Langholm


Langholm
   LANGHOLM, a burgh of barony and a parish, in the county of Dumfries; containing, with the village of New Langholm, 2820 inhabitants, of whom 1305 are in the burgh, 18 miles (N. E. by N.) from Annan, and 20½ (N.) from Carlisle. This place derives its name from the level lands, or holms, here, on the river Esk; and appears to have been indebted for its origin to the erection of an ancient border fortress by the powerful family of the Armstrongs, of which fortress the ruins are still in tolerable preservation. The town is situated on the east bank of the Esk, in a beautifully-wooded portion of the dale through which the stream flows, and on the road from Carlisle to Edinburgh. It consists principally of one spacious street of well-built houses, roofed with slate obtained in the quarries of the vicinity; and is connected with the village of New Langholm, on the west side of the river, by a handsome bridge of three arches. The streets are lighted with gas, and the inhabitants amply supplied with water. A public subscription library was established in 1800, and is well supported; it contains a valuable collection of standard volumes and periodical works, and claims to receive a disputed bequest of £1000 by the late Mr. Telford, civil engineer, who was a native of this place. There is also a library for tradesmen, called the New Langholm Library, established in 1815. The woollen manufacture is carried on to a considerable extent, in two factories, one near the town, and the other at New Langholm, both belonging to the same company, and together affording employment to about 120 persons. The cotton manufacture was established at New Langholm about the year 1800, and is still continued: about ninety persons are occupied in this and in the linen trade, working by hand-looms for the houses of Glasgow and Carlisle. There are also a distillery and a brewery.
   Langholm was erected into a burgh of barony by charter granted in 1643; and the Duke of Buccleuch, who is the superior of the burgh, appoints a baron-bailie. Courts are sometimes held for the trial of assaults and petty offences, punishable by fine or imprisonment; but the number of cases is very inconsiderable. The town-hall and gaol, situated in the market-place, were erected in 1811; they form a handsome structure surmounted with a spire. The post-office has a good delivery; and there are two branch banks established here. A customary market is held weekly on Wednesday, for provisions: fairs take place annually on April 16th, for seeds; the last Tuesday in May, O.S., for cattle; the Wednesday before Whitsunday, for hiring servants; the 26th of July, for lambs and wool, which is numerously attended; the 5th of November, for cattle; and the Wednesday before Martinmas, O.S., for hiring servants. At all these fairs, shoes, earthenware, haberdashery, and jewellery articles are also exposed for sale. Facility of communication is afforded by roads and bridges kept in excellent repair; the road from Carlisle to Edinburgh passes through the town, and roads to Annan, Lockerbie, Lochmaben, and Dumfries, through other parts of the parish.
   The parish, to which, for ecclesiastical purposes, that of Halfmorton was formerly annexed, was erected in 1703; and the burgh was made the seat of a presbytery in 1743. It comprises about 14,320 acres, of which 12,800 are the property of the Duke of Buccleuch; the remainder mostly belongs to George Maxwell, Esq., of Broomholm; and of the whole, 1900 acres are arable, 420 woodland and plantations, and the rest meadow and pasture. The surface along the banks of the rivers is level, and in other parts diversified with numerous hills of no great elevation, which are in general clothed with verdure to their summits, affording excellent pasturage for sheep. The river Esk has its source in the mountainous districts to the north, and flows through the parish in a southern direction, receiving in its course the waters of the Black Esk, the Megget, the Ewes, and the Wauchope, and falling into the Solway Frith. The soil in the lower lands is a light and fertile loam, and on the hills of a gravelly quality: on the south-west of the town is some fine orchard-ground, producing fruits of various kinds in great perfection. The system of husbandry is in an advanced state, all the more recent improvements having been adopted; the lands have been mostly drained and inclosed; the fences are well kept, and the farm-buildings are substantial and commodious. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of live stock: the sheep, of which the average number pastured on the hills is 9000, are principally of the Cheviot breed. The cattle are generally of the Galloway breed, and thrive well; they are eagerly bought up by the Galloway dealers, and, after being kept for a year on the pastures of that district, are sent, with others, to the English markets. Horses of the Clydesdale breed are also reared, and many of them sell for £35 and £40 each; very large numbers of swine are fed here, and when cured forwarded to Newcastle, Carlisle, and Longtown. The plantations are, oak, ash, beech, plane, and forest trees of every kind, of which there are many stately specimens. The principal substrata are, greywacke, greywacke-slate, limestone, greenstone, and coal; lead-ore has been found on the lands of the Duke of Buccleuch, and also on those of Broomholm. The rateable annual value of the parish, according to official returns, is £6026.
