Dryfesdale

   DRYFESDALE, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 14 miles (N. N. W.) from Annan; containing, with the town of Lockerbie, 2093 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from the Dryfe, a small rivulet running through the north-west part of it, contains several memorials of its ancient inhabitants, and of their domestic feuds or military operations. There are vestiges of eight camps, some square or Roman, others circular or British, the most remarkable of which are two, the one British and the other Roman, facing each other, and separated by a narrow morass; they are on two hills east of the village of Bengall, a term perhaps implying "the hill of the Gauls." Old pieces of armour and warlike weapons have frequently been found in them; and not many years ago the skeleton of a man was discovered in a cairn in the morass, with sandals which, as a great curiosity, were sent to the museum at Oxford. There is also a Roman work situated upon an eminence in the centre of the extensive holm of Dryfe and Annan, and which is called Gallaberry, or the station of the Gauls. The most perfect relic of this kind, however, is the British fort at Dryfesdale-gate, occupying two acres of ground, and the counterpart of which is a large Roman work, about half a mile due east, separated only by a moor, on which a bloody battle was fought between the army of Julius Agricola and the forces of Corbredus Galdus, the Scottish king. On the holm of Dryfe, half a mile below the former churchyard, there is still remaining an old thorntree pointing out the place of the celebrated fight on Dryfe-sands, between the Maxwells of Nithsdale and the Johnstons of Annandale, on the 7th December, 1593, when the former were defeated with great slaughter. The highland part of the parish, which is divided from the lowland by a range of green hills, was once a parish of itself, called Little Hutton, and the church and burying-ground were at Hall-dykes; but the time of annexation to Dryfesdale is uncertain. Besides this church there were two other places of public worship within the limits of the present parish, viz., the chapel of Beckton, supposed to have belonged to the Knights Templars, and the chapel at Quaas, about a quarter of a mile west from Lockerbie.
   The parish is seven miles in its greatest length, from north to south, and varies in breadth from one to three and a half miles, comprising 11,000 acres. It is situated in the middle of the beautiful and extensive valley called the How of Annandale, and is bounded on the south and west by the river Annan, which separates it from the parish of Lochmaben. The surface in the southern and western parts is tolerably level, but towards the north there are lofty hills, most of which, once covered with pasture, are now productive of grain, potatoes, and other crops. The highest and most beautiful hill, and one from which the prospects are highly interesting and very extensive, is called sometimes Quhyte-Woolen, but usually White-Ween, from its having formerly been the place for the pasturage of very white sheep; it rises about 700 feet in height, and is now covered with waving corn. Beacon-fires are supposed to have been once lighted on it, to warn the inhabitants of the approach of the English borderers. The only river within the parish is the Dryfe, but the Annan, Corrie, and Milk all touch it on their passage to the Solway Frith, and are well stocked with various kinds of fish: in dry weather the Dryfe is a small rivulet, but in a rainy season it rolls along with great impetuosity, overflowing its banks, and spreading desolation among the lands. The whole of the parish is cultivated, with the exception of 600 acres, 250 of which are wood, and the others moss and moor; and all kinds of grain and green crops are grown, the value of which is very considerable. The chief rock is whinstone or greywacke, which is very abundant; some soft freestone and dark-coloured limestone are also found, and the latter of them wrought. The rateable annual value of the parish is returned at £7670. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries; patron, the Crown. The minister's stipend is £190, and there is a good manse, delightfully situated, with a glebe valued at £25 per annum. The church, built in 1796, and altered in 1837, stands on a small eminence on the west side of the main street of Lockerbie, a little north from the centre of the town; it is handsomely fitted up, and seats 900 people. There is an Antiburgher meeting-house at Lockerbie; also a parochial school, in which Latin, Greek, French, practical geometry, with the usual branches, are taught, and the master of which has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and £33 fees. The parish also contains a parochial subscription library. There are plain traces of the great Roman road from the borders of England to the vast encampments on the neighbouring hill of Burnswark, and thence crossing the parish at Lockerbie to Dryfesdale-gate, and to Gallaberry, where it divided, one branch leading through Annandale, by Moffat, to Tweeddale and Clydesdale, and the other crossing the Annan, and passing through Nithsdale to the west country.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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