to the
new village of Springfiield.
The turnpike act dates from 1777. There are two bridges
at Sark and at Kirtle on the Portpatrick road.
Graitney Hall is now an inn and post-chaisses can be
An old Roman road leads to Middlebie and Birrenswark.
Boats come from Cumberland with coals and slate; grain
and potatoes are taken to Liverpool and Lancashire.
Means of Communication - The highways from Carlisle
to Glasgow and to Portpatrick pass through the parish.
The old Carlisle road crosses the Glasgow road in the
village - it is still the nearest way to Longtown, Brampton
and Newcastle. The post office is in Gretna but connects
only with Carlisle which adds to the expense of mail
to Scotland. The public and parish roads are in fine
condition. There is a bridge over the Kirtle and two
over the Sark. Vessels of up to 20 tons land locally,
bringing coal and slate from Cumberland and taking grain
and potatoes to Lancashire.
Fuel - The main fuel is peat although coal is brought
both from the Cumberland coast and from Brampton and
Parish is very well provided with roads. The turnpike
from Gretna to Moffat runs centrally through the parish
with 5 cross roads, each of which is of turnpike standard.
The roads and the easy access to lime has resulted in
Prior to the local turnpike act of 1777, most of the
roads were unmade, or poorly repaired, and throughout
Annandale were impassable in winter.
|Ecclefechan was an important
stop on the turnpike
The four great roads of the county have been properly
repaired since the passing of this act: the roads are
Edinburgh by Langholm; by Moffat to Edinburgh and Glasgow;
to Portpatrick by Dumfries; and Ayrshire by Sanquhar.
The Annan to Langholm road is also a turnpike. Annual
income from tolls is 1700 L.
Although lime is easily transported, coal is 16 miles
away and very expensive because of this.
The village of Ecclefechan has two good inns which passengers
can use - these have post chaisses and post horses.
The mail coach between London and Glasgow passes through
daily in each direction.
There is a monthly market in Ecclefechan but the market
in Annan is more frequented. Recently a pork market
has been established here and promises well for the
Means of Communication - The parish is well served by
carriers who travel to many places within a distance
of about 50 miles. One carrier goes to Edinburgh each
fortnight and the Glasgow to London mail coach passes
through each day.
There is a fine bridge over the Annan, two smaller bridges
over the Mein and several small ones in Ecclefechan
which "give a peculiar appearance to the village."
Apart from the Glasgow road there are five very good
When the roads were under the statute labour system,
they were "neither half made, nor half kept in
repair." An act allowing the conversion of statute
labour into a monetary payment set the rate at a maximum
of 12 shillings per 100 merks. However, this operates
unfairly as some are assessed at the full rate where
road making is difficult, and others are only rated
at 6 shillings.
The roads are well made and kept but the amount collected
is insufficient as there is a great deal of through
A turnpike is now being made between Carlisle and Glasgow
and is to be finished next year. Tolls are moderate.
There are a number of bridges, and these are kept in
repair by the parish with the exception of a large bridge
over the Cluden which was built and is kept in repair
by the county of Dumfries and the Stewartry, it being
on the boundary between them.
There is an old ford on the Cluden with stepping stones
Dumfries is the main market town.
In the summer the Nith can be forded at three places.
The Cluden has a ford which is often unusable in winter.
A wooden bridge is being built two miles downstream
from the ford which will be a great benefit.
There are 30 miles of road giving easy access to all
parts of the parish. They are funded from the statute
labour conversion money.
The turnpike from Carlisle to Glasgow by Dumfries passes
through with regular coaches to Carlisle, Glasgow, Edinburgh
Coal and peat are used as fuel.
of Hutton and Corrie
(short references in passing)
|Looking down the
Dryfe Water from Boreland
There are 80 carts in the parish.
The lower part of the parish had previously suffered
from a want of roads.
Cattle passes through.
The nearest market and post town is Lockerbie, 7 miles
away. Dumfries, despite being 17 miles distant, is favoured,
with regular carriers to the town.
