- TUNDERGARTH, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 3 miles (E. by S.) from Lockerbie; containing 524 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its name, signifying in the British language the "Inclosure at the Oak hill," from the circumstance of its having formerly abounded with wood. It was one of the principal seats of the Johnstones, Marquesses of Annandale, of whose ancient castle there are some very slight vestiges remaining, and between whom and the Johnstones of Lockerbie there were frequent and inveterate feuds for many years. The parish is bounded by the river Milk, and is nearly thirteen miles in length and from a mile and a half to two miles in breadth, comprising about 10,800 acres, of which 3000 are arable, 160 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill-pasture, moor, and waste. The surface is generally undulating, and in some parts abruptly precipitous; but the only hills of any considerable elevation are those of Grange Fell and Crieve, which rise to the height of about 900 feet above the level of the sea. The river, which skirts the parish on the north and west, is beautifully picturesque throughout the whole of its winding course; it receives numerous rivulets rising in the higher grounds, and flowing through the deep valleys with which the parish is intersected. The soil is various, but mostly fertile in the valleys; towards the hills, thin and cold, resting on a subsoil of till and gravel; and in other parts, rocky, and alternated with indurated clay. There are some extensive peat-mosses in the upper districts, and the hills afford good pasturage for sheep. The crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, turnips, and the various grasses; the system of husbandry is improved, and the arable lands are under good cultivation. The farms are from 100 to 200 acres in extent, with some of smaller size; they have been well drained, and inclosed partly with stone dykes, and partly with hedges of thorn. The sheep are generally of the Cheviot breed, but on some farms is a cross with the Leicestershire, which is found to be well adapted for the English market; much attention is paid to their improvement, and large numbers are reared in the sheep-walks, which occupy nearly half of the parish. The cattle, of which considerable numbers are also reared, are of the Galloway black-breed; and the greatest care is shown in the selection of the finest bulls in the county for the improvement of the stock. The sheep and cattle are sent to Lockerbie and Dumfries, whence they are forwarded to England. There are some remains of ancient woods, chiefly on the lands of Whitstone Hill, consisting of ash of venerable growth; but the parish generally is destitute of old timber. Plantations, however, have been formed in various parts, all of which are in a thriving state; and on the estate of Grange, especially, are some extensive plantations of trees of every kind, which have attained a luxuriant growth, and add much to the beauty of the scenery. The substrata are, transition slate and clay-slate, greywacke, and occasionally greenstone, of which the rocks are principally composed. Repeated attempts have been made to discover lead-ore, but without success; some fine specimens of antimony have been found; and coal is supposed to exist in some places, but none has yet been actually discovered. There are several handsome houses belonging to landed proprietors, the principal of which are Whitstone Hill, Pierceby Hall, Gibsontown, and Grange, beautifully situated, and surrounded with plantations. There is no village; the inhabitants are all engaged either in agricultural or pastoral pursuits, except a few who are employed in the handicraft trades requisite for the accommodation of the immediate neighbourhood. The nearest market-town is Lockerbie, with which facility of communication is maintained by a road extending for more than eight miles through the parish, and kept in good repair, but inconveniently hilly. An excellent road might be constructed near the banks of the Milk, which would be level, and pass through the most interesting part of the district. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £156. 15., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum; patron, the Earl of Mansfield. The church, erected about the year 1775, is a neat plain structure conveniently situated. The parochial school affords instruction to about seventy children: the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £20 per annum; he has also the interest of a bequest of £100 for the gratuitous instruction of poor children. Some traces of a Roman road leading from the camp on Burnswark Hill were lately discovered, formed of broad flat stones, and about eight feet in width; it had been covered with earth about nine inches in depth. There are also numerous British camps on eminences, each surrounded by a strong vallum and fosse, and inclosing an area of about an acre; they are supposed to have been places of safety during the border warfare. In some of them urns have been found containing human bones and ashes. On the farm of Whiteholm are the remains of a Druidical circle consisting of seven upright stones; and about a mile distant were two large cairns, and also one on the lands of Grange, on the removal of which for building dykes, were found human skeletons in rudely-formed coffins of square slabs of stone.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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