Tweeddale - Tyrie

A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1846.

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Samuel Lewis, 'Tweeddale - Tyrie', A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846), pp. 567-571. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

Samuel Lewis. "Tweeddale - Tyrie", in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846) 567-571. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

Lewis, Samuel. "Tweeddale - Tyrie", A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846). 567-571. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

In this section


TWEEDDALE.—See Peeblesshire.


TWEEDSMUIR, a parish, in county Peebles, 13 miles (S. E. by S.) from Biggar; containing 276 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the moorish aspect of the ground in that part of the parish through which the river Tweed flows, immediately on issuing from its source. It appears to have formed originally part of the adjoining parish of Drummelzier, on its separation from which, in 1643, it assumed its present appellation. The parish is from eight to nine miles in length, and nearly equal in breadth; and comprises 42,000 acres, of which 375 are arable, 30 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow and hill pasture. The surface is strikingly diversified with hills and numerous small valleys. The highest of the hills are, Broad Law, in the north, which has an elevation, according to a survey made by government, of 2741 feet above the level of the sea; and part of the Hartfell range of heights, on the south, of which the highest point is 2635 feet: these hills are of gradual ascent, and perfectly level on the summit. The former commands an unbounded prospect, extending to the English border, and comprising the mountains which intervene in almost endless succession, and the German Ocean, with an interesting assemblage of highly picturesque and strikingly varied features. The scenery of the parish is greatly enlivened by the winding course of the Tweed and other streams, which flow through small valleys of romantic appearance, enriched with thriving plantations, and in a state of luxuriant verdure. The Tweed has its source in a spring in the upper part of the parish, which has an elevation of 1500 feet above the sea. It flows for ten miles through the parish, receiving in its progress numerous tributaries, whereof the Core, Fruid, and Tala, which all have their sources within the parish, are the principal; and after leaving the district, it pursues a winding course of more than ninety miles, and falls into the sea at Berwick. At the base of the hill in which the Tweed rises, and which is about half a mile from Lanarkshire on the west, and from Dumfries-shire on the south, are found also the sources of the rivers Annan and Clyde. All the streams abound with trout, par, and eels; and in the Tweed, salmon of considerable size are frequently taken. Among the smaller burns is the Gameshope, which is a tributary of the Tala, and in its course spreads into a small lake, about 600 yards in circumference, said to be the highest water in this part of the country; it abounds with excellent trout of a dark colour, and is much frequented by anglers. Near the summit of Broad Law is a powerful perennial spring called Giddes Well, affording an ample supply of excellent water; and at the southern extremity of Hartfell is a strongly impregnated chalybeate spring, in great repute.

The soil in some parts is a strong loam formed of earth and moss, and in others a light loam intermixed in a few instances with gravel. The mountains are covered to their summits with luxuriant verdure, and may be mowed to almost any extent; they afford rich pasturage for sheep and black-cattle. The chief crops are oats, barley, turnips, peas, and potatoes, with artificial grasses of every kind, which thrive in great abundance. The system of agriculture is improved; the lands have been mostly well drained and inclosed; the farmhouses are substantially built of stone, and roofed with slate; and every improvement in implements of husbandry has been introduced. The want of lime, however, which is only to be procured from a distance, has greatly retarded the cultivation of the lands. The sheep, of which 16,000 are kept in the parish, and pastured on the hills, are of the Cheviot and black-faced breeds; there are 9000 of the former, and 7000 of the latter. Considerable attention is paid to the improvement of the breeds; and at the annual meeting of the Highland Society, the tenants of the farms of Carterhope and Menzion lately gained the highest premiums for specimens, the one of the black-faced, and the other of the Cheviot. The woods in the parish, formerly extensive, have almost entirely disappeared, and only a few trees remain on the lands of Fruid and Hawkshaw; the plantations are chiefly Scotch and silver fir, larch, birch, and poplar, which seem best adapted to the soil. Among the ancient residences were, Hawkshaw, which for some hundreds of years was the seat of the family of Porteous, and near which are remains of a chapel and burialground; Oliver Castle, the seat of the ancient family of the Frasers; Menzion House, and Fruid. Facility of intercourse with the market-town, and with the places in the more immediate vicinity, is afforded by good roads, of which the turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Dumfries passes for ten miles within the parish. The rateable annual value of Tweedsmuir is £3992. It is in the presbytery of Peebles and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and patronage of the Principal and Professors of St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's; the minister's stipend is £237. 9. 5, with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £12. 10. per annum. The church, beautifully situated on a peninsula formed by the junction of the rivers Tweed and Tala, was erected in 1648, and is in good repair, and adapted for a congregation of 160 persons. The parochial school affords a liberal course of instruction; the master has a salary of £32 per annum, with £12 fees, and a house and garden, which last being less than the usual size, he receives one boll of meal also. There is a school for the children of persons living at an inconvenient distance from the parochial school; the master has £8 a year from the heritors, in addition to the fees. Near the source of the Tweed, in a spot called Tweed's Cross, was an upright stone supposed to have been a Druidical relic, and subsequently a guide for passengers; there are still some remains of a Druidical circle elsewhere, of which, however, but one upright stone is left, the remainder having been taken away to furnish materials for dykes. On removing a cairn on the side of the Tweed, a kistvaen was discovered, formed of smoothed stone, and covered with a large flag, containing fragments of an urn of ancient character: a similar grave was discovered on the lands of Menzion. Sir Simon Fraser, who, assisted by Cumming, at the head of 10,000 Scottish forces, attacked and defeated the army of Edward I., consisting of 30,000 men, near Roslin, in 1303, was lord of Tweeddale, and resided at Oliver Castle, in this parish.


