Canobie, or Canonbie

   CANOBIE, or CANONBIE, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 6 miles (N.) from Longtown; containing 3032 inhabitants. An ancient priory here is supposed to have given the name to this place, Canobie being probably derived from the Saxon Bie, or By, signifying "a station," and thus interpreting the word " the residence of the canons." How long before the year 1165, when a grant of land was made by William the Lion, this religious establishment existed, is uncertain. In the year 1533, Henry VIII. claimed it, as having belonged at one time, as well as the whole parish, to England, upon which pretence he ordered hostilities to be commenced upon the Scottish borders; and about the end of the reign of James V., in 1542, after the surrender of the Scottish army at Solway Moss, the English soldiers, upon the same pretext, pillaged and laid in ruins both the monastery and church. The church was dedicated to St. Martin, and was often called the Church of Liddel, from the river near which it stood; in the reign of David I., Turgot de Rossedale founded a canonry in connexion with it, which afterwards came into the hands of the monks at Jedburgh, but was dissolved at the Reformation. On account of the exposure of the parish to the English borderers, many places of defence were formerly erected, the vestiges of some of which still remain. At a place called Gill-knocky, near the eastward of Hollows bridge, stands the tower of Hollows, the reputed castle of John Armstrong, a famous chieftain in the reign of James V., and styled John of Gill-knocky; he was the terror of the western marches of England, and forced the inhabitants of Cumberland, Westmorland, and a great part of Northumberland, to become his tributaries, or pay him annually blackmail. Not far from Penton Linns, on the banks of the Liddel, was the strong tower of Harelaw, formerly the residence of Hector Armstrong, the famous freebooter, who, by bribery, betrayed the Earl of Northumberland into the hands of the regent Murray.
   The parish is nine miles long, and six broad, and contains 23,177 acres, 2 roods, 14 perches, of which 11,774 are in tillage, 10,522 in pasture, and 881 in wood; it is bounded on the south and east by county Cumberland, from which it is partly divided by the river Liddel. The district may be considered as the low grounds of Eskdale; the surface, however, is uneven, and diversified by a variety of ridges, with the exception of the land on the banks of the Esk, which is generally level. This river, flowing through the middle of the parish, from north to south, receives the Liddel nearly at the southern boundary, and falls, at the distance of about seven miles, into the Solway Frith: along its course, parallel with which passes the great road from Edinburgh to London, by Langholm and Carlisle, is a succession of the most varied scenery to be met with in this part of Scotland. The Liddel runs between banks beautified with natural woods and plantations, and is especially celebrated for the beauty of its course near Penton Linns, where the stream rushes through a narrow channel formed by the projection of precipitous and lofty rocks on each side, overgrown with copsewood. The soil, on the holm-land in the neighbourhood of the rivers, is chiefly light loam, and produces early and rich crops of all kinds, being much favoured by the shelter of a profusion of wood; on the higher grounds, it is mossy, wet, and clayey, but, if well limed, produces good crops, especially in dry seasons. A large part of this land has been brought into general cultivation, by draining and fencing. The sheep are the Cheviots, the largest of which are often crossed with the Leicester; some of the cattle are the Teeswater, but the Galloway breed is preferred. The rateable annual value of the parish is £9095. Limestone, sandstone, and coal abound, the last in hollows of the transition rocks. There are extensive corn-mills at Hollows, near the banks of the Esk. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Langholm and synod of Dumfries; patron, the Duke of Buccleuch; the stipend is £236. 12. 6., with a manse, and a glebe of twenty acres, valued at £20 per annum. The church is an elegant sandstone building with a tower, erected in 1822, at an expense of £3000, and contains sittings for upwards of 1000 persons. There is a parochial school, in which Greek, Latin, French, and all the usual branches of education are taught, and the master of which has a salary of £31. 6., with the legal accommodations, and fees amounting to about £30. A subscription library, two friendly societies, and a savings' bank, are also supported. Among the numerous ruins of defence-towers, the most perfect and the most famed is that of Johnnie Armstrong, sixty feet long, forty-six broad, and seventy-two high; it has two round turrets, with loop-holes at the east and west angles, and was, in former times, a place of great strength. About one mile to the east of this, are the remains of a Roman station, supposed to be the first in the chain from Netherbie to Castle-Over, the upper camp, in the parish of Eskdalemuir. Dr. Russell, author of the History of Modern Europe, who died in 1793, and Mr. Benjamin Bell, the celebrated surgeon, were natives of the parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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