Tinwald

   TINWALD, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 5 miles (N. E. by N.) from Dumfries; containing, with the villages of Amisfield, Kirkland of Tinwald, and Trailflat, 1085 inhabitants. The name of Tinwald is by some considered to be of Gaelic origin, and to signify "the Harbour," in reference to the Tinwald isles, which are said in a Spanish history to have had the best harbour in Scotland. It is by others derived, and perhaps more correctly, from the Saxon word Tin or Ting, the appellation of the ancient courts of the Saxons or Scandinavians, which were held on high mounds in the open air: one of these mounds, of artificial construction, rises adjacent to the church. Trailflat, once a parish, was united to Tinwald, in 1650; the name is of Gaelic origin, and signifies "a sloping wet side." The illustrious family of Charteris, of Amisfield, has been from a very early date conspicuous in this locality. The name is of very great antiquity in Scotland, and is supposed to be of French extraction, having been brought into Britain by William, a son of the Earl of Charteris in France, who came to England with William the Conqueror, and whose son or grandson removed to Scotland in the time of David I., and became the founder of the family here. Sir Thomas Charteris of Amisfield, was made lord high chancellor of Scotland by David II. in 1342, but was killed at the battle of Durham, where the king was taken prisoner. His great grandsire, of the same name and title, had been appointed to the same dignity by Alexander III., in 1280; and in the reign of James VI., the important office of warden of the west marches was held by Sir John Charteris, also of Amisfield. The family greatly declined, however, in consequence of the rigorous treatment of Cromwell for the aid afforded by Sir John Charteris to Montrose, to facilitate the restoration of Charles II.
   The extreme length of this parish, which is divided by a ridge running from north to south, is about six miles, and its greatest breadth about four miles. It contains 9405 acres, and is bounded on the north by the parish of Kirkmichael, on the south and south-west by the parishes of Torthorwald and Dumfries, on the east by Lochmaben, and on the west and north-west by Kirkmahoe. The surface is pretty equable throughout, with the exception of the range already mentioned, and even the acclivity of this is gentle; the sides are cultivated in general nearly to the summit, and the elevation of the highest part does not exceed 682 feet above the level of the sea. There is a loch called Murdoch Loch, of small dimensions, and not above eighteen feet at its greatest depth: it has recently been considerably diminished by draining. The streams worthy of notice are the Ae and the Lochar, the former of which, rising in Queensberry hill, washes the northern boundary of the parish, and, soon after forming a junction with the Kinnel, falls into the Annan above Lochmaben; it flows rapidly over a gravelly bed, and occasionally does serious damage by its violent floods.
   The soil runs through the several varieties of alluvial mould, sand, gravel, dry clay loam, stiff spongy clay, cold moorish clay, and sea sand mixed in different proportions with the native earth. The larger portion is arable, and on the dry loamy soil in the southern district early green crops of the finest quality are raised; the crops in the north-eastern quarter are later, and of inferior quality, the ground being mostly wet, and resting upon a tilly subsoil. On the south-west, a tract of moss about a mile in length, and a quarter of a mile in breadth, has been converted into very superior meadowland. A large part of the parish was formerly under wood, the whole of which, excepting that on the estate of Amisfield, was cut down by the last Duke of Queensberry: the soil is most suited to oak and ash. About 1647 acres have never been cultivated; 350 are meadow, and 119 still under wood: the rest are in tillage. All kinds of produce are raised, and the husbandry of this district is, perhaps, equal to any in Scotland: the parish is for the most part portioned out into fields, and well inclosed, but the state of the farm-buildings, with some exceptions, is very indifferent. The common breed of cattle is the black Galloway, to the improvement of which great attention is paid; but the Ayrshire breed has for some years been introduced, and is gradually gaining ground. Among the recent improvements the chief is the cultivation of the high grounds by the use of bone-dust, guano, and sometimes rape-dust, manure, in consequence of which the finest crops of turnips and other produce are raised upon the sides, and even tops, of hills which before were waste. The range of hills commencing in this parish, and extending to the south, consists entirely of greywacke and greywacke-slate; peat-moss exists in considerable quantities, but is of trifling depth, except upon the eastern boundary of the parish. The rateable annual value of Tinwald and Trailflat is £5671. There are three mansion-houses, viz.: Glenae; Tinwald, belonging to the Marquess of Queensberry; and Amisfield, of modern architecture, till 1832 the seat of the Charteris family. Their original seat was a quadrangular building, with a high tower, standing a little westward of the new mansion; the tower is in good preservation, and is said to be the most perfect of the kind now existing in the kingdom. Here are also three villages, all unimportant, and each consisting only of a few thatched houses, falling into decay: Amisfield was erected into a burgh of barony by Charles I., with the privilege of weekly markets and annual fairs. In the district of Trailflat, one of the most extensive bleachfields in Scotland is carried on. Peat, obtained from Lochar Moss, which is mostly in the parish of Dumfries, is the ordinary fuel; but English coal is coming gradually into use. About four miles of the turnpike-road between Dumfries and Edinburgh lie within the parish; a mail-coach passes and repasses daily. Both the roads and the bridges in the parish are in excellent repair.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery and synod of Dumfries; patron, the Marquess of Queensberry and the Crown alternately. The stipend of the minister is £158, of which £8. 12. are received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £26. 10. The church is inconveniently situated nearly upon the western extremity of the parish, and is a long narrow rectangular building without aisle or gallery, containing 400 sittings: it was built in 1763. The churchyard is surrounded by some fine old sycamore-trees, which give it a very picturesque appearance, and are seen at a great distance. There are two parochial schools, at each of which the ordinary branches of education are taught: the salaries of the masters together are £51. 6. 7., and the fees £30: the principal master has a commodious dwelling, and separate schoolroom; the other, a small house of one apartment, built by the farmers. The poor have the interest of several small sums, among which is a bequest of £100 left by Robert Mundell, Esq., of London, a native of the parish. A branch of the Roman road from Burnswark runs through the parishes of Drysdale and Lochmaben, enters the old parish of Trailflat, and passes by Amisfield House, where there are distinct traces of a castellum. Vestiges of a British fort are to be seen on the top of Barshell hill, about a mile from the church; and various antiquities, consisting of anchors, oars, &c., are frequently dug up from Lochar Moss, a circumstance which is considered a demonstration of its having formerly been a navigable estuary. The celebrated Paterson, who was the author of the Darien scheme, and founder of the Bank of England, was born in 1660, in the parish of Trailflat; and in the same house was born Dr. James Mounsey, his grand-nephew, and first physician for many years to the Empress of Russia.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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