TWYNHOLM, a parish, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 3 miles (N. by W.) from Kirkcudbright; containing 777 inhabitants, of whom 216 are in the village. This place, of which the name, supposed to be a corruption of Twynham, is descriptive of the situation of the church and village on rising ground, appears to have attained to a considerable degree of importance at an early period. During the contest for the crown of Scotland between Baliol and Bruce, Edward I. of England, after remaining with his court for some time at the castle of Kirkcudbright, crossed the Dee on the 9th of August, 1300, and took up his abode at this place, where he remained for ten days, and made several offerings at the altar of the ancient chapel. The parish, to which that of Kirk-Christ seems to have been annexed about the middle of the 17th century, is bounded by the river Dee, separating it from the parish of Kirkcudbright; and is about ten miles in length and nearly three miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 10,700 acres, of which 6500 are arable, 3270 meadow and pasture, 320 woodland and plantations, and the remainder waste. Nearly one-half of the parish is the property of the Earl of Selkirk; and the remainder is divided among several proprietors, of whom T. Maitland, Esq., of Dundrennan, and the family of McMillan, of Barwhinnock, are the principal. The surface is diversified with hills, which in the northern portion rise into considerable elevation, affording only pasturage to cattle and sheep; in the southern portion the hills are of inferior height, and arable to their summits. The rivers are, the Dee, which bounds the parish on the east; and the Tarf, which, after winding through the north, takes an eastern course, and falls into the Dee. The lower grounds are watered by numerous other streams; and there are several lakes, of which the most extensive is Loch Whinyeon, at the north-west boundary of the parish, bordering on that of Girthon. The water of this lake was formerly conveyed by the small burn of Glengap into the Tarf; but a tunnel has lately been cut through the hill, by which it is diverted to the cotton-works at Gatehouse, in the parish of Girthon.

The soil is generally fertile, and the pastures in several parts are luxuriantly rich; the principal crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is much improved; lime is pretty largely applied; the lands have been well drained, and are partly inclosed with fences of thorn, which have been recently introduced, and are gradually superseding the stone dykes formerly in use. The farm-buildings are mostly substantial and well arranged. The cattle are usually of the Galloway breed, though on one or two farms are some of the short-horned; the sheep are principally a cross between the Leicestershire and the Cheviot breeds. Great numbers of sheep are brought in during the autumn, in addition to what are reared; they are fed on turnips, and, when fat, are sent by the steam-boats to Liverpool. The substratum is chiefly whinstone, of which the rocks are principally composed; there is no sandstone, but granite occurs in large boulders in several places. The woods and plantations are oak, interspersed with larch, and spruce and Scotch firs; they are under good management, and in a very flourishing condition. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6259.

