Mungo, St.


Mungo, St.
   MUNGO, ST., a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Ecclesfechan; containing 618 inhabitants. The name was originally Aber-milk, the old British term Aber, signifying "a confluence of waters," being descriptive of the situation of the parish, part of which is a kind of peninsula formed by the junction of the rivers Milk and Annan. In the 12th century, however, the Bruces having built a castle on the water of Milk, the name of the place was changed to Castlemilk. The lands in ancient times belonged to the see of Glasgow, and the parish is mentioned in the year 1170, by Pope Alexander, under the new name; in 1290 William de Gosford, the parson of Castlemilk, swore fealty at Berwick to King Edward I. The church was early dedicated to St. Mungo, founder of the see of Glasgow; and by the name of this favourite patron the parish is now invariably called. Robert de Bruce, the second lord of Annandale, granted the church, as a mensal church, to the see of Glasgow, about the year 1250, at which period, also, he gave the churches of Moffat, Kirkpatrick, Drumsdale, and Hoddam, "cum consensu Roberti de Bruce, filii sui." The parish was at this time, as already stated, called Castlemilk; and the estate of the same name, from which the parish was so designated, was the ancient residence of the lords of Annandale, who had a strong castle upon the lands. This castle came from the Bruces to the Stuarts by Walter, high-steward of Scotland, marrying the daughter of King Robert Bruce; and it thus descended to Robert, also high-steward of Scotland, their son, the first of the Stuarts who came to the crown. It afterwards passed to the Maxwells and the Douglases. In the 16th century it was besieged by the Duke of Somerset, protector in the minority of Edward VI.; the station of the siege is still in existence, and in 1771 there were balls found while planting the spot, since which it has been called "the Cannon Holes." It was again involved in the miseries of war under Oliver Cromwell, against whose strong works, yet visible, it held out for a considerable time. The castle was, however, in 1707, superseded by a dwelling-house, which has since become one of the most beautiful and picturesque mansions in the county.
   The parish is about four miles in length from north to south, and two and a half in breadth, and contains 5000 acres. It lies in the Upper ward of the ancient stewartry of Annandale, and is bounded on the north by Tundergarth; on the south by the parish of Dalton; on the east by Hoddam; and on the west by Dryfesdale. The surface consists of gradually-rising grounds, which, commencing at the extremities of the parish, attain the highest elevation in its centre, where there are two ridges called the Nut-Holm hill, on which are the vestiges of a Roman and a British camp. The high wooded grounds of Kirkwood, situated in Dalton parish, and those of Nut-Holm, form a beautiful vale a mile in length, through which the river Annan flows in a serpentine course, and in the middle of which stands the manse completely shrouded in wood. The Water of Milk divides the parish nearly in the centre; the banks are in many places beautifully clothed with natural wood, and its neighbouring hills with flourishing plantations. The river forms a confluence with the more considerable stream of the Annan at the south-eastern extremity of the parish; both have very fine salmon, sea-trout, and herlings, and were much resorted to by anglers when the fish were more abundant. The soil composing the vales of Annan and Milk, to the extent of 286 acres, is alluvial; the holm land of the Annan is light and sandy, and that of the Milk a deep rich loam constituting the most valuable land in the parish. The alluvial soils run a foot and a half deep, and are free from stones. About 4300 acres are under profitable tillage; 400 are waste, half of which are capable of cultivation; and 300 acres remain under wood. All kinds of grain and green crops are produced, and the total annual worth of the produce may be said to average above £9000. The most improved system of husbandry is followed, and considerable attention has been paid to the buildings, to draining the lands, subdividing the farms, and erecting fences. The markets resorted to are those of Annan and Lockerbie; the fat-cattle and sheep are sent via Annan by steamers to Liverpool. The rocks mainly consist of greywacke, greywacke-slate, white and red sandstone, limestone, and quartz; rolled masses of sienite are also found, and sometimes common jasper: the covering rock of the parish is porphyritic amygdaloid. The marl-pits, formerly so prolific, are nearly exhausted, which is also the case with the peat mosses. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3952.
   The chief seat is the mansion of Castlemilk, built in the year 1796, and standing on the site of the ancient castle, on a beautifully-sloping hill, in the midst of the rich valley watered by the meandering and picturesque stream of the Milk. There are two other mansions, Milk Bank, and Kirk Bank, the latter situated in the vale of the Annan, in a spot of remarkable beauty; they are also modern buildings. The Glasgow and Carlisle road runs for three miles through the parish; and the old branch of that road, three and a half miles long, divides it nearly into two equal parts: on these lines of road there are good bridges over the Water of Milk. The Glasgow and London mail, and sometimes a heavy coach, pass here. The ecclesiastical affairs are directed by the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries; patron, the Crown. There is a good manse, with a glebe worth £50 a year; and the stipend is £174. 16. The church, recently erected, and situated in the centre of the parish, is a very neat structure: the former church, built in the reign of Alexander III., was taken down owing to its dangerous state. There is a parochial school, established in 1704, in which are taught Greek, Latin, and French, with all the usual branches of education; the master has the maximum salary, with a house and garden, and about £40 a year in fees. A Sunday school for infants is well supported, and there is a school library consisting of 200 volumes. Among the antiquities are several camps; and on opening a tumulus was found much animal charcoal, the remains of burnt bodies of slain; the sarcophagus contained only a bone and some burnt ashes.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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