A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.
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WICK, a royal burgh, the county town, and a parish, in the county of Caithness; containing, with Pulteney-Town adjoining and the villages of Sarclet, Staxigoe, Reiss, and Ackergill, 10,393 inhabitants, of whom 1333 are in the town, 16 miles (S. by E.) from Canisbay, 20½ (S. E. by E.) from Thurso, and 276 (N.) from Edinburgh. This place, of which the name, in the Celtic language, signifies a village or small town on an arm of the sea, appears to have been originally inhabited by a Celtic tribe, who at a very early period fell under the power of the Picts, of whose settlement in this part of the kingdom, many ancient monuments are still remaining. The Norwegians under Sigard, brother of Ronald, to whom Harold had granted the Orkneys, eventually obtained possession also of Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross, which continued to be governed by a succession of Norwegian earls for many generations. About the year 1330, that part of Caithness which includes the parish of Wick belonged to the family of De Cheyne, of whom the last male heir, Sir Reginald de Cheyne, dying in 1350, was succeeded by his two daughters, who by marriage conveyed the lands to the Sinclairs, Sutherlands, and Keiths. In 1464, a feud arising between the clan of Gun, who held lands here, and the Keiths, a sanguinary conflict took place on the moors of Tannach, in this parish, in which the former were defeated; and above a century afterwards, in 1588, the Earl of Sutherland in revenge for the slaughter of some of his dependents by the Sinclairs, earls of Caithness, made an inroad into the territories of the latter, burnt the town of Wick, laid siege to their baronial castle of Girnigoe, and after a fruitless endeavour to reduce it, wasted the adjacent territory. The lands in this parish belonging to the Earl of Caithness were sold in 1672, by his grandson, to the lord of Glenorchy, who, having thus become proprietor of the greater part of Wick, married the countess, and assumed the title of the Earl of Caithness. To vindicate his claim to this honour, which was disputed by Sinclair of Keiss, Glenorchy raised a considerable force; and Sinclair, with a band of 400 of his adherents, took post in the town of Wick, to intercept his progress to Keiss. A battle now occurred, in which Sinclair was defeated; but notwithstanding, his right was subsequently acknowledged, and Glenorchy, to compensate his disappointment, was created Baron of Wick. The baron did not, however, long retain his lands here; for in 1690, dividing the estate into numerous portions, he sold them to as many proprietors; and Sir George Dunbar, of Hempriggs, is now the principal landowner.
The town is situated at the head of the bay of Wick in the Moray Frith, and on the north side of the river Wick, over which is a handsome bridge connecting the town with the populous district of Pulteney-Town. The streets are irregularly formed, and the houses but indifferently built; the place is, however, lighted with gas from works erected by a company in 1840, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. A subscription library, established in 1826, has now a collection of more than 1600 volumes; and there are two readingrooms, one in Pulteney-Town, and the other in Wick, the former established in 1829 and the latter in 1840, and both well supplied with London and other journals, and supported by subscription. The weekly paper called the John O' Groat Journal is also published in the town. Among the principal manufactures carried on are, the making of ropes and cordage, for which there are four establishments employing about eighty men; and the building of ships, of which there are always one or two on the stocks, occupying about fifty men. There are also twelve yards for boat-building; nearly 100 boats are annually launched for the fisheries, and from seventy to eighty persons are engaged in the yards. Here are a distillery and brewery, a meal and barley mill, and four saw-mills, three of them driven by steam; an iron-foundry has been lately established in PulteneyTown, and about sixty men are employed in preparing paving-stones for exportation. The female part of the population are to a great extent occupied in spinning yarn, and making it into nets for the herring-fishery, for which, also, nearly 300 coopers are constantly employed.
The trade of the port was early carried on upon a tolerable scale; and in 1588, when the Earl of Sutherland burnt the town, it is recorded that he plundered a ship belonging to one of the merchants of the place. In 1843 the number of vessels registered as belonging to the port was thirty-five, of an aggregate burthen of 2529 tons; and the tonnage of the vessels annually touching here averages in the aggregate about 30,000; the customs in the same year amounted to £824. There is a chamber of commerce in the town. The original harbour, at the mouth of the river Wick, in the bay, was accessible only to vessels of very small burthen; and in 1810 a harbour was consequently constructed by the British Fishery Society, at a cost of £14,000, towards which £8500 were granted by government. This was capable of receiving 100 vessels of considerable size; but from the great increase of the fishery, subsequent to the erection of Pulteney-Town by that company, a more capacious harbour has been formed, at an expense of £40,000. There are also small harbours at the villages of Sarclet, Broadhaven, and Staxigoe. A salmon-fishery is conducted in the bay and river of Wick, and about 150 men are generally engaged throughout the year in the white-fishery off the coast; but the principal trade arises from the herring-fishery, which was first established here in 1767, by two or three individuals who fitted out two sloops for the purpose. In 1808, the British Fishery Society granted lots of land in perpetual feus, on low terms, for the encouragement of the fishery, which since that time has rapidly increased, and is now carried on to a vast extent, affording employment to nearly 8000 persons during the season. The season usually commences about the middle of July, and continues till the end of September. About 900 boats are engaged, and the average quantity of fish taken is 88,500 barrels, of which 63,500 are of fish cured for exportation, chiefly to Ireland and the Baltic, to the former country 50,000, to the latter 5000; the remainder is either consumed at home, or sent coastwise. The custom-house for the district has been removed from Thurso to this town. The post-office has a daily delivery; and the revenue, previously to the reduction of the postage, averaged £1200 annually. A branch of the Commercial Bank has been established, and a handsome building of freestone, with an Ionic portico, erected for its use; also a branch of the Aberdeen Town and County Bank. The market, which is abundantly supplied, is on Friday; and fairs are held annually, for cattle, at Kilminster on the first Tuesday of March, at Wick on the first Tuesday after Palm Sunday, in June, and about the end of November, and at Hill of Wick on the Tuesday after the 20th of July. Facility of intercourse is afforded by good roads, which pass for many miles through the parish; and a steam-boat plies weekly, from the month of March till November, to Lerwick, Kirkwall, Aberdeen, and Leith, for goods and passengers.