Compston, the residence of Mr. Maitland, is a handsome house, built by the late proprietor, and finely situated in a demesne embellished with stately timber. Barwhinnock, the residence of Mr. Mc Millan, by whom it was lately erected, is also a handsome building. The village, which is situated on the great road from Carlisle to Portpatrick, is spacious and well built: the inhabitants, with the exception of a small number employed in the various handicraft trades requisite for the supply of the neighbourhood, are engaged in agricultural and pastoral pursuits. There are a mill for carding and spinning wool, and, on the same premises, a mill for dressing flax, both for the farmers, who work it up at their own houses for domestic use. Facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road to Portpatrick, which passes through the centre of the parish, and by statute roads kept in good repair. There is a ferry across the Dee to Kirkcudbright; and that river, which is navigable to Tongland bridge, affords ample means of procuring supplies of coal and lime, and of conveying the agricultural produce to Liverpool and other markets. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Kirkcudbright and synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £225. 11. 1., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £40 per annum; patron, the Earl of Selkirk. The church, erected in 1818, is a neat structure in the early English style of architecture; it is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and contains 410 sittings. The parochial school is attended by about 100 children, the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £15 per annum. There is a female school at Doon, in the south of the parish, for which a house was built by the Earl of Selkirk, who pays the teacher's salary. Remains exist of several British forts, near one of which, in a tumulus, was found a stone coffin containing human bones, some coins, and an instrument resembling a hammer. There are also some slight remains of the ancient castle of Compston, consisting of three of the walls of the tower, in a very ruinous condition. Of the nunnery that formerly existed in the south part of the parish, the only memorial is preserved in the names of the farms of High and Low Nunton, with that of a mill adjoining them, still called Nunmill. The poet Montgomery once resided at Compston.


TYNDRUM, a village, in the parish of Killin, county of Perth, 16 miles (N. E.) from Inverary. This is a small Highland village, upon the great western military road, about twelve miles from Dalmally, and the same distance from Killin. It contains a post-office, and one of six excellent inns in the parish, the latter said to be the highest situated of any house in Scotland.


TYNNINGHAME, a village, in the parish of Whitekirk and Tynninghame, county of Haddington, 1 mile (N. E. by E.) from the village of Prestonkirk; containing 271 inhabitants. It is situated in the southern part of the parish, on the road from Whitekirk to Stenton, and about half a mile westward from the river Tyne, which shortly merges its waters in the Forth, at its mouth. The lands of Tynninghame formed a separate parish, which was united to Whitekirk in 1767: the church, now demolished, stood about a quarter of a mile below the village, on the north side of the Tyne, in a beautiful field having a gentle slope to the water's edge, and had in early times the privilege of sanctuary. The lordship of Tynninghame belongs to the Earl of Haddington, whose fine seat, surrounded with plantations commenced by his ancestor, the fifth earl, is in the Elizabethan style. The population of the village is almost exclusively agricultural. One of the parochial schools is situated here.


TYNRON, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 4½ miles (W. S. W.) from Thornhill, containing 474 inhabitants, of whom nearly 80 are in the village. The name, of Gaelic origin, is in different records written Tyndron, Tintroyn, and Tindroyn, and is supposed to have been derived from the peculiar form of a hill near the lower extremity of the parish, called the Dun, or Doon, of Tynron. On the summit of the hill, which is of pyramidal shape, with a singular projection from one of its sides, might till lately be traced the foundations of an ancient fortress, said to have been the retreat of King Robert Bruce after the death of Comyn at Dumfries. During his concealment here, the king frequently visited the cottage of a poor man named Brownrig, situated in a neighbouring croft surrounded with thick woods, and where in perfect security he partook of such fare as the humble dwelling afforded. In acknowledgment of the hospitality he had experienced, the monarch conferred upon his host a grant of the croft in which the cottage stood, with a portion of the surrounding lands for the pasture of a few cattle; and though the lands have been alienated by the Brownrigs, they are still the property of the poor of Tynron. The parish is situated in the district of Nithsdale, and bounded on the north-east by the river Scar, which separates it from the parish of Penpont; it is fourteen miles in length and two and a half in breadth, comprising nearly 15,000 acres, of which 3100 are arable, 500 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill pasture, moor, and waste. The surface is boldly diversified. Two ranges of hills intersect the parish in a direction from north-west to south-east; the one terminates in the Dun of Tynron, and the other in that of Maxwelltown, in the adjoining parish of Glencairn. The hills are uniformly covered with verdure, affording excellent pasture for sheep and cattle; and those of Lamgarroch and Cormilligan, the highest in the parish, have an elevation of 1800 feet above the level of the sea. Between the ranges of hills, which command from their summits extensive and richly varied prospects over the surrounding country, are some large tracts of fine level land, forming portions of Strath-Nithsdale, and chiefly arable and in good cultivation. The prevailing scenery, being enriched with wood, is pleasing. The river Shinnel, which has its source in the Black Hill, situated to the north-west, flows in a south-eastern direction through the parish, dividing it into two nearly equal parts, and falls into the Scar at Capenoch, in the adjoining parish of Keir, having made in its course a romantic cascade called Aird-Linn, near the manse, where its banks are richly wooded. There are numerous smaller streams flowing through the level lands in various directions, all of which abound with trout of small size, affording good sport to the angler; also several fine springs of excellent water.