Means of communication - There have been great improvements
to the roads in the past 30 years. There are two main
lines of road; one from Dumfries, Lochmaben and Lockerbie
to Eskdalemuir, Ettrick and Hawick, the other running
from Moffat to Langholm and Carlisle. There are good
bridges over the Dryfe, Corrie and Milk.
Fuel - Peat is obtained locally - considerable time
is expended in the summer months in cutting and carting
it. Coal is obtainable from Annan but is very expensive.
Vagrants - The parish is much oppressed by the vagrant
The Moffat to Dumfries road is in good repair. There
are no turnpikes and the statute labour is commuted.
St Anns bridge over the Kinnel Water was built
by the Earl of Hopeton in1782.
Coal is brought 30 miles from Sanquhar on a very bad
road. As there is a better road to Douglas, it is easier
to bring it from there even though it is further away.
Manufactures - A large amount of bacon is prepared here,
much of it taken to Longtown for distribution to Newcastle
and other towns in the north-east of England.
Markets etc - Lockerby and Moffat.
Means of Communication - Post towns are Moffat, Lochmaben
Five miles of the excellent London - Carlisle - Glasgow
road runs through the parish; there are also five miles
of the Dumfries - Edinburgh road and six miles of the
Moffat to Lochmaben and Annan turnpike. Mail coaches
and coaches run on these roads.
The first bridge over the Kinnel was at St Anns (8 miles
S of Moffat on Dumfries road) dating from 1782 with
several wooden bridges nearby. A bridge over the Annan
was built at Johnstone Mills in 1818.
Fuel - Peat obtained locally.
Miscellaneous - Roads have greatly improved in the last
The principal road in the parish is very poor with some
parts still unmade and others badly repaired. The statute
labour conversion money raises £12 each year but
this is insufficient for the purpose. The bad roads
are a bar to progress.
The nearest market town is Dumfries. Mail is brought
by runner from Thornhill.
There are three turnpike roads in the parish: Dumfries
to Penpont, Penpont to Glencairn and the Dumfries to
Thornhill road which has coaches to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
There are 5 good bridges - a new suspension bridge has
recently been built over the Scar.
Fuel - Coal from Sanquhar is mostly used.
2 miles north of Sanquhar on Crawfordjohn road.
The modern road is to the right of the picture.
As well as the old great road from Sanquhar to Cumnock,
there is a side road leading to the Earl of Dumfriess
lime quarry and one near the Crawick river leading towards
A great turnpike between Glasgow and Carlisle is nearing
completion; however, it is thought that its course in
the wildest and highest part of the parish will lead
to difficulties in winter time.
A toll bar has been erected on the old great road and
this is disliked by local people affected by this.
|A few miles further on there
is another realignment and new bridge at the Spango
Water. An old droving route passed through here.
Three stone bridges are mentioned by the writer, one
of which over the Crawick on the boundary with Sanquhar
parish was built in 1706 by the Duke of Queensberry.
Note: the Glasgow Carlisle turnpike
ran over to Muirkirk and Strathaven but the Muirkirk
stretch never seems to have been successful.
Means of Communication - Roads are good although bridges
are needed are needed on the main road in the upper
part of the parish. A coach runs each day on this road
between Carlisle and Glasgow.
The post town is Sanquhar with a daily post by letter
Lime is brought in from Whitcleuch farm in Crawfordjohn
parish. The road there is poor but it expected to open
up that part of the parish in a few years with good
roads on which mail coaches and others could travel
from Portpatrick to Glasgow and Edinburgh. This would
connect with a new road already made in Galloway and
would make journeys to these places some 30 miles shorter.
The roads are very good. The surplus of funds are used
to improve some cross-roads. There are three bridges
on the principal high road and four other bridges in
Antiquities - Dr Singer’s Survey of the county refers
to a Roman road passing through the north of the parish.
Market-Town - The local market town is Dumfries just
a few miles away. There is no post office here and a
daily runner or penny post would be useful. A good public
road runs for 6 miles through the parish. Bridges are
Fuel - Apart from peat, coal is also used and comes
from Sanquhar, Kirkconnel and Mansfield as well as Cumberland.
