TWYNHOLM, a parish, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 3 miles (N. by W.) from Kirkcudbright; containing 777 inhabitants, of whom 216 are in the village. This place, of which the name, supposed to be a corruption of Twynham, is descriptive of the situation of the church and village on rising ground, appears to have attained to a considerable degree of importance at an early period. During the contest for the crown of Scotland between Baliol and Bruce, Edward I. of England, after remaining with his court for some time at the castle of Kirkcudbright, crossed the Dee on the 9th of August, 1300, and took up his abode at this place, where he remained for ten days, and made several offerings at the altar of the ancient chapel. The parish, to which that of Kirk-Christ seems to have been annexed about the middle of the 17th century, is bounded by the river Dee, separating it from the parish of Kirkcudbright; and is about ten miles in length and nearly three miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 10,700 acres, of which 6500 are arable, 3270 meadow and pasture, 320 woodland and plantations, and the remainder waste. Nearly one-half of the parish is the property of the Earl of Selkirk; and the remainder is divided among several proprietors, of whom T. Maitland, Esq., of Dundrennan, and the family of McMillan, of Barwhinnock, are the principal. The surface is diversified with hills, which in the northern portion rise into considerable elevation, affording only pasturage to cattle and sheep; in the southern portion the hills are of inferior height, and arable to their summits. The rivers are, the Dee, which bounds the parish on the east; and the Tarf, which, after winding through the north, takes an eastern course, and falls into the Dee. The lower grounds are watered by numerous other streams; and there are several lakes, of which the most extensive is Loch Whinyeon, at the north-west boundary of the parish, bordering on that of Girthon. The water of this lake was formerly conveyed by the small burn of Glengap into the Tarf; but a tunnel has lately been cut through the hill, by which it is diverted to the cotton-works at Gatehouse, in the parish of Girthon.
   The soil is generally fertile, and the pastures in several parts are luxuriantly rich; the principal crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is much improved; lime is pretty largely applied; the lands have been well drained, and are partly inclosed with fences of thorn, which have been recently introduced, and are gradually superseding the stone dykes formerly in use. The farm-buildings are mostly substantial and well arranged. The cattle are usually of the Galloway breed, though on one or two farms are some of the short-horned; the sheep are principally a cross between the Leicestershire and the Cheviot breeds. Great numbers of sheep are brought in during the autumn, in addition to what are reared; they are fed on turnips, and, when fat, are sent by the steam-boats to Liverpool. The substratum is chiefly whinstone, of which the rocks are principally composed; there is no sandstone, but granite occurs in large boulders in several places. The woods and plantations are oak, interspersed with larch, and spruce and Scotch firs; they are under good management, and in a very flourishing condition. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6259.
   Compston, the residence of Mr. Maitland, is a handsome house, built by the late proprietor, and finely situated in a demesne embellished with stately timber. Barwhinnock, the residence of Mr. Mc Millan, by whom it was lately erected, is also a handsome building. The village, which is situated on the great road from Carlisle to Portpatrick, is spacious and well built: the inhabitants, with the exception of a small number employed in the various handicraft trades requisite for the supply of the neighbourhood, are engaged in agricultural and pastoral pursuits. There are a mill for carding and spinning wool, and, on the same premises, a mill for dressing flax, both for the farmers, who work it up at their own houses for domestic use. Facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road to Portpatrick, which passes through the centre of the parish, and by statute roads kept in good repair. There is a ferry across the Dee to Kirkcudbright; and that river, which is navigable to Tongland bridge, affords ample means of procuring supplies of coal and lime, and of conveying the agricultural produce to Liverpool and other markets. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Kirkcudbright and synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £225. 11. 1., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £40 per annum; patron, the Earl of Selkirk. The church, erected in 1818, is a neat structure in the early English style of architecture; it is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and contains 410 sittings. The parochial school is attended by about 100 children, the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £15 per annum. There is a female school at Doon, in the south of the parish, for which a house was built by the Earl of Selkirk, who pays the teacher's salary. Remains exist of several British forts, near one of which, in a tumulus, was found a stone coffin containing human bones, some coins, and an instrument resembling a hammer. There are also some slight remains of the ancient castle of Compston, consisting of three of the walls of the tower, in a very ruinous condition. Of the nunnery that formerly existed in the south part of the parish, the only memorial is preserved in the names of the farms of High and Low Nunton, with that of a mill adjoining them, still called Nunmill. The poet Montgomery once resided at Compston.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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