   Langholm Lodge, one of the seats of the duke, is a spacious mansion of white freestone, beautifully situated on the banks of the Esk, about half a mile from the burgh, in a demesne enriched with ornamental plantations, and containing a great variety of picturesque scenery. It is embellished by a handsome cast-iron bridge of one arch 100 feet in span. Broomholm House is an ancient mansion on the south-east bank of the Esk, two miles from the town, and also finely situated amidst richly-varied scenery; and about a mile to the south, near the confluence of the Esk and Taras water, is Irvine House, occupied by the chamberlain of the Duke of Buccleuch. The ecclesiastical affairs of the parish are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Langholm and synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £222, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £27.10. per annum; patrons, the Crown, and the Duke of Buccleuch. The church, erected in 1703, has been twice rebuilt, the last time in 1779; it is a plain structure containing 800 sittings, but is in bad repair, and difficult of access. A more spacious edifice, on a more eligible site, is now in progress of erection. In the cemetery of the decayed church of Staplegorton, is a handsome mausoleum, erected by the late Capt. George Maxwell, of Broomholm, at an expense of £1000. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, Burghers, and the Relief. The parochial school, situated at New Langholm, is well conducted; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £40 per annum. The Broomholm free school is endowed with the interest of £600, principally by Capt. Maxwell, for the gratuitous instruction of twenty-six children; and there are various other schools in the parish, of which some of the teachers have a house rent free or a small annual donation.
   In the western portion of the parish are two mineral springs, of which one is chalybeate, and one sulphureous. The castle of Barntalloch, near Staplegorton, was once the head of a barony; and around it rose an ancient burgh, where a large fair was annually held for many years, but at length transferred to Langholm. There are no remains of this castle; but some lands in the vicinity still bear the appellation of the Borough-roods of Staplegorton. Wauchope Castle, of which the site was afterwards occupied by the old manse, was the baronial residence of the Lindsays, adherents of Malcolm Canmore in the twelfth century; the small remains are situated on an abrupt precipice overhanging the river Wauchope. The remains of the old castle of Broomholm were removed about the year 1745: near the site may still clearly be traced a Roman road. About the year 1790, six golden denarii, three being of the reign of Nero, two of Vespasian, and one of Domitian, were found, in good preservation, on the farm of Broomholm; and a few years after, two denarii, and a coin of the reign of Otho, were discovered near Wauchope bridge. Among the distinguished characters connected with the parish have been, John Maxwell, Esq., great-grandfather of the present proprietor of Broomholm, the ingenious author of an Essay on Time; Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, who distinguished himself under Earl Howe, in the defeat of the French fleet, on the first of June, 1794; General Pasley, of the Royal Artillery; William Julius Mickle, translator of Camoens' Lusiad; Capt. George Maxwell, R.N., already mentioned, who signalized himself in an action with the Dutch fleet off the Dogger Bank, in 1781; and David Irving, LL.D., author of the Life of George Buchanan, all of whom were born at Langholm. A pillar 100 feet in height has been erected on a hill to the east of the town to the memory of Sir John Malcolm; and there is a monument in the market-place, opposite the town-hall, to his brother, Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm. The latter resided for many years in the parish, and was deservedly honoured and esteemed.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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