A Roman road passes through the parish.
Antiquities - A branch of the Roman road leading from
Netherby to the forts between the Forth and Clyde can
be seen crossing a moss and terminating at a castellum
in the village.
Parochial Economy - Dumfries is the main market town.
There are five miles of turnpike road on which the mail
coach between Edinburgh and Dumfries runs.
The Carlisle - Glasgow and Edinburgh via Moffat roads
run through the south part of the parish. The Annan
- Langholm - Hawick - Edinburgh road also passes through.
The statute labour has been commuted into a financial
payment. On Springhall Estate a number of tenants have
voluntarily subscribed 2½% upon their rents for
The Carlisle to Glasgow road and to Edinburgh by Moffat
runs for 5 miles through the parish - the Glasgow mail
runs on this each day. It is crossed by a road from
Annan to Edinburgh by Langholm and Selkirk which trends
in a northerly direction. Another road from Annan to
Langholm, which goes by Stapleton, Beltenmont and Chapelknowe
goes in an easterly direction.
There are four bridges over the Kirtle, linking this
parish with Middlebie; and another at Beltenmont which
gives access to Dornock. There is a small bridge at
Cleughside also leading to Dornock parish. The Glasgow
road has two bridges.
Fuel - Peat is the most common fuel but coal is also
carted in from Canonbie and Annan.
There is a need for a road from Sarkshields to the church
here, by Gilshaw’s flow.
Mention in passing of recently made turnpikes.
A Roman road runs from south to north through the parish.
Moffat has a post office, weekly market, two fairs and
a cattle and sheep show and sale.
Means of Communication - The Glasgow to Carlisle and
the Edinburgh to Dumfries turnpikes cross each other
at Beattock. Parish roads are generally good, as are
Miscellaneous - A road over the hills to the limeworks
at Closeburn would be a great advantage, especially
if the line extended from Drumcrieff Bridge over to
Bodisbeck height as this would shorten the distance
to Hawick and allow an east-west route through Moffat
and indeed, Closeburn.
The turnpike to Lochmaben is incomplete.
Note: The church of Kirkpatrick Juxta
lay about 3 miles south of Moffat and Drumcrieff Bridge
crossed the Moffat Water about 2 miles SSE of Moffat.
Bodisbeck is about 6 miles NE of Moffat on the Selkirk
road (A708). He seems to be talking about a line of
road that would have ran from Hawick to the head of
Ettrick Water to cross over to the Moffat Water and
down to Drumcrieff Bridge (a track along this line is
shown on early maps). From there it would have continued
across the hills to Closeburn. Thomson in 1828 shows
the Selkirk road (A708) up the Moffat Water, so the
writer may have been talking about a new road to Bodisbeck.
see also Roman
- Telford worked as a journeyman on this
the Ewes on the post road"
A new road opened in October 1793 has made travel much
easier to a chapel, situated 8 miles from the parish
church. Two miles of which after leaving the Langholm
to Annan road were often impassable. Improved links
to Longtown, Sarkfoot, Gretna etc. are expected (p.356).
There is a great road between Carlisle and Edinburgh
and a road west to Annan. There are three toll bars,
one at each end of town and another at Solwaybank.
A country road crosses the Esk at Langholm and leads
north west into Eskdale; another runs south-eastwards
to Canonbie by a bridge over the Tarrafs.
A road is being planned through Wauchopedale which will
shorten the distance to Lockerbie, Ecclefechan and beyond.
There is a three-arch bridge in Langholm on the Eskdale
road; this was built in 1775 by subscription. Nearby
there is a bridge over the Ewes on the post road. There
is another bridge on the south side of town. There are
a few other bridges of no particular note. Elsewhere
there is a fine bridge over the Esk at Gilknocky, built
in 1793 (pps. 362 and 371).
A Mr Pulteney has spent considerable sums in road building
in the area, including 8 miles of the Annan road (p.377).
A Roman road from Netherbie to Castle O'er runs through
|Looking up the Ewes
Water from just east of Langholm. The road to Hawick
runs through this valley
Mr Pennant considered that Broomholm was on the site
of an old British town in Roman times.
