John Shaw


Web Edition


Notes:This web edition contains the final text of the published books, with the images of the original photos scanned in and scaled to fit.Please bear with us when the numbers on the photographs and diagrams donít match the ones in the text.Also, this page has a limit on the amount of traffic that can be downloaded in a month.If the page wonít appear because this limit has been exceeded, please be patient, the site will be back online soon, in the next dat or two.Thanks, Jim Shaw 5th February 2005.




Relief and Drainage


Early Settlement

The Romans

After the Romans

The Normans

The Church

Late Mediaeval Agriculture

Mediaeval Fields on Pinzarie Hill

Farming in the Eighteenth Century - The Improvements

The Nineteenth Century


The Twentieth Century


MacRaes of Stenhouse


Tynron Village

Tynron Kirk

Population of Tynron Parish


Climate and Weather


Birds of Tynron

Place Names



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PHOTO *A The cover photo looks up Tynron Glen, with the old smithy at Parkhouse in the foreground and Stenhouse behind


ome Statistics

Tynron Glen consists of about 5,620 hectares, 56.2 square kilometres or nearly 13,900 acres and 21.7 square miles.

The glen is barely 5 kilometres wide at its widest above Auchenbrack, by 17.5 kilometres long from High Countam to Wauk Hill. Penpont Parish is to the north-east, Keir to the east and Glencairn to the south-west. Dalry and Galloway touch the western tip.

Shinnel Glen trends north-west to south-east. The lowest point is about 60 metres at Scaur Bridge. The highest points are up the top of the glen at Colt Hill 598 metres and Lamgarroch 573 metres. There are some thirteen tops over 500 metres.

The Parish Boundary

Map *1 shows that the parish boundary follows very closely the watershed of the Shinnel. I have walked all the watershed and it does puzzle me as to why the parish boundary, when set in the twelfth century (presumably), is not always precisely on the watershed. It strays by a few metres in places where it would have been just as easy to keep it on the watershed.

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Strangely, the parish for some reason takes in the lower part of Scaur Glen to the south-west of the river, which geographically and logically belongs with Penpont. Tynron Parish does not include the very eastern part of the glen on Capenoch, which for some other reason is in Keir Parish. The land adjoining Shancastle Hill and a smaller patch north of Hillhead of Dunreggan were pinched by Glencairn Parish. This has an annoying effect, even today, where, for instance, the inhabitants of Barr Farm have to vote at Keir, while those at Auchenhessnane must vote at Tynron. The parish boundary must have depended on the feudal boundaries of land holdings.

This work deals with the Shinnel Glen, everything within its catchment area, although inevitably some of the statistics refer to Tynron Parish.

William Wilson

William Andrew Wilson's books on Tynron stimulated my interest and have led me to write a 1990's version. Willie Wilson has something to answer for in calling Tynron Doon a volcano, a widely-held local belief, but his books are lovely to read and have given local people a written record of many aspects of local history. He was a romantic with his own picture of the past. Read his poetry to see that.

Ewart Library

I have scoured the Ewart Library in Dumfries, which contains much of interest. The Ewart has organised its local section very well and everyone is very helpful there, but for Tynron, unfortunately, much information is bitty and scattered through many volumes. I have tried hard to assimilate all this information and to produce a piece of work that will be readable and interesting to everyone with an interest in Tynron. I have given references to the most useful sources at the end of this book. By no means everything in this book is taken from other books, as my own opinions and prejudices are thrown in for good measure. You may agree with them or not.

I came to Tynron in 1980 with my wife, Mary, and my children, James, William and Rebecca. Three years were spent at the Ford, then five years at Thornie Park on Auchenbrack. In 1988 I moved to Moniaive. I was a teacher for ten of those years at Crawfordton House School, Moniaive, which closed its doors in 1995. I am an outsider, but then so is almost everyone who lives in Tynron Glen. The Glen has been swamped by incomers since 1800. Of those who live in Tynron Glen now precious few can claim to have been born in the parish.



500-400 Million Years Ago

500 million years ago is when I choose to begin the story of Tynron Glen. At that time there was land to the north where the Highlands are now. Where Tynron is there was sea.

The earliest local rocks were laid down under this sea in the Ordovician Period (500-440 million years ago) and the Silurian Period (440-395 million years ago) in a geosyncline. This geosyncline was a huge basin under the sea for a hundred million years, into which all the sediments from further north were washed by rivers. The volume of this sediment was such that it continually sank under its own weight, thus building up enormous thicknesses of sediment.

Rock Types

400 million years have turned these sediments into hard sedimentary rocks. Rock types in the glen vary from fine-grained shales and mudstones to coarser greywackes and conglomerates. The typical rock of the glen is the grey featureless whinstone, the local name for the greywacke, formed of grains carried by currents a long way offshore.

Fossils are not found in the whinstone. However there are thin bands of black shales, best seen in the forestry excavations above Shinnel Head, which are fossiliferous. Black shales can easily be mistaken for coal. They consist of very dark mud with some graptolites preserved in them. Graptolites, which are colonial marine organisms, may be found by patient searching. I was obviously not patient enough.

These black shales are the oldest rocks of the area and were laid down very far from land. The black shales can be seen by following the burn in Dun Cleuch 7297, as it tumbles down the steep hillside.

Just through the forestry gate at Shinnel Head up on the left is a quarry which reveals the black shales, which are particularly favoured by the forestry people for surfacing the forestry roads. On the south side of the quarry is radiolarian chert, a rock associated with the black shales. This is a greyish rock which, when broken, gives a razor-sharp edge. It is made up of the siliceous skeletons of minute protozoa.

It is common to find conglomerates, especially up the glen. These rocks consist of coarse sand and pebbles from ancient beaches. A particularly fine place to see these is at Fairy Craig by Appin, but there are also plenty of conglomerate erratics down the glen, carried there by glaciers, notably the boulders in the field by Craigencoon cottage.

400 Million Years Ago

So, all these rocks were deposited in a sea lying to the south of a landmass situated where the Highlands are now. In late Silurian times, about 400 million years ago, began the Caledonian orogeny or mountain-building period, when the sediments in this basin were squeezed up by crustal movements to form a mountain range with a north-east to south-west trend. The events of these momentous times were to give the rocks their present very steep dip to the north-west. In fact, in many places, the beds lie vertical, which can be seen along stream beds or at rock outcrops.

At least 15 kilometres thickness of greywacke is present in Tynron Glen.

Igneous Intrusions

About 380 million years ago molten rock was forced between some of the beds of primaeval rock. Some of these rocks, porphyrite and lamprophyre, now outcrop in narrow bands as igneous dykes, crossing the glen at right angles. Such rocks solidified quite deep underground, but have been revealed by erosion. Porphyrite and lamprophyre are pink igneous rocks easily distinguished from grey whinstone when freshly broken. They make as good dykestones as the whinstones and their use in a wall is very often the sign of an outcrop.

A convenient spot to find an outcrop is 150 metres south-east of Kirkconnel Loch, where the porphyrite outcrops as a low narrow ridge crossing the track. Along this track the junction between the pink porphyrite and the whinstone can be clearly seen. In this case the country rock (the whinstone) has been baked by the intense heat of the dyke and altered to a dark slaty rock. This dyke outcrop can be followed up to the top of Thistlemark, where some of these distinct pink stones have been used in the march dyke.

Since 380 Million Years Ago

What has happened since then is still not well understood. There are no rocks younger than Silurian in the glen. This could well be because the area has not been under the sea since then. However, the Nith Valley around Thornhill was certainly under water about 300 million years ago in mid-Carboniferous times. Maybe the whole of southern Scotland was too, though any rocks deposited then have since been eroded away.

Roughly 225 million years ago red sandstones were laid down in the sea in the Thornhill area, these being made from sand and dust washed or blown from the surrounding desert hills. So Tynron was a desert at that time.

The Hercynian (280 million years ago) and the Alpine (some 60 million years ago) mountain-building periods squeezed and crumpled the local rocks, further reinforcing their north-east to south-west trend. The geological structure is highly complex, despite the apparent simplicity of the geological map *2.

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It is amazing to think that this area could have been part of a range of mountains as high as the Alps at least three times in the last 500 million years. The hills we see now form a mere worn-down remnant of these mountains.

Rock Uses

The whinstone has been fully utilised. It makes the dykes and the houses and is an excellent long-lasting building stone. Though it does not always split along straight lines, it does not weather like the red sandstone. Small abandoned quarries are dotted around the glen especially by roadsides. Buccleuch Estates still exploit the quarry at Aird Wood 827935. Whinstone shingle from the river makes cobbled surfaces for farmyards and forecourts and whinstone makes good roadstone for the forestry.

The red desert sandstones have been used in many buildings in the glen, especially for making the extremely attractive lintels or window edgings. The church is built of the coarsest of pink sandstones with large grains of quartz.

Lead has been prospected but without success. Minerals, even quartz veins, are hard to find. In Tynron parish, but in Scaur Glen, at Corfardine, slates were quarried for a short while at 804961.



A walk to the top of any one of the glen's highest hills reveals a landscape of rounded whaleback hills, which all seem to be of much the same height, with smooth convex ridges and a gently undulating skyline. A great distance can be seen. Valleys like Tynron Glen have been cut into the rocks, making the dissected plateau of the Southern Uplands.

Discordant Scenery

A surprising point is that the scenery bears little or no relation to the underlying geology. Were it dependent on geology you would expect ridges running north-east to south-west, with valleys between, along the faults and weaker rocks. The Shinnel, flowing south-eastwards for much of its length, cuts completely at right angles across the rocks. This is what discordance is.

The two theories for this discordance are as follows:- 1. The whole area was once covered by rocks laid down in the Cretaceous Period, 135-65 million years ago. These rocks have long since been eroded away, but they used to slope south-eastwards and the Shinnel flowed down this slope. As all these Cretaceous rocks were eroded into the sea to the south-east, the Shinnel continued on its south-easterly course and superimposed itself onto the underlying whinstone, as it cut down into the rocks below.

2. The whole area was covered by the sea and levelled off by the waves as recently as the late Tertiary, say 10 million years ago. Gradually, as the land rose or sea-level dropped, the Shinnel formed its present course on this bevelled surface, and thus was likewise superimposed, cutting right across the underlying rocks.

As there is no evidence of any Cretaceous rocks nor Tertiary marine deposits in the region, neither theory is very attractive.

Radial Drainage

Map *3 opposite shows the Shinnel, the Scaur and the Dalwhat to be parts of a radial drainage pattern centred around Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Blackcraig Hill and Windy Standard just a few kilometres to the west. These three rivers drain south-eastwards into the Nith.

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A sharp elbow of capture shows up on the Shinnel at the Clone and it appears that the Shinnel must have continued south-east at the Clone and flowed into the Cairn not so very long ago. The Clone pass is chock-full of glacial deposits of considerable depth and it seems that this particular course of the Shinnel was cut off in the Ice Age. The height difference between the top of the Clone and the Shinnel Water is quite considerable, however, so the blockage may have occurred several interglacials ago.

The till-filled gap followed by the road from Tynron village, past Clonrae, to Shinnel Wood is also probably a former course of the Shinnel. Now it is a wide valley with only a tiny misfit stream in it. This valley must once have contained a much larger river, i.e. the Shinnel. The height difference between Tynron bridge and Craigturra cottage is a mere 22 metres.

Changes in Sea-Level

There is evidence of a continual drop in sea-level relative to land in recent geological history. This exists in the form of the benches or shoulders on the valley sides. A walk up any hillside in the glen shows that slope angle is very inconsistent, some parts of the same hillside being quite steep and others almost level. If sea-level did not change, then the Shinnel would have regular concave valley sides.

Each uplift of land in the Tertiary has made the Shinnel cut deeper and deeper down into the glen floor. Each bench up on the hillside is a fragment of an old bit of valley side, relating to a time when the valley floor was higher than at present. The valley-side cross-sections above Auchenbrack and Macqueston *4a show these benches clearly and they have been well-used for farming.

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The long profile of the Shinnel *4b shows up the changes in gradient of the glen floor. The Shinnel runs across alternate stretches of flattish alluvium with a shallow gradient and steeper sections with rapids and small waterfalls. These latter stretches are called nick points and are caused by drops in sea-level or uplifts of land.

Why are the hills smooth and rounded?

Earlier in the Tertiary, some few millions years ago, as mentioned above, this area could have been under the sea and levelled off by wave action.

When the land was uplifted out of the sea, the rivers cut their valleys and the hills were worn down by sub-aerial processes of weathering and erosion. The rocks of the Shinnel are thinly bedded and mostly break up into flat stones of no great size, not into large boulders. This could contribute to the lack of angularity in the scenery. There are some crags, but only four of any extent, Craigturra, Tynron Doon, Croglin Craig and Sharp Craig.

The rounded appearance of the hills was then accentuated during the last million years or so during the Ice Age.



The latest great Ice Age began something over a million years ago and, of course, is still with us. For 900,000 of the last million years Southern Scotland has been buried by ice. During this Pleistocene Period Tynron Glen has been subjected several times to Arctic conditions and completely submerged by very thick sheets of ice. This was not one continuous event, as the ice melted away for the long intervals of the interglacials (such as we are in now), during which the climate was often even warmer than nowadays.

Each glaciation would have started with an accumulation of snow and ice in the Galloway Hills, producing tongues of ice. One of these extended down Tynron Glen, but later expanded and coalesced into a continuous ice sheet with worsening of the climate.

A feature of repeated advances of the ice is that each advance tends to obliterate the evidence of the previous one. Thus it is the evidence of the most recent glaciation that now shows up in the glen.

Tynron Glen already existed before the Ice Age, but the ice has given it all its detailed land forms and caused, I believe, some changes in the course of the Shinnel.

The last Glacial Period began about 70,000 BP (Before Present). The last great build-up of ice started 25,000 BP and was at its maximum a mere 17-20,000 years ago. Deglaciation was rapid and the last ice left the tops of the glen hills some 10-11,000 BP. What can now be seen in the glen is what was left by this last great ice advance and retreat.

Erosion By Ice

A thick ice sheet was responsible for rounding off the tops and the spurs of Tynron's hills and removing all the soil. When the ice melted away, the tops of the hills were bare rock. There are no rugged mountain peaks because this area was already low enough to be completely covered by the ice sheets.

The ice ages all began with tongues of ice pushing down the glen, widening and deepening it. The truncated spur at Craigencoon and the crags at Craigturra, Tynron Doon and Croglin were formed by the edge of the tongue of ice which was occupying the lower ground. The cauldron-like valley-heads of the Shinnel, Appin and Kirkconnel rivers can also be explained by the action of glaciers. They resemble the much more impressive corries of further west in Galloway and in the Highlands. Jagged fragments of rock embedded in the edge of the glacier gouged scratches or striations on rock exposures on the valley sides and floor. These show the direction the glacier travelled.

Deposits By Ice

Other important glacial influences lie in the deposits that cover so much of the lower ground in the glen (see map *2). The floor and a lot of the valley-sides and hollows are covered in till (also known as boulder clay or glacial drift), either laid down beneath the moving glacier or left as the glacier melted and deposited its contents of rock on the ground. The till is brown or brownish-grey and consists of everything between small stones and large boulders of greywacke, angular and sub-angular, haphazardly mixed in a matrix of clay or sand.

In some places it is arranged in small egg-shaped knolls with their long axes running down the glen in the direction of the ice. Craigencoon cottage is sited on a feature of glacial deposition big enough to be called a drumlin, but the many smaller ones are best seen around Auchenbrack, on the slopes of Court Hill or on Cormilligan Bottom.

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PHOTO *B Cormilligan Hummocky Glacial Deposits with Run-rig

The large area of Cormilligan Bottom up Kirkconnel Glen is covered in these depositional mounds, as shown on PHOTO *B and they make it a really hummocky bottom.

Where cut into by rivers or machinery, the contents of these knolls can be clearly seen. The forestry quarry just north of Appin has a superb section.

The overall effect of all this deposition was to fill in the valley floor and all the basins and hollows along the glen sides. As can be seen from the geology map *2, well over half the glen is covered in glacial till and the bedrock is often many metres below.

Fluvio-Glacial Deposits

While the ice was retreating 10,000-11,000 years ago, the glen must have been awash with meltwater every summer. The Shinnel must have been braided and would have flooded the flat areas of its valley floor. Alluvium was spread across the valley floor.

Some of the valley bottoms may represent the beds of lakes temporarily dammed by glacial deposits, notably the lovely flat land by Tynron village. In this case the dam would have been in the vicinity of The Linn, where the flat land ends downstream and the glen narrows. The Linn would have been a waterfall initiated by the overflow from the lake. The Linn is the best of several waterfalls and is probably the best place to see salmon leaping. There are still salmon leaping there in autumn 1996. The waterfalls below Appin, where Appin Burn tumbles into the Shinnel, are also splendid, yet far more secluded.

Since glaciation the lakes quickly filled in with the mass of loose debris existing on the glen floor washed into them by the main Shinnel and by the new burns formed on the valley sides. Some of these burns have carved impressive gullies, even gorges, in just 10,000 years, as they have cut down through a few metres of glacial debris on the valley sides and reached bedrock. There is much hidden beauty in these wonderful cleughs. My favourite is March Burn on Auchenbrack.

In 10,000 years time or a lot less the ice might be back!




If Palaeolithic Man (Old Stone Age) settled the glen in the Interglacials then all record has been swept away by the glaciers. Evidence this far north can only survive in places immune to glacial action, like caves, or where covered and protected by glacial deposits. Whinstone is no cave-former and who knows if Palaeolithic remains lie undiscovered under the till?

I should think it certain that Old Stone Age Man lived in the glen, as the climates of the Interglacials were at least as good as now. Moreover, plentiful animals for hunting existed, such as reindeer, mammoth and woolly rhino, which lived in this area as recently as 14,000 BP. For Palaeolithic Man read Neanderthal Man, as our species of homo sapiens was not round here until 10,000 BP or so.

Mesolithic 10,000-5,000 BP

Mesolithic finds have been made in many sites in Dumfries and Galloway at no distance from Tynron Glen. Scattered blades and flakes have been found in mole hills on river terraces on the Water of Ken and local historian, Tom Affleck, found some in Moniaive.

Nothing has turned up in Tynron yet, but an expert survey of the Shinnel Glen would be likely to reveal the presence of Mesolithic Man. Such folk were hunters and seem to have lived on the Solway coast, coming inland in the summers on hunting expeditions for salmon and trout, red deer and wild boar. Work done in Glenesslin, Dunscore, just south of the glen, shows widespread, if not dense, human presence in 8,500 BP. Evidence of Mesolithic Man at the moment lies not in permanent settlements but in flakes of chert or flint used in early weapons on nomadic hunting trips.

Mesolithic Man followed the retreat of the ice sheets northward and so equally did the vegetation, colonising the tundra. By 7,200 BP the glen was covered from top to bottom in oak, birch, Scots pine, hazel and elm. The valley floor had thickets of willow and alder. Summers were already as warm as they are now, though drier. Then between 7,200 and 5,000 BP the climate became more humid and peat bogs formed, especially on the tops.

Neolithic 5,000-4,000 BP

From 5,000 to 2,750 BP summers became warmer and drier again, forest spreading back to the tops. As the climate started to improve, the first farming started soon after 5,000 BP in the forest. This is what marks the change to the Neolithic. A handful of Neolithic folk would have cleared a few favoured patches by cutting down trees with their improved stone axes and by burning. Like some primitive tribes even today they practised a kind of shifting cultivation, probably without any permanent settlements.

Elk, horse, ox, deer, boar, beaver, wolverine, hare, lemming, lynx, brown bear, wolf, fox, stoat, weasel: this incredible range of animals populated the glen. These animals and their habitat have largely disappeared and we are left with just a remnant.