The soil is generally light and sandy, but of tolerable fertility, producing more grain than is requisite for the consumption of the inhabitants; the parish is, however, rather of a pastoral than of an agricultural character. The crops are grain of all kinds, with potatoes, turnips, and the usual grasses. The system of husbandry is good, and a due regard is paid to a regular rotation; the lands have been drained and inclosed; and from the facility of obtaining lime from the neighbouring quarries of Closeburn, and the introduction of guano for manure on the turnip lands, much improvement has taken place. The farm houses and offices, most of which are of recent erection, are substantial and commodiously arranged; the fences are kept in good repair, and much waste and unprofitable land has been reclaimed and brought into cultivation under the auspices of both the resident and non-resident proprietors. Great attention is paid to live-stock. The sheep are of the Cheviot and black-faced breeds, with a few of a cross between the Cheviot and the Leicestershire; the cattle are chiefly the Ayrshire and Galloway, with a few of the Highland, which were formerly preferred, but have now decreased in number. There are considerable remains of natural wood, consisting of oak, common and mountain ash, birch, plane, alder, and willow; and the plantations are larch, Scotch, spruce, and silver firs, and balm of Gilead, interspersed with various kinds of forest-trees, all of which are well managed and in a thriving condition. The principal substrata are, greywacke, of which the rocks are mainly composed, clayslate, and a flinty kind of slate called Lydian stone: an attempt was at one time made on the lands of Stenhouse to discover lead-ore, of which there were some slight indications; but none was found, and the works were soon abandoned. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3816.

The village, or kirktown, of Tynron, is pleasantly situated on the road from Thornhill, under which it has a daily post: the nearest market-town is Dumfries, to which are chiefly sent both the agricultural and the pastoral produce. Facility of communication is afforded by the turnpike-road from Portpatrick to Edinburgh, which passes through the eastern portion of the parish; by good roads kept in repair by statute labour, of which fifteen miles intersect it in various directions; and by bridges over the river Shinnel and the Scar. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Penpont and synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £234. 18. 3., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum; patron, the Duke of Buccleuch. The church, which is well situated, was erected in 1837, at a cost of £1000; it is a handsome structure in the later English style of architecture, after a design by Mr. Burn, of Edinburgh, and contains 314 sittings. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £5 annually. A school, of which the master has a salary of £22 from the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, under the will of Mr. John Gibson, and for which a schoolroom, and dwelling-house for the master, were built in 1765 by the Duke of Queensberry, is likewise well supported. Mr. Gibson also bequeathed £13 per annum to twelve industrious poor persons of the parish. There are some vestiges of a Roman road leading from the Dun of Tynron to Drumloff, and crossing the Shinnel near Stenhouse: along the line have been found Roman urns containing calcined bones. Three cairns were formerly existing in the parish, in one of which, at M' Question, and in another, on the farm of Land, were found stone coffins, with fragments of human bones and a hammer of stone; and in a third, at Pingarie, were nine stone coffins containing human bones, the whole of which, with the surrounding stones to some distance, had been fused into one solid mass.


TYRIE, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen, 5 miles (S. W. by W.) from Fraserburgh; containing, with the late quoad sacra parish and the village of New Pitsligo, 2639 inhabitants, of whom 1276 are in the rural districts. This place, the name of which, in the Gaelic language, signifies "the King's House," is of remote antiquity; but very few particulars of its history have been recorded. A religious establishment appears to have been founded here at an early period; it was munificently endowed by one of the Scottish monarchs, and the buildings occupied the site of the old manse of Tyrie. In connexion with this monastery, from which the parish most probably derived its name, a church is supposed to have been erected about the year 1004, which obtained the appellation of the "White Kirk of Buchan," and which, when it afterwards became the parish church, had still an aisle connecting it with the conventual buildings. Towards the close of the 10th century, a sanguinary battle took place between a Danish army, encamped on the neighbouring hills, and the forces of the Thane of Buchan, which terminated in the total defeat of the former with great slaughter. The parish is in the north-eastern portion of the county, and is about ten miles in length and four and a half in breadth; it is of rather irregular shape, and the surface is diversified with hills, of which some attain a considerable degree of elevation. At the western end is a range of heights forming part of the Auchmedden ridge, and of the eminences that skirt the western extremity of Buchan; and on the south-east are also several heights, which appear to form a continuation of the Mormond hill. There are no rivers of any importance; the principal streams are the Tyrie water, which runs along the northern boundary, and the Goner, a smoothly-flowing rivulet over which a handsome stone bridge was built near the mill of Tillanamont, by the late Sir William Forbes. Of the numerous copious springs, some are strongly chalybeate; and one, in the den of Boyndlie, called the Mourning Well, is not equalled by any in the county. The rivulets abound with small trout.