A Roman road runs from Netherbie into the parish, crosses
the Esk above Broomholm and runs north-west towards
Westerkirk parish as far as the camp at Castle O’er.
Fairs etc - There is a weekly market in the town and
four annual fairs including a very large one for the
sale of lambs.
Means of Communication - The roads and bridges here
are in fine condition. The Edinburgh to Carlisle road
passes through the town, on which the mail runs every
day. Other roads lead to Annan, towards Eskdale, Canonbie
and up Wauchopedale towards Lockerbie, Lochmaben and
Dumfries. A coach runs on this road every second day.
A bridge was built over the Esk in 1780, connecting
the old and new towns of Langholm. A very short distance
north of this, there is a bridge on the post road over
the Ewes, and another just south of Langholm. Besides
these, there are three other bridges.
Fuel - Peat is obtained locally, and coal from Canonbie.
No specific mention of roads.
Coal brought from England by sea or by land some 30/40
Many "strollers and idle vagrants" pass through
- The roads are now much improved. Although a road between
Glasgow and Carlisle runs for ten miles through the
parish, it is not used very much as people prefer the
road from Beatock Inn to Lockerby.
Another fine road runs towards Dumfries on which there
is a bridge over the Annan.
There is no mail coach but a stage-coach runs from Dumfries
through here to Lockerby, Ecclefechan and Langholm.
There had been a proposal to run the Dumfries mail through
Lochmaben but the road trustees objected because a bridge
and a length of new road would have had to be built.
There is a daily post from Edinburgh via Dumfries.
Fuel - Peat is mostly used although coal from Cumberland
is obtainable from Dumfries.
Many cattle bought by drovers and taken to England.
The statute labour is commuted.
The toll bar on the Glasgow - Carlisle road is let for
£116 each year.
The nearest market town is Ecclefechan. The turnpike
between London and Glasgow passes through the parish
and is used by the mail coach and other traffic. The
parish roads used to be practically impassable but within
the last 20 years have been "improved to an incredible
degree." Bridges are also in very good condition.
Peat is now almost worked out but coal is obtained from
Canonbie, 12 miles away, and from Annan, 7 miles away,
where coal from Cumberland is landed.
- see also Roman
is a weekly market.
The Roman road from the Esk to Stirling passes west
of Moffat and is still visible.
Coal expensive as it is brought from Douglas and sometimes
Six miles of the Glasgow to Carlisle road runs through
the parish. There is a daily mail coach and two other
coaches running each day. There are 70 cart loads of
goods each week.
The Dumfries - Edinburgh road joins the Glasgow road
at Moffat and leaves it at Erickstane Brae, 4 miles
north of the town. It is not as busy as the Glasgow
road and although a mail coach had been started up it
no longer ran. Once the road is completely repaired
it would probably be re-established. Both these roads
|John Loudon McAdam is buried
There is a weekly market.
There are very good roads between Glasgow and Carlisle
and Dumfries and Edinburgh, also to Selkirk "by the
lakes". There is another road by Hutton which branches
to Eskdalemuir or to Dunnabie, but the Lochmaben road
is not so good and a direct road to Closeburn is still
There is a post office here but a post-conveyance to
Lochmaben and Annan is needed. Generally the roads and
bridges are good. Post horses and carriages can be hired
at the main inn. There are frequent coaches.
Coal is brought from Douglas.
- see also coal
and lime etc
Agricultural surplus taken to Leadhills, Wanlockhead
and Sanquhar. A number of local people bring lime from
Closeburn and coal from Sanquhar which are taken to
the limeworks or Dumfries. There are about 95 carts
in the parish each of which can draw about 12 cwt.
There are two high roads which cross each other in Thornhill:
the Dumfries to Ayrshire and Glasgow by Sanquhar and
to Edinburgh by Leadhills was turnpiked last year and
is well made; and a road into Galloway by Minnyhive
(Moniave). The first road has bridges over the Carple
and Carron; the other has a bridge over the Nith.
