Johnstone


Johnstone
   1) JOHNSTONE, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 9 miles (S. by E.) from Moffat; containing 1072 inhabitants. It is generally supposed that the name of this place was derived from some ancient and important personage of the name of John, distinguished either by his possessions or achievements, and to whose name the ordinary Saxon termination ton or toun was added. The parish from time immemorial has been the property of the family of the Johnstones, lairds of Annandale, whose castle of Lochwood was situated in the north of the parish, and almost surrounded by impassable bogs and marshes. This fort, which was a place of great strength, and inaccessible to a foe, induced James VI. to declare, that "he who built Lochwood, though outwardly an honest man, must have been a knave at heart." About the end of the sixteenth century, it was burnt by Robert, natural brother to Lord John Maxwell; in revenge for which the Johnstones, who were a warlike tribe, assisted by the famous Buccleuch, the Elliots, Armstrongs, and Grahams, the bravest of the warriors of the Scottish border, attacked and cut to pieces a party of the Maxwells, near Lochmaben, where the incendiary himself, Robert, was among the number of the slain. Those who escaped taking refuge in the church of Lochmaben, the sacred edifice was burnt to ashes by the Johnstones. This rash and sacrilegious act occasioned the memorable battle of Dryfesands, in which the Johnstones finally prevailed, Lord Maxwell being attacked behind and slain by "Will of Kirkhill," while engaged in single combat with Lord Johnstone.
   The parish is situated in that part of Dumfriesshire known by the name of Annandale, and comprehends a considerable portion of the old parishes of Garvald and Dumgree; it is six miles in length, and averages three in breadth. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Kirkpatrick Juxta; and on the east by Applegarth and Wamphray, from both which it is separated by the river Annan. On the south, at a narrow point of about a mile, forming the vertex of its triangular figure, is the parish of Lochmaben; and on the south-west, the river Kinnel divides it from Kirkmichael parish. The country is generally flat with a gradual ascent towards the west. A large proportion of the surface is stony, supplying great facilities for filling those thorough drains that have been cut to so very considerable an extent of late. The whole lies between the rivers Annan and Kinnel, with the exception of 2000 or 3000 acres to the west of the latter stream, which rise, in their ascent towards Nithsdale, about 1200 or 1500 feet. The two rivers form a junction two miles below the southern extremity of the parish. The Annan abounds with yellow and sea trout, as well as eels and salmon. Its banks are subject, in rainy and snowy seasons, to violent inundations, from which great mischief has arisen to the crops: two of the most remarkable floods were in August 1782, and in August, September, and October, 1790.
   The soil of the flat alluvial land along the Annan is a dry loam or gravel: in the other parts it is chiefly a light loam, resting on gravel or rock, or a moorish soil lying upon a retentive clay or till. There are several peat-mosses, extending to some hundreds of acres. Between 5000 and 6000 acres are under tillage; about 5000 are uncultivated, or in natural pasture; from 500 to 1000, which have never been ploughed, are considered capable of cultivation; and 1500 are under plantations or natural wood. Wheat was not very long since unknown in this district, as a part of the produce; but it is now cultivated in a slight degree, with all other kinds of grain; and the green crops, of which turnips and potatoes are the principal, are abundant and of good quality. The most improved system of husbandry has been for some time adopted, and within the last half century the aspect of the parish has been entirely changed by the construction of roads, the formation of inclosures, and especially by the number of comfortable dwellings erected for the accommodation of the labouring classes. There are two sheep-farms, on which the stock consists partly of the native black-faced, and partly of the Cheviots. The cows are the Galloway, except upon two or three dairy-farms, where they are entirely of the pure Ayrshire breed. Great attention has been paid to the improvement of cattle; and the farmers have, in several instances, obtained premiums from the Annandale Agricultural Society.
   The plantations receive much care. They were greatly increased nearly half a century ago by the Earl of Hopetoun, at which time a large quantity of Scotch firs, interspersed with larch and spruce, were added to the former stock. About a dozen of fallow-deer, in the year 1780, were put into an inclosure opposite the house of Raehills, and after a while broke loose, and established themselves among these extensive plantations. Since that time no one has been able to capture or controul them; and they are now increased to the number, as is supposed, of about 250. The rocks in the district consist of red sandstone and whinstone, the latter of which varies much in its fineness and consistence. Attempts have been made to discover a vein of lead-ore, the existence of which seemed to be indicated by the several portions occasionally found above the surface; but the expected success has not attended the undertaking. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4408. The mansion-house of Raehills, the seat of J. J. Hope Johnstone, Esq., descendant of the earls of Hopetoun, was principally built by James, third earl, grandfather of the present possessor, in the year 1786; and is a castellated edifice, of the old baronial style which prevailed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. A large addition, fronting the south, and containing an elegant suite of apartments, has lately been erected, constituting it one of the most splendid and imposing mansions in the south of Scotland.