The town was erected into a royal burgh by charter of James VII. in 1589; and in 1828, the courts of the sheriff, previously held at Thurso, were removed to this place as the county town. The government of the burgh is vested in a provost, two bailies, a treasurer, a dean of guild, and seven councillors. There are no incorporated guilds. The fee for admission as a burgess, originally £8. 8. for a stranger, and half that sum for the son or son-in-law of a burgess, has since been reduced to £4. 4. The jurisdiction of the magistrates extends throughout the royalty; and in the session of 1844, an act of parliament was passed, conferring the requisite powers for enforcing police regulations in the district of PulteneyTown, and for supplying it with water. The town and county hall is a neat building of stone, with a campanile turret terminating in a cupola and dome; the hall is a spacious and well-proportioned apartment, of which the walls are hung with well-painted portraits of the late Earl of Caithness, the late Sir John Sinclair, of Ulbster, James Traill, Esq., and Kenneth Macleay, Esq. The town house and gaol were erected in 1828, at an expense of £2000, of which the greater part was paid by the burgh; and the gaol is sufficient both for the burgh and the county: it is well ventilated, with the advantage of airing-yards, and is under good regulation, and visited by a chaplain who has a salary of £20 per annum. The burgh, with Kirkwall, Dornoch, Tain, Dingwall, and, since the Reform act, Cromarty, returns a member to the imperial parliament: the number of £10 householders within the parliamentary boundary, which extends beyond the royalty, and includes Pulteney-Town, is 233.
The parish is bounded on the east by the Moray Frith, and is about sixteen miles in extreme length from north to south, and about six miles in average breadth, comprising an area of above 60,000 acres, of which about one-fourth is arable, and the remainder rough pasture, moss, and waste. The surface is generally flat, with a gradual slope in some parts. From the bay of Wick, the vale of Stircoke extends in a western direction for nearly nine miles to the lake of Watten, without attaining an elevation of more than sixty feet above the level of the sea. About half a mile above the town commences a similar valley, stretching in a southern direction, almost parallel with the coast, and at its southern extremity rising to a moderate height; while on the north-west, a third valley, in which is the deep and extensive moss of Kilminster, separates the parish from that of Bower. The only rising grounds that can he called hills are the heights of Yarrow and Camster, towards the south-west. The coast is indented with numerous bays, which make it about twenty-six miles in extent, and presents a great variety of features. To the north it is rocky; thence the land gradually slopes to the bay of Keiss, the shores of which are low, and formed of flinty sand; and to the south of this extensive bay is the boldly-projecting promontory called Noss Head, on which are the ancient castles of Sinclair and Girnigoe. Between this and Broadhaven is the small bay or harbour of Staxigoe. Between Broadhaven and the bay of Wick is the headland of Proudfoot, constituting the north boundary of the bay, of rugged and precipitous aspect; and on the south of the bay appears a projecting rock between two immense chasms, on which are the remains of the tower of Auld Wick, forming an excellent landmark to mariners. Still further to the south are the fishing-haven of Hempriggs, and the harbour of Sarclet.
There are several lakes. The principal in the north are, Loch Wester, within less than a mile of Keiss bay, about a mile long and less than half a mile wide, and from which an outlet flows into the bay; Loch Noss, on the promontory of that name, and which, notwithstanding its elevation and the absence of any inlets, is seldom dry; and Loch Kilminster, in the centre of the moss of that name, about three-quarters of a mile in breadth. To the south of the last is Loch Winless, connected with it by a rivulet which eventually flows into the river Wick. In the southern part of the parish are, Loch Dhu, three-quarters of a mile in circumference; Loch Hempriggs, about a mile in length and half a mile in breadth, from which an outlet is cut into Pulteney-Town; Loch Yarrow; and Loch Sarclet. The principal river is the Wick, which issues from Loch Watten, in the parish of that name, and, flowing through the rich and fertile valley of Stircoke, after receiving various tributary streams falls into the bay of Wick. The scenery of the parish, however, with the exception of a few pleasing spots near the mouth of the river, is tame and uninteresting.