Some Neolithic finds have turned up in the glen. Neolithic stone axes have been found in Tynron village at 808930, on Barr Hill, and in 1879 by the drove road on Bennan. A granite axe-hammer was found in a cairn in Tynron parish circa 1800 and a flint scraper in Fox's Hole on the steepest part of Craigturra, the nearest thing Tynron has to a cave. Artifacts like these generally end up in Dumfries Museum.

Bronze Age 4,000-2,200 BP

A black stone axe, found near the shepherdís house at Kirkconnel, dates from about 3,000 BP in the Bronze Age, as does the small rapier-like blade of bronze found on Macqueston in 1911/12. It is a cross between a dagger and a rapier, 22 centimetres long, and was used for stabbing or thrusting.

Information on these finds is recorded in the Transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society (TDGNHAS). For instance, this rapier is in TDGNHAS January 1927.

Bronze Age peoples cleared more land and grew crops of barley and emmer (an early form of wheat), together with plants we ignore now, like white goosefoot, black bindweed and persicaria.

Since 2,750 BP the climate has been cooler and wetter, as we can all see. More peat has formed. Stumps of pine in peat cuttings show how peat expanded at the expense of forest.


There are quite a few cairns in Tynron Glen. Cairns are expected to contain burials, usually of Bronze Age date. Notable among them is the huge pile of stones of Long Cairn, Capenoch at 838926, near the watershed, though apparently no chamber has been found in it.

Lamgarroch had a "great cairn" on top in the eighteenth century, according to Rae, but it has somehow disappeared. A few stones remain on this stoneless hilltop, together with two intriguing circular hollows. Pinzarie had a cairn containing nine stone coffins, but nobody knows where. Lann Hall had a cairn with a cist and a Bronze Age battle-axe, but the cairn was removed in 1863 and its location is unknown.

There is an interesting cairn 30 metres in diameter lying by Gledbrae at 783937. Recent field clearance stones have been dumped on top of it, confusing any interpretation. This may be the cairn on Macqueston, containing a stone coffin and hammer, which is mentioned by several sources.

Yet another cairn of small stones is marked on the Ordnance Survey map at 753952 just north of St. Connel's Chapel. It looks like it has been rifled. In the nineteenth century it was common practice for lairds with an antiquarian bent to dig the conspicuous Bronze Age mounds, sometimes through intellectual curiosity, often in the hope of finding buried treasure. Cairns were needlessly destroyed, finds disappeared. Another cairn 16 metres in diameter is in the field by Craigencoon, not far from the road. The centre has been dug out by a previous century's enthusiasts, leaving us no evidence of what was in it.


Around 758974, above Old Auchenbrack, lies a cairnfield situated above the junction of Appin and Shinnel Waters, where the valley widens out. It is in two parts, the lower on a steep hillside, consisting of twelve cairns plus a larger one 6.5 metres in diameter. The other group of five cairns lies some 30 metres higher up the slope in a small hollow. They are best seen when the bracken is down.

There are quite a few such cairnfields in South West Scotland, scattered across our hillsides, though they are rather unimpressive relics of human existence.. Some experts see them as covering burials, in that any bodies would have rotted away in the acid soil. Only important people qualified for large cairn burials perhaps, as there are only a few of them.

M.J.Yates has written an interesting article on cairnfields in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland 1984. He sees these as evidence for early farming. Their size is usually 2 to 5 metres across. They occur in groups, showing where field plots used to be. The cairns are built of field clearance stones and their irregularity shows they were simply piled up by the early farmers. Cairns are the most convenient way of disposing of field stones, especially when a nearby bog, rock outcrop or immovable boulder could be used to save using up agricultural land. Doesn't this still go on nowadays? It is significant that cairns lie within throwing distance of each other. Michael Yates excavated 40 cairns elsewhere in South West Scotland and found burials under 6 of them. Those with burials stood out as larger or more carefully constructed.

70% of cairns in Dumfries and Galloway lie between 183 and 305 metres. At lower levels they may have been destroyed, at higher levels growing conditions would be worse. They sit on favourable south or south-west facing slopes and on the gentler slopes. As for a date, they could be as old as 5,000 BP or earlier in the Neolithic, though more likely they are early Bronze Age, 4,000-3,500 BP, when the climate was favourable with the tree-line over the tops of the hills. They could have been abandoned in the wetter climate after 2,750 BP or as late as 2,500 BP. Dating is guesswork.

These small cairns then represent pioneer forest clearance. Tree cover was thinner away from the glacial drift, tree roots shallower and more easy to remove, so cairns are mostly on rock subsoil. Pollen analysis of weeds shows these patches were mainly pastoral and not cultivated: evidence of shifting cultivation. They may have been partly tilled by primitive spade or hoe.

Cairnfields at Pinzarie Hill above Craigencoon

This is an extensive hillside with a south-west aspect, formerly of rough pasture, but developed in 1986/7 by Economic Forestry. Map *5 shows the area before the forestry.

It contains a sizeable cairnfield of some 68 cairns, taken to be prehistoric field clearance cairns. They are made of stones, few of any great size, sometimes partly or completely covered in turf. They are mainly round or oval, about 3 to 6 metres across and not usually more than 40 centimetres high in the middle. The most impressive cairn, and therefore probably a burial, is a solitary one on the top of Pinzarie Hill at A, 4 metres x 5 metres and 45 centimetres high. I confess that in 1995, the trees being 4 metres tall, I was unable to refind this cairn.

Near the source of the main burn on Pinzarie Hill are two interesting rings. One is oval, about 12 metres x 8 metres, the other almost a circle about 20 metres across. They consist of low mounds covered in turf, with some large stones. The oval seems to contain other features. They are associated with 3 of the larger cairns on almost level ground. I can only guess that this is a settlement site. The forestry people have left this area unplanted, but the long grass renders these features more or less invisible now.

On the other side of the hill a 6 metres diameter hut circle showed up clearly in light snow. This, however, is not threatened by forestry.

Most of Pinzarie Hill has disappeared under trees, so most of the cairns are difficult to spot now in the trees and long grass. The forestry people seem quite caring and would protect anything worthwhile. These cairnfields do not come into this category, but will soon be lost forever.

I originally went up Pinzarie Hill before work started on planting in order to map the layout of run-rig and sod dykes. The lowest cairns just above the stell, including a nice group of five, lie in these Mediaeval fields. Some cairns have obstructed Mediaeval rigs on cultivated fields. Ploughmen did not bother to remove them and the Scots plough took pains to avoid them. These lowest are at about 260 metres, the highest being at 370 metres. The cairns are situated on the better, more gently-sloping land facing south-west, just as Michael Yates says.

Burnt Mounds

The Glenesslin booklet also details many burnt mounds. These mounds are by water, are often crescent-shaped or contain a hollow and consist of fire-cracked stones in a matrix of dark soil, sometimes with charcoal. They show where cooking took place or water was heated by immersing hot stones. In Shinnel Glen the only one I know of is at 824912 beside the stream near the corner of the field on the Maxwelton side. There is also a striking patch of red stones and earth where a burn crosses the dyke at 799919, but there must be others waiting to be found. Burnt mounds are hard to date exactly, but belong to prehistoric times.

Vitrified Fort

Here is a fascinating example of a late Victorian field trip up Tynron Glen. This is taken from TDGNHAS 1892-3.

"25th September. Went with J. Hunter and Joseph Kilpatrick, Thornhill, to see a vitrified fort in Tynron. It is situated upon the farm of Pinzarie, about two miles from Tynron Kirk, up the water of Shinnel, a little from the side of the road. The situation is upon a gently rising hill at the bottom of a moderately high range composed of greywacke, passing into greywacke slate, and distant from Shinnel water about 500 yards. It presents a slight elevation above the adjacent land in the form of a circle, and as nearly as may be guessed the circumference of the circle is about 80 yards. Running through the centre from east to west is a rather prominent elevated ridge, the prominence being chiefly in the middle, composed of loose stones, in no way cemented, but chiefly vitrified. These stones, the largest of which may weigh 14 pounds, bear evident marks of having been in a state of fusion. Some are coated with a coarse-like glass of a brown colour. The internal structure of these stones is porous, somewhat resembling pumice stone, but much denser and of a lead colour, but sometimes of a lead colour approaching to purple.

Others again have a somewhat fibrous texture, and these are not so porous, whilst others are devoid of the porous texture, and a good deal resemble some varieties of green stone, particularly when the grains of quartz are large. I shall return to the notice of these stones after I have submitted them to analysis. Could not find the fort mentioned in the statistical account of the parish, but only of the existence of a Roman road and of a Roman encampment. The latter is composed of a quantity of rather small stones, but the larger may have been removed for the building of dykes. It is about one and a half miles from the vitrified fort, and upon the top of a range of hills separating Shinnel water from Scar water. Found an account of vitrified forts in the English Cyclopaedia Art Fort. Found no plants on the way. Brought home some specimens of vitrified stone."

Unfortunately I have been unable to discover the whereabouts of this vitrified fort or the supposed "Roman encampment", as only vague locations are given. This is a problem with many of the old finds. A map would have helped.

A vitrified fort is made by building walls then setting fire to wood on top of them, thereby baking the stones, although some say the stones were only baked when enemies set fire to the walls.

Iron Age

During the Iron Age, which started about 2,200 BP, men had better tools and could clear more land for their cattle and for growing grains. By this time we know the people of the glen as Britons, a Celtic people, as they were throughout Britain. They spoke a language called Brittonic, related to modern Welsh. The Romans called the tribe around here and to the east of us the Selgovae and the tribe to the west in Galloway the Novantae.

Homestead on Auchenbrack

There is an intriguing feature at 769968 astride the 300 metre contour on Auchenbrack, sited on a prominent spur with a clear view up and down the glen.

It is circular, about 21 metres outside circumference, consisting now of turf and mainly small stones. It has walls around 3 metres thick, although they could have spread to that width. There are two entrances 3 metres wide on opposite sides of the feature. A second less-pronounced concentric ring is apparent on the west and south sides. Inside the circle it is irregular and lumpy with no discernible shapes.

Although it could be a cairn perhaps, it looks remarkably like one of the homesteads in Glenesslin. (See reference at the back). It would have contained a timber house and probably dates from the centuries either side of 100 BC in the Iron Age. The thick stone enclosure would not be enough protection against enemies, but would keep out the still numerous wild animals and also keep in a few domesticated animals.

Whatever it is it has shrunk down over the centuries and also, I expect, been thoroughly robbed: there is a stone dyke nearby. Sod dykes and run-rig are associated with it. The sod dyke which meets it on the east and west sides does not seem to run over the top.

It is interesting that the homestead lies on the edge of mediaeval or post-mediaeval rig, thus indicating continual use of a good area of level land previously cleared.




When the Romans came to this area, they built one of their main roads north up Nithsdale via Dalswinton and Durisdeer. Various forts and encampments have turned up.

Dalswinton had a Roman fort by the Nith, housing two cavalry units and was the HQ for South West Scotland. Durisdeer had a small fort, well worth a walk up the pass from the village.

Exciting finds of Roman settlements have been discovered only in the past few years. A Roman site at Carronbridge was partly excavated in 1989/90 in advance of the Carronbridge bypass. Drumlanrig has a superb Roman site found in 1984, which is featured in the exhibition in the visitorsí centre. Barburgh Mill, just north of Auldgirth, was an outpost of the fort at Drumlanrig with some 80 men

The first Roman soldier set foot in the glen soon after 78 AD. Agricola led the invasion and colonisation of this area in the campaign of 82 AD based at Dalswinton, but after 98 AD the Romans left.

The Antonine Wall

It was not until after Hadrianís Wall, started in 122 AD and especially the Antonine Wall, started 142 AD, that the Romans really dominated the area for a while, when they had a large camp at Drumlanrig and smaller ones at Durisdeer and Barburgh Mill.

Even after 142 under Lollius Urbicus the Romans never had a complete grip, though they may have organised farming and marketing. They would have met the mixture of local resistance and cooperation typical of occupied countries.

Circa 210 Severus led the final campaign into these parts, but in about 211 the Romans withdrew to Hadrian's Wall. They then seemed to run this area from a distance instead of keeping permanent garrisons in the region. Thus their influence continued despite the shortness of the 70 years of semi-occupation.


Revolts against the Romans were irregular but there were several in the 360's, when inroads were made into Roman Britain. The Romans fought back and had restored order by 367. By 409 "barbarians" like the Picts and Scots were successfully attacking the Empire from all sides and most of Rome's soldiers left Britain in that year, though they were gone locally by about 380.

Romans in Tynron?

There is no actual evidence of Romans in Tynron Glen, though Wilson states the finds of "Roman" urns and delineates a "Roman" road following sod dykes and sheep tracks up Tynron Glen. This "Roman" road is mentioned in Chalmer's Caledonia (Volume V p236-7) and other sources. If it was heading up the glen it is rather a puzzle as to why the Romans would have wanted to go up the glen into what is still a virtually uninhabited area, although there is a verified Roman pony patrol track going up the shoulder of Colt Hill into the upper Ken valley.

Drumlanrig's soldiers must have trodden Tynron Glen, at least on their way over the Clone to Glencairn, where, excitingly, a possible fortlet was discovered by aerial photography by Cairn Water at Kirkland in 1989.


Tynron Doon


Tynron Doon is the glen's outstanding historical and physical landmark. See PHOTO *C.

Tynron Doon is a multivallate Iron Age hill fort, typical of hundreds in Scotland, but there can scarcely be one more spectacularly situated. It consists of a sizeable circular central platform defended to the north, east and south by steep natural slopes. The west and south-west approaches are defended by two main ramparts and three ditches and the north-east slope has a later prominent terrace or courtyard.

The 1964-7 excavations found lots of animal bones and bits of iron. The bones were mainly of ox, with just a scatter of pig and sheep and possibly horse and deer. Small finds were of blue glass, bone pins, an awl, a lead weight and pieces of flint or chert, now kept in Dumfries Museum.

The scree below the hilltop contains much interesting archaeological material, including slag, this being where Willie Wilson found a seventh century gold filigree bracteate (a thin beaten plate). Trees now make access to the scree difficult.

The concept of multiple ramparts and ditches probably replaced an earlier structure of small ditches and wooden palisades, which existed maybe as early as 300 BC. The Doon was occupied and improved during the Roman occupation and is a brilliant defensive site with a marvellous outlook towards the Roman sites at Durisdeer, Carronbridge and Drumlanrig.

The ramparts are still impressive, but it is known that such fortifications deteriorate rapidly with time due to soil creep and other mass movements. This means that the Doon must have been even more impregnable when it was in use, especially with a stone wall or wooden palisade along the top.

Tynron Doon may have been a refuge from the Romans looking for slaves or it may have served as a settlement site for people tilling adjacent land and keeping herds in local pastures and forests. The view from the top in 200 BC was mostly of forest.

Tynron Doon is assumed to be still in use in the centuries after the Romans left. It has been suggested that it may have been reused as a motte under Norman influence and the ditches recut. Its continual use as a signalling post is well-known, notably during the Border raids.

The hill must have looked different in the sixteenth century, when an L-shaped tower house was built just within the gate in the north-west corner. It was about 6 metres x 13 metres with a 2.5 metres x 3 metres extension in the north-west corner. This was demolished between 1700 and 1750 and the stone was unfortunately used to rebuild the parish kirk at Tynron. The foundations of this building were still visible a hundred years ago.

The excavations, detailed in the TDGNHAS 1964 and 1971, found the latest settlement on the Doon to be a hut circle in the south-east corner of the platform, the remains of a shepherd's bothy after the removal of the tower.

Other Hill Forts

There are other less well-known hill forts in the glen, according to Wilson anyway, who imagines earthworks on Craigturra and Killiewarren Hill, which he sees as old fortifications. I cannot agree. An impressive sod dyke crosses Killiewarren Hill and a less prominent one traverses Craigturra, but surely the Britons would have had enough to do to maintain the one fort on Tynron Doon?

There may have been a hill fort, though, on Shancastle Doon, which has a dominant view up Tynron Glen and up and down Glencairn. If you climb Shancastle you will have a wonderful view over towards Tynron Doon, but you will see no real evidence that there was a hill fort.

Grennan hill fort lies in Scaur Glen 1200 metres to the north-north-west of Tynron Doon at 825950, but it is tiny. On my last visit in September 1995, the dreaded forestry fence was being driven into its ramparts.

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PHOTO *C Tynron Doon from the north-west, showing the 2 ramparts and three ditches



Britons of Strathclyde

The Britons reasserted themselves when the Romans left. The British Celtic kingdom of Strathclyde was established, stretching from the Clyde to the Solway to North Cumbria.

Then during this Dark Age period the area was subjected to much settlement and influence from overseas.


Another Celtic tribe from Ireland arrived in North Britain: the Scots. They first settled in small numbers on the Solway coast in the fourth and fifth centuries. To this and to the arrival of Fergus Mor from Ireland circa 500 we owe the fact that Tynron is now in Scotland and its inhabitants are called Scots. Fergus Mor set up the embryonic Scottish kingdom of Dalriada centred on Argyll, though this part of the world was never included in it.


Our native British people came under further pressure in the late sixth century, when Angles arrived from Northumbria, settling the coast, as at Whithorn, and exploring up the glens.

Galloway had been part of the land of Rheged, within Strathclyde, in the early sixth century, a Christian British kingdom extending from Ayrshire to North Cumbria, very powerful by 600. However, Angles had taken over by the 630's and Rheged disappeared. Tynron was absorbed into Northumbria. The new language, Old English, was introduced by the Angles from 632.


The Vikings, between 793 and 872, were said to be the scourge of the Solway coast. Judging from the distribution of place names, Tynron Glen itself must have seen some Norse settlement. "Hass", "grain" and "holm" are local names of Norse origin.

Britons, Angles and Scots

In 843 Kenneth MacAlpin, the first king of Scotland (called Scotia in Latin or Alba in Gaelic), united the Picts and the Scots north of the Forth and Clyde and included south-west Scotland in his first kingdom. This was when the glen first became part of Scotland, but it was only temporary.

Tynron Glen changed hands at least nominally many times between 800 and 945 AD and was never a solid part of Scotland.

The Angles, for example, held some or all of this area as part of Northumbria from 638 right up to 945. The mid seventh century bracteate from Tynron Doon is the only evidence of Angles and shows the Angles may have settled the Doon.

South-West Scotland was still part of the British kingdom of Strathclyde (or Cumbria), which was allied by blood to the Scots at various times. Cumbria was leased by the Angles to Malcolm 1 of Alba in 945. Now Tynron was definitely under Scottish control, but Gaelic was not yet spoken. Folk still spoke the British native language (Welsh), but it began to be overwhelmed by both Gaelic in the tenth century, under Scottish and Irish influences and by Old English (or Scots) under Anglian influence. The inhabitants of the glen continued to be bilingual (Gaelic and Scots English) through the Middle Ages. Even so, Welsh was still spoken in Annandale in 1100.

So the native Britons, with their Roman admixture, absorbed and still survived centuries of Scots, Angles, Vikings and even Irish-speaking Gaels, after which Galloway is named. Galloway stretched east to the Nith and so Tynron was part of it.

Tynron in Scotland

A turning point arrived in 1016, when the British kingdom of Strathclyde finally collapsed after the death of the last king, Owen the Bald, and came under lasting Scottish rule with Malcolm II and his heirs.

An increase in the population of this area between 800 and 1100 had led to the first large-scale deforestation of Shinnel Glen. More woodland was cut for fuel and timber and destroyed for cultivation and pasture. Cattle and pigs foraged freely in the woodland next to cleared areas and removed the undergrowth. By 1300 there was very little natural vegetation left in Tynron.



In 1072, only 6 years after Hastings, William the Conqueror invaded Scotland and the Scottish king, Malcolm III, became his vassal. Norman influences came in.