   This is entirely an agricultural parish, and the population are scattered. Considerable attention is paid by them to the rearing of pigs, which are considered the staple commodity. Large quantities are converted into hams and flitches, and sent to Newcastle, Shields, and Sunderland, whence a great proportion is shipped for the London market. The road from London to Glasgow, by Carlisle, passes for five miles through the parish; and that from Dumfries to Edinburgh, by Moffat, for the same distance. A turnpike-road from Moffat to Lochmaben and Annan runs for six miles, from north to south, nearly through its centre. The London and Glasgow, and Edinburgh and Dumfries, mails travel on these roads. There is a bridge over the Kinnel at St. Ann's, and one across the Annan at Johnstone Mills, besides several over the smaller streams: all these, with the roads, are kept in good repair. The eccleastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries; patron, Mr. Johnstone. There is a good manse, with a glebe of ten acres, worth about 20s. per acre: the stipend is £165. 13. The church, which is inconveniently situated, on the eastern extremity of the parish, was built in 1733, and rebuilt and enlarged in 1818, and is now a comfortable and commodious edifice. There is a parochial school, where Latin, Greek, and French are taught, with all the usual branches of education. The master has the maximum salary, with the fees, which average about £21 per annum, and £3 received from a bequest left for his benefit by Mr. Aitkin, farmer, of Kirkbank: he has also the legal allowance of land. There are two other schools, of which the teacher at Goodhope receives £16 a year from the patron of the parish, with about £10 fees: the master of the school of Cogrieburn-bridge has an income of £10, independently of the fees. The parochial library, now consisting of 300 volumes, was established in 1828. There was once also a farming society, founded in 1818, which proved beneficial in supplying a stimulus to improvements in husbandry, especially in the breeding and rearing of cattle. Among the relics of antiquity is a small barrow, or tumulus, near the farm of Crawknowes, said to mark the spot where the Laird of Lochwood, in a private quarrel, shot the Laird of Dumgree, whose body he afterwards hid in the earth. The only other memorial of antiquity is the old castle of Lochwood, supposed to have been built during the fourteenth century. Dr. Matthew Halliday, physician to the Empress Catherine of Russia, and Dr. John Rogerson, who succeeded him in that station, were born in the parish of Johnstone; the latter died about fifteen years since.
   2) JOHNSTONE, a village, or rather a manufacturing town, and lately a quoad sacra parish, in the Abbey parish of Paisley, Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 3½ miles (W. by S.) from Paisley; containing 5824 inhabitants. This place, which, about sixty years since, consisted merely of a few scattered cottages, is pleasantly situated on the river Black Cart, over which is a bridge, from which it derived its former name. It is indebted for its rise, and subsequent rapid increase, to the introduction of the manufacture of cotton-yarn, and to the encouragement given by its spirited proprietor, Mr. Houston, who granted leases of land for the erection of dwelling-houses, and for the numerous spacious works which have been since opened. The increase of the place both in population and manufacturing importance has been unrivalled in the history of any other place in Scotland. In 1781, when the lands were first leased, it contained only ten inhabitants: in 1792, the number had augmented to 1434; in 1811, to 3647; and in 1831, to 5617. The town is regularly built, consisting of Houston-square, nearly in the centre; a spacious market-place; and numerous handsome streets intersecting each other at right angles. The houses are of stone, and to each is attached an adequate portion of garden ground; the inhabitants are amply supplied with water, and the streets are well lighted with gas. Assembly-rooms have been erected; a lodge of freemasons has been instituted; numerous excellent shops furnish every thing requisite for the supply of the inhabitants; circulating libraries are kept by the various booksellers; a post-office with two daily deliveries has been established; and in almost every respect the town may be said to be improving.
   The population are chiefly employed in the cotton trade, for which there are numerous mills in the town and immediate vicinity. Two of these are propelled by water, and the others by steam-power; they contain in the aggregate 90,000 spindles. The capital employed in their erection, and in keeping them in operation, is estimated at £135,000; and they afford constant occupation to more than 2500 persons. An extensive factory, also, has been erected for weaving cloth by machinery. There are two iron and two brass foundries, and some factories for the manufacture of machinery of all kinds, in which steam-engines are used of the aggregate power of 26 horses, and which afford employment to 120 persons. As many as three branch banks have been established here. The village is well stocked with every kind of provisions; and fairs are annually held on the Thursday after the second Monday in July, and the last Thursday in December, for cattle. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Ardrossan canal, which commences at Port-Eglinton, near Glasgow, and passes Paisley, is completed only to this place, a distance of eleven miles free of lockage; it is 28 feet broad at the top, 14 at the bottom, and 4½ feet in depth, and cost nearly £100,000. The navigation was opened in 1811, and light iron passage-boats were established in 1831; but, by a recent arrangement with the Ayrshire and Greenock Railway Companies, the conveyance of passengers is to be discontinued for twenty-one years, and the traffic confined to heavy goods, of which 68,063 tons were carried in the year ending 30th Sept., 1844. The canal terminates in a basin at one extremity of the town; and adjoining the wharf, is a yard for landing the stone from the Nitshill quarry. The magistrates hold a petty-session in the assembly-rooms on the first Friday in every month. A church was erected here in 1793, at a cost of £1400; it contains 995 sittings, and is a handsome octagonal edifice, with a very light and elegant spire, built in imitation of the spire of Lincoln designed by Sir Christopher Wren, but on a smaller scale. It forms a strikingly interesting object as seen from the road to Paisley, and gives to the town a very pleasing appearance. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and the patronage is vested in the Congregation; the stipend of the minister is £150, arising from seatrents and collections, and part of the amount is secured by bond. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Secession, Relief, and United Methodists; the first a fine building.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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