The soil is various; in some parts light and sandy, in others a rich loam, but for the greater part a stiff clay. The system of agriculture, previously to 1790, was in a most neglected state; and the lands were in the hands of middlemen, by whom they were sublet in small portions, and at extravagant rents, to tenants utterly incapable of managing them with profit. Sir Benjamin Dunbar, however, who in 1782 succeeded his father in the property, entirely changed the system, divided his lands into commodious farms, and let them to tenants at a moderate rent on lease; and since that time a rapid and effectual improvement has taken place. The crops are, grain of every kind, potatoes, turnips, and the different grasses. The lands have been drained and inclosed; the farm-buildings are now substantial and commodious, and all the more recent improvements in implements of husbandry have been adopted. The cattle are of the pure Highland breed, and a cross with the short-horned; and the sheep generally of the Cheviot, with a few of a cross between that and the Leicestershire breed. There is very little natural wood. Plantations have been made to a considerable extent around the houses of the landed proprietors; but with the exception of the elder-trees, to which the soil appears favourable, they are not in a thriving state. The rocks are chiefly of greywacke and greywacke-slate; and the substrata, sandstone of various colours, limestone, and flagstone, which are extensively quarried; and the last, after being dressed for pavement, is exported in large quantities. Veins of iron, lead, and copper ore, have been discovered in some places. The rateable annual value of the parish is £17,028. Hempriggs House, the seat of Lady Duffus, and of considerable antiquity, is a spacious and handsome mansion, finely situated, and surrounded with plantations. Ackergill Tower, the seat of Sir George Dunbar, fourth baronet of Hempriggs, anciently the baronial castle of the Keiths, stands on the southern bank of Keiss bay, and is a noble and commodious rectangular structure, eighty-two feet in height, and of which the walls, crowned with battlements, are thirteen feet in thickness. The whole edifice, though bearing throughout the hoar of antiquity, is in a state of entire preservation. Stircoke House, the seat of William Horne, Esq., of Scouthel; Thrumster House, the seat of Robert Innes, Esq., and Rosebank, the seat of Kenneth Macleay, Esq., of Keiss, are also good mansions.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Caithness and synod of Caithness and Sutherland. The minister's stipend is £232. 1. 8., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £50 per annum; patron, Sir George. The church, erected in 1830, is a spacious structure of blue stone with dressings of freestone, in the early English style of architecture, with a spire, and contains 1981 sittings, including 146 on forms; it is conveniently situated at the western extremity of the town. There is a preaching station at Bruan, where a building has been erected which contains about 600 sittings; the station is now connected with the Free Church, and the minister has a manse and glebe, granted by the family of Sinclair, baronets of Ulbster. A church was built by government near the bay of Keiss, at an expense of £1500, in 1827; and in 1833 a quoad sacra parish was assigned to it: the minister has a stipend of £120, and a manse, by endowment of government. A church, also, of which the foundation stone was laid in 1841, has been erected at Pulteney-Town. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Secession, Reformed Presbyterians, Baptists, Independents, Original Seceders, and Wesleyans; and during the fishingseason, a Roman Catholic chapel is open for strangers, chiefly from Ireland. The parochial school is numerously attended, and well conducted; the master has a fixed salary of £34. 4. 4., and the fees average about £55 per annum. There are schools at Keiss, Noss, and Ulbster, each of which is endowed with £7. 10. from a bequest by the Rev. William Hallowall, to which an equal sum is added by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. There are also schools at Thrumster and Stircoke, for each of which the proprietors have built houses, and have given an endowment in land to the master, to whom, also, a salary of £25 each is paid by the General Assembly. At Pulteney-Town is a school supported by the British Fishery Society; there are numerous Sabbath schools in the parish, and also many private schools. Among the monuments of antiquity are, the ruins of Pictish houses scattered throughout the parish, and the ruins of two ancient castles called Linglass, with which it is said a village was connected; they are both of conical form, and are said to have been destroyed by fire. At Ulbster is an upright stone, inscribed with illegible characters, supposed to have been erected to the memory of a Danish princess, married to the founder of the clan Gun, and wrecked on her arrival at Caithness. Along the coast are the remains of the baronial castles of Auld Wick, Girnigoe, Sinclair, and Keiss. In the churchyard, and opposite to the door of the parish church, are the roofless walls of Sinclair's aisle, part of the ancient church of St. Fergus, in which was deposited the heart, cased in lead, of George, fifth earl of Caithness, whose body was interred in the church of St. Giles at Edinburgh. There are also still some remains of several places of worship thought to have been originally built by the Culdees. The parish confers the title of Baron on the Marquess of Breadalbane.
WIER, an island, in the parish of Rousay and Egilshay, county of Orkney; containing 96 inhabitants. This is a small low island, divided from that of Rousay, on the south-east side, by the narrow channel of Wier Sound; it is about two miles in length and one in breadth. The isle has a productive soil, but the cultivation is indifferent. There are some ruins of a church; and at a little distance from them, on an eminence, are those of a castle, built about the middle of the twelfth century.
Wigton, or Wigtown
WIGTON, or WIGTOWN, a royal burgh, a sea-port, the county town, and a parish, in the county of Wigton or Wigtown, 105 miles (S. W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the village of Bladnoch, 2562 inhabitants, of whom 1972 are in the town. This place is supposed to have been long occupied by the Saxons, who in the 7th or 8th century made themselves masters of this part of the country, and from whom the town is said to have derived its name, in the Saxon language descriptive of its situation on a hill. The ancient castle founded by that people, and of which slight traces of the fosse are still discernible on the side of the hill, subsequently became a residence of the kings of Scotland; and during the disputed succession to the Scottish throne it was delivered into the custody of Edward I. of England, who ultimately restored it to John Baliol, whom he appointed successor to the crown. In 1206, a convent for Dominican monks was founded here by Devorgilla, daughter of Alan, Lord of Galloway, and mother of Baliol, King of Scotland. It was endowed with lands by Alexander III., and subsequently with a grant of the fishery of Bladnoch by James III., and with other possessions by James IV., who generally lodged here while on his pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Ninian at Whithorn, and also by James V. The convent was situated on an abrupt ridge to the south-east of the town, overlooking the bay of Wigton; but no traces of the buildings can be now discovered, though, within the last century, human bones and various sepulchral remains have been dug up on the ground supposed to have been its cemetery. Many of the lands of this district early formed part of the possessions of the earls of Galloway, who are still large proprietors here.
The town is beautifully situated upon an eminence rising to an elevation of 200 feet above the level of the sea, and consists of several regular and well-formed streets. The principal of these is very spacious, and has in the centre a quadrangular area inclosed by an iron palisade, at one extremity of which is the townhall, and at the other a market-cross of modern erection, constructed of hewn granite. The inclosure is laid out in gravel walks shaded with shrubberies and evergreens, surrounding a bowling-green in the middle; and at one end is a verdant mound formed into terraces. The houses, of which some are ancient, are generally well built; and many handsome houses have been recently erected, giving to the town a pleasing and prepossessing appearance. Assemblies are held in a suite of rooms in the town-hall, in which, also, is a public library, supported by subscription. The environs abound with varied scenery; and the sands on the shore of the bay, which are dry at low water, afford an agreeable promenade.