David I

David I, especially, (1124-53), encouraged Norman infiltration and, with it, feudalism. This was a great way of getting Scotland organised and it meant that the king finally had a way of ruling effectively over remote parts of his land, like Tynron.

The glen came under a large landowner, receiving land via the favour of the king, to whom all land ultimately belonged. The landowner had tenants who employed serfs, who became tied to the land.

In 1124 Nithsdale was one of the great feudal lordships. The lord's name, the first local landowner's name known, was Dunegal, who lived at Morton Castle. Morton Castle is a picturesque spot by a loch, hidden away at 890992. On Dunegal's death this northern part of Nithsdale passed to Macdonald, his son.


Mottes were thrown up around 1200 by incoming landlords, largely Anglo-Norman, in this "barbarous" area. Typical Scottish names like Fraser, Menzies and Balliol, Bruce, Comyn, Grant and Gourlay originate from these times. Curiously, no mottes exist in the glen, but Tynron Doon would have been used as one.

There are many nearby, the nearest just a few minutes away in Glencairn. The Pele Tower above Peelton at 800908 is now thickly planted with prickly forestry. There is a delightful wee motte at Maxwelton in the wood by the road at 817897. And there is a splendid motte by the Cairn Water at 799900, quaintly labelled as "mote and bow butts" on the 1st Series 1:25000 OS map.

The border of Tynron Glen and Glencairn has Shancastle Doon. "Sean chaisteal" means "old castle" in Gaelic and there was once a tower with massive walls on top of Shancastle, now thoroughly robbed for building at Maxwelton. Fascinatingly, Roy's map of 1747 names this hill "Shanktourn", indicating that there definitely was a tower.

French was the language used by this new aristocracy, but it never got a general hold. Galloway, indeed, remained largely Gaelic-speaking, but over much of the country the Scots tongue, akin to English, had taken over by 1300.


Houses of the time would have been of unmortared stone or of turf, thatched with bracken, heather or broom. More prosperous people might have had wooden-framed houses with wattle and clay walls. Most houses had one room, no chimney, no light and no ventilation. Cattle were tethered in the house. Better-off tenants could have had two rooms with tiny windows. There was little point in building better anyway, because of unrest, Border raids and insecurity of tenure. People expected their dwellings to be knocked down during raids. Because of the materials used, traces of these early houses are hard to find, as once they fell down they would melt back into the land.

N Death of Alexander III

A steady increase in population had led to the clearance and cultivation of more virgin and marginal land in the glen up to the climatic deterioration after 1300 with cooler summers and colder winters which must have dampened the ardour of the keenest of farmers. It is thought that a huge volcanic eruption of Hekla around 1300 darkened the skies and reduced sunlight, thus ruining crops. This was just one problem.

Alexander III's death in 1286 left no heir to the Scottish throne. The ensuing disputes brought the end to many years of virtual peace and the beginning of centuries of unrest. Tynron could scarcely have escaped the Civil War of 1286-7 and the wars with England starting in 1296.

In 1300 Edward I invaded Galloway, as part of his takeover of the whole of Scotland.


There followed in 1306 the notorious episode of Robert the Bruce (allegedly) slaying the Red Comyn in Dumfries, taking refuge in the castle of Tynron Doon and receiving porridge from the good lady of Cairneycroft.

By 1307 the glen must have been one of the routes used by men of Robert Bruce dealing with the opposition of the family of the Comyn and John Balliol, his rival for the throne, who was based in Galloway. Tynron must have seen much activity at this time. Galloway even applied to the English king (Edward II by this time) for help, but was taken under control by Robert in 1308 and ravaged.

Tibbers and Dalswinton castles remained English strongholds and were not taken until 1313. In 1313 Bruce also took Dumfries Castle and sealed his grip on Galloway. However, the English were soon back in the Tynron area, followed by the first great plague of 1349-50. Tynron must have suffered raids in the fourteenth century, as the English tried to take over Southern Scotland and were alternately repulsed and half-successful. Poorer climate, wars and plagues must have reduced the population considerably and made the fourteenth century much tougher than the prosperous thirteenth.

Tibbers Castle

Tibbers Castle 862982 is well worth a visit. With its still considerable moss-covered walls, it is a creepy, magical place, strewn with pink purslane in summer. It is sited on the tip of a flat-topped basalt ridge and is perched above the Nith. The walls are surrounded by a deep ditch and there is a large bailey. It was one of the Norman mottes until the castle was built from 1298. Edward I was there in 1298 after the Battle of Falkirk, presumably supervising the construction. Tibbers Castle had a short life, being dismantled under the orders of Robert the Bruce after Bannockburn in order to prevent the English reusing it.


In 1309, a descendant of Dunegal, Thomas Randolph, who married Robert's sister, was lord of Nithsdale. This demonstrates that land could only be held by those loyal to the king, like Thomas Randolph, who had to choose sides carefully. The following pages mention some of the large landowners of Tynron over the centuries.

The Douglases

In 1354 the Barony of Drumlanrig, formerly an outlying territory of the Earls of Mar in Aberdeenshire, was bestowed on the Douglas family by David II, including the lands of Pinzarie and Bennan. The Douglases, however, had been at Drumlanrig as early as 1170.

Galloway was still very much a separate nationalistic entity even in 1369, distinct from Scotland proper, when the whole of Eastern Galloway between the Cree and the Nith was bestowed on Archibald Douglas (The Grim). He reunited Galloway, of which Tynron was part, under the Black Douglases. In the 1360's the Tibbers and Morton baronies passed to the Douglas family through marriage and lineage.

The Douglases thus became very powerful and that was their undoing. In 1455 James II put down the Black Douglases and disowned them forever, so Galloway lost its semi-independence for ever. James II created his alternative aristocracy when Lord Dalkeith became Earl of Morton. Local Douglas family power waned when they got into debt after 1657, but they still nevertheless somehow retained the lands of Tynron until they sold up in 1727. See the Hearth Tax of 1691 *10.


To me Killiewarren is the most interesting building in the glen and not just because it is the oldest (1617). It was originally a three-storied fortified house, Stenhouse Castle?, with tremendously thick walls. An arched gateway was demolished in the early 1800ís.

The Douglases evidently needed some protection, especially in Covenanting times, when they were on the side of the persecutors. This is how Nigel Tranter describes Killiewarren in "The Fortified House in Scotland":

Pleasantly situated in wooded foothill country a mile north-west of Tynron, this is a small lairdís house of the early 17th century, plain and sturdy. It is oblong on plan and three storeys in height, the roof appearing to have been altered, as so frequently occurs. As also is typical, most windows have been enlarged and some built up. A more modern wing of two storeys has been erected to the west, and in the south front of this lies the present main door. Over this doorway two panels have been inserted, no doubt removed from over the original door which is on the other, or north,side of the house now obscured by modern work. The panels, now pleasingly coloured, bear the arms of Douglas and the initials I.D. and F.D., with the date 1617. The early doorway is arched, with moulded surround. Internally the house has been completely modernised, no features of interest remaining. There is no vaulting, and one or two of the corbels for the support of the first floor are still to be seen at the kitchen ceiling. The usual arrangement of Hall on the first floor and bedroom accommodation above would prevail. There is now no stair within the old portion of the house, but the original turnpike would appear to have risen in the north-east angle, to the left of the old doorway. The building is in good repair, and is now occupied as a farmhouse, whitewashed and trim.

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PHOTO *D Killiewarren

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PHOTO *E Long Distance View of Killiewarren

The Queensberry Papers

The Queensberry Papers outline the acquisition of lands in Tynron. For example, in 1509 the lands of Schynell Croft are mentioned. 1606 saw the acquisition by Queensberry of Achinbrack, Mid-Schynelhead, Killiewarren, Benan, Denary (Pinzarie) and Craigencoon from Maitland of Auchingassel, Penpont, part of the Barony of Tibbers. In 1686 Queensberry Estate bought the manor and pertinents of Douglas of Stenhouse.

In 1511 the Barony of Glencairn had been granted by James IV to the Cunninghams and included, as well as land in Glencairn, Cormyligane, Corrochdow, Kirkconnell, Croglinmark, Questoune, Lawne, Stanhouse, Kristemark, Margmalloch, Tanelagoch, Mirgwastune and Mirgmalloch, in other words and other spellings the land to the south-west of the Shinnel, which was mostly in hands other than Queensberryís over the centuries.

It seems to me very difficult to keep track of exactly who owned what and when, as great chunks of Tynron were transferred from one large landowner to another. "The History the Douglas Family" by Adams mentions lots of this dealing and includes an interesting snippet about William Douglas of Baitford (Penpont), tried for killing James Douglas of Killevarren in 1603. He was convicted of other crimes in 1610, sentenced to be hung, but somehow cheated the gibbet and still owned the Kirklands of Tynron in 1660/8. This is typical of feuds amongst the large families of the area.

The Wilsons of Croglin

During the fifteenth century the Wilsons of Croglin, living in Macqueston, had acquired all the land south-west of the Shinnel, with the local Douglases, based at Stenhouse, having all the land to the north-east.

The failure of the Ayr Douglas Bank in 1781 ruined the Wilsons, who had been a powerful family, owning by 1796, when the estate was finally sold, Appine, Margmalloch, Croglin, Tinlego, Marqueston Park, Kirkconnell, Birkhill and Land. The main branch of the Wilsons moved to Ulster. All the Wilsons did not leave, as the 1827 Valuation *15 still shows Francis Wilson of Croglin with his holdings up the glen and Tynronís ministers were Wilsons until 1870.


The site of Croglin itself is now marked by a small unplanted L-shaped pile of stones 40 metres into the sitkas by the main forestry road at 743984. It was abandoned soon after 1805. For more information see TDGNHAS 1949-50 "Wilson of Croglin".

The Lag Charters

"The Lag Charters" record the details of the Grierson family in Tynron. We know that John Grierson was in Cormilligane in 1535 and owned Carrochdow and Murmulzoth. In 1545 he still owned the same, though the latter is now spelt Muirmolloch (near Kirkconnel?). The Griersons had Capenoch in 1607. The earliest local record is circa 1418 when George de Dunbarre gave up his lands at Le Ard (the Barony of) and Tynnroun to Gilbert Grierson.

Maps and tax returns

These old documents mentioned so far are a very valuable source of information, but it is bitty as far as Tynron is concerned. Written history takes a great leap forward with the publication of the first maps, tax returns and valuations.

Nidisdail Map

Timothy Pont was a Gaelic speaker and a wonderful innovative map-maker, mapping the whole of Scotland on foot. He drew the first surviving reasonably accurate map of Nithsdale circa 1583-96, map *8, but it was not published until 1654 in Blaeu's Atlas. This is an enormously rich source of information about Scotland 400 hundred years ago.

Place names may not always be accurately marked and not every place was shown perhaps. The Shinnel Glen is full of names, for example, while the Scaur is surprisingly empty of detail. But what an extremely precious record of the Shinnel Glen and an excellent illustration of the fact that a map is worth a thousand words.

To show how much ahead of his time Pont was, a 1725 map of Nithisdale by the geographer, Herman Moll, only marks Shinnel River, Ahinbrach Hill and Sislemark: an interesting selection, as Moll claimed his new and correct maps of Scotland were a "work long wanted and very useful for all gentlemen that travel to any part of that kingdom".

Valuation and Hearth Tax

However, sometimes words are worth a very great deal. Witness the importance of the 1671 Valuation *9 and the Hearth Tax of 1691 *10. Remember that these were compiled at a time of great unrest in Scotland and pretty poor climate too.

The valuation interestingly fails to include Auchenbrack, perhaps deliberately in order to avoid payment! Auchenbrack is part of the Queensberry estate for the hearth tax however. It is fascinating comparing the Valuation and Hearth Taxes, just twenty years or so apart and seeing how land changed hands regularly. The names of the properties, though, are all familiar and this shows how the present pattern was ingrained 300 years ago.

The hearth tax list was compiled to raise money for armies fighting against the Jacobites. Duncan Adamson presented it in TDGNHAS 1970.

The Heidless Horseman o' Tynron Doon

I thought long and hard about including superstitions, hobgoblins, fairies and druids in this epic, but I finally succumbed to mentioning this traditional Tynron story.

McMilligan from Dalgarnock was visiting a lass in Tynron Castle. One of her brothers was not too pleased to find them together in a compromising position. McMilligan leapt onto his horse and straight over the edge in the dark. He landed at the foot of Tynron Doon craig. The force knocked off his head, which rolled down the hill into St. Bride's Well at Clonrae. No longer possessing his head, he could not go to heaven, even though he was a god-fearing man. So now he can oft be seen on his nag along the road between the Doon and Dalgarnock, near Thornhill.

Trotter has more about the heidless horseman in Gallovidian magazine, winter 1902.



X HolywoodX

After many centuries of Christianity the Church of Rome extended its influence with the coming of the French-speaking aristocracy. By 1192 direct links with the papacy had been established. Monastic settlements, like Sweetheart Abbey, introduced large-scale sheep farming to the landscape, and so have much to answer for. About that time there were probably chapels at Craigturra and Kirkconnel. Tynron parish was delineated in the time of David I and included in the diocese of Glasgow. The kirk was organised and Tynron (also Penpont and Dunscore) was put under the aegis of the monks of Holywood, near Dumfries, founded circa 1225. The monks of Holywood were of the Premonstratensian order and they did their best to bleed the parish dry.

U KirkconnelU

Some excavation was done by Tom Affleck at Kirkconnel in 1983 on a prominent spur beside the aptly named Dry Burn. This showed the remains of a small rectangular building, probably a chapel, with stone walls some 80 centimetres thick. Affleck takes it as seventh or eighth century originally, as it is typical of such hermitages in its isolated position. His article in Glencairn Parish Magazine Summer 1984 gives more detail.

St. Conall himself probably never lived there, but the chapel was dedicated to him later. Others think that St. Conal, 612-52, who was a Scots missionary from Ireland did indeed live there! St. Connel's Chapel and Well have long been marked on the OS maps and there is still a beautifully clear spring. Sitting up there on a summer evening, wondering what it would have been like, is a great pleasure. Beside the chapel is a network of small fields, unusual in Tynron, dating from much later than the chapel, but evidence suggesting that the chapel was a self-supporting community.

W CraigturraW

The "chapel" at Craigturra is even more of a mystery. It must have stood up behind the present Craigturra cottage. This is the land of Chapel, mentioned on old deeds, which Wilson says was the place of worship of St. Cuthbert in the fifth century. An old well is still visible, though partly-covered, behind Craigturra cottage.

V Tynron and the KirkV

Tynron village existed in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as a small hamlet of farmers, with the kirk, manse and glebe (the minister's farm). The kirk was endowed with a ploughgate of land, supposedly the area of land which could be ploughed by one ploughteam in a year. A ploughgate was about equal to a merkland, 13/4d Scots, 104 Scots acres or 130 English acres.

The rent for the glebe was paid to the minister, who also nominally received the teinds, a tenth part of the parish produce. However, it was Holywood Abbey that usually took the teinds and appointed their own minister, who was often a canon from the abbey.

The Reformation

In 1559/60, with the Reformation, Roman Catholicism was outlawed, the power of the monasteries suppressed and church property confiscated. Catholicism was replaced by the Episcopal Church. Holywood Abbey was plundered. The ruins lie within the present churchyard at Holywood. In 1587 the lands of Holywood Abbey in Tynron went to the king and in 1617 the king granted them to John Murray of Lochmaben as the Barony of Holywood.

In Tynron the vicar since 1540, Robert Welsh, conformed with the Reformation and remained until he died in 1568. The Reformation in Dumfriesshire met some resistance and indifference and locally it was a slow change rather than a revolution.

The patronage of Tynron church went into the lay hands of Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig in 1591. This meant that Sir James appointed the minister, but in return he paid the stipend and maintained the church building, manse and glebe. This controversial right of patronage was not ended until 1875.

Covenanters - Hard Times

Charles I, like his father James VI before him, tried to impose bishops and the Episcopal Church against the will of most of the people. By appointing bishops the king could keep control over the Church. The National Covenant of 1638 was drawn up, opposing this state control over the Church.

In 1660 Charles II was crowned on condition that he sided with the Covenant. However the following years saw Charles II persecute all who did not subject themselves to the king as head of the church. Ministers were asked to take the oath of subjection to royal supremacy. Most ministers in this area became outlaws, field preachers, and their congregations largely supported them. The people of Tynron were largely on the Covenanters' side. This made life difficult for the curate put in the minister's place.

Unfortunately many of the large landowners locally, depending for their land and power on the king, began a cruel tyranny and persecution. Grierson of Lag, with his aforementioned Tynron connections, was one of the leading Episcopalians and was responsible for viciously putting down the Covenanters in the area. In doing so, Lag was able to hold on to his lands. If he had not sided with the king he would have lost his lands and power and would have become an outlaw himself. This in no way justifies what he did. It is an age-old excuse. The remains of Lag Tower, near Dunscore, can be seen at 880861.

Colonel James Douglas of Stenhouse was against the Covenant, "a violent persecutor of the people of God, and many he harassed and fined on account of their religion, and being a Papist he was Secretary of State for Scotland for James VII" (Rae).

Wilson of Croglin, however, gave a measure of protection to the Covenanters. With parties of soldiers moving about, who were often little more than licensed bandits, life in Tynron in the 1680's was like living under an army of occupation, with sporadic guerrilla warfare.

Local Martyrs

Tynron parish had its full share of the troubles and its own martyrs. Allan's Cairn 698009, erected 1857 by Rev. Peter Carmichael of Penpont, is set at Tynron's boundary with Dalry, where are buried George Allan and Margaret Gracie, chased and shot on the moors. Buried in Tynron churchyard is William Smith, a 19 year old, shot near Moniaive in 1685, after being chased by Douglas of Stenhouse and Laurie of Maxwelton. William Fergusson of Glencairn was hotly pursued in 1684 by a company of dragoons in Tynron, who chased him up "the giddy eminence of Craigturrach", overpowered him and he was banished to America by the proper authorities.

Covenanters - Better Times

Success came to the Covenanters in 1688, when William and Mary took over and granted freedom of Presbyterian worship.

The Presbyterians are often romanticised as heroes, but they in their turn persecuted not only the Episcopalians but also Catholics, Quakers, gipsies and witches, all regarded as outcasts.

So life was still brief, unsettled and uncertain. Religious leaders and organisations were as much a threat as bad landlords, the weather and the English to the Tynron peasants.

A booklet, The Nithsdale Covenanting Trail, is available with information on all the covenanting sites of the area, which were all well signposted in 1990.

The Kirk-Session

From 1579 the parish had to list its poor and make arrangements for poor relief. This task fell to the kirk-session, who looked after the poor of the parish until 1845 when the Poor Law took this duty away. The session raised money from collections and by fines for minor misdemeanours. Here is a snippet of ecclesiastical history, which exemplifies the power of the kirk, taken from Glencairn in 1694:

"Anent Sabbath Desecration"

"John McConrik, in Tynron, is summoned to appear for "scandalous dryving an cow on ye Sabath out of ye parish of Glencarne". John appeared at a future meeting, when Alexr. McGeachie of Dalquhat deponed that he "did see John McConrik on ye Sabath walking from Tynron throu Glencarne that sam day, and ye said John did return dryving a cow, and Alex. McGeachie did speak to ye said John, and said to him, "How would he be answerable to God or man for dryving ane cow on ye Sabbath"".

What was done to John is not stated!


In 1880 on May 15, Cairneycroft, a pleasant and romantic estate of 50 acres, tenanted by two humble farmers, was sold to Rev. Ebenezer Hill, Free Church Minister at Lochmaben. The tenantsí houses required to be rebuilt and the property was being renamed Shinnel Wood.

Cairneycroft had been bought by Tynron Kirk Session in 1742 on the death of weaver, John Brownrig. Brownrigs had long ago been granted a charter for Cairneycroft by King Robert for the hospitality shown to him. From 1742 it was to be let on a 19 year lease and was the property of the poor of Tynron.

