Applegarth and Sibbaldbie

   APPLEGARTH and SIBBALDBIE, a united parish, in the district of Annandale, county of Dumfries, 2 miles (N. W. by N.) from Lockerbie; containing, with the chapelry of Dinwoodie, 857 inhabitants. The term Applegarth is compounded of the words Apple and Garth, the latter of which signifies, in the Celtic language, an "inclosure," and both conjoined are invariably taken for an "apple inclosure" or "orchard." The word bie, or bye, which terminates the name Sibbaldbie, signifies, in the Saxon, a "dwelling-place," and is thought to have been applied to the district thus denominated, from its having been the residence of Sibbald. The annexation of Sibbaldbie took place in 1609; and the chapelry of Dinwoodie, which some suppose to have been a distinct parish, was also attached to Applegarth, and is said to have belonged formerly to the Knights Templars, who had large possessions in Annandale. Chalmers states, on the authority of the Royal Wardrobe accounts, that, on the 7th July, 1300, Edward I., who was then at Applegarth, on his way to the siege of Caerlaverock, made an oblation of seven shillings at St. Nicholas' altar, in the parish church here, and another oblation of a like sum at the altar of St. Thomas à Becket; and a large chest was found some years ago, not very far from the manse, which is conjectured to have been part of the baggage belonging to Edward, who remained for several days at Applegarth, waiting for his equipage. An ancient thorn, called the "Albie Thorn," is still standing in a field, within 500 yards of the church, said to have been planted on the spot where Bell of Albie fell, while in pursuit of the Maxwells, after the battle of Dryfesands.
   The parish contains 11,700 imperial acres, situated in that part of the shire formerly called the stewartry of Annandale. The surface is diversified by two principal ranges of hills, one on each side of the river Dryfe, which runs from the north-east in a southerly direction; the highest part of the western range, Dinwoodie hill, rises 736 feet above the sea, and Adder Law, in the eastern range, attains an elevation of 638 feet. In addition to the Dryfe, the parish is washed, on its eastern boundary, by the Corrie water, and on its western, by the river Annan, the banks of which streams are in many parts precipitous, and clothed with brush-wood and plantations. Among the trees, comprising most of those common to the country, the larch, spruce, and Scotch fir, after flourishing for twelve or fourteen years, exhibit symptoms of decay, and gradually pine away, in consequence of their roots having come into contact with the sandstone rock and gravel. In the rivers and their several tributary streams, eels, pike, trout, and many smaller fish are numerous: and in the Annan, salmon is plentiful, and of good quality. The soil is in general fertile; the land lying between the banks of the Annan and Dryfe is alluvial, and interspersed with strata of river gravel; the land on the declivity of the western range, in some parts, is sharp and good, but in many places has a wet and tilly substratum, and on the higher portions is a black moory earth. Of the entire area, 7392 acres are either cultivated, or occasionally in tillage; 3777 are waste, or in permanent pasture, including 60 or 70 acres of moss; 331 are under wood, and about 180 are incurably barren. Among the white crops, wheat, which was formerly unknown in the parish, is now an important article; all kinds of green crops, also, are raised, of good quality, including considerable quantities of turnips and potatoes. The most approved system of husbandry is followed, though it has not been carried to the same perfection as in some other districts, chiefly from a deficiency in manuring and draining the soil. Considerable improvements have been made, during the present century, in the erection of neat and convenient cottages; and the breed of black-cattle has been particularly attended to, and now, in symmetry and general excellence, rivals the best specimens of the best districts. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6850. The prevailing rock is the old red sandstone, and the western ridge is interspersed with large nodules of white and greenish whinstone, while, on the summit, there is greywacke slate and greenstone, diversified by numerous veins of quartz.
   The only seats of note are, Jardine Hall, built in 1814, and the mansion of Hook, built in 1806, the former of which is of red sandstone, cut from a quarry on Corncockle muir, in Lochmaben parish; the latter is chiefly of greenstone, from the bed of the river Dryfe. The inhabitants are altogether of the agricultural class, with the exception of a few tradesmen residing chiefly in the village of Milnhouse. The mail-road from Glasgow to London, by Carlisle, runs through the parish: there are two good bridges over the Annan, one of which is on the Glasgow line, and the other on the road leading from Dumfries, across Annandale, to Eskdale. The ecclesiastical affairs are directed by the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries; patrons, Sir William Jardine, Bart., and John James Hope Johnstone, Esq., of Annandale. There is a manse, built in 1805, with a glebe of 6½ acres of good land, and the stipend is £250. The church, a plain substantial structure, built in 1760, is inconveniently situated at a distance of five or six miles from some of the population; it has been at different times repaired and enlarged, and accommodates 380 persons with sittings. There are two parochial schools, in which Greek, Latin, French, and geometry are taught, with all the ordinary branches of education; the master of one school has a house and garden, with a salary of £34. 5., and about £25 fees; the other master has the same accommodation, with a salary of £17. 2. 6., and £15 fees. Roman stations are visible in several places, and a Roman road traverses the parish, in a northerly direction. Part of the ruins still remains of the church of Sibbaldbie; and a very ancient ash stands in Applegarth churchyard, measuring 14 feet in girth, at a yard from the ground, and called the "Gorget Tree," from having been used as a pillory. The iron staples which held the collar or gorget were visible not many years ago.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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