There are no manufactures carried on here; the principal trades are such only as are requisite for the supply of the town and neighbourhood. In the village of Bladnoch, however, about a mile distant, is an extensive distillery. The business of the port consists chiefly in the exportation of grain, potatoes, and other agricultural produce. About fifteen vessels are registered as belonging to the port, of the aggregate burthen of 1000 tons; the number of vessels clearing outwards annually is about seventy-five, of 5000 tons, and entering inwards, about ninety, of 6200 tons, mostly in the coasting trade. The harbour, which is about a quarter of a mile from the town, is accessible to vessels of 300 tons; and the jurisdiction of the port extends over all the creeks on the coast of the county, from the Mull of Galloway to the mouth of the river Dee. There are in the town a custom-house, a post-office, and branches of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank and the British Linen Company. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads; and steam-packets for goods and passengers ply between this place and the port of Liverpool, regularly every week during the year. The market is well supplied with provisions; and fairs are held annually on the first Friday in February, the first Monday in April, the 17th June, and the last Fridays in August and October, O. S. The town was erected into a royal burgh by charter of David II. in 1341, granted to the family of the Flemings, of whom Malcolm Fleming, who had been guardian and preceptor to the infant monarch, was created Earl of Wigton, which title, however, became dormant, or extinct, on the decease of Charles, Earl of Wigton, in 1747. The original charter having been destroyed, was renewed by James II. in 1457, and confirmed and extended by Charles II. in 1661. The government is vested in a provost, two bailies, and fifteen councillors; but there are neither incorporated trades, nor any exclusive privileges enjoyed by the burgesses. The magistrates exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction within the royalty; but the former has become very inconsiderable since the establishment of the sheriff's small-debt courts; and the number of cases of the latter, chiefly petty misdemeanors, are very few. The burgh is associated with the several towns of New Galloway, Stranraer, and Whithorn, in returning a member to the imperial parliament. The town-hall is a handsome and spacious building with a lofty tower, and contains, besides the court-room, the assembly-room and library already noticed.
The parish is bounded on the east by Wigton bay and on the south by the river Bladnoch, and is almost six miles in length and about four miles in breadth, comprising by estimation an area of nearly 7000 acres; about 2000 are arable, 2000 pasture, and the remainder plantations, moorland, and moss. The surface is greatly diversified; in the north-east, generally flat, and bearing every appearance of having been once covered by the sea; on the north-west, chiefly extensive and level tracts of moor and moss; and on the south, interspersed with hills that are arable and in good cultivation. The principal river is the Bladnoch, on which there is a salmon-fishery; and a stream called the Bishop's burn flows along the north-eastern boundary of the parish into the Frith of Cree, in Wigton bay. The soil is very various, in some parts a dry, light, and fertile mould, and in others less productive; the crops are, wheat, barley, bear, oats, beans, potatoes, and turnips, with the different grasses. The system of agriculture has of late been greatly improved; the lands have been mostly drained and inclosed, and several tracts of waste have been brought into profitable cultivation. The substrata are chiefly greywacke and greywacke-slate, of which the rocks are entirely composed. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6188.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Wigton, of which this is the seat, and the synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £272. 0. 9., with an allowance of £30 in lieu of manse, and a glebe valued at £24 per annum; patron, Lord Galloway. The church, situated in a beautifully retired spot at the eastern extremity of the town, is a very ancient structure, but, from frequent alterations and repairs, retains little of its original character; it has 660 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession; and a congregation of the Relief used formerly to assemble every Sabbath in the town-hall. Three schools are under the patronage of the corporation. One is the parochial and burgh grammar-school, conducted by a master who has a salary of £24, a sum of £10 allowed for an assistant, and a parochial salary of £11. 2. 3., the two first amounts being paid by the corporation; the other schools are for girls, and the mistresses respectively receive salaries of £12 and £10 a year from the burgh funds. The grammar-school, for which a spacious and elegant new building was erected at the close of the year 1845, is attended by from 120 to 150 pupils; and there are also Sabbath schools, in which about 300 children are taught. The poor have the interest of bequests producing £18 per annum. The principal relics of antiquity are, a circle of nineteen upright stones surrounding three of loftier elevation, which are called the tomb of Galdus, King of Scots; and several cairns, supposed to have been raised over the bodies of the slain in some battle fought near the spot.
WIGTONSHIRE, a maritime county, in the south-west of Scotland, bounded on the north by Ayrshire; on the east by the stewartry or county of Kirkcudbright and by Wigton bay; and on the south and west by the Irish Sea. It lies between 54° 38' and 56° 5' (N. Lat.) and 4° 16' and 5° 7' (W. Long.), and is about 32 miles in length and 29 miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of nearly 480 square miles, or 305,000 acres; 7711 houses, of which 7440 are inhabited; and containing a population of 39,195, of whom 18,290 are males, and 20,905 females. This county, which forms the western portion of the ancient district of Galloway, appears to have derived its name from the situation of its chief, or perhaps at that time its only, town, on an eminence whose base was washed by the sea. At the period of the Roman invasion of Britain, it was inhabited by the Celtic tribe of the Novantes, who seem to have in a great measure maintained their independence against the attempts of the Romans to reduce them to subjection. On the departure of the Romans, the province became part of the territories of the Northumbrian kings, under whose government it remained till the commencement of the 9th century, when it fell into the power of the Picts, who continued, for a considerable time after the union of the two kingdoms by Kenneth II., to exercise a kind of sovereign authority in this part of Scotland.