The revenue from the lands of Cairneycroft helped the poor of the parish and continued to do so after the Poor Law Act of 1845. The 20 or so parishioners on the poor roll in 1847 were also supported by the ratepaying landowners (the heritors). The board meetings minutes are available in the Ewart Library and make good reading.


Under the feudal system of the lairds, started in the twelfth century under David I was a farming method of INFIELD and OUTFIELD. RUN-RIG is the term used for this pre-Improvement system of agriculture.

Each tenant in Tynron had a share of common arable lands owned by the big landowners like the Douglases and also rights to common grazing. However, tenants had no right at all to occupy land nor to pass it on to their children.

Arable land was divided into strips or rigs, separated by shallow ditches. Soil from the ditches raised the height of the rigs and improved soil depth. The drainage problem was solved, as the rigs ran downhill and the furrows acted as field drains. The rigs were curved to the left at the ends to facilitate the turning of the plough team at the headland.

Sod Dykes

Earth banks (sod dykes) divided one manís fields from anotherís. Rigs were easily swapped or reapportioned. Sod dykes were built to keep cattle on the parts of the outfield to be manured (the folds), especially at night, or to keep them off where land was cropped. The head dyke demarcated permanent pasture and was the most important division on the farm. Animals were driven above the head dyke onto common grazing each day up loans or access ways.


Farmtouns or "-tons" were where members of the plough team dwelt, e.g. Macqueston and Milnton. The hamlet of Tynron would have had several plough teams. Members of these tenant groups cooperated in the ploughing, but each man sowed and harvested his own bits on the scattered rigs. A typical plough team was 8 men and one ox. An alternative was 4 horses and three people. Sometimes there were mixed teams, for example of four oxen with two horses in front. The horses were very small, nothing like the Clydesdales we might imagine. They were probably Galloway ponies, ancestors of the present fell ponies. Oxen were cheaper to feed but slower than horses. There were still oxen in Tynron in the 1790's, but few into the nineteenth century. The ploughing method on slopes was to drive the animals uphill "empty" and plough downhill.


Tenants were tied to the land in several ways:-

Π. they paid feu rents or produce in lieu, or both;

ć . they paid cain (kain), a sort of tribute in farm produce. There was a saying about sowing grain: one to sow next year, one to grow and one to pay the laird;

Ž . they gave their services, e.g. for carrying goods, cutting and loading peat or wood;

Ź . they gave their labour for specific periods on the laird's farm, the mains, often when they desperately needed to be working on their own rigs;

ź . they were tied to the laird's mill and had to keep the mill lead in good repair. As much as one-tenth of the crop was payable for milling.

The tenants themselves would employ a number of servants of various kinds. Servants were taken on for a year at a time at Martinmas, November 11th. These people made up the bulk of the population. Then there were the poor, looked after by the parish and the landowners.

Infield and Outfield

The INFIELD, or croft land, was nearest to the farmtouns. It was divided into rigs and permanently cultivated for oats and bere (four-row barley) with occasional fallows. This land was dunged but became so full of weeds so that it gave bad returns. As the infield would have been the best land and still is, any old rigs on it would have been ploughed out by modern farm machinery.

The OUTFIELD was poor grazing land up the hill, containing some folds of cultivated land. Folds were divided into parts by sod dykes, some cultivated with oats each year, followed by a year's manuring by cattle and oxen. After harvest animals were turned out on the stubble.

It is on the former outfield that patches of run-rig are clearly visible today above the present cultivated fields and sometimes even above the present head dyke. Otherwise hidden features, like these rigs, are shown up clearly by patchy snow cover or when melting snow persists in the furrows or when the sun is very low and its rays angle across the hillside. The middle slopes between Tynron Doon and Craigturra were all cultivated and the patterns of the old fields show up clearly in the right light among what is now largely bracken.


There was some haughland along the Shinnel, which was land liable to flood regularly. It was traditionally ploughed for three years of oats, then left under pasture for three years to recover. These meadow haughlands were surrounded by temporary enclosures called hainings. From April to July animals were kept off. Some hay could then be taken, then animals could graze it.


Cattle and ewes used to be driven up the hills in summer for a few weeks after calving and lambing. Up on these summer shielings, temporary huts were built and folk often lived up there, milking cattle and sheep for cheesemaking, shearing sheep, spinning wool and cutting peat. One such hut is marked on the Pinzarie Map *11. There is the remains of another on Auchenbrack at 774974, where by following the track and sod dyke for 200 metres above the top cultivated field the foundations of a small rectangular stone building can be seen.

The old peat cuttings can still be seen, as at the top of Auchenbrack at 7797 on the flat tops. On the remote tops there is still plenty of peat.

One reason for sending animals up the hill was to keep them off the crops on the infield, as the sod dykes were not as efficient as modern dykes or fences. Children and servants were kept busy herding the animals in daytime. The beasts were folded at night and animals from ploughteams would often be tethered.

Most animals had to be slaughtered at Martinmas in November when the pasture ran out. Only those needed for breeding or farmwork were kept on, as little fodder was available. Their accumulated winter dung was spread on the infield. There were no turnips or special fodder and any hay was inferior to what we have now. A little hay was cut from the hainings or from the wild and there was some barley and oat straw. Large-scale haymaking did not reach Tynron until the eighteenth century. Small wonder the cattle were small and wiry and the old Scottish Shortwool sheep stunted.

Food and Famine

Famine was never far away. The peasants saw little of the meat from their domesticated animals, though some was salted down. They existed on oatmeal and barley bread, with perhaps a few fish or poached game. Almost everyone had poultry and cain rents were commonly paid in birds or eggs. Crowdy (cheese) was made, ale brewed and kale grown at the back of the cottages. Flax was grown and used for linen and clothing.

A bare subsistence was all that could be had, though the laird might have surplus for disposal or giving to the poor. Two bad harvests in a row meant famine, starvation and rocketing prices. Everyone would have personal experience of severe food shortages.

Agricultural production was always going to be at a low level under the feudal system. What incentive was there to tend, improve or drain land for tenants with short leases, often annual and verbal? It was a stagnant system. Low points were reached in the 1590's and 1690's (the Little Ice Age) with many consecutive bad harvests. Poor starved and died, livestock disappeared. There was a decline in population in the 1690's. Something had to happen.Ö..

The Deilís Dyke

The so-called Deilís Dyke is one of Tynron's mysteries. It is mentioned by Wilson and its route is described in detail in his book.

The real Deilís Dyke of Galloway runs from Loch Ryan to Annan and is seen to great effect on the hills west of Sanquhar, but does not run very near to Tynron. John Barber wrote an excellent article on it in TDGNHAS 1982.

The supposed route of Wilson's deilís dyke is very clear and easy to follow along the hillside of Mid Hill, where it is known as "the Roman Road". On PHOTO *C this can be seen running left to right between Tynron Doon and Mid Hill. To the left is an identical sod dyke crossing the "deilís dyke" at right angles.

It is particularly clear above Killiewarren, where it is 3 metres wide and 1 metre high with a path on top. At Killiewarren Hill it suddenly veers for no apparent reason up to the top of the hill and over, where it abruptly disappears just before the Killiewarren march dyke.

Here it is said to cross over the Shinnel by Birkhill and it is picked up again in what is now the new forestry above Markmony. It runs through the lower parts of the forestry and along the hill above Macqueston, its most beautiful stretch, with its double stone dyke and line of pines. There is 1.5 kilometres of clear dyke until Halfmerk Burn, where it disappears again. It is then supposed to cross over to Glencairn and can be picked up above Tererran, where there is 1 kilometre of earth ridge. Wilson, like others before him, sees it running to the hill fort on Dalwhat Hill at 728940.

Wilson took this as one feature, even imagining "guardian forts" along it. I have walked its length several times and I am confident enough to state that it is not one continuous feature. The Deilís Dyke in Tynron is simply Mediaeval head dyke marking the upper limit of cultivation. It is certainly at just the right height contouring the hillside and there are many other similar dykes in the glen. Note again the dyke "crossroads" on the left of PHOTO *C, which is just where old field boundaries join. I take the deilís dyke to be one of Wilson's fanciful notions of the past.



On Pinzarie Hill above Craigencoon is a new forestry plantation. Buried under this is the Mediaeval field system (see map *11). In Mediaeval times this would all have been part of Nether Craigencoon land. The lower part of Pinzarie Hill is quite steep, but above there is some more gently sloping land on the bench, which showed the marks of old fields. Just above the stell was a group of four fields, which I mapped before the trees were planted. I used the basic technique of compass and pacing, a pencil and notebook. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed by this method, but it is good for a general picture.

These higher slopes on the outfield must have been a hive of activity. Apart from the four fields, there were other fields now by the Auchenbrack march and which indeed continue along the hillside on Auchenbrack. I also found a few patches of run-rig which did not seem to be enclosed, together with some other small patches which showed the green of cultivation, but did not appear to have rigs. I mapped the fields on the Pinzarie side too, just above High Pinzarie, that are not under immediate threat and so can still be clearly seen. These old fields and sod dykes can be seen on many similar slopes throughout the glen.

The Four Fields

The four fields W,X,Y and Z above the stell have been mapped as well as I could on map *12 and the exact number of rigs and their position have been marked. I have failed to show the S-shapes properly, but these show up well on the photo. These run-rig fields sloped fairly gently to the west-south-west and lay on the shoulder of the hill. The earth dyke running down the centre north to south is a huge bank of stones containing a number of large boulders and is still there, having been left as a forestry ride. The PHOTO *F on *12 was taken from Thistlemark, facing east and up the hill. With the sun at a low angle the old fields showed up beautifully, as did the old loans leading up to these high fields. The forestry road has now cut right through the middle of this area.

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This field had 22 rigs in 100 metres, widely-spaced in the north, closely in the south. The lower west side was unsuitable for cultivation, being too wet. The earth dyke in the north-west corner was not clear. A prominent hawthorn stood on the edge of cultivation and stands yet by the forestry road.


Here 19 rigs were in 75 metres. The earth dyke in the north-east corner was still 0.7 metres high and 3.5 metres across. To the north-east was the remains of a small building, beside what was a well-used sheep track, and surrounded by some disturbed ground. There were fainter rigs to the east and west of this building. This was most likely to have been a shepherd's hut, perhaps used as a shieling.


This was the largest field with 39 rigs in 135 metres. The field sloped west-south-west, gently at the top, more steeply lower down. This convexity made it impossible to see the bottom of the field from the top. The east corner was marsh. There was a stream plus a gulley marking an old stream in the north part. A group of what I take to be prehistoric field clearance cairns obstructed the rigs. I am sure they predate the rigs as the rigs were clearly stopped by the cairns. Why were these cairns not thrown onto the sod dykes? They must have been a nuisance.


There were 33 rigs in about 125 metres. This field contained the much more recent stell (sheep pen), now on the bend in the forestry road. Associated with the stell was a possible small building to the east and other features marked by dotted lines on the map. The west, lower end of the field was too steep to plough. The sod dyke on the west side lay at the top of a sudden change in slope and at the bottom end of the flatter ground on which these fields were situated.

Sod Dykes

The dykes surrounding the fields often contained some large stones, but were largely made of earth. They must have been some metre and a half high, probably helped by the use of stakes driven into the top. They would have been made by piling up surrounding sods plus stones from the fields. There was sometimes quite a ditch alongside. Several hundred years of disuse has led to their degradation. Even so, some were very clear indeed and stood over 50 centimetres high. How they were farmed has already been described, but when is a very interesting question.

When Were The Fields Used?

For people to work these fields, which we do not consider worthwhile nowadays, they must have been desperate for food. Two things could account for this. Firstly, if the population was expanding, for instance in the thirteenth century, when there was a measure of peace, prosperity and a good climate. Secondly, if the land on the valley floor and the infield was producing lower and lower yields. Folk knew little of rotations or field drainage and they could not manure the infield enough.

Then they could become desperate for more land, so they looked up the hill. They cultivated the most promising land, some of which prehistoric farmers had used. When yields reduced on this new land, they moved further up the hill. At times of reducing population, for example after 1350 with the Black Death, or following the many raids, or at times of starvation, the pressure of land was reduced and the new fields may have been abandoned.

The four fields were probably cultivated over a long period, though perhaps discontinuously, as the rigs were ingrained and the sod dykes were substantial. The rigs were curved in the form of an elongated reverse "S", the relic of Mediaeval ploughteams, which needed a lot of space to turn at the end of a furrow. This S shape partly turned them in the right direction. These rigs are Mediaeval, perhaps twelfth, thirteenth or fourteenth century. It is possible, though, that such fields were still ploughed in the eighteenth century, right up until the Improvements, though they were not shown on the 1772 Queensberry Estate map. The four fields were not marked as rough pasture on the 1850's OS map and they were an oasis of good grass on Pinzarie Hill even in 1985.

These higher plots became superfluous when the stone dykes were built. Pinzarie Hill was enclosed with one long dyke and crop yields vastly improved so that enough food could be grown on the lower land, even for an expanding population.

PHOTO *G An oblique angle shows up Mediaeval fields on Pinzarie Hill

above Craigencoon cottage before forestry planting

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PHOTO *H New rigs replace the old, as the forestry machine ploughs

new furrows into the Mediaeval rigs in January 1987

From the house at Craigencoon the access up the hill was by the tracks or loans marked on the map, the main one being at A on map *11. The workers, animals, ploughs and sledges used these everyday. Note that one of them goes on to Auchenbrack and one on to Pinzarie as the stone dykes were, of course, not there. There must have been quite a few folk living in the predecessors to the house at Craigencoon, possibly a group of primitive houses.

At the upper limit of cultivation was the head dyke, which was clear enough, though fairly discontinuous, as it ran across the highest part of the hill to join the High Pinzarie head dyke. There is a strange dyke (B) on the top of the hill, which goes nowhere and another one (C) running up the hill, which is equally puzzling, as it too suddenly ends.

The location of these pre-Improvement fields is on the more gently-sloping of the shoulders on glacial till. The farmers avoided the steep slopes of the southern side and chose the embayment facing west. Above the head dyke was land with thinner soils on bedrock and more exposed. Animals were turned out on to this former common land at the top of the hill. Animals must also have wandered on the hill between the cultivated fields and, after cropping, onto the fields to manure them.

These old fields with their remains of sod dykes are a remnant of bygone days, a reminder of a long-lost way of life.


Each time I walked up to see what birds were on Aird Loch, the old field boundaries and settlements on this stony hilltop between 130 and 180 metres jumped out at me. So much so that I endured the bitter east wind of January 1996 to sketch in the extent of the old field system on map *13.

The modern field boundaries of largely straight and orderly drystone dykes were put in place during the Improvements not long before 1822, or at least, most of them, as a few were added up to 1853 and even two stretches after 1853. Some of these are now lying in ruins. This Improvement field system replaced an earlier layout of small irregular fields, marked on map *13 in red. Some of the new dykes were obviously built on the lines of the old dykes. The old dykes were robbed to construct the new.

Some of the fields have been ploughed regularly in recent times and old stone dykes have been removed, but other fields are so full of stones and boulders and small rock outcrops that they show no signs of modern ploughing. It is in these fields that the pre-Improvement field system is best preserved.

All the old fields on the map (except the most western on Milton Braes) were on the land of the Barony of Aird and may date from the century or so before the Improvements, i.e. seventeenth or eighteenth century, an earlier attempt to improve farming practices. These field boundaries are unlike those I described earlier on Pinzarie Hill, which were distinctly sod dykes enclosing very clear old rigs. Some of these old fields could hardly have been ploughed, as they are so full of stones and small rock outcrops, but the pre-Improvement boundaries were at least a good place to put the stones off the fields.

The site of Aird itself is shown on the map. There appears to have been a two-room house plus either some outbuildings or more houses. These houses would have been of unmortared stone with thatched roofs. The site of Aird House has been a jolly good place for dumping more stones in the past two centuries. Somewhere under a pile of stones must be the kiln mentioned in the 1691 Hearth Tax. This whole hilltop contains stone dumps, in piles or in lines, where fields have been cleared, thus making old fields harder to plot.

Apart from Aird, there are also old buildings, now enclosed by a wire fence, on the east side of Aird on the Cairneycroft march. Here were houses, outbuildings, small enclosures and an old pond. I have never seen any reference to these buildings, either on maps or documents. They are very close to the abandoned croft at Upper Cairneycroft, which lies just over the dyke. Could they have been associated with Cairneycroft perhaps?

When was Aird abandoned? James Hunter had two hearths and a kiln at Aird in 1691. The Buccleuch map of 1820 marks Aird House in a very large field called Aird Crofts (the infield), of which Aird was quite central and it was probably just inhabited for a few more years. The stone dykes nearest to Aird House were built after 1820. The old holding of Aird was certainly incorporated into Ford by 1853.



In 1700 the view of Tynron Glen was of an open, undrained, virtually treeless landscape with infertile moor and bog, mud tracks, meagre crops of oats and bere, many an irregular patch of arable land on the valley sides, ill-bred, half-starved cattle, oxen, sheep & pigs, hovels to live in and POVERTY.

Stagnation or decline were the only alternatives with the run-rig system, but the eighteenth century changed all that. Acts as early as 1661 to 1695 tried to change the face of farming through modernisation, but it was decades before they took effect locally. These acts allowed landlords to sweep away open run-rig fields and to enclose and rearrange the lands as they pleased. Thus began the change which made the glen look very much like it does today.

The first half of the eighteenth century saw a continuation of national unrest with its local repercussions. The Act of Union of 1707 caused much unrest before and after, notably amongst the locally strong Cameronians, the extreme Covenanters. The rebellions of 1715 and 1745 meant the raising of volunteer forces from Tynron and consequent local turmoil, especially when the Highland army were in Dumfries and Thornhill. Bonnie Prince Charlie was possibly in Tynron in 1745. His sick and wounded men were treated by Dr John Trotter in the long-gone Burnfoot, by Dalmakerran. Recruits from Tynron may have fought against the Americans in the 1770's or against France in the 1790's.

In 1747 Rev. Peter Rae made an important handwritten manuscript concerning Tynron, giving us a description of the parish. His original work and a transcript are in the Ewart.

Changes in Life

Life was changing fast in the later years of the century. Tea came in the 1760's, sugar and coffee in the 1780's and with the sugar a boom in jam and jelly making. Currants and berries were cultivated in back yards. For the educated, newspapers came from Glasgow and London to give Tynronians their first wider view of the world. Many folk now had watches and clocks, cotton clothes and drank whisky. However, rheumatism, asthma and smallpox still were prevalent and accounted for many deaths.

Enclosure and Stone Dykes

Enclosure brought the first major rural upheaval since the Normans instituted the feudal system. The boundaries of the fields were set by drystane dykes. Run-rig was cast aside.

One most interesting question is when enclosures came to the Shinnel Glen. Some people seem to think that they have always been there, but the following gives some idea of when they were built.

Royís Map

General Roy produced maps for military use (see map *14). It is difficult to read some of the place names, but the hill shading is effective and cultivated areas are shown. Royís map of 1747 shows that there were already enclosures up the Scaur, but none are marked up the Shinnel, also on Queensberry land. Some parts of Galloway even had enclosures in the 1730's. Remember the Levellers?

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The Queensberry estate maps of Tynron of 1772 show no stone dykes. Durisdeer parish, owned by Queensberry, was still unenclosed in the 1790's. Neither, most significantly, is there mention of enclosure in the 1790's Statistical Account for Tynron. Such a radical change would surely have been recorded. Yet in Penpont in the 1790's "there are many inclosures: and the disposition to inclose seems to increase".

Much of the Shinnel Glen was not enclosed until some time into the nineteenth century. 1800 - 1820 seems likely to have been the time when most of Tynron's dykes were built. Dykes were certainly being built at Cairneycroft in 1804 and Singerís evidence supports this too (see later).