The by-roads are poor but with the new turnpike being
supported by tolls, it is hoped that the conversion
money can be applied to improving these roads.
There are two inns in Thornhill.
The high roads from Dumfries and from Galloway by
Penpont and Minnihive to Glasgow and Edinburgh pass
through Thornhill and separate at Carronbridge.
Coal comes from Sanquhar, 12 miles away. Peat is also
used as fuel though supplies are dwindling.
Potatoes taken to Dumfries and also to sloops on the
Solway coast, both about 6 miles distant.
Roads are excellent.
There were plenty of materials for making the Military
road which runs south-east to north-west by the church
and which was finished locally in 1776.
A new turnpike is nearly finished - this parallels much
of the course of the Military road.
Between these two roads a road has recently been built
from the church to Torthorwald using the conversion
There are plenty of bridges.
Many pigs are reared in this parish. As there is a ready
market for them in England, farmers no longer sell their
oats and potatoes in Dumfries but use them to feed the
Market town etc - Dumfries is the nearest market and
Means of communication - These are excellent in all
directions. Both turnpikes and parish roads are very
good. The Carlisle to Portpatrick turnpike road, built
by 1776, runs through the parish with a parish road
leading in the same direction nearly parallel with it
and another that goes to Torthorwald, allowing access
to markets in Lochmaben and Lockerbie. It also leads
to the lime works at Kelhead and to Annan and Ruthwell.
Bridges have been built where required.
The parish roads are paid for by the statute labour
The mail coach and several other coaches run on the
Inns - There are two inns well used by the many travellers.
Fuel - Coal is brought from Cumberland to Dumfries.
There is an old bridge over the Scarr.
A bridge was carried away in 1783 when a "vast
water spout" emptied into the Scarr.
An old Roman causeway runs through Tynron close to the
Last summer a start was made on turnpike roads.
There is a toll near Sanquhar of 1½d on coal
The statute labour is commuted.
Although the name is thought to mean "hanging bridge"
it is more likely to be derived from the Celtic words
ben or pen meaning high and pont a sharp
crag or pointed hill. The bridge in question was about
half a mile west of the village and was of some antiquity.
In 1724 it was widened for carriages but was taken down
in 1801 and replaced by a more convenient and substantial
Although some work is now being done, up until this
year there were only 7 miles of made road. The eleven
miles of turnpike however are in excellent condition,
and the bridges are good, "except where the ledges have
suffered through that wantonness said to be peculiar
Three hiring markets are held here. Thornhill is the
nearest post office.
The high road from Dumfries to Annan used to pass through
Ruthwell before the Military Road was made.
This now runs through the parish.
A new road was made last year between Annan and Dumfries
about one mile north of the Military road. Tolls are
payable on both roads.
Parochial Economy - There are two carriers in the village
and a toll-bar keeper. The Dumfries to Annan and Carlisle
toll road passes through and is in excellent condition.
A heavy coach runs on it each day, and a runner who
goes to Dumfries and Annan with letters and parcels.
There is also a carrier who goes to these towns. Small
vessels can land at the "debouche of the Lochar" and
bring coal from Cumberland.
Fuel - The main fuel is peat from Lochar Moss with some
coal coming from Cumberland.
The great turnpike between Carlisle and Glasgow runs
through the east end of the parish. There is a bridge
over the Milk.
Statute labour is commuted.
A bridge over the Annan is needed.
; see also p.216
Mention of Williamswath ford on the Annan.
The Glasgow and Manchester road passes through, replacing
the old road. There are two bridges on these roads over
the Water of Milk. The Glasgow mail coach passes through
each day and sometimes a heavy coach.
To avoid a drain on the poor funds, those who would
otherwise have required assistance are now employed
on the parish roads. They are paid 2d below the normal
rate to make the fund last longer. Poor women are also
employed on the roads to gather stones and fill carts.
Since the last report, a bridge has been built over
the Milk and the parish roads are much improved.
line of the Ayrshire road comes from Corsencon Hill
and is steep and bad in places.