But under all these changes, the original Celtic inhabitants retained their ancient customs, and preserved that natural impetuosity of character and indomitable spirit which caused them to be known as the "wild Scots of Galloway." From their heroic valour, they obtained from the Scottish monarchs the privilege of forming the van in every engagement at which they might be present; and under their own independent lord, who was killed in the conflict, they highly distinguished themselves at the battle of the Standard in the reign of David I. The last of the lords of Galloway was Allan, whose grandson, John Baliol, succeeded to the Scottish throne on the death of Alexander III. After the decease of Robert Bruce, the county of Wigton, with the title of Earl, was conferred by David II. on Sir Malcolm Fleming, from whose family the lands passed to the Douglasses, by whom they were held till their forfeiture in 1453, after which they were divided among various families, the Agnews being created heritable sheriffs. Previously to the Reformation, the county was included in the diocese of Galloway; it is now in the synod of Galloway, and comprises the presbyteries of Wigton and Stranraer, and seventeen parishes. For civil purposes the county is under the jurisdiction of a sheriff-depute, by whom a sheriff-substitute is appointed, who resides at Wigton, the county-town, where quarter-sessions are held in March, May, and October, and the sheriff's court every Tuesday. A court of quarter-session is also held at Glenluce on the first Tuesday in August; and sheriff's courts for small debts are holden at Stranraer every alternate month, and at Newton-Stewart and Whithorn every three months. The county contains the three royal burghs of Wigton, Stranraer, and Whithorn; the burghs of barony of Newton-Stewart, Garliestown, Glenluce, and Portpatrick; and several small ports and thriving villages. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the shire returns one member to the imperial parliament.
The surface, though generally level, is diversified with numerous hills, of which some few attain a considerable degree of elevation. The coast is deeply indented with bays. That of Wigton, on the south east, partly separates the county from the stewartry of Kirkcudbright; and the bay of Luce on the south, and Loch Ryan on the north-west, divide the western portion of it into the two peninsulas called the Rhynns of Galloway. Of the several rivers, the principal is the Cree, which has its source on the confines of Ayrshire, and taking a south-eastern course, partly separates the county from the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and falls into Wigton bay; it abounds with salmon, and is navigable for several miles. The river Bladnoch has its source in the district of Carrick, in the south of Ayrshire, and after a southern course of several miles through the county of Wigton, falls into Wigton bay. The small river Poltanton, or Piltanton, after a short course, flows into Luce bay. There are various less important streams; and of the numerous inland lakes, which are, however, generally of but small extent, the most interesting, from the beauty of the surrounding scenery, are those of Castle-Kennedy and Soulseat, in the parish of Inch. The woods with which the county appears to have formerly abounded have almost entirely disappeared; but within the last few years, the deficiency has been supplied by plantations, which succeed well. The Scotch fir and oak thrive with care, and also the spruce and silver firs, under the protection of the pinaster introduced by the Earl of Galloway; but the most luxuriant trees are the beech, ash, elm, sycamore, birch, alder, plane, and larch, for which the land seems peculiarly favourable.
The soil is generally a shallow hazel loam resting on a gravelly bottom, with large tracts of moss and moor occurring in several places, and considerable portions of fine pasture; the richest land is near the coasts. On the shores of Wigton and Luce bays are extensive breadths of sands, dry at low water. The system of agriculture has been gradually improving, and the rotation plan is now prevalent; the chief crops are, oats, barley, turnips, and potatoes. The farms mostly vary from 300 to 700 acres, but some few are nearly 1500 acres in extent: the farm-buildings, formerly of very inferior character, have been much improved. The principal manures are, lime, marl, sea-shell, and sea-weed, of which last abundance is found on the coast. The lands in many parts have been drained and inclosed, on the sheep-farms principally with stone dykes, and on the arable lands with hedges of thorn; and under the auspices of the Earl of Galloway, the various agricultural improvements that originated in the county of Dumfries, have been adopted almost to their full extent in this part of the country. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of live-stock. The cattle are of the native black-breed, hardy, compact, and well-proportioned; and great numbers of them, both fat and lean, are sent to the southern markets. The sheep are generally of the black-faced breed, but a small kind of the white-faced, supposed to be of Spanish origin, has been introduced, and also some of the Linton, Teeswater, and Northumberland breeds: large numbers are pastured on the moorlands, in flocks of from 10,000 to 15,000. The horses, being of the true Galloway breed, are much esteemed; and large numbers of swine are now fed, and form not only a profitable stock for home consumption, but also for exportation, not less than from 15,000 to 20,000 being annually shipped from the several ports.
The principal substrata are, schistus whinstone, sandstone, clay-slate, and, in some places, greenstone, porphyry, and the basaltic formation. Iron-ore is understood to be abundant, but from the want of coal is unavailable; and there are indications of copper-ore in the vicinity of Whithorn. The seats within the county are, Galloway House, Craighlaw, Dunskey, Ardwell House, Dunragget, Balgreggan, Kildrochet, Glasserton, Monreith, Lochnaw Castle, Barnbarroch House, Penninghame House, Merton Hall, Corswall House, Physgill, Corsbie, and Logan, with various others. The manufactures, from the scarcity of fuel, are very inconsiderable. The principal public works are distilleries: the spinning of flax for domestic use, and weaving by hand-looms for the supply of the district, are carried on to a moderate extent; and a portion of the female population are employed in embroidering muslin for the Ayrshire and Glasgow manufacturers.
The chief trade is in the fisheries off the coast, which are very extensive, and for which the numerous bays afford ample accommodation; and in the exportation of grain and other agricultural produce, black-cattle, sheep, swine, and wool, in the conveyance of which a considerable number of vessels are employed, and for shipping which the ports and harbours are extremely advantageous. Facility of communication throughout the interior is maintained by good roads in various directions; and of the steam-boats that frequent the ports, one plies daily between Portpatrick and Donaghadee, on the opposite coast of Ireland. Among the antiquities are, some Druidical remains at Torhouse, where is a circle of nineteen stones of unhewn granite; similar relics at Glentarra; numerous ruins of castles, of which those of Sorbie are beautifully picturesque; cairns, tumuli, encampments, and relics of Roman antiquity; the remains of the abbey of Luce, of which the chapterhouse is still entire; the monastery founded by Devorgilla, the mother of John Baliol; and the ruins of ancient chapels and other religious houses.
WILKISTON, a village, in the parish of Kirknewton, county of Edinburgh, 1¾ mile (E. by S.) from the village of Kirknewton; containing 81 inhabitants. This is a small place, lying in the eastern part of the parish, and on the north side of the Glasgow road, near the ninth milestone from Edinburgh.