A number of people must have been evicted, as the small, scattered holdings were swept into large compact units. Dykes brought planning and order. On a particular piece of land one tenant took over the running, instead of the former communal efforts on the rigs.

No longer were the peasants tied to their rigs. Some people had to move into Tynron village and all the common pasture was lost in the glen as landlords put in more sheep and introduced black cattle for selling in England.

The Lann estate map of 1834, kept at Capenoch, shows that dyking was completed by then. Lann had the wonderful gateposts built along the road, which are unusual, but not unique to Tynron. In 1996 Six pairs of stone gateposts remain plus four singles. The gateways are too narrow for modern machinery, so some have been removed. It was sad that another of these bit the dust in the eighties, as they are attractive features. Two pairs of gateposts no longer even have a gateway. In 1871 George Black, aged seven, climbed a pillar at Lann Hall and the top stone gave way, falling on the boy and crushing him to death.

Dykes were built in the summer months by whole families, male & female, old & young. Stones were gathered, or rock quarried, then hauled on slypes (sleds). In winter months, stones were collected or quarried and dumped in convenient spots. March dykes were Galloway dykes built to five feet, but the subdivision dykes were smaller. Some have lasted well and are still in excellent condition after 200 years, but unfortunately others have fallen into disuse, been removed or replaced by fences. It is labour intensive and thus expensive to repair stone dykes and, while some are conscientiously repaired, others are botched, gaps filled with wood, old gates or corrugated iron sheets. A favourite and all too widespread solution in the 1990ís is to put up a single or double strand of barbed wire or electric fence on top of the dyke.

Tynron's Farming Revolution

Apart from legislation, other factors provided simultaneous stimuli. In the eighteenth century new ideas and new crops, new thoughts on stock-breeding filtered northwards from England. This was a bonus of the 1707 Union of Scotland and England. Many Scots now travelled south and saw improved agriculture and brought back and spread new ideas.

Larger stone houses were built for the tenants by Queensberry. The gentry could afford to build houses fit for their position: Lann Hall, Stenhouse, Kirkland.

Selected tenants were given longer leases, giving them more incentive to farm well.

Drainage, liming and rotation were brought in. Lime itself revolutionised farming in Tynron and was brought from Closeburn and Barjarg from 1774. Extensive underground chambers were quarried out of the Barjarg Carboniferous limestone in the woods at 882903. In 1805 Tynron was the leading destination for Barjarg lime, when 4761 measures were carted to Tynron.

Turnips were also a godsend, reaching Tynron perhaps as early as 1745 and later, possibly in the 1770's, the advent of potatoes put an end to famine in most years. Fields were now kept specially for hay. Beans and peas improved fertility. Turnips and hay and improved pasture land meant that more animals were kept over winter and more dung produced. Turnips and potatoes were also important as cleaning crops instead of fallow in the new rotations (mentioned later). Trees were planted for shelter and land improvement.

The building of the dykes meant the removal of most of the surface stones on the fields. The unprofitable outfield was replaced by seasonal pastures. Improved Scots ploughs were lighter and required only one man and two horses, or four on heavy ground. New fields were broken in, increasing crops after 1750. After about 1770 the new ploughs straightened out the old rigs.

Urban growth in Glasgow and Dumfries together with an increasing English market boosted agriculture and encouraged production of a surplus to sell instead of mere subsistence.

Wages increased - £8 per annum for a farm labourer in 1790. Diet was better, so health improved. All this meant a revolution in Tynron's agriculture and greater prosperity in some measure to everybody, though not overnight. Changes were very slow, but a comparison of farming in 1700 with that of 1800 shows a tremendous difference.

The First Statistical Account

To know what the glen was like at the end of the century, there is the first really useful description of Tynron Parish in 1791-3 in the Statistical Account. Here the Rev. James Wilson reports on his parish. He thought TYNRON had been the spelling since 1730.

He described green hills, well clothed with grass, feeding 8,000 Blackface sheep. They gave shaggy wool of poor quality, sold in the Borders and Cumberland. Crops were still neither luxurious nor early. Oats was the main crop, and, with potatoes, provided half the food of the common people. Farms with only sheep in 1750 now had black cattle on their lowest land.

Penpont Parish had barley, wheat, turnips, clover and rye-grass. Thornhill (Morton) also had lint and peas. Low Lann has a field called Wheat Park on the 1834 estate map, though it was rather optimistic to try and grow wheat in the glen. The enlarged tillage area meant more labourers were needed, the population was rising and new houses were built.

Farms were now let by the Duke of Queensberry for 19 years at moderate rates. He had eleven separate farms and half the parish was on the Queensberry Estate. Some Queensberry tenants with 19 year leases actually put up dykes at their own expense.

Peat was commonly used at the upper end of the glen until the late nineteenth century, though it was easier in Tynron and the lower end of the glen to get coal from Sanquhar.

The rotation used in the glen was:-

Year 1 Lime the land while in pasture

2 Pasture, ploughed in autumn

3 Oats

4 Oats

5 Potatoes or Turnips

6 Barley undersown with Grass

Diary of Andrew Hunter

Surgeon of Camling, Tynron 1781.

This diary, available in the Ewart Library, is absolutely fascinating. While not playing cards, shooting pistols or bleeding people, Hunter wrote in his diary. These are some of the things he wrote about farm activities:

APRIL The people are employed ploughing the potato land. Loading dung. Building dykes. Setting potatoes.

MAY Casting peats at Thornhill Moss. Lot of rain throughout summer.

AUGUST Reaping oats. Shearing.

SEPTEMBER Threshing. Making up the Millar of corn (Cairn Mill). Drying corn. Grinding corn.

OCTOBER Lifting potatoes. Selling old & young beasts & stirks.


DECEMBER Ploughing. Loading timber from the hill.

From the beginning of the nineteenth century another extremely informative document is available to give us a clear picture of the situation in Tynron:


General View of the Agriculture, State of Property and Improvements in the County of Dumfries by Dr Singer 1812


Houses were not now covered in turf and straw or heather or ferns. Most people were anxious for the security of slate roofs. The Duke of Buccleuch "allowed" wood, slate and lime but tenants had to cart it themselves and fit it to the buildings. Buccleuch houses were the best kept in the country. The new farm buildings had the square layout with the farmhouse on the south side.


The new form of the Scots plough was gradually replaced by Small's plough using two or three horses on a long rein. Light carts were pulled by one horse.

Slypes were still used on steep ground. There were threshing and winnowing machines, worked by water if possible or, if not, by horses, but no reaping machines yet.


There were quite a few in Tynron by 1812. The building of stone dykes on the sheep-walks was in full flow. Tenants on Queensberry's 19 year lease put up the dykes at their own expense. There were no more commons in Tynron.

The earth dykes were hardly an efficient fence. Their height was usually 5 feet. In 1812 many of these sod dykes, having mouldered down, still disfigured some of the sheep-walks and required to be entirely levelled or removed. All earth dykes ought to be secured with a paling of wood on top.


The rotation included oats, barley, pease, turnips, potatoes and carrots (although there was trouble with the fly). There were a few patches of flax. Most farmers' gardens had early potatoes, carrots, greens, peas, cabbage, beans, currants and gooseberries. The Tynron rotation now included a crop of hay taken in the seventh year.

Oxen were scarcely used by 1812, though highly recommended by Dr. Singer, as cheaper, docile, powerful and steady. They also provided good meat and valuable skin. The great advantage of the horse was speed, important in beating the weather.

Sheep were all short Blackface despite Cheviots coming in.

Cows were mainly Galloway, a few Ayrshire.

Farmers knew about the importance of drainage but did little about it. However, the Shinnel was straightened using much labour and money.


Servants were hired for six months at hiring fairs, but it was better to have married servants in a cottage.


Each cottager's fire needed 24 to 30 cartloads per annum.


There was a shortage in Tynron, very few pine, oak, ash, elm. More trees should be planted, but many were still being cut down. (Many were going to the expanding mining industry.) Tynron has natural oak, ash, birch & alder up to 25 years old. There were a few plantations of larch and Scots pine. The implication is that there were even fewer trees before 1780.


There was a threat of a French invasion in 1803 and perhaps some Tynronians volunteered. However, the war years at the beginning of the nineteenth century boosted agriculture enormously and sent production, prices and wages up rapidly. Much waste land was broken up. But there was a shortage of food locally, as the army came first. Consequently in 1814, with Napoleon's defeat, prices collapsed! Land was taken out of production.

1810 was a significant year in that Buccleuch acquired the Queensberry inheritance and two-thirds of the parish became Buccleuch land at a stroke. Buccleuch was a more enlightened landlord and wished to attract good tenants (and high rents) and so, like other landlords, built new steadings and two-storied stone farmhouses with a good number of rooms. Buccleuch actually provided the stone, lime, wood and slates and a plan, then the tenants constructed the building themselves. The bigger steadings were designed in the form of a square with buildings on three or four sides, e.g. Ford and Auchenbrack. These steadings had byres, threshing mills, a granary, stables and cottages for farm workers. Even shepherds had good stone houses built. Rev. Wilson says steadings were erected mostly 1825-35.

Ayrshires replaced Galloways as breeding improved and Blackface sheep were still preferred to Cheviots. Clydesdale horses now totally replaced oxen.

The annual lettings and hirings brought in new blood from outside, at least from Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. The population of tenants and farm workers was extremely mobile. Even in 1850 half Tynronís population was not born in Tynron. Single men in particular moved around constantly. Some emigrated. There are 16 stones in the kirkyard recording deaths of Tynron's emigrants, mostly to New Zealand.

Disaster struck in 1845-6 with the potato blight. Potatoes were by then the staple diet and also used for feeding pigs.

Valuation of 1827 *15

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This was the first valuation after the 1671 document. It has more detail, especially of the landowners. It is interesting to note that Tynron was always the least valuable parish (after Half Morton by Gretna) in Dumfriesshire and had the smallest population, though it was by no means the smallest in area.

Thomson's Map *16 and Johnston's Map *17

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A map by John Ainslie in 1782 is fascinating, but inaccurate, marking Cormilligan on a stream running into the Dalwhat. Thomson's Map of 1821 is clear and fairly accurate and also details 994 hectares of cultivated land in Tynron, along with 3616 hectares never cultivated and 164 hectares wooded. His map compares well with its predecessors, though it is still not precise. In fact, Thomson clearly repeated mistakes made on William Crawford's nice map of 1804 in the National Map Library. Auchengibbert and Lann are particularly misplaced.

The Johnston map circa 1850 is neatly drawn and more attractive with its hill-shading, but seems to be based on Thomson and repeats some of Thomson's mistakes. See Auchengibbert and Lann again. In any case the superb large scale OS maps of the 1850ís easily surpassed them. See maps *18 and *19 as examples. The first edition OS map *20 revised to 1896 is also a vast improvement.

James Shaw

James Shaw is one Tynronís most famous worthies. He was the schoolmaster at the parish school up the glen at Glendow. He was a lifelong bachelor, a prolific writer and sought-after speaker at events.

At a dinner of Queensberry tenants in 1893 "Mr Shaw kept the company lively with his quaint pawky humour".

Shaw was writing at a good time for recording change at the end of the nineteenth century. Binders, reapers and mowers slowly reduced the need for agricultural labour during this century. James Shaw notes that about 1870 cots and farmhouses were being abandoned as sheep farming increased.

He paints a picture of McCaw's farm at now-abandoned Cormilligan in the 1870's, of which more later. A sheep farm, very open, no trees, save a few Scots pines, bog. A one-storied slated, whitewashed but and ben (but it has four rooms now!) with a porch. A byre, a henhouse, a swinehouse and a stack of brackens. No wonder that some of the McCaws emigrated to New Zealand. A stone in Tynron churchyard records that eight McCaw grandchildren were killed in World War I. McCawís great-grandchildren from New Zealand have visited, as is witnessed by their inscriptions on the asbestos walls inside Cormilligan. Unfortunately animals have had access and are gradually wrecking the insides.

James Shaw also records that the once well-used drove road, marked on map *20, was almost in disuse by the 1890's. Cattle and sheep from the Lanark sales had wound their way over the drove road on their way to the Stewartry, especially to Castle Douglas mart. The drove road through Tynron ran from Auchenhessnane in the Scaur Glen via Duddiestone Hass 792960, through Bennan, across the Shinnel and Kirkconnel Burns and up Gled Brae. It went thence across the top of Markmony, into Glencairn at 782927 via Bardennoch. For much of its length it runs between dykes or is a good track or footpath. Unfortunately, Economic Forestry planted over the stretch at the top of Markmony. My regular walk from Moniaive to mid Tynron Glen is now much more difficult, as the forestry has to be circumnavigated and rough tussocky grassland traversed. It is a shame the forestry people planted over the drove road, in ignorance, I expect. It was still marked as a footpath on the 1955 OS 1:25000 map, although on the top of Markmony I never knew it as a well-marked path.

James Shaw gives a wonderful description of changes in Tynron in the late nineteenth century. Here are some absorbing lines from Shaw's notes on 30 years of residence in Tynron, taken from TDGNHAS 1894-5:

The curious flat stones which roofed the houses have disappeared in favour of slates. The number of inhabited houses has decreased and their ruins are not always picturesque. Tinkers with their donkeys do not now visit us. Umbrella-menders, knife-grinders and sellers with baskets are scarce, but tramps asking alms have noways decreased.

The River Shinnel runs as of yore, arched over for many miles with a beautiful canopy of natural wood. Although illegitimate methods of securing trouts, with which it was well stocked, have been put down, yet the system of deep draining, suddenly flushing the water and carrying away the spawning beds, is an anglerís complaint.

The heritors having mansions in the parish are not now resident. They spend only a few summer months with us, or let their houses, so the work of smith, coachman and domestic servants is far less in demand. On the other hand, houses that have been built or repaired since I came to the parish are much more comfortable to the inmates.

When I arrived in Tynron and for years afterwards, water was obtained almost universally from open wells, chimneys were swept by setting fire to them, messages were conveyed across straths whistling on fingers, towns were reached by bridle paths. These mountain tracts were used for sheep conducted to the great stock markets, as Sanquhar, and not being much employed for this purpose now are falling into decay.

The people around me to a greater extent than at present knitted their own stockings, plaited their own creels (baskets), carved their own crooks, made their own curling brooms or eows, bored their own tod-and-lamb boards (a game), squared their own draught-boards.

A very few women smoked tobacco like men, and a very many men had chins like women. Broom was boiled, the juice mixed with hellebore and tobacco, and used as a sheep-dip. The sheep, in fact, were not dipped at all, but their wool was combed into ridges and the composition carefully poured in the skin from an old teapot.

There were no wooden frames for bees, only the cosy-looking straw skeps. The Shinnel drove several mill wheels, now it drives only one.

There was a method of announcing the arrival of letters, by depositing them in a water-tight chamber of a cairn or mass of boulders on an eminence a mile perhaps from the shepherdís house and then erecting a huge pole or semaphore, which soon attracted a messenger.

The limbs and backs of boys were stronger and carried for you heavy carpet bags at 1d per mile. Watches were worn in trouser pockets. The schoolchildren were fitted out with stronger leather bags, like soldiersí haversacks, containing their dinner as well as their books. Their books were much more carefully covered with cloth and in some instances with white leather. Their food was more thriftily cared for and there was no dťbris of leaves of books and crumbs of scone left on the roadside near the schoolhouse as is at present.

The plaid was a much more common article of dress. It is now giving way to the great-coat or waterproof, which is more convenient to a shepherd, affording him pockets to hold tea for the weak lambs and covering his body better.

When I found myself in the interior of shepherdsí and dairymenís houses, the old eight-day clock with wooden door and painted dial was common. It kept company with the meal-ark, a huge chest divided into two compartments, one for oatmeal, one for wheaten flour. Bacon, hams and flitches, then as now, wrapped in newspapers, hung from kitchen rafters. Puddings were wreathed round suspended poles.

Fireplaces are gradually contracting. The older ones are widest. The fire in winter, eked out by peats and cleft-wood, is often very violent in its hospitality. Seated in the cushioned armchair, I have for a while maintained conversation by holding up my extended palm for a fire-screen, but was generally obliged to push back my chair at the risk of overturning a cradle or turning the charmed circle into an ellipse.

An inner ladder was stationed in the porch or between the but-and-ben, up which the children or serving men mounted to their obscure attic hammocks. On great nails here and there in the walls hung, and still hang, crooks, shears for clipping sheep, lanterns for moonless nights, mice traps with holes, rat traps with strong iron teeth and springs.

There were no carpets on the rooms, but the floor was mottled with sheep skins in their wool and the mat before the room fire was home-made, with all sorts of dark rags stitched together, having a fluffy, cosy look.

On the chest of high drawers might be observed a Family Bible, a field glass, a stuffed blackcock and pair of large ramís horns or a basket with curious abnormal eggs and with shells from the seashore. A black cat, a brindled cat and a muscovy were generally crossing each other or demanding a seat on your knee. You would feel something cold touching your hand and presently observe it was the nose of a collie dogÖ

I shall pass over gatherings in connection with sheep, killing pigs etc. and remark that the kirn or harvest home is no longer celebrated. St. Valentineís Day is forgotten and the Candlemas bleeze has given way to a Christmas present. (The Candlemas bleeze was a gift from pupils to their schoolmaster on Candlemas, 2nd February). Even the Halloweíen described by Burns - the turnip lantern and the pulling of kail stocks - is away, the only survival being that on Halloweíen mummers with false face enter your kitchen expecting an obulus and highly gratified when you are puzzled and unable to guess their names or even their sex. (No, I donít know what an obulus is!).

(continued in TDGNHAS, if you are interested)


Voters in 1868-9

Also quite intriguing to modern eyes is the list of voters 1868-9 and who they voted for! These were the important men of Tynron.



Voted for


Voted for


Did not Vote








Brown, William, Auchenhessnane







Bryden, Jas, jun, Holm of Dalquhairn







Cotts, William, smith, Shinnel Forge







Glencrose, John, Strathmilligan







Haining, Thomas, Laight







Hiddleston, David, Low Lann







Hyslop, James, Cairneycroft







Hyslop, Mathew, Cairneycroft







Kennedy, Captain John, of Kirkland







Kennedy, Robert, Dalmakerran







Kennedy, William, yr. of Dalmakerran







Kerr, James, Killiwarren







Laurie, James, Tynron Kirk







Menzies, George, Auchengibbert







Paterson, Robert, Clonrae







Turner, Frederick J., Lann Hall







Tyre, John, Macqueston







Wallace, Samuel, Auchenbrack







Wilson, Rev. Robert, Tynron







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PHOTO *I Tynron Parish School, now Glendow, where James Shaw taught


The mills of Tynron make a fascinating topic. Almost every farm had a mill of some sort at some time. Here is a subject for industrial archaeological research.

Water-driven threshing mills came in between 1800 and 1850. Once one farm had one, the others wanted one, as they saved the most arduous and unpopular labour. By 1812 threshing mills were already common in Dumfriesshire, the latest thing, in fact, although Shaw says only one was working still in 1894.

At Low Lann the millpond is still there and so was the mill wheel until it was removed in 1991 to Keir Mill in order to make alterations to the steading. The feeder pipe is still in situ and you can see where the wheel was on the north-west side of the farm buildings.

At Barr the drop is still there, where the wheel was. The millpond is up the hill by the main road at 824917. The long mill lead still runs along the dyke by the road. The lead runs down from Low Lann millpond at the top, which could also be used for Barr, and from a third dam just over the Maxwelton dyke. No mill is shown here on the 1845 estate map of Capenoch, but it is on the 1856 OS map.

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At Lann Hall there was a silted up pond, which has been dug out a little, fenced off in 1994 and planted with trees. The remains of the sluice-gate can still be seen, but I have no idea whether it was a millpond or where the actual mill was, if indeed there was one, as it could have been created just for shooting. Hugh Gladstone shot a teal on it in 1908.

