The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Walter Scott

This ballad appears to have been composed about the reign of James V. It commemorates a transaction, supposed to have taken place betwixt a Scottish monarch, and an ancestor of the ancient family of Murray of Philiphaugh in Selkirkshire. The editor is unable to ascertain the historical foundation of the tale; nor is it probable that any light can be thrown upon the  subject, without an accurate examination of the family charter chest. It is certain, that, during the civil wars betwixt Bruce and Baliol, the family of Philiphaugh existed, and was powerful; for their ancestor, Archibald de Moravia, subscribes the oath of fealty to Edward I.A.D. 1296. Continue Reading

Is it not desirable to call the soul from the feverish agitation of worldly pursuits to the contemplation of the Divine Wisdom in the beautiful economy of Nature ? Is it not a privilege to walk with God in the Garden of Creation, and hold converse with His Providence ? . . . The more we study the works of the Creator, the more wisdom, beauty, and harmony become manifest, even to our limited apprehensions, and while we admire, it is impossible not to adore.


How charming is Divine Philosophy! Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull souls suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute, And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets. Where no crude surfeit reigns.


Notes on the Bridge of Nith

By: Mr J Carlyle Aitken (Abridged)

From: Transactions and Journal of Proceedings, Issues 3-5  By Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

The date of the Old Bridge of Dumfries is usually given as 1275, and that it has been assumed by some old ecclesiastics that Christian, sister of Devorgilla, was associated with her in the work, but as she died in 1246, and as the Bridge was probably built in her lifetime, it is possible that the structure was earlier than the date usually given. In the course o£ the ages prior to this artistic structure, the stone bridge of the 13th century, there evidently must have been some practical link of communication connecting the town and religious communities with their Troqueer lands on the opposite shore of the Nith, and the inhabitants of Galloway generally speaking. We think it probable that some I’udely constructed bridge of wood may have preceded this stone structure. This supposition is rendered the more probable, seeing that in 1609 a petition to the Privy Council anent “the brig of Drumfries, which the saidis Lordis knawis is a verrie large brig of mony bowis,” the petitioners further allege and explain as to the then threatened hindrance ” of the ordinar passage over the wattir of Nith, sein na boat dar ga upon that wattar but in calme and fair wedder in respect it has so swift and violent a course.” From the earliest ages we find the Dumfriesians have cherished an amiable predilection in favour of this their “Auld Brig” of Dum- fries and of Nith, a predilection the depth of which, in the reign of King James the Sixth, manifests itself in the fervidly amiable language and prayer of their petition anent its threatened ruin, as we may by and bye see in detail. The ancient King’s town of Dumfries, as the great seat of the courts of law, of oldest time held within the Castle of Dumfries, with its monastery, mills, commerce, and shipping, must in a very real sense have been the natural central capital town of the shire, as well as of a much wider superficial area of a land in which towns were as few as far between in the undeveloped ages of the history of Dumfries and Galloway. As the shipping of the port of Dumfries on the Nith is in some sort allied with the history of the Bridge of Nith, we here add what may to some extent be considered as one of the foundation vouchers of its descriptive limits and history, as they were understood to have been in the first year of the reign of Henrie and Marie, King and Queen of Scots. We the more willingly do so seeing that the preparatory narrative of the cause itself contains some interesting summary of the constitutional history of the ancient Burghs Royal of Dumfries and Kirkcud- bright, which although otherwise not unknown here receives positive and ofiicial confirmation. We need hardly say that so far as the Burgh of Kirkcudbright is concerned no older surname oan tliere well have been there than that of the Maclelland of Bombie, which is associated with the narrative of their Burghal Charter, dated Perth, 26th October, 1455, wherein the reigning Provost or Alderman of ” Kirkcudbrith ” is named “Willm Macleland de Bomby.”

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KIRKCUDBRIGHT in the Early Days of Queen Mary

By: J. Robison

From: The Gallovidian. 1910. pp 95 – 104

One of the most picturesque among the many incidents in the history of Kirkcudbright is that of the attempted storm of the town by Sir Thomas Carleton in that dreadful period of Border warfare after the disastrous battle of Solway. It occurred in February, 1547, a year in which Dumfriesshire, especially in the neighbourhood of Dumfries and Annan, suffered severely. The neighbouring county of Roxburgh participated in the general harrying and reiving to a similar extent, and it was by way of Teviotdale and Canonbie that Carleton came to siege Dumfries. Here a proclamation was issued in the name of King Henry, calling upon all men to come and make oath to the King’s Majesty. The great majority of the natural leaders of the people, despairing, no doubt, of making a successful defence, submitted to the demand. It is to the honour of Kirkcudbright, at a time when practically the whole of the Borders was in the possession of the “auld enemy,” and the people lay under the English yoke, that it refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Henry. As was to be expected, Carleton, with a strong force of his Cumberland cavalry, left Dumfries to burn down the town as an example – a mode of warfare which had succeeded only too well in the case of Annan.

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The Life of Mr. JOHN MCLELLAND as noted in the book Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies) by John Howie

Mr. John M’Clelland having gone through several branches of useful learning, kept a school for some time at Newton in Ireland, where he became instrumental in training up several hopeful young men for the university. Afterwards he was tried and approven of by the honest ministers in the county of Down, and being licensed, he preached in their churches, until (among others) for faithfulness, he was deposed and excommunicated by the bishops.

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