WILSONTOWN, a manufacturing village, in the parish of Carnwath, Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 8½ miles (N. E. by N.) from Lanark; containing 113 inhabitants. This place owes its origin to the abundance of mineral wealth in that district of the parish in which it is situated, and to the establishment of iron-works in the year 1779 by the Messrs. Wilson, of London, from whom it derived its name. The existence of coal and ironstone in the parish, which rendered it so peculiarly favourable for the enterprise, induced these gentlemen to erect works for the manufacture of pig-iron; and the success with which the attempt was attended, led to the raising of another furnace in 1787. On the erection of a steam-engine to draw off the water from the mines, a much greater facility of access was afforded to an almost inexhaustible field of coal, which had been previously obtained with difficulty; and the works were consequently extended, and carried on with increased activity. An additional furnace was erected, with blowing engines of greater power; and in addition to the making of pig-iron, great quantities of ballast for ships, shots from four to eighteen pounders, and pipes of various kinds, were manufactured. In 1790 an extensive forge for the making of blooms was erected, and the works were progressively increasing in extent and importance; but a misunderstanding taking place in the following year among the partners, the establishment was totally suspended for a considerable time, and lastly sold under an order of the court of session in 1798. Mr. John Wilson, the senior partner in the firm, became the purchaser; and the works, with considerable additions, were again brought into active operation. A rolling and slitting mill was erected, and also an additional blowing engine of greater power; new hammers were set in motion in the forge; and the weekly produce of the works, which previously had been only about twenty tons, was now increased to forty tons, of manufactured iron. The village grew up for the accommodation of the persons employed in these extensive works, which at that time, including carpenters, engineers, and millwrights, afforded constant employment to 2000 persons, whose monthly receipts for wages exceeded £3000. In 1808, however, from the great depression in the price of iron, the works began to decline; and in 1812 they were wholly abandoned, and the manufacturing population of the district bereft of employment. In this state the establishment continued till the year 1821, when the works were purchased by Mr. Dixon, of the Calder iron-factory, by whose son, Mr. William Dixon, the present proprietor, they have been again brought into operation. An act for the formation of a railway, called the Wilsontown, Morningside, and Coltness railway, was passed in June, 1841. The line extends from the south terminus of the Wishaw and Coltness railway to the turnpike-road from Whitburn to Wilsontown, and is now open throughout both for minerals and passengers: the capital of the proprietors is £70,000. There is a chapel of ease in the village, for the accommodation of the people employed in the iron-works.
WILTON, a parish, in the district of Hawick, county of Roxburgh; containing, with the hamlets of Appletree-Hall and Dean, and a small portion of the town of Hawick, 1867 inhabitants. This place, of which the name in ancient records is written Walltown and Willistown, is of uncertain origin; and little worthy of historical notice occurs with respect to the parish, which may be regarded as a suburban district to the town of Hawick. The parish is situated on the river Teviot, along the banks of which it extends for nearly five miles; it is about three and a half miles in breadth, and comprises an area of seventeen and a half square miles. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Minto and Lilliesleaf, on the east by Cavers, on the south by Hawick, and on the west by the parishes of Ashkirk and Roberton. About two-thirds of the land, which is of moderate quality, are under tillage; and the remainder, with the exception of about 100 acres of woodland, is in pasture. The system of agriculture is good, and the four and five shift courses of husbandry prevail; considerable progress has recently been made in draining, and there have been some attempts in the lower lands to raise crops of spring wheat, and with very encouraging success. The principal plantations are, oak, ash, elm, and beech, with some larch, and Scotch, spruce, and silver firs. The farm-buildings are generally modern and commodious; the lands, likewise, are all inclosed, and the arable fields are fenced with thorn, which is thriving and well kept. Considerable expense has been incurred in an embankment of the Teviot, which is however not sufficient fully to protect the lands from the overflowing of that river. The chief fuel is coal, which is partly brought from Northumberland, and from Berwickshire by way of Kelso: in consequence of greater competition it has recently been procured at a more moderate price than formerly. Nearly one-half of the lands are the property of the Duke of Buccleuch, who is also owner of the teinds; and the remainder is divided among numerous minor heritors. There are several neat family residences, of which Wilton Lodge, Stirches, an ancient mansion, Burngrove, Whitehaugh, Midshiels, and Briery-Yards, are the principal.
A considerable portion of the population are employed in the woollen manufacture, which is extensively carried on in the parish, and for which considerable facilities are afforded by the river, and by the tributary streams of Borthwick, which falls into it near the southern extremity of the parish, and Slitrig, which joins it at Hawick. There are five mills for spinning wool; two are the property of persons in this parish, and three of persons resident in Hawick. The manufactured articles are, lambs' wool yarn and hosiery, blankets, plaidings, flannels, tartan shawls, and other goods of a similar kind. The mills contain fifty teazing, scribbling, and carding engines, preparing wool sufficient for the constant working of 9578 spindles. The quantity of wool consumed weekly is nearly 12,000 pounds; there are 230 persons who have the care of the machinery and supply it with the material, 240 employed in the manufacture of stockings, seventy-five weavers, and about forty persons engaged in the scouring, dyeing, and finishing of the goods. Some of these mills employ two sets of workpeople, and are continued in operation day and night. A communication has been opened with Hawick, by the construction of a bridge of four arches over the river Teviot; and the line thus formed joins the Edinburgh road at a place called Dovemount Well. The nearest post is Hawick, and the market of that place is frequented by the inhabitants of this parish. There are two inconsiderable hamlets, in addition to what may be called the village; these are, Appletree-Hall to the north, and Dean to the south. The rateable annual value of Wilton is £9794. It is in the presbytery of Jedburgh, synod of Merse and Teviotdale, and patronage of the Duke of Buccleuch: the minister's stipend is £294. 2. 9., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £30 per annum. A considerable portion of the glebe, called the Mains of Wilton, lying contiguous to the manse, is supposed to have been originally given to the then minister by his relative, the Laird of Langland. There are also about sixteen acres of land lying at some distance from the manse, which were acquired by the minister on the division of the common in 1765; but the soil is of very inferior quality. The church, built in 1762, and to which, in 1801, a new aisle was added, by subscription, is conveniently situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and affords accommodation to 460 persons. The parochial school gives a liberal education to a large number of scholars; the master has a salary of £34. 4.4., with £45 fees. The school-house and the dwelling-house are both indifferent and incommodious, and the master receives a compensation in money for deficiency of garden-ground. The Rev. Mr. Crawfurd, incumbent of the parish in 1713, was eminent for his literary attainments, and was author of a work entitled Dying Thoughts; and the Rev. Dr. Charters, a subsequent minister, was distinguished as a preacher, and for his exemplary piety.