Killiewarren miraculously still has the mill wheel (see PHOTO *J). It is an overshot wheel in an advanced state of disrepair, but in situ. It was fed at the top by a pipe, which is also still there, running on iron rails, feeding from a small dam just to the rear. Killiewarren mill was still used in the 1940's for threshing. When there was enough water, threshing could go on for the whole afternoon.

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PHOTO *J Killiewarren, showing feeder pipe and wheel

Auchenbrack still has its mill dam, which stored about an hourís water and you can see where the mill wheel was attached to the farmstead. The pond was dredged in the mid-eighties, but has almost silted up by 1996. The water wheel was still in use in the 1950's for threshing and bruising oats, but it was killed off by the arrival of electricity.

At Ford the old millpond has been cleared out, deepened and redammed in 1995.

At Bennan the Bennan Burn was dammed. The old millpond and the clay pipes are still there. The mill was in the corner of the present buildings.

At Dalmakerran there is a millpond just above the house, close to the road.

Clonrae's millpond is marked on the 1850's OS map, but there have been so many alterations at the back of Clonrae that it is hard to tell now where the pond was.

Macqueston had a corn mill in 1747, but even earlier it had a waulk mill for fulling woollen cloth. At Macqueston the mill was still used in 1958. The millpond was just south of the farm buildings.

Another corn mill in 1747 was at Airdmill, known now as Milnton. There is nothing to be seen at Milnton now, except traces of the old lead running from the manse. Though it was no longer in use by then, Airdmill is still the name in the 1851 census. The Pont map of 1590 and other sources called it Miltoun and it was mentioned as early as 1633.

The site of a millpond can still be seen above Kirkland, just below Auchengibbert Wood. The lead runs through the garden, emerging below the Linn road.

Stenhouse Mill

The layout at Stenhouse around 1850 can be seen from the old OS map *18. The mill lead for Stenhouse was fed from a caul across the Shinnel and can still be seen between the glen road and the Shinnel. It runs behind the Millhouse, where there was a water-driven sawmill still working in the 1950's, for which the machinery still lies in situ in the shed at the back of the Millhouse.

Another lead runs from this one and into a now often dried-up millpond by the glen road at 799930, which fed another wheel in the steading, which was used this century from 1908 for generating electricity. This was installed by Drake and Gorham of Glasgow, using the existing waterwheel.

In 1747 there had been a corn mill at Stenhouse. It seems, in fact, that all tenants in Tynron were once thirled to the mills at Stenhouse, Macqueston and Aird. Low Lann, Strathmilligan and Auchengibbert even had horse-driven mills in 1897 for threshing and churning.

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PHOTO *K Shinnel Mill


Shinnel Forge

Shinnel Forge was the one real industrial site in Tynron Glen. About 1840 William Cotts built a wonderful two-storey mill building beside the Shinnel. He dammed the river and diverted it via a small millpond on to a 16 foot breast-shot wheel, which he used to provide power to hammer out peat spades, shovels and plough parts. Blacksmith's hearth and working bellows remain for the forge. Cotts had started at Penpont, but moved to this better site. As can be seen from the 1850's OS map *19, Hulton Burn was also diverted to feed the mill. Access to the forge was from Penpont direction.

Presumably the iron ore came from the Dalmellington area. Though ore was expensive to transport on poor roads, the products made were only small. Many lumps of iron slag remain in the river.

Cotts died in 1878, but his descendants continued to do well in the iron industry. First they moved to Sanquhar in 1874 to make larger objects, including parts for Glasgow shipyards. William's son, Mitchell, was knighted and given the freedom of Sanquhar.

After 1880 John and James Penman of Sanquhar became tenants of Buccleuch at Shinnel Mill. They converted the mill to saw wood and bend iron for wheel rims, as they were coachmakers and joiners. J. and J. Penman must have closed down between the wars, but Penmans lived on at Shinnel Forge. In 1952 John Penman bought Shinnel Forge from Buccleuch. Penman Engineering is now in Dumfries. I have been told that there is a family connection, but Penmans are uncertain about their earlier history.

Brian Turner bought Shinnel Mill in 1973 and has tried to keep the mill buildings in good condition. He has turned this corner of Tynron into a haven for birds and wildlife, including red squirrels.



There was relative prosperity in farming until the 1914-18 Great War deprived the glen of its men and horses. Arrears of work and repairs piled up.

The Small Landholders Act meant that smallholdings were released on the large estates for settling people back on the land after the war. Ex-soldiers were given tenancies of smallholdings and loans to get started. Craigencoon was the only one of these in Tynron.

In the inter-war years the pattern of modern farming was set, with booms as ever followed by slumps, guaranteed prices, subsidies, bankruptcies and a flood of imported food. The advent of more machinery, like combines and tractors, threw men off the land. Many farms are run now by one or two men, where there would have been a dozen earlier in the century.

Some farms were finally abandoned during the war or just after - Cormilligan, High Pinzarie and Hillhead. Upper Cairneycroft died in 1951 when Jimmy Kerr left. It is now a sizeable ruin and shows how quickly houses can deteriorate when abandoned. It seems to have been roofed with large sandstone slabs, which now lie dejectedly in front of the house.

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PHOTO *L Upper Cairneycroft in ruins

PHOTO *M Cormilliganís setting


I can do no better than reproduce this captivating article by Nell Steel nťe Armstrong of 24th February 1984, reproduced by kind permission of the "Dumfries Standard":

A day to remember

On Sunday, August 21, 1983, a party of 20 left The Farmerís Arms in Thornhill, destination Cormilligan, led by the organisers, Robert and Ena Dobie, with Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Mitchell, followed by: - Mr. James Maxwell and son John, Mr. John Lorimer, Mr. Ian Kirkpatrick, Walter and Margaret Armstrong, Jenny Armstrong and husband Tom Murray, James and Barbara Armstrong and daughter Helen, Jean Armstrong and husband Hugh Steel with daughter Moira, Allen Armstrong and Nell Armstrong. Owing to other commitments, two of the Armstrong family, Sarah and Robert, could not be present. The party met at Kirkconnel Farm, where Mr. Maxwell had arranged for us to be taken over the hills by landrovers.....

The drive up over Kirkconnel hills was magnificent, past the long wood with trees growing peacefully, the wood where, as a child, I heard the cuckoo call for the first time, a few stately rowan trees, which stood out from the others, laden with red berries, no vandals to hack them down. Round the silvery loch, which the Maxwell Farming Company have created to add to the beauty of the hills, past Connellís Well, where I believe archaeologists are doing a study. It was there we kept a coconut shell to drink the cold clear water from the well on our way home from school.

The excitement of seeing Cormilligan in the distance was just as great that day as it was 50 years ago. We arrived there at 1.30 p.m. in glorious sunshine, a perfect day to have a picnic in the stackyard, with enough to feed 20 men for a dayís sheep clipping. The water was boiled for tea on a gas ring. What we would have given for that gas ring all those years ago.

While we talked of days long gone, a bewildered kestrel hovered above us, gazing pensively on the glorious sicht below. One can never forget the rousing sound of the skylark, peesweip and whaup (lapwing and curlew), which we were a few months late to hear.

We were honoured by a member of the Thornhill Pipe Band, Mr. Ian Kirkpatrick from Moniaive, who played for us during the afternoon.

A visit to the well, through the gate at the bottom of the meadow, where all the water was carried until 1928, when a supply was led to the house. A few stones and rushes removed revealed the water running crystal clear, as ever, Iím sure would enhance any dram. I could imagine hearing faither Jimmy Armstrongís strong voice calling, "Mind and sneck the gate".

We took a look through the house and wrote our names on the guid room wall.

Allen, the youngest of the family, was born at Cormilligan in 1932. It was a sad day for us all when he left at six weeks old when mother died, but fortunate that he was to make his home with uncle Sam Armstrong, who was in the Glasgow Police Force. Allen also joined the police force and retired the day we visited Cormilligan after thirty years service. In his own words, "Where else could I have spent such a happy day?"

I was pleased to see the signature of a great-great-granddaughter of William McCaw, who in 1864 wrote "Truth Frae Mang The Heather" or "Is The Bible True?". (This is available in the Ewart). He was shepherd at Cormilligan at the time. There is a picture in the book of William McCaw and his "mountain home". The house looks just as it was then.

Brother-in-law, Hugh Steel, dug up a bottle from the ash pit and, as I have recently taken this up as a hobby, it will have a special place in my collection.

I didnít hear anyone ask what time it was and could hardly believe it was 5.30 p.m. when we decided to leave the beautiful hills, taking a different route, along the bottom hill, passing "Bloody Claverhouseís Well", following the Cormilligan burn where we spent many happy hours. Robert Dobie and his mother, Lizzie Armstrong, came to stay quite a lot. She was a keen fisher and brought many a good fry of trout from the burn.....

We left the bottom hill and joined Kirkconnel burn. We were pleased to have John Lorimer as his father came to Cormilligan on many occasions. We arrived at Kirkconnel, which brought back more memories of happy times with the Wilson family. Jimmy Wilson was the shepherd there in our time. It was

there we left the Land Rovers and joined the cars to take us on the last stage of our journey, down past Strathmilligan to call on Jim Glencorse, not a day older looking, his garden spick and span, just as he always kept the farm at Strathmilligan.

We had reached the Shinnel road, which winds through its majestic trees and down through the now silent Tynron village, with Tynron Doon on the left, leaving behind us a beautiful glen, which is steeped in history. We travelled on, passing by the Scaur road end, the glen where our father, James Armstrong, was born at the Shiel and was shepherd at Chanlockfoot. Through Penpont, which holds many memories, where our grandmother lived until she was 84, after the death of grandfather, William Armstrong, at Polgowan age 54.....

It is said that "New Lairds Hae New Laws". The Maxwell family have been farming Cormilligan and Kirkconnel since 1937. We are glad there hasnít been a New Laird since our childhood days. A new Law could easily have prevented us from making this trip.

It was 1938 I set off walking to Lann Hall to begin my first job after leaving school and had just reached the Shinnel road when a vehicle pulled up, driven by Mr. McKill Maxwell, who was returning from a sheep handling at Cormilligan. I was glad of the lift to Tynron Bridge, as I felt very homesick. His parting words to me were, "Youíll get on fine". I thanked him and hoped he wouldnít see the tears that were already beginning to flow. I never guessed that over 40 years later his son and grandson would drive us back up the same road to renew some treasured memories.....

James Armstrong was still in Cormilligan in 1943/4 and a shepherd still stayed there till 1948. Cormilligan was a sizeable four room longhouse with considerable outbuildings considering its remoteness, at 315 metres the highest in Tynron. An inscription on the asbestos in the ruins records:

Robert Andrew Armstrong born here in this room 5 2 30, died July 92

ashes scattered round this house where he played as a laddie RIP

Apparently this a mistake, the aforementioned Robbie Dobie says it should read "Alan Armstrong".

There must be a lot of memories tied up in Tynron's lost steadings. I get a funny feeling standing at a place like High Appin, now stranded in the forestry, and reflecting on the families that had lived there and all the work which had been done.

The 3rd Statistical Account 1955

1872 1955


92 hectares

84 hectares


0.4 hectares



12.5 hectares

1 hectare?


36 hectares

30 hectares


0.4 hectares


improved grassland

263 hectares

1,055 hectares

rough grazing

5,947 hectares

5,168 hectares




dairy cows



other cattle












The two years are not always exactly comparable, but give a good overall picture of changes in a century. The numbers of sheep and, especially, dairy cattle had increased, the result of better breeds, much improved pasture, buying-in of winter feed and subsidies for hill farmers.


EC milk policy put an end to dairying in Tynron. In the 1980's, because of dairy quotas, dairy cattle suddenly became a rare sight, conclusive proof of the effects of politics on grassroot farming. The house cows at Auchenbrack are the remnant of days gone by.

Cattle are now kept for calves. There are now many different breeds, including Continental cattle like Charolais, Simmental and Limousin, but the stars are the small group of Highland cattle at Macqueston. Willie Scott at Dalmakerran turned to Blonde d'Aquitaine to replace the more traditional Hereford. Bennan has Limousin and Angus cross Friesians with Limousin and Charolais bulls.

Most cattle are overwintered outside. The field they stand in then becomes completely churned up. This is called "poaching" and, although the field is well-manured, it is often a morass to cross as the soil is compressed and water sits on the surface.

1990 brought the scourge of BSE, a disease affecting cattle and which could supposedly be passed on to humans. 1996 has brought the BSE scare mark 2, but this time itís serious. This crisis could bring another revolution in Tynronís farms. It has meant a fall in beef prices and a most uncertain future for calf-raising in the glen. Most farms survive on an enormous bank overdraft anyway. Farms that have recently built expensive inside quarters for cattle must be regretting it. We could see the disappearance of most cattle from the glen. A side-effect of the mad cow disease was that Dundas Chemicals no longer found it worth their while to collect carcases, so that farms have had to bury their own, with resulting increased public health hazard.

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PHOTO *N Cattle at Kilnmark


Sheep farming is still the dominant activity in the glen, as it has been for centuries. The typical sheep of the 1990's are Blackface ewes carrying lambs which are Blueface Leicester crosses. Recent times have brought new breeds. Bennan has Scotch Mule ewes crossed with Texel or Suffolk tups.

There is so much dependence on subsidies for hill sheep now, that it is an interesting thought as to what would happen if subsidies were removed. There is much talk of reducing or even removing subsidies for hill sheep. No longer does the Tynron farmer have his own prosperity in his own hands. He depends on the latest move by European Union farming interests.


Nobody keeps pigs any more. There is an old brick piggery up the hill behind Dalmakerran.


A few folk have some poultry, but the large battery hen enterprise at Lann Hall, opened in 1966, closed in 1990. This business did employ one or two people and it was good to go along to see if there were any cracked eggs going cheap (cheep?). On the other hand nobody seeing how the hens lived could have wished it to continue. The Hen Hoose now has taken over the building by Lann Hall lodge, but the battery shed is used as a store in 1996.


Most horses on the land had gone by the fifties. However, horses are a common and pleasing sight once again in Tynron from Clonrae to Shinnelhead, as some folk have riding as a hobby. The horses at Strathmilligan are for pulling carriages not ploughs and it is terrific to see the Cowderys driving carriages along the glen road. A new carriage-driving centre opened at Dalmakerran in 1994 has brought more of our friends with a leg at each corner.

Sheep Milking

In the mid 1980's the Malpas family at Kirkland were milking sheep for their yogurt-making enterprise, but unfortunately it was not a success. Wonderful thick creamy sheepsí-milk yogurt was made in several flavours as well as plain and was delivered to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Strange-looking sheep were to be seen and there was a sheep-milking parlour at Kirkland.

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Silver Fox

Does anyone remember the Invicta Silver Fox Ranch at Milnton in 1934 or another at Macqueston in 1937? They were both short-lived, as the war finished them. At least none escaped to give us a feral population.

Buccleuch and Queensberry

The Queensberry estate, centred on Drumlanrig, is 44,500 hectares, the biggest single block of privately-owned land in Scotland. The southern tip of this Queensberry land consists of the tenancies of Clonrae and Auchengibbert, which are the remnants of the former much larger holding in Shinnel Glen.


More has changed since the 1955 statistics. There are a few turnips for folding sheep, a few potatoes for farm use, but otherwise it is no longer worth growing any crops at all. Oats have gone since the 1950's. A little barley has been grown since then, the last few fields of barley in Tynron being seen in the early 1980's. It is simpler to bring in feed than it is to grow your own.

Most of the remaining ploughing is just for reseeding of pastureland. In the early 1980's Bennan reseeded 80 acres of shallow peat, mostly ignored by stock. The top five centimetres were cultivated, lime and phosphate were added and grasses and clover sown. This greatly increased the stocking rate.

The 1980's has seen a large-scale change from haymaking to silage, with the advent of big-balers hired in. This has been a mini-revolution in fact, each farm having stocks of big-bale silage in black polythene bags forming attractive clumps by the roadside or a large silage clamp covered with old car tyres. Auchenbrack still insists on making some hay, but this has quickly become unusual. Straw is imported from outside and a common sight in late summer is the arrival of enormous straw wagons up the narrow glen roads. Much of this too is big-bale.

Breakup of Estates

The 1980's and 1990's have seen the breakup of several of Tynron's smaller estates, which have existed as separate entities for many centuries. The sale of Stenhouse and dispersal of its land was followed by Lann Hall, Kirkland then Dalmakerran. Much of this land is now in Bennan. The houses have been sold more or less separately and disconnected with their traditional land. Lann Hall land is now divided between several owners. Small estates are evidently no longer viable, especially in an age when the farmer spends most of his time filling in forms. This is a quiet revolution.


The present scenery of Tynron Glen with its preponderance of rough grazing is a landscape most people would consider attractive. So would I. However, in an age where there is over-production of food in this country perhaps the number of sheep can be reduced, particularly if the farmer is making a loss on each ewe. In 1995 the EU were offering £25 per ewe not to keep sheep in upland areas.

The problem is how can farmers make a living round here if they do not keep large numbers of sheep?

Some diversification would be welcome From an ecological and personal point of view I would like to see much more deciduous woodland of native species (and Scots pine of course), perhaps in the Scandinavian way of small patches, providing shelter for farm animals. This would improve the scenery, protect the soil and provide cover for wildlife. Unfortunately it is a brave and far-sighted farmer who would think about trees being cropped in a hundred years time.

Land has been sold off for forestry and there is some potential in shooting rights, holiday cottages (heaven forfend!) and bed and breakfast. No-one really wants to see caravans and campsites in the glen and it is hard to picture deer, ostriches or alpacas. The Government's recent encouragement of land being "set-aside" is also interesting and I wonder if any farmer has taken this up.

The latest craze is to try and get a wind farm on your land. This brings in enormous rents for the farmer for very little effort. The tops of Shinnel Glen have been earmarked as potential sites and by gum there is certainly no shortage of wind. In late 1996 there has been a storm of protests against wind farms, complaining of visual and noise pollution, especially close to settlements, and pointing out the limited amount of power produced by even the thirty-odd 60 metre high windmills recently erected on Windy Standard very close by. Others have rushed to the defence of windmills, as a wind farm would provide three jobs locally and it produces pollution-free power. It seems to me that, while nobody would want thirty windmills on Tynron Doon, a few stuck up on Colt Hill would hardly be noticed. I think they would merge in with the scenery just as lines of pylons do already, but I would not like to see more than a handful in the whole of south-west Scotland.


The near monoculture of sheep farming, in any case, has now gone. About 21 of the 56 square kilometres or 37% of Tynron Glen is plantation forestry. Map *22 shows the main areas.

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Most of the top end of Shinnel Glen is under forestry. The Forestry Commission, having bought Auchengibbert Wood in 1955, started planting at Shinnelhead in 1961. Species planted include sitka and Norway spruce, Japanese and hybrid larch, Noble fir and Scots pine. These are now all well established and a good enough use of poor land.

Tynron Glen was originally covered in forest, the removal of which is reminiscent of the situation in the Amazon Basin today. The soils have since degraded and this has been made worse by the large-scale monoculture of non-native species, causing acidification, ruin of water courses and use of chemical sprays. Larch and sitka spruce have taken over. The demand for these endless ranks of exotic softwoods is fed by our excessive use and waste of paper. I suppose this piece of work is a good example!


In 1995 it was announced that the Forestry Commission was to sell off its 4,000 or so hectares of forest at the top of Shinnel, Dalwhat, Scaur and Euchan Glens, the Upper Nithsdale forests. This announcement has stirred up a hornetsí nest in Tynron. Conservationists, politicians and ramblers nationally are outraged. Opponents fear that this asset-stripping will affect the economy, wildlife and rights of access. People seem to prefer the Government running our large forests, rather than private enterprise.

