The Brockie Family
Situation, Rivers, Extent, Etc.
THE parish of Applegarth, or Applegirth, lies in that part of the shire of Dumfries, which was formerly called the Stewartry of Annandale. The river Annan divides it from the parishes of Lochmaben and Johnston, and the water of Dryfe, for a considerable way, from the parish of Drysdale. These two waters join together about a mile below the church. The southermost part of the parish, is of a triangular form. Its greatest length from south to north, is about 6, and its greatest breadth.from west to east, about 5 miles. The distance from Dumfries, the county town, is about 11 miles, and front Annan about 1 2.
Produce, Soil, Etc — These are also the nearest sea-port towns,, and to one or other of these ports, the grain produced in the parish is usually carried, and from thence exported either to England or Greenock. The barley is commonly sent to Liverpool, Liverpool, and the oat meal to Greenock, to supply Glasgow, Paisley, and the west country, from which there is sometimes a considerable demand. The lands in the parish, in general, are good, especially upon the banks of Annan and Dryfe. There is a good deal of what is called holm land, which bears very good crops of barley and oats. Sowing of wheat is not much used in the parish, nor in this part of the country. Lime, which is now greatly used as a manure, is brought, at the distance of 12 miles, from the southernmost part of the parish, and is also carried to the high grounds, where the foil is not so good; and in general good crops are produced after liming.
Roads, Etc. — The great turn-pike road from Carlisle to Glasgow and Edinburgh, passes through the parish, from south to north, about six miles. This load was made about 15 years ago, and has been of the highest advantage to the improvement of this neighbourhood. A mail coach, from London to Glasgow, passes through the parish, every day, along the said turn-pike road ; and carriers almost daily from Glasgow to Carlisle, and the manufacturing towns in England. There is a stage in the parish, viz. Dinwoodie Green, where the mail coach stops and changes horses. This stage is only 5 miles distant from the village of Lockerby, where there is a post office, 11 miles from Ecclesfechan, and 11 from Moffat, which are also stages, and have post offices. Through the latter village, a diligence passes from Dumfries to Edinburgh, 3 times a-week, which renders travelling from this part of the country, to Edinburgh and Glasgow, very easy and convenient. The parish is distant from Edinburgh about %• miles, and nearly an equal distance from Glasgow.
Proprietors and Rent. —There are six heritors in the parish, but but only one of them resides, viz. Sir William Jardine of Applegarth, Bart, who has the most considerable property in it. The valued rent is 6725 merks. The real rent is estimated at between agcol. and 30031. Sterling; but the proprietors are not all willing to disclose the amount of their rents.
Population. — The number of inhabitants, in the parish, have greatly decreased within the last 15 years, owing to the proprietors of the lands, having conjoined a number of small farms together, and let them to one tenant. The males and females born in the parish are nearly equal. For the space of 1J years, there has been only eight more males born than females. This, however, cannot be exactly ascertained, for the Seceders seldom enter the names of their children in the register. The following table exhibits the ancient and present state of the population :
Church, Etc—The manse is an old house, built upwards of 60 years ago. The church is situated near the river Annan, and was built about 30 years ago. It is large and well built, and sufficient, at present, to contain the whole inhabitants of the parish. It has a large jam, very commodious for dispensing the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which, in some of the neighbouring parishes, for want of room in the churches, is dispensed in the fields. The stipend has been, for upwards of 60 years, 72 1. Sterling, including Communion Elements ; but the Lords of Council and Session have lately been pleased to grant an augmentation of 4 chalders of victual, 2 of them meal, and 2 of them ,bear, which will now make the stipend 100 guineas a-year, or better. The glebe is very small, only consisting of between 5 and 6 acres.
It is generally supposed, that there have been 2 parishes annexed to Applegarth, viz. Sibbaldbie and Dinwoodie. It is not certain, however, whether Dinwoodie was ever a distinct parish or not. It appears rather to have been a Chapel of Ease to Applegarth. Sibbaldbie has been a distinct parish ; and, some of the old people, now living, remember to have seen the church standing, of which there are still some vestiges. The minister of Applegarth was use use to officiate occasionally at Sibbaldbie, The Marquis of Annandale claims the patronage of Sibbaldbie. Sir William Jardine is patron of Applegarth, and claims also the patronage of Sibbaldbie.
Schools and Poor. — There are 2 school-houses lately built in the parish, at the expense of the heritors, who have voluntary assessed themselves with the payment of 5 1. Sterling annually, to one of the schoolmasters, and 3 1. 6 s. 8 d. to the other. There are about 10 or 12 persons in the parish on the poor's list, who occasionally get a small supply from the collections made in the church ; and, there is a mortification of 3 1. 6 s. 8 d. granted by the family of Applegarth, which, by the deed of mortification, is to be distributed at the sight, and by by the advice of the Kirk-Session, amongst the poor in the "barony of Applegarth, and nine merit land of Sibbaldbie; which is that part of the old parish of Sibbaldbie, that belongs to the estate of Applegarth.
Fuel and Mills - The common fuel is peats, the procuring of which occasions a very great labour for the people, during the whole of summer ; and, in wet seasons, the inhabitants are greatly distressed for want of fuel in winter. There are 3 corn mills in the .parish, a barley and lint mill were lately built on the water of Dryfe, and another lint mill is now building on the water of Annan.
Cattle and produce - There are only 2 or 3 sheep farms in the parish. The number of sheep does not exceed 1800 or 2000. There are about 1501; black cattle, 150 horses, and 60 ploughs. The farmers, in general, are in tolerable good circumstances ; and, from the high prices of black cattle, (the crops also being good after liming, and oats, meal and barley, giving a good price,) they are now better able to pay their rents, than they were some years ago, though the rents have been raised considerably. The average price of barley is from 3 s. 6 d. to 3 s., the Winchester bushel; of oats 2 s. or 1 s. 6 d. •end oat meal 1 s. 8d.'or 1 s. pd. per stone. • These are the staple commodities by which many of the tenants pay their rents. A considerable number of black cattle also are reared in the parish; and these, when about a year and a half olJ, are sold for about 11. 10 s. or 3 1. each.
Cultivation—Several of the farmers are now getting into a better mode of managing their farms, by summer fallowing, by sowing turnips, piloting cabbages, and other green crops after which they sow barley with grass seeds. It is not long since the sowing of barley was introduced into the parish. Bear, which still mostly prevails, was universally sown. Few of the farms are inclosed. It would be a very great improvement to this part of the country, and of advantage to the farmers, if their farms were all inclosed, and subdivided with dykes, and hedges. The hedges would thrive exceedingly well, as the foil, in general, is good, and where they have been planted, they have thriven well.
Miscellaneous Observations. — The farmers and the parishioners in general, are laborious and industrious, and commonly very healthy. Fevers, or any epidemical disorders, seldom prevail in the parish, except the small pox, which carries off several of the children. Most of the country people still entertain strong prejudices against inoculation, though not so great as formerly ; for several have been lately prevailed on to get their children inoculated, and these instances have always been attended with remarkable success. — Many of the natives live to a good age. There were, some time ago, in the church, in one day, three old men, whose ages amounted to 270. Several of them live to the age of 80 or 90, but few or none to 100. — There are no villages in the parish, nor manufactures of any kind carried on, except by a few weavers, •who are chiefly employed by the inhabitants.