The Dumfries to Ayr road runs through Sanquhar. The
late Duke of Queensberry made at least 22 miles of the
road at a cost of 1500 L., and in addition the road
to Corsincon where there is lime rock, at a cost of
300L. He also made a road along the Mennock to the county
boundary, on the way to Edinburgh, and this cost 600L.
These were praiseworthy examples of public spiritedness.
The statute labour was converted in 1777 at a rate of
12 s. per 100merks.
Toll bars have been erected on the Ayr road, and its
line and gradients have been improved. Initially tolls
were disliked but the economic advantages becoming obvious,
these roads are now much approved of.
A new line of road has been suggested that would cut
across to the Stewartry and Galloway, thus making journeys
between Ireland and Edinburgh much shorter and easier.
There is a post office in Sanquhar. Many vagrants pass
through the parish.
There is a coal depot in the town which is supplied
from the Mansfield pits in New Cumnock, 11 miles away.
Some 16,000 tons of coal are sold here each year.
Means of Communication - Two post-chaises and a car
can be hired in Sanquhar. There is a post office which
receives mail from New Cumnock and Thornhill each day.
The two turnpikes in the parish run for a length of
12 miles, A Glasgow to Carlisle coach passes each day.
Nine miles of the parish roads are good.
There are eight substantial bridges, six of which have
been built in the last 12 years. One of the older bridges
over the Nith is made of wood but is capable of carrying
Fairs - Although there are four fairs in Sanquhar, they
are much fallen into disuse. Sheep and cattle markets
have been recently established and are fairly well attended
and may prove of benefit.
Fuel - Apart from some remote areas where peat is used,
coal is the most common fuel.
Note: The post office (above) is the world's oldest,
dating to the 1700's.
of postal routes near Sanquhar in 1802.
About 30 years ago it had been proposed to build a canal
from the Solway to Locharbridge at the head of Lochar
Near the manse there is a narrow gut between two sandy
hillocks, named Collyveat - there may have been an old
The Roman road from Burnswark passes through the parishes
of Drysdale, Lochmaben, the old parish of Trailflat,
Amisfield House and ends at Dunscore.
The Edinburgh turnpike runs through this parish with
a daily mail coach and a diligence up to three times
Other roads are very bad. There is however enough money
for their repair.
Generally, people are in favour of the turnpikes.
Most farmers have two carts.
Antiquities - The Roman road from Burnswark by Trailflat
passes through the parish.
Market-Towns The main town is Dumfries about 6 miles
away although there are occasional markets at Lochmaben
and Lockerby. The turnpike between Dumfries and Edinburgh
runs for four miles through the parish - a mail coach
uses it daily. The parish roads and bridges are in excellent
Alehouses - The toll keepers maintain dram-shops and
these "have the worst possible effect upon the morals
of the people."
Fuel - Peat is used and some coal from Cumberland and
The parish is constantly infested by swarms of Irish
The statute labour has been converted at a rate of 12s.
per 100 merks.
There is an excellent road of 5 or 6 miles from Scroggs
Market towns are Lockerby, Dumfries and Annan. Black
cattle are sold at the first two places and also for
movement to England.
Antiquities - There is a Roman road in the north
of the parish which heads north-west from Burnswark
Hill towards Closeburn. The road is about eight feet
wide, of broad flat stones with sand packed in between
- it was covered with some nine inches of earth.
Parochial Economy - Lockerbie is the nearest market
town. The parish does not require many roads. The main
road, while well kept, has a bad line. A new road is
proposed that will follow the line of the Milk.
About 1750 there were very few carts. Goods were carried
on horseback or on trail cars. Carts are now used -
there are 88 of these in the parish. Lime is obtained
at Comlongan, 8 miles away.
The military road passes through - a toll bar was erected
The turnpike from Dumfries to Lochmaben passes through
the parish. The first tollbar in Nithsdale was erected
Statute labour has been commuted.
Means of Communication - Dumfries is the local post
town and the mail coach and another coach to England
pass through daily. There is also a foot-post to Lochmaben.
There are 7˝ miles of turnpike and 12 miles of good
parish roads. The Macadam system of reparing and making
roads with broken stones is used here.