All this timber is very soon due for clear felling. Tynronians had always assumed that the trees would be extracted via the Heads of the Valleys Road, emerging by Kirkconnel. This road was purpose-built by the Forestry Commission for extracting the timber.

However, now the forestry is to be sold in blocks, it is evident that the Shinnel block, at least, is likely to go down Shinnel Glen. There are potentially 48,000 loads of wood in these forests, plus 48,000 empty lorries going back up the glens.

The Government allows councils to spend extra money improving roads for the timber wagons and so the council is to upgrade the U400 road up the glen. They have started pre-emptive improvements in 1996 to allow the glen road to take the tremendous pounding expected from forestry vehicles up to 38 tonnes. The full lorries will be bad enough, but much of the damage is caused by the empty lorries bouncing back up the road. Naturally, local people do not want the glen road improved. If it stays as it is, then the large timber lorries will not be able to use it. One welcome improvement, however, has been the construction of passing places, although it is still difficult to see how two timber lorries can pass each other in some of these locations.

The Forestry Commission had the foresight to plan the Heads of the Valleys road, but nobody foresaw the Forestry Commission forests being outrageously sold off just before harvesting. Tynron folk do not want the timber trucks to knock the hell out of the glen road and undermine the foundations of roadside buildings. A solution might be to impose a clause in the extraction contracts compelling buyers to use the Heads of the Valleys Road.

Any buyer is sure to make a huge profit from the sale of the timber and afterwards gain large amounts in planting grants. All this is at the cost of so much discomfort and disruption to the local people, creating traffic problems, disturbing animals and ruining everyoneís peace and quiet. It always happens that for one person or financial organisation to make a killing, hundreds of other people must suffer.


In any case the private Appin forest is due to be felled from 1999 and the timber is bound to come down the glen. There have already been a few loads of thinnings, but up to twenty vehicles a day are expected at peak times in the summer. The sale notice for Appin Forest in November 1993 is reproduced here *23 to show how much money there is to be made in forestry. Appin is now run by Shotton Forest Management, who have encouragingly put up "Walkers Welcome" signs. The two likely destinations for the timber are Irvine in Ayrshire and Shotton down in England on Deeside. If the wood goes north to Ayrshire, it is sensible to take the timber via the Heads of the Valleys Road. If the destination is Shotton, the Shinnel will be the economic route. I write this in December 1996, so by the time you read this things will have moved on. The council has just imposed weight limits on the glen road and there are protests that these forests are to be sold off at rock-bottom prices.

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New Plantations

New forestry was planted in the mid to late 1980's on Pinzarie Hill and Stenhouse Hill by Economic Forestry. These plantings further down the glen are much more visible.  Capenoch has also joined in this trend to plant over its poorer land. Unfortunately, the attractive area of Penfillan Moor has now been ruined by ditching and planting.

Before 1961 there were only small patches of plantation, amounting to a very small total area. The scenery of Shinnel Glen has been radically altered by the planting of so much new forestry. Thousands of hectares can be planted with, it seems to me, no restriction and no reference to the people who live in the glen. It is all done behind people's backs. Open pasture becomes forestry on a large scale, yet a minor alteration to a house or the erection of a garden shed in Tynron Kirk requires so much paper work and red tape.

Forestry Grants

Forestry is being encouraged further by grants *24. Government incentives now are up to £1,350 per hectare for planting broad-leaved woodland. Just maybe, when Shinnelhead and Appin are replanted, native trees will be widely used and the present large rectangular blocks will be broken up to improve the scenery. The new forestry on Pinzarie Hill has quite a few hectares of broad-leaved trees on the hillside nearest the road. Unfortunately they have become a favourite food for deer and have not made too much growth in the first ten years.

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There are many small patches of semi-natural woodland in the glen, which are good for wildlife, but the most continuous strip is that along the Shinnel, which stretches right up to above Appin Lodge.

Around the big houses are some exotic and specimen trees. Some of the best examples extend along the drive to Shinnel Wood House, where there are very tall conifers in particular. The limes running down the road to Lann Hall gates are super.

Most farms have small, often long and narrow windbreaks of conifers. Because of their shape, these sometimes do not blend in too well with the scenery, but are often of Scots pine and provide shelter for stock and useful wildlife refuges.

There are also some sizeable patches of natural or semi-natural woodland:-

Stenhouse Wood

"Stenhouse Wood Wildlife Reserve" is the sign that now greets visitors to a wood, which is the nearest thing Tynron has to a natural wood. As it is on a steepish slope that receives a minimum of sun, it has been farmed very little in the past.

The late 1980's and early 1990's have brought work parties to Stenhouse Wood. On behalf of the Scottish Wildlife Trust these have rebuilt the boundary dykes to keep out farm stock. In the wood they have been doing judicious thinning and planting. One object has been to get rid of the sycamores, as they are not native species and can be a menace. They tried cutting them, then painting them with tree-killer, but the sycamores grew like the hydra's heads.

Beech were also to be removed on the pretext that they are not native species. I am not so sure this is a good idea, as they are very beautiful and shade out the undergrowth, providing wonderful open space under their canopy. At least in early 1996 the beeches are still there. Beeches are the oldest and largest trees in the wood.

Oaks have been planted and there are many fine maturing oaks too. Parts of Stenhouse Wood are forests of ash saplings. The conifers had previously been harvested from the top of the wood. The wood is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and also contains wych elm, hazel, bird cherry, holly and hawthorn.

Tynron Juniper Wood

Though junipers were apparently common on Tynron hillsides in the nineteenth century, they are now decidedly rare, not only in Tynron, but anywhere in Scotland. It is clear from a photo that the junipers covered most of the Ford hillside around 1900. In the 1950ís juniper covered too much of the hillside, right up to the Cairneycroft march, and Jim Gourlay started bulldozing it, following animals getting trapped.

So to conserve what remained, Tynron Juniper Wood was designated in 1958 as a National Nature Reserve, now run by Scottish Natural Heritage. It is very special and I hope the family at the Ford will continue to treasure it. Now there are about five hectares inside the fence and a considerable number of rather more damaged specimens on the adjacent hillside. Interestingly, what is now the finest juniper wood in Britain did not exist in 1853 (Buccleuch map) and counts of tree rings have confirmed that the oldest junipers are about that age. Most of the largest junipers are 80-120 years old, as juniper is very slow-growing.

This hillside is a real suntrap and contains other interesting trees like geans as well as a healthy population of birds, interesting mosses and three species of moth specific to juniper. Both columnar, up to a giant 7 metres, and sprawling bushy junipers are present. Heather and grasses are among the ground cover, but attempts are being made to clear bracken and bramble.

There was a fire in 1959, which destroyed about a hectare at the top, but it activated a terrific regeneration of junipers, suggesting that fire is the best thing for getting seeds to germinate.

There are a few more junipers on the top of Aird Hill and on Cairneycroft at 826932, amongst a good stand of broom, which would be better were it not open to farm animals. I have also spotted a solitary juniper by a crag up the hillside between Tynron Doon and Craigturra.

Juniper berries take two years to ripen and have many uses, like infusions, making gin, protection against plague and flavouring food, but may be perfectly well be eaten off the tree.

A leaflet is available from Scottish Natural Heritage at the Crichton, Dumfries, DG1 4UQ.


In the lower part of the glen there are many fine oaks, none better than those in Longbank Wood on Capenoch around 837940. These are growing on a fine example of a river bluff. Above the wood is the best of the Shinnel's river terraces. Capenoch is cutting a considerable part of its woods in Tynron Glen at the moment, but is leaving trees like oaks and birch to shelter the new plantings.

Lann Hall Wood

Lann Hall Wood at the top of the hill is quite open woodland in places, with extensive bracken in the lower half and more welcome heather in the top bit. It was still hill pasture in 1845, but was gradually abandoned last century. Planting took place in 1904/5, but there was a serious fire in 1909.

Gladstones are still doing some planting now. Encouragingly, some of this has been deciduous trees, but, discouragingly, it has been thought necessary to fill most of the remaining gaps with the dreaded sitkas and to plough first too. All this has led to the wood being rather a mixture and potentially a good wildlife reserve. It is a good place for shooting.

Pinzarie Wood

Pinzarie Wood is by the roadside and contains lots of birch. It is very very boggy and this is why it has remained woodland. It contains interesting plants and birds, but its drawback is that it has been regularly churned up by cattle kept there.

Auchengibbert Wood

Auchengibbert Wood is interesting. It contains some older deciduous trees as well as newer plantings. The scree slope below Craigturra contains some nice trees in rather inaccessible places. The old track up from Craigturra cottage to Auchengibbert can just be traced, at least in winter, starting in the quarry at the base of the scree slope, where the bottom bit of the track has been removed, then traversing diagonally up the slope and disappearing into the planted trees at the top.

Aird Wood

Aird Wood is another of the larger areas of woodland. It is mostly plantation, but if you are prepared to scrabble around by the crags, there are some wild trees.

Dutch Elm Disease

Dutch elm disease has reached Tynron. Some of the trees are clearly affected and may die quite quickly. The elms by Tynron Kirk bridge are badly affected now and will soon be dead.


An interesting feature of the glen in summer is the fate of the bird-cherry, a common enough roadside tree. In May the bird-cherry is swathed in glorious white blossom, but in early summer it gets festooned in a substance akin to spiders' webs. The culprits are little black caterpillars, which strip the trees of every leaf. The bird-cherry ermine moth lays its eggs in clusters among the small twigs. In spring the caterpillars feed and spin out a thick silk-like web as they go. Within this they are relatively safe, although I have seen blue tits taking them. By July the caterpillars have pupated and infected trees recover and set new leaves, which do not get eaten. The trees rarely fruit, however.


Aird Loch was a very attractive spot, but is less so since most mature trees were removed in 1992. It occupies a natural hollow, but was enlarged by a small dam.

Capenoch Loch drains into the Shinnel. I was told it was made in 1881 as a typical Victorian extravagance, a place to walk and watch or shoot waterfowl, but it was already on the 1850's OS map.

Kirkconnel Loch was made in the early 1980's as a fishing loch by Maxwells. It is now beginning to mature for wildlife and has much pondweed.

The old loch at 753953 on Kirkconnel is a really beautiful spot, enhanced greatly by the shell of a Ford Anglia. This loch is often quite dry in summer.

The new forestry lochs at the top of Stenhouse and by Craigencoon attract some wildlife and one or two landowners have created small lochs for wildlife.


Flooding is one of my pet hobby horses. Flooding has been greatly aggravated by man. Tynron Glen can take part of the share of blame for the flooding in Dumfries.

It is only natural for rivers to flood. That is how the river copes with a sudden excess of water after heavy rain. In trying to stop the river flooding, man has made things worse. The solution in the nineteenth century was to cut out all the Shinnel's natural meanders and to straighten and deepen its course. The present course of the Shinnel is only where man has allowed it to be. The effect of this is that the water travels more rapidly down the river and out of the glen. The Shinnel scours its own bed more effectively, thus incising its course.

The effect on Dumfries of this happening in every glen in the Nith Valley is that a great surge of water arrives at Dumfries all at once and causes serious flooding. Formerly rain was soaked up by the hillsides and released slowly, spending a long time seeping down to the Shinnel. However, the combination of draining hillside farmland, encouraged by misguided Government grants, plus the side drains on the road, aggravated sorely by forestry ditches makes for very fast run-off. It has always surprised me that forestry ditches are ploughed up and down the hill, rather than along the contours. This must lead to rapid soil loss, all of which ends up silting up the rivers, aggravating flooding. I can see that the forestry people might need to drain small areas of land before planting, but otherwise I fail to see why the forestry ditching is done at all. It seems to be done automatically without thought for the consequences.

Although flood defences in Dumfries can be improved (and should have been while they were relandscaping Whitesands in 1996), the solution to Dumfries's serious flooding is to be found in the upland glens. There should be enough land in every glen for the river to flood into. There are suitable stretches along the Shinnel which could be allowed to flood, thus enriching the soil on the floodplain with silt, instead of the silt being washed completely out of the glen. The blame lies with the farmers of the past thinking only of stopping the Shinnel flooding on their land. The cure also lies with the farmers of the present. What is wrong with the Shinnel flooding over farmland, if farmers have, as they do, plenty of warning from the weather forecasts in order to remove stock on low-lying land?

There should be a flood policy for the whole of the Nith catchment area and the latest news is that things are moving in that direction.


One of Tynron's imperfections is the amount of rubbish to be found in the Shinnel and tributaries. Much of this can be blamed on farmers of the past, but now, when rubbish can be dumped very cheaply at Gatelawbridge or even collected by the Council for free, there is no excuse. All Tynron's farmers are proud of their glen, but still there is some rubbish being disposed of in the easiest manner by dumping it in the river. It is a real eye-opener to walk up the Shinnel and see asbestos roofing, building rubbish, corrugated iron, barbed wire, large cans that once contained poisonous chemicals and any number of other items. You name it, it is there.

More than one farm has tipped the whole century's rubbish, including fridges, cookers and washing-machines straight down the nearest bit of the river. Out of sight, out of mind. One farmer has removed some of the Shinnel's last natural meanders by filling them in with farm rubbish such as machinery and old cars. Unfortunately this rubbish eventually gets washed down the river in storms. The prize for the best accumulation goes to the one 50 metres from the Stenhouse summer house, opposite Dalmakerran. See PHOTO *O. Connoisseurs might also appreciate the cleughs by Bennan and Macqueston.

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PHOTO *O Tynronís finest pile of rubbish. Stenhouse Folly in the background.

Rebecca Shaw providing scale.



I have seen slurry spread on fields beside the river and big-bale silage stored by the Shinnel and the poisonous liquid draining into the water. I have heard of sheep-dip being poured straight in, killing many fish. Chemicals from forestry and agricultural sprays end up in the Shinnel. Acid rain and road salt donít help. It is a wonder there are any fish.

Even in 1876 three children of Thomas Gray, the blacksmith at Parkhouse, were poisoned, having drunk water from The Pen, the ditch running from Dalmakerran steading. One died and two were very ill.


In the Ewart Library are two boxes containing many papers appertaining to the MacRae family of Stenhouse. Anne MacRae died in 1982 and all this interesting material was given to the library by the new owners of Stenhouse, instead of being thrown away, as it might have been. The contents include private letters, legal and estate papers, all manner of tradesmenís accounts, school reports, rent statements and photos. I have been through it, but I have by no means read it all. From it an interesting picture emerges of a landed family over a specific period.

Donald MacDonald MacRae was one of ten children born at Kingussie. I have been told that he was in fact adopted, as his father was a gamekeeper on the estate and was shot in a shooting accident. Thatís as maybe, but he was trained for a commercial career and leased Stenhouse estate from Buccleuch in 1892. In the same year he married Rosalie Lloyd, 13th of 14 children, a daughter of the Lloyds Newspapers magnate.

He bought Stenhouse in 1907. By 1909 he owned Parkhouse smithy and Markmony and was renting Birkhill from Laurie of Crawfordton. In 1912 he purchased Kilmark and Strathmilligan, for which he needed a large loan, the terms of which are reproduced in full:




Heritable Subjects in the Parish of Tynron

in the County of Dumfries

1st February, 1912




RATE OF INTEREST OFFERED: 4 per cent per annum.


(FIRST) Stenhouse Estate described in the title deeds relative thereto as, ALL and WHOLE the Mains and Lands of Stenhouse Mill and Multures thereto belonging, and Lands of Margmony, being parts of the Ten Merklands of Stenhouse and ALL and WHOLE the lands of Clackquhounack and teinds, parsonage, and vicarage of the same, with the houses, biggings, yards, orchards, mosses, muirs, meadows, parts, pendicles, and universal pertinents of the said lands lying in the Barony of Glencairn, Parish of Tynron, and Sheriffdom of Dumfries.

(SECOND) The lands of Kilmark and Strathmilligan with the teinds and pertinents thereof, described in the title deeds as

1. ALL and WHOLE the lands of Marquieston now called Marquieston Park, being a part of the Ten Merkland of Stenhouse as sometime possessed by Samuel Williamson and thereafter by James McTurk, Esquire of Stenhouse...

2. ALL and WHOLE the right of property or dominium utile of the Lands of Tinlego alias Tinleoch with the pertinents thereof, together with the teinds, parsonage and vicarage of the same and the woods, fishings, parts, pendicles and pertinents thereof as sometime possessed by Robert Kennedy, together with such part as shall correspond to the said lands of Tinlego of the seat in Tynron Kirk sometime occupied by Walter Wilson of Croglin and his family situated directly opposite to the Pulpit and LASTLY all and WHOLE the lands of Strathmilligan and Kilmark described in the original title deeds thereof as the two Merk and a half Merkland of Strathmilligan and one Merkland of Kilmark with houses, biggings etc...


THE STENHOUSE ESTATE, being the Subjects first above referred to, was purchased by Mr. D.M.MacRae from his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch at Whitsunday 1907, for the sum of £12160; and the lands of KILMARK and STRATHMILLIGAN, being the Subjects second referred to, have been purchased by Mr. MacRae from the said Duke of Buccleuch, with entry at Whitsunday 1912, for the sum of £6900 sterling, making a total purchase price ... of £19060.

The Annual Rentals, per Valuation Roll, in respect of the STENHOUSE ESTATE, are as follows:

Farm and House, Stenhouse.........................£255

Summer House..................................................£2


Stenhouse Cottage............................................£4

House, Smithy and Byre, Parkhouse................£5


Total assessable rental in respect of Stenhouse.........£282

The Annual Rental of the Lands of Strathmilligan... ..£69.1

and the Farm of Kilmark has been let as from Whitsunday 1912 at an annual rental of................................................................................£200


The Annual Burdens, in respect of Stenhouse, are as follows:

Feu Duty....................................£1:17: 4

Land Tax...................................£4: 2: 5

Minister's Stipend....................£10:15: 8

County Rates...........................£11:14: 8

Parish Rates..............................£7: 9: 7

Total Burdens on Stenhouse.................£35:19: 8

The Annual Burdens, in respect of Kilmark and Strathmilligan, are as follows:

Feu Duty..................................£12: 2

Minister's Stipend....................£12:13: 6

County Rates...........................£10: 1: 9

Parish Rates..............................£7:16:11

Total Burdens on K. and S....................£31: 4: 4

Total Burdens.......................................£67: 4:-

Nett Annual Rental of Security Subjects....................£483:17:-



So much historical information is included on such deeds, which are often hidden away.

For tax purposes a valuation roll for Stenhouse Estate was prepared in January 1915. This too is an important local historical document, a copy of which is on the next page.

Donald was a very important man. He was a JP, was on the County Council, chairman of Tynron Parish Council, on the School Board, President of Dumfriesshire Liberal Association, a director of Nithsdale Auction Company and President of Nithsdale Horse Society. He had a finger in every pie. He attended the United Free Church of Glencairn to which he donated an organ in 1900. By 1911 he had what I expect could be the glenís first car.

He was a renowned breeder of Blackface sheep but his pride and joys were his pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle. He was a keen shooter and was responsible for killing thousands of birds, hares, rabbits and occasional deer. His game books show the tally. Blackcock and red grouse were the favourites.

As an example of his liberal views, MacRae proposed splitting Dalmakerran into smallholdings during the First World War. The local Tories would have none of it!




