- NEWTON-STEWART, a market-town, in Penninghame parish, county of Wigton, 7¼ miles (N. by W.) from Wigton, and 26 (E. by N.) from Stranraer; containing 2172 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its foundation, in the 18th century, by a younger branch of the Stewarts, earls of Galloway, proprietors of the lands of Castle-Stewart, on which they built the original village. Owing to its advantageous situation on the river Cree, between the Ferrytown of Cree and Glenluce, the village rapidly increased in extent and importance; and on its subsequently becoming the property of Sir William Douglas, of Carlingwark, it was erected into a burgh of barony, of which he became superior. From this circumstance the place assumed the appellation of Newton-Douglas; and for some time it continued to flourish under the auspices of its superior, who introduced various branches of manufacture, which were pursued with much success, and tended greatly to augment the population. These branches were, the cotton manufacture, for which a spacious mill was erected at an expense of about £25,000; a carpet manufactory; and several others; but in a few years they began to decline, and ultimately became extinct; and the place has since resumed its original name of Newton-Stewart, by which it is now generally known. The town is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Cree, over which is an elegant bridge of granite of five arches, connecting Newton-Stewart with the village of Creebridge, in the parish of Minnigaff; it consists chiefly of one spacious street, extending along the shore, and in the centre of which is the town-hall. The houses, generally two stories in height, are neatly built, and roofed with slate. A public library, and a news and reading room, well supplied with journals and periodical publications, are supported by subscription; and a horticultural and an agricultural society, both recently established, hold their annual meetings in the town.The principal trade is the tanning and currying of leather, and the buying and selling of wool. The weaving of cotton is still carried on by handloom weavers at their own dwellings for the Glasgow manufacturers, though gradually diminishing; and the curing of bacon, which is of recent introduction, is extensive, producing annually a return of £6000. Many of the inhabitants are employed in the usual handicraft trades requisite for the wants of a district; and there are numerous shops well stored with articles of merchandise, and also an extensive brewery. Branches of the British Linen Company's and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Banks, as well as several insurance agencies, have been established. The post-office has a good delivery; and facility of communication is maintained by the military road from Dumfries to Portpatrick, and the road from Wigton to Ayr, and by the river as high as Port-Carty, which is accessible to small vessels. A market is held on Friday; and there are fairs on the second Fridays in January, March, April, May, August, September, and December, for cattle; on the second Fridays in February, June, and November, for horses; and on the second Fridays in July and October, for wool; which last fair is also for hiring servants. The government of the burgh is vested in a constable regularly appointed for preserving the peace; the town-hall is a neat building, and there is a small prison for the temporary confinement of petty offenders. In the town are the parish church, and places of worship for members of the Relief, Cameronians, and Roman Catholics. The parochial school is also situated here, and the master has an excellent dwelling-house attached, with a large garden: there are, besides, several schools, of which one is the Douglas endowed charity school, described under the head of Penninghame.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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