WINCHBURGH, a village, in the parish of Kirkliston, county of Linlithgow, 2½ miles (W. by N.) from the village of Kirkliston; containing 222 inhabitants. This place, which at one period was celebrated for its culture of bees, lies in the western part of the parish, on the high road from Linlithgow to Edinburgh, and near the Union canal. It is also close to the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, which here proceeds through a tunnel 330 yards in length, twenty-six feet in width, and twenty-two in height. The inhabitants are for the chief part engaged in agriculture. A fair is held in the village on the first Friday in June, but it is wholly for pleasure, no business being transacted. Here, Edward II. first drew his bridle in his flight from Bannockburn; and in the vicinity is Niddry Castle, formerly a possession of the earls of Wintoun, and at which Queen Mary halted after her escape from the castle of Lochleven.
WINDMILL-HILL, a village, in the parish of Dalziel, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 2 miles (E. N. E.) from Hamilton; containing 225 inhabitants. This village is situated near the parish church, on the high road from Stewarton and Dalziel to Glasgow; and is inhabited by persons engaged, among other occupations, in the freestone-quarries in its immediate neighbourhood. The stone is of a very hard and rough grain, interspersed with quartz, and is much in request for mantel-pieces, and for pavements for forges, being found to withstand the effects of fire to a great degree. The materials for building the bridge of Hamilton were procured from these quarries.
WINDYGATES, a village, in that part of the parish of Markinch which formed the late quoad sacra parish of Milton of Balgonie, district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife, 2¾ miles (E. S. E.) from the village of Markinch; containing 120 inhabitants. This village lies in the south-eastern part of the parish, bordering on the parish of Kennoway, and is on the high road from Markinch to Leven. A little to the south flows the river Leven, which turns various paper and other mills; and in the vicinity, at Cameron bridge, is an extensive distillery.
WINTON, a village, in the parish of Pencaitland, county of Haddington, 3 miles (S. E. by E.) from Tranent. This place, which is situated in the northwestern part of the parish, derives its name from the earls of Wintoun, its former proprietors, of whom George, the fifth and last earl, adhering to the interests of the house of Stuart, and joining the Pretender in 1715, was taken prisoner in the battle of Preston, and sentenced to execution for treason. He was committed to the Tower of London, from which, however, he contrived to effect his escape; and embarking for the continent, he took refuge in Italy, and died at Rome in the 70th year of his age. His estates were forfeited to the crown; and the family, which had flourished for more than six centuries in East Lothian, became extinct. Winton House, the ancient residence, was a spacious edifice, erected in 1619, but has been deserted, and suffered to fall into decay; it is beautifully situated in grounds containing numerous fine trees of stately growth.
Wiston and Roberton
WISTON and ROBERTON, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark; containing, with the village of Newton, 929 inhabitants, of whom 141 are in the village of Wiston, 7 miles (S. W. by W.) from Biggar, and 201 in the village of Roberton, 9½ miles (S. W.) from the same town. This place comprehends the old parishes of Wiston and Roberton, which were united in the year 1772. Their names, of uncertain origin, were probably derived from proprietors, one of whom, from the designation of a farm in the former, called The Place, would appear to have been resident. The parish is about six miles in length and four in breadth: it is bounded on the south-east by the Clyde, and comprises 9400 acres, of which 3800 are arable, 200 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moorland and pasture. The surface is strikingly diversified with hill and dale. The hill of Tinto, or "the hill of fire," perhaps so called as originally a seat of the Druidical superstition, on the northern confines of the parish, has an elevation of 2300 feet above the level of the sea, commanding an unbounded prospect over the adjacent districts, and embracing, among numerous other prominent objects, the heights of Hartfell, Queensberry, Cairntable, and Goatfell, the Isle of Arran, the Bass Rock, and the hills in the north of England and Ireland. Nearly in the centre of the parish is the hill of Dungavel, rising with a double apex to a considerable elevation, and strongly contrasting, in its rich verdure and beauty of appearance, with the rugged, precipitous, and harsh features of the former. The scenery is in many points beautifully picturesque, and embellished with woods and thriving plantations. The soil is chiefly light and gravelly, alternated with a rich black loam, and in some parts with portions of marshy land; the crops are, oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is advanced; the lands are drained and partly inclosed, and the farm houses and offices are daily improving in comfort and appearance. Much attention is paid to the management of the dairy, and to the breed of live-stock. From 300 to 400 milch-cows are kept on the several dairyfarms; they are now exclusively of the Ayrshire breed. The sheep, of which 4000 are on the average annually pastured, are chiefly of the black-faced Linton breed; the horses necessary for agricultural purposes are of the Clydesdale breed. The silver medal of the Highland Agricultural Society has been awarded to Mr. Muir, for his success in reclaiming waste land here, for which the abundance of lime affords every facility so far as that kind of manure is wanted.