The soil in the valleys, and in the lower lands, is generally a rich deep loam of a reddish colour; in the higher grounds, shallower, and less fertile; and there are some large tracts of moss, and much waste land that might be reclaimed and brought into profitable cultivation. Among the crops are oats, for which the soil appears to be peculiarly adapted, and which are almost the only grain. Of potatoes, large quantities are shipped at Rosehearty, Sandhaven, and Fraserburgh; and since the establishment of a horticultural society at New Pitsligo by Sir John Stuart Forbes, vegetables of every kind, and garden produce, have been grown in perfection. The system of husbandry has been much improved, in some degree through the Buchan Agricultural Society; and at the annual meetings some of the farmers of this parish have been successful competitors for prizes for the best samples of oats for seed. The hills afford good pasturage for sheep and black-cattle, of which considerable numbers are reared, and sent to the markets in the vicinity and to London; and much attention is paid to the management of the dairy-farms, the produce of which finds a ready sale throughout the district. The plantations extend over 120 acres in different detached portions, and consist of ash, mountain-ash, plane, alder, and various kinds of fir: even such trees as are in the most unprotected situation are in a thriving state. The substrata are generally limestone and granite, of which latter the rocks are chiefly composed. The limestone was formerly wrought in the eastern district, but the quarries have been abandoned; granite quarries, however, have been opened, from which blocks of ten tons' weight are raised without difficulty. The stone is of a very durable quality, and quarried at little expense; and much of it has been used in the dressings of the pier of Fraserburgh, and for the ornamental parts of the public buildings in that town. Iron-ore has also been found, but not in sufficient quantity to encourage the working of it. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4442. The mansions are, Boyndlie House, the seat of Alexander Forbes, Esq.; and the ancient houses of Ladysford and Tillanamont. The village of New Pitsligo is described under its own head; the Kirkton of Tyrie is an inconsiderable spot near the northern boundary of the parish, where are situated the church and the parochial school. The post-office at New Pitsligo has a daily delivery; and facility of communication is maintained by good roads, of which the turnpikeroads from Banff to Peterhead and to Fraserburgh pass through the parish. Fairs for sheep, cattle, and horses, are held occasionally; and until a recent date there was a corn-market every alternate week, in the village of New Pitsligo.

The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £158. 7. 7., of which nearly one-fourth is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £9. 10. per annum: patron, Lord Saltoun. The ancient church has been for some years in ruins, a new church having been erected in 1800, a neat substantial structure containing 400 sittings. A church to which a district was till lately annexed, and an episcopal chapel, have been erected in New Pitsligo. The parochial school is well conducted: the master has a salary of £25. 18., with £6 in lieu of a house and garden, and the fees average about £8 per annum; he also receives the interest of a bequest by Mrs. Anderson, for the gratuitous instruction of children. There is a bequest for the benefit of the poor, and many families receive weekly distributions of meal from the granary of Sir John Stuart Forbes, of Pitsligo. In the immediate vicinity of the ancient church, till within the last few years, was a circular mound called the Moat, but of which nothing is distinctly known; and in various parts of the parish are barrows, supposed to have been raised over the remains of those who fell in the battle with the Danes. In some of these barrows that have been opened, were discovered coffins of grey flagstones, containing human bones; and near the Law Cairn were found, within the last twenty or thirty years, some fragments of ancient armour, thought to be Roman. In digging up the foundations of the ancient church, there was recently found a rude shapeless mass of claystone of a blue colour, on which were some hieroglyphic characters that could not be deciphered.


TYRIE, county of Argyll.—See Tiree.