Fuel - Peat from Lochar Moss is mostly used although
coal from Cumberland is also available
An old Roman road runs from east to west along the face
of the hills and even now is in many places uncovered
Roads have improved since the commutation of the statute
; see also p.475 on Roman road
A Roman road runs from the Doon (of Tynron) to Drumloff,
and crosses the Shinnel above Stenhouse.
Dumfries is the nearest market town. There is a daily
postal service running between Thornhill and Moniave.
There is one mile of turnpike and 15 miles of parish
roads which are maintained by statute labour funds.
There are bridges in good condition at Ford, Tynron
Kirk, Pingarrie and over the Scar near to the Shinnel.
Note: See John Shaw's Tynron
Glen site for much interesting detail on roads and
tracks in the locality, including the putative "Roman
The Glasgow Carlisle road runs through- it was made
about 20 years ago. There is a mail coach daily in each
There is a Roman road with a few large stones (5 ft
high) still standing. They are one Scots mile apart
and are thought to be milestones.
Antiquities - A Roman road appears to have run north
for 4 or 5 miles through the parish. It is near the
old turnpike road from Glasgow to Carlisle. There are
a number of stones, some 5 or 6 feet in height, along
the line of the road which have been thought to be Roman
Market Towns - The market towns are Moffat and Lockerby.
Moffat is the post town.
Means of Communication - The most regular service by
carriers is to Dumfries, although recently one has gone
to Edinburgh once a fortnight. There are 7 or 8 miles
of turnpike - mostly the old Glasgow to Carlisle road,
and a road towards Langholm. Bridges and fences are
in good condition.
Fuel - Peat is obtained from Johnstone and from a moss
in the south of this parish.
Miscellaneous - some complain that the parish is too
far from markets.
|One of the standing stones
Note: It is now difficult to determine
where these stones were. The 1861
6" map shows standing stones at Hangingshaw
(NY103898 - bottom right on sheet XXXIII), Gateside
Farm (NY113944 - top right on sheet XXXIII), above Newbigging
(NY10779898 - right centre on sheet XXIV) and Poldean
(NT10370001 - ditto).The first two are on or near the
Roman road but the other two are about 400 metres east
of the road. There is an earthwork
half way between the first two stones which is on the
Roman road which would approximate to a Scots mile (1984
yards) between each but without more information this
is speculative. In addition the first stone and the
earthwork are in Applegarth parish.
however has the interesting information that the last
stone at Poldean is said to have been erected to mark
the spot where Prince Charles's troops bivouacked in
1745, and that the one above Newbigging (Chapman's Stone)
marked a droving stance and the grave of a travelling
horse trader. It also notes in connection with the second
stone near Gateside Farm that there appears to have
been a roughly hewn stone nearby with markings on it,
though this stone cannot now be identified.
Agriculture has greatly improved with the use of carts
and especially since 1775 when a bridge at Langholm
gave access to lime kilns in Canonbie. There are 69
carts in the parish.
There are 16 stone bridges in the parish. These are
mostly of small scale although the one near the church
has 3 arches and was built by the county about 50 years
There are 2 public roads, running along the north and
south banks of the Esk for about 6 miles. These roads
join about 2 miles west of the church and continue into
Eskdalemuir on the north side of the Esk.
Although some of the bridges and all of the roads were
built and are still maintained using the statute labour
money, much has been done to improve the roads and bridges
by Sir James Johnstone.
An antimony mine has been opened in Glendinning and
there is an associated village called James Town on
the Megget. The company has built an excellent road
on the east side of the Megget to Waulk-mill. This is
3½ miles in length and has four bridges.
Many Roman encampments can be seen in the north-west
of the parish and seem to have been out-stations of
the Roman camp at Castle O’er. Others can be traced
along the Esk and probably served as communication links
between the camps of Castle O’er and Netherby, near
Parochial Economy - The nearest market and post town
is Langholm, 5 miles away. The roads are in good condition.
No mail coach or other coach runs in the parish.
Fuel - Peat is commonly used, as well as coal from Canonbie.