The woods, of which more than one-half have been planted within the last few years, are very carefully managed; they consist of larch and Scotch fir, with an intermixture of various forest-trees. The substrata are chiefly greywacke, of which the hills are composed, red sandstone, and limestone; the last is extensively wrought, and the works produce annually about 18,000 bolls. In the seams of limestone are found imbedded corals, branches of trees, and shells of different kinds. Coal is supposed to exist, and an attempt was formerly made to explore it; but the works were suddenly suspended, and have not been since resumed. Hardington House, of ancient date, is a handsome residence, finely seated in a richly-planted demesne. The village is pleasantly situated; and facility of communication with Biggar, the nearest market-town, and with other places in the district, is afforded by good roads kept in due repair by statute labour, and by the turnpike-road from Stirling to Carlisle, which passes through the whole length of the parish. The rateable annual value of Wiston and Roberton is £4953. It is in the presbytery of Lanark, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the alternate patronage of the Crown and Lord Douglas: the minister's stipend is £204. 9., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £40 per annum. The church, formerly that of the old parish of Wiston, which was enlarged after the union of the two parishes, is a plain edifice adapted for a congregation of nearly 400 persons. In the village of Roberton is a place of worship for members of the Relief. The parochial schools of Wiston and Roberton are both kept up, afford a liberal education, and are well attended; the master of the former has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £15 fees, and a house and garden; the master of the latter, a like salary, with £12 fees, and the same accommodations. In these schools more than 130 children receive instruction. A subscription library is supported, and has a wellassorted collection of books on general literature; and there is a library in connexion with the Sabbath schools, which is also open to the public. A friendly society, established for many years, contributed to reduce the number of applications to the parochial funds, but has now ceased to exist.
WOODHAVEN, a village, in the parish of Forgan, district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 4 miles (W. S. W.) from Ferryport-on-Craig; containing 92 inhabitants. It is situated on the south shore of the Tay, in the western part of the parish, and nearly opposite the town of Dundee; and was formerly one of the ferrystations to that place, the other being at Newport, about a mile eastward. In consequence, however, of the greater facilities afforded by the latter, and the shorter and more convenient passage thence to Dundee, Newport has become the principal resort of those travelling to the north-east. The village is of pleasing and rural appearance; and the harbour, which is the property of Henry Stewart, Esq., of St. Fort, is capable of admitting vessels of 150 tons' burthen. Some business is done in exporting the agricultural produce of the district, and in importing lime, freestone, and coal.
WOODSIDE, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Old Machar, city, district, and county of Aberdeen; containing 4839 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from the seat of the principal landed proprietor, was separated for ecclesiastical purposes from Old Machar, and erected into a quoad sacra parish, by act of the General Assembly in 1834. The district is nearly two miles in length and about a mile and a quarter in breadth, is bounded on the north by the river Don, and consists principally of three contiguous villages, extending along the line of the great north road; the principal is Woodside, and the others are called respectively Cotton and Tanfield. These villages, which are neatly built, and lighted with gas from the works at Aberdeen, consists of detached houses, and a few small streets intersecting the turnpike-road at right angles; and are inhabited mostly by persons employed at the Grandholm works in the vicinity, and in the spinning and weaving of cotton in the village of Woodside. The cotton-works were erected by Messrs. Gordon, Barron, and Company, of Aberdeen, who also established a printing and a bleach field here; they are driven by a water-wheel of 180-horse power, and by a steam-engine lately erected, and afford employment to 960 persons, of whom fifty-six are children of less than thirteen, and 312 between thirteen and eighteen, years of age. Many of the population are also occupied in granite quarries, which are extensively wrought for exportation; and within a mile, a mine of manganese, recently discovered, was for a time wrought.
A post-office under that of Aberdeen has been established; and facility of communication is afforded by the turnpike-road to Aberdeen and Inverury, which traverses the valley of the Don in a direction nearly parallel with the road. The scenery is pleasingly diversified by the windings of the river, and the adjacent country abounds with interesting scenery. The Don contains trout and salmon; and fisheries were formerly established on it, but they are gradually diminishing in value. Woodside House, the seat of Patrick Kilgour, Esq., is a plain modern mansion, on the west bank of the Don; Hilton, the property of Sir William Johnstone, Bart., situated on a rising ground commanding a fine view of the city of Aberdeen, is an ancient mansion in the cottage style, rapidly falling into decay. The ecclesiastical affairs were under the superintendence of the presbytery and synod of Aberdeen; the first minister, who was chosen by the male communicants of the congregation, had a stipend of £150, secured by bond. The church, erected in 1829, at a cost of £2100, is a handsome structure in the Grecian style, and of the Doric order, containing 1500 sittings; it is lighted with gas, and attached to it are a vestry, and a session-room capable of containing 100 persons. It is now held by the Free Church, and the members of the Establishment are erecting an elegant chapel of ease. At the village of Cotton is a place of worship for Independents; and there is also in the district a small Gaelic meetinghouse. A school was erected in 1837, and is supported by subscription; it affords instruction to 150 children, and has a small library. A public library, in which is a collection of 1200 volumes, is also maintained; and a library, connected with the Free Church, has nearly 600 volumes. There are likewise a school connected with the factory at Woodside, and several Sunday schools in which are more than 600 children.
WOODSIDE, a village, in the parish of Markinch, district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife; containing 135 inhabitants. It is one of nine villages in the parish, of which the population has latterly increased, owing to the extension or introduction of various manufactures.
WOODSIDE, a village, in the parish of Cargill, county of Perth; containing 169 inhabitants. This, and Burreltown, are contiguous villages, situated on the high road from Perth to Cupar-Angus, and distant about two miles and a half from the latter place, and four from the parish church. At Burreltown are a chapel of ease, a place of worship for members of the Free Church, and a school; and in this village is also a school, to which is attached a small library.
WOODSIDE, NORTH, a village, in the late ecclesiastical district of St. Stephen's, parish of Barony, county of Lanark. This is a considerable and populous village, situated in the western part of the parish, near the borders of that of Govan, and distant from Glasgow, which lies eastward, about a mile. Its inhabitants are partly employed in the neighbouring factories, and in hand-loom weaving for the Glasgow manufacturers. A chapel of ease was supported here, many years since, by Mr. William Gillespie, the proprietor of a cotton-mill, by whom, also, a school was maintained for the instruction of the children of his workpeople.