Valuation Roll for Taxes January 1915


























Farm and House,


MacRae, Donald

Macdonald per

David Paterson,

Solicitor, Thornhill






Summer House







House, Markmony




Robert Anderson,




Lodge of Stenhouse




Jas. Robertson,





Stenhouse Cottage




Janet Maxwell,




House, Stenhouse Dairy




D.A.Clement, Cattleman



House, Holmhouse







House, Holmhouse




Hawthorn Gibson,











House of Stenhouse,





R.McGowan, Gardener



House of Stenhouse,








House of Stenhouse,



Wm. Wilson,

Grocerís Assistant





House of Stenhouse,








House of Stenhouse,





Andrew Collow,




Farm and House,



John Glencorse, Farmer





Farm, Kilmark


C.H.Dickie, Farmer, of





House, Kilmark


Burnhead, Thornhill


D.Goudie, Dairyman



House, Tynron Kirk

MacRae, Ivor

Alexander per

David Paterson,

Solicitor, Thornhill

Jessie B.Kennedy, widow





House, Tynron Kirk


Jessie B.Kennedy, widow


Wilfred Barker




Farm and House,



Alexander Brown, Farmer





House, Tynron Kirk


James Laurie, Merchant





Shop and Stores,



James Laurie





Stable and Gig Shed


James Laurie





Grain Store


James Laurie





House, Tynron Kirk



Farmer, Milnton





House, Tynron Kirk




R.Farrow, Chauffeur



House, Tynron Kirk


Alex Gibson, Labourer





House, Tynron Kirk


Elizabeth Coltart, widow





House, Tynron Kirk


Thos. Coulthart,

Farm Foreman





House, Tynron Kirk


Wm. Stitt, Labourer





House, Tynron Kirk


Parish Council





Shop, Tynron Kirk


John Lorimer, Shoemaker





House, Tynron Kirk


Wm. McCartney,






House, Tynron Kirk


Margaret Smith, widow





House, Tynron Kirk


Mary Brown, widow





House and Workshop,

Tynron Kirk


Jas. Reid, Joiner





Shootings, Tynron Kirk








Stenhouse Estate








MacRaes had three children, Annie Marion MacDonald born in ?, Ivor Alexander in 1895 and Ruth Margaret in 1909. Ivor was a blue at football and cricket at Harrow. He joined the KOSB and was a 2nd Lieutenant when he was tragically killed two months into the war and was buried at Bťthune. There are many letters of sympathy and it is clear that Donald never fully recovered from his son's death. Donald died of pneumonia 28th November 1917, aged 52.

In 1913 Donald MacRae bought Kirkland and Tynron Village from Kennedy for his son, Ivor. Ivor's death led to many complications with the ownership of Kirkland.

Rosalie was left with two daughters. There is little about Rosalie, Annie and Ruth in the records and I do not really know much about them. Rosalie set up the Tynron Jubilee Nursing Fund in 1897, which lasted until 1913. She was also a founder member and president of Tynron W.R.I. Rosalie died 2nd November 1935 and is buried in the MacRae plot, which holds a prominent place in Tynron Kirkyard.

The ownership of Tynron Village was transferred to Annie and Ruth after Ivor's death. In 1935 Strathmilligan and Kilnmark were sold to Auchenbrack, but Markmony was retained.

Annie had most to do with the estate and lived at Stenhouse until she died 8th October 1982. She was the last of her kind in the glen. Ruth married circa 1943, became Mrs Walch and moved to near London with Dr. Walch. They would visit Stenhouse in the summer. Ruth died 1st August 1991.

Ivor's name is on the war memorial in Tynron. I believe it was originally financed by the MacRaes, as Ruth certainly had paving stones around the memorial laid in 1929.

There are many fascinating details about the house. Many tradesmen's accounts are in the collection. For example, electric lighting was installed in 1907, using power from the waterwheel to charge batteries. Many alterations had to be made to accomplish this and there were not a few problems with it afterwards. The conservatory was built in 1902 and expensive improvements were gradually made to the house. A complete list of furniture exists ordered from one firm for £522 on entry to the house in 1892. Many of these goods were collected from Crossford Station. In the 1980's the conservatory was taken down and all the furniture and contents were sold in a house sale in 1984.

I was hoping to find something about Stenhouse Tower, the folly, or summer house as it is called on the valuation roll and the loan proposal of 1912. It is a peculiar place and rotting fast by 1996. It consists of one room with a fireplace and fittings, most of which have gone. Access to the roof was gained by an exterior spiral iron staircase, recently wrecked. I believe it was built circa 1909, for reasons unknown, but there are many rumours!

Kirkland was sold in 1951 and has had many occupants since. The present owners have spent a fortune in restoring Kirkland to its former glories.

As for the farm, in 1931 it still employed a cattleman for 23 cattle, a shepherd for 346 sheep on Markmony, a ploughman, a dairywoman, an assistant shepherd and fencer and also a general farm worker.

These six full-timers were augmented by casual workers for the hay. Turnips, oats and cabbages were grown. The farm still had two work mares (old) and 40 hens. In 1931, however, all the pedigree Aberdeen Angus stock was sold at Perth. The farm made a loss most years. Plus Áa change...! There was other income, though, from land and shares.

In 1982, with Annie's death, the estate was broken up. The village houses have all been sold individually and the land has been split up. Most is now in Bennan, only two fields being retained. So a once famous estate is no more and a beautiful steading stands silent.

In the 1691 Hearth Tax *10 John Douglas at Stenhouse had easily the superior house in the glen with 13 hearths in his mansion. MacRae made Stenhouse the pride of the glen again. In the 1990ís there has been much work to modernise Stenhouse, not a few trees have come down and rhododendrons removed.

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In 1696 the Act for Settling of Schools was passed, stating that a school, a schoolmaster and a schoolhouse were to be provided for every parish that did not already have one. Penpont and Glencairn had schools before then, but maybe there was not one at Tynron.

However, there was a school in Tynron by 1703, when the minister, Riddell, and kirk-session were "satisfied with the conversation (behaviour), fidelity and diligence of their schoolmaster". We know of schoolmasters appointed 1721-1745, but some did not stay long, as things did not always run smoothly. The schoolmaster was appointed on a salary of £22 per annum by the church to instruct in the principles of the Christian religion, to teach to read and write well, to cast accounts, to sing psalms at church and in private families and to teach any other parts of learning as were thought proper. Tynronís peasantry were as well educated as any in the world.

John Gibson

Things improved further in 1754 when the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge in Scotland was bequeathed £1,500 by John Gibson, a former Tynronian. The endowed school was erected by the Duke of Queensberry in Tynron village in 1765 and consisted of a large schoolroom (Tynron's main meeting-place in the nineteenth century) and two-storey accommodation for the teacher.

Gibson's bequest was unusual, as it was also to help the poor. £13 per annum was given between 12 needy people, each getting 10 shillings cash and 10 shillings worth of flax. The remaining £1 was to be split between the four or five who had made best use of the flax. Thus was industry encouraged. Gibson's help also meant that scholars could be sent on to university, even if from a poor family. I wonder what has happened to the money now? It must be still around somewhere.

The parish school up the glen at the house now called Glendow was opened some years later. It is first mentioned in 1786 in the Wilson Papers, then in 1789 in the parish registers when the schoolmaster, John Watson and Mary Seaton produced Mary, the first of enough children to populate the school themselves!

In 1836 there were 46 pupils at the endowed school of 63 places. 34 places were filled of the 36 at the parish school.

Religion, Latin, Greek, Writing and Arithmetic were taught. The schools taught in English and proved the final death knell for Gaelic, previously accelerated by the 1707 Act of Union. The last Gaelic speaker in Tynron may have died in the early eighteenth century. By 1893 attendances had fallen in line with the population to 36 at the endowed school and 18 at the parish school.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1872 meant that school boards were appointed. In 1991 we went through the same process again, but unlike nowadays, there was no problem filling the places on the board. The first board was:

Rev. David Couper Minister of Tynron

Robert Kennedy Dalmakerran

Adam Brown Bennan

Thomas Haining Laight

James Laurie Merchant, Tynron Kirk

They set the salary and fees, they organised repairs and even set the timetable. The salary then was £82 plus the sewing mistress (I am not sure I have written that correctly!). The whole of the school's money went to the teacher's salary, so the teacher was left to provide for school expenses out of his salary in any way he pleased.

James Shaw was always present at these meetings, pressing for improvements, although not a member of the board! The minutes of the meetings at both schools 1872-1919 are all available at the Ewart Library and they make fascinating reading.

The log book for Tynron Endowed School 1874-1939 is also available at the Ewart. The Endowed School in 1874 had 23 boys and 17 girls and their teacher was John Laurie, 1863-1908. If you want to see John Laurieís testimonials, see Mrs Pollockís cuttings (see references at back).

Attendance was not always regular. On 9th October 1874 the school was hit by "potato raising" and the school closed in the afternoon. The turnip hoeing was another slack time at school in late June or early July. Older boys especially were often off school through helping with farm work. Laurie then had to suffer the "big boys" coming back en masse at slack periods on the farms.

Absences in 1874 November-December included those for outdoor work, funeral, teacher ill, whooping cough and a severe snowstorm. Epidemics of measles often closed the school.

On 25th December 1874 snow was lying thickly on the ground with intense frost. Children were suffering from chilled feet and hands, relieved by a little extra drill! The work of the school was rather slack, but mental arithmetic, to which special importance was attached, made good progress. A present of oranges from the Minister of the Parish was sent in this morning and joyfully accepted. The school was closed in the afternoon. Well, it was Christmas Day! A Christmas tradition was for the children to give the schoolmaster a present in return for a week's holiday. The teacher gave all the children an orange and the heritors often brought them some fruit or chocolate.

In 1880 there were 55 children on the roll, so many that the schoolroom was overcrowded, when all the children were present. The heritors provided the money at once to build the addition to the schoolroom. In 1884 there was a "Compulsory Officer", but children were still kept off for trivial excuses. So much so that Laurie wrote "many absentees yet. Believe the School Board has a Compulsory Officer somewhere".

Attendances were below twenty by 1918 and the endowed school was finally closed in 1939. The final sad entry in the book, dated 1st May 1939 is "School closed today. Pupils transferred to Penpont". There were only eight children involved.

The glen school remained open until about 1958 when there were 10 or 12 pupils, though between 1951 and 1956 there were never more than 5 pupils. How interesting and ironic that there are many more children in Tynron Glen in the 1980's and 90's. Two minibuses are needed to take children to Penpont Primary and Wallace Hall Academy, where my own children were very well educated.

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*29 James Shaw, Tynronís

Country Schoolmaster, 1862-1896


Some might say Tynron is no village, but a hamlet, a clachan in fact. It has no shop and few facilities. It has a postbox * , an old red telephone box ( and a village hall. The shop finally closed in the seventies and now people shop locally at Penpont or over the hill in Moniaive. The more adventurous go to Thornhill and most people will forage in the supermarkets in Dumfries at least once a month. Without a car you are stuck! The heart has gone from the village with the loss of the school and the shop.


Willie Wilson calls 1870-1914 the Golden Years of Tynron. The village was lively with all the children. Various tradesmen flourished there, joiners, the shopkeeper, a wheelwright, a blacksmith at Parkhouse and a shoemaker. Many women were lace-makers, dressmakers, milliners, spinners and weavers. In the 1851 census there were:

George Black, his wife and 7 children, blacksmith at Parkhouse.

Alexander Gracie, tailor.

Thomas Smith and 7 children, joiner.

Alexander Fraser, sawyer.

David Wallace, shoemaker.

Janet Muirhead, dressmaker.

Gradually these trades died out, as goods from the cities became widely available. Jimmy Reid, the joiner, was still working in 1938 at Tynron Kirk.

Searching the records it is possible to find out the names of the folk who did these jobs. For instance, the merchants known are:

George Amuligane 1549

William Wishart 1681

John Grierson 1734

William Irving died 1757

Jacob Carruthers 1770

James Williamson died 1826

Robert Hyslop from 1826

another James Williamson 1837-51 at least

William Hyslop died 1865

James Laurie 1857 assistant, then 1868-1914

William Wilson 1914-1959 (apprentice from 1897)

Marion Pollock until it closed


There was a tanyard at Kirkland. There was a newspaper advert for Tynron Tanyard to be let from Whitsun 1806, lately occupied by deceased Mr Kennedy of Kirkland, with a number of pits, large drying sheds, an excellent bark mill and bark loft with utensils for tanning and skinning. There was an abundance of water. (The lead still runs through Kirkland front garden.) Also a large quantity of oak bark and a convenient dwelling house.

Tynron Kirk Whisky

The famous Tynron Kirk Whisky was made for the shop in the second half of the nineteenth century by Laurie, the shopkeeper. It was blended in the churchyard and used water from the well behind Kirkland Farmhouse. This well is still open. The bonded store was in Kirkland Farmhouse, which still has the iron bars in the window beside the garage.

Laurie had the contract for supplying the Houses of Parliament with whisky.


Willie Wilson took the whisky business over with the shop, but gave it up when the Houses of Parliament contract was lost. It was apparently lost when the quality dropped and competition from big companies overwhelmed this tiny enterprise. Rumour has it that Wilson watered the whisky down so much that they even noticed at Westminster! Parliament then sent a letter of complaint and also pointed out that this was an illegal still. Previously they had turned a blind eye to this.

Wilson then told the MacRaes that he had stopped making the whisky. The MacRaes being temperance approved of this and dropped his rent (or so the story goes). There is a 5 gallon jar (empty!) of Tynron Kirk whisky in Dumfries Museum and another at Maxwelton Museum. Macara was still blending and bottling whisky in Moniaive early this century.

Robert Burns would have tied his pony up outside the shop in the course of his duties as exciseman touring the local parishes. One of his round trips from Ellisland was Thornhill-Penpont-Tynron-Crossford-Dunscore. One visit to "Tyneron" is recorded in his handwriting at the exhibition at the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries.

Jimmy Laurie from the shop sold his wares at all the glen's farms and bartered produce too, using a horse and cart. He is pictured on the right of the old photo *30a. His nephew, Willie Wilson, born in Moniaive, started as his apprentice then took over the lease of the shop in 1914. William Wilson died 18 April 1969. He had retired in 1959 after 61 years working for the post office. "W. A. Wilson" can still be read above the post office door. He was an elder for 40 years and was awarded the B.E.M. The story goes that Wilson was such a skinflint that he did not go to the Palace to receive his award as it meant shutting the shop for the day.

Another tale says that he used to use yesterday's papers to wrap up deliveries, but then charged his customer half-price for the paper! Wilson carried paraffin on his cart, the smell of which permeated everything else. Mr Maxwell of Kirkconnel can remember buying cigarettes and as change was paid by Wilson in matches, patiently counted out. Wilson was a well-loved character, about whom there is a fund of stories. He was the first to bring a tractor to Tynron in the first war. Owning a tractor, he then was classed as an agricultural contractor and thus exempt from the call-up!

When Wilson retired, his niece, Marion Pollock, kept the shop open for a while into the sixties, then just the post office into the seventies. In the latter years the shop did not have much stock. The post office building was empty for a few years, then sold by Miss MacRae to Kevin and Gill Bailey in 1982.

Jim Glencorse

Regarding the whisky and much else too, Jim Glencorse's reminiscences of the glen this century are really worth reprinting from Matt Mundellís article from the Standard May 1981:

The Glen of Change

Jim (85) recalls the drovers and the three bob local whisky!

Beside a spindly glen road, over which he long since walked his lambs and ewes to market and where he collected groceries from a packmanís cart, Jim Glencorse is again watching the start to one of the outbye worldís most critical seasons, the hill lambing.

The forthcoming weeks of struggle, as each dawn unveils its unpredictable menu of successes, disappointments, joys and sorrows to the regionís upland sheep men, will jog many memories for Jim, whose first steps in a lambing field were taken before the turn of the century.

In over 80 years of dwelling in the same quiet burnside Jim Glencorse has seen many changes in his home, Shinnel Glen. While progress has remoulded dramatically many south-west valleys through mechanisation, new farming techniques, stock intensification and improvement, timber encroachment, holiday homes and fewer herdings, Jim remembers clearly some of the bygone daysí colourful happenings around Tynron:

  • The big droves of sheep coming over the hills from Lanark on their way to the Stewartry.
  • His own days of droving to Thornhill, when the roads were dotted every 20 yards with flocks from surrounding glenways.
  • Ploughing and drilling one day on the steep braes with Clydesdales and Half-Bred horses.
  • The world-famed Tynron Kirk blended whisky.
  • The weekly "mobile shop" - a horse and sheeted spring cart.
  • The big "neighbourings" at the sheep clippings.

All these features have gone now. So too has Tynron Upper School, where Jim was a pupil until he left at 14 years of age to work on his fatherís nearby Strathmilligan farm, where he had already been a big help at the lambing for several years prior to leaving the school desk.

"It was a big mistake when they started closing down these country schools. You could learn all you needed to know there," said Jim, who recalls some pupils from the likes of outbye Shinnelhead at the head of the glen having to walk several miles daily to their one teacher school. "I have seen them weel drookit many a morning when they came in," he said.

The Upper School is now a dwelling-house. All these youngsters would no doubt be from farming and shepherding families, but the takeover by forestry in these straths and the economic need to merge herdings has trimmed back considerably on glen folk employed in farming.

Several of the farms in these early days had as many as three shepherds. Strathmilligan, a 230 acre unit stocking five score of Blackface ewes and Ayrshire cows crossed with a Dairy Shorthorn bull, was always a family farm and Jim, who is 85 years old in July, has never lived beyond its sight. He himself took over the tenancy from his late father, John, in 1937 and retired into his home at Glenburn at the farm road end when well past the pension age.

Strathmilligan had also about 40 to 50 acres of arable ground and four or five acres were broken each year. Jim was still young when he started behind the Clydesdale horse and the swing plough. But for some of the other work, such as drilling, he preferred the Half-Bred horses. "They were smarter on their feet and easier kept and had an advantage with their smaller feet on top of the furrows." The lea always had to be ploughed one way, down the steep hill, even with horses.

His recollections of what he admits were far happier days include his treks to Thornhill with the farmís sheep. For a Saturday sale the stock was sometimes driven down the glen on a Friday and was put in a field overnight near Carronbridge. "You needed a good dog for that job and they got keen on this work."

"We were lucky sometimes if we got as much as £1 for lambs," says Jim. "There were some big sales though, probably as big as they are now."

He can remember too the days his father walked calving heifers over to Moniaive station for entraining to sales at Castle Douglas. One nearby farmer, John Wallace of Macqueston, Jim recollects, cycled to Castle Douglas mart in the morning to buy heifer calves, cycled back home and then spent an hour or so sowing grain or working in the garden.

Jimís own droving tramps to Thornhill took only a few hours. They were jovial days for the shepherds and farmers. "I have seen the road lined with stock as far as you could see, heading for the sales. Maybe a drove every 20 yards with folk from Moniaive and even Dalry travelling them."

Prior to that there were the days when mighty droves of sheep passed the farm loaning on their way over the hill tracks from Lanark sales, heading to the Stewartry. There are still signs of the old pad coming over from Auchenhessnane past Pinzarie and Jim himself has taken stock on its continuation over from Birkhill to come out near Hastings Hall at Moniaive. "It was a well-worn road," he said.

The mode of transport changed, but before the likes of Alex Wood started to haul stock in and out of the Penpont glens by cattle float, there was still the likes of grocer, Jimmy Laurie,

from Tynron selling his wares weekly at all the glenís farmsteads and cottages from his horse and cart. The only protection for the goods heaped in boxes on the spring cart, including far famed thick black tobacco, was a sheet. But Jimmy Laurie carted provisions up the water summer and winter.

He had another claim to fame for the whisky which he blended. Tynron Kirk Whisky was sent at one time to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The old jars carrying the Tynron Kirk Whisky imprint are now collectorsí items, if you can find one. The 80 proof whisky sold at three shillings a 5 gill bottle and the 70 proof at 2s 6d. "I have heard some people say you only needed two halves. That was enough."

The grocery business was taken over by William Wilson, who had worked for Laurie since he was a youngster and whose wage at one time was reported as being a pair of boots and a suit of clothes.

Jim Glencorse can still remember the first motor vehicle which came up the Shinnel. "Everybody was running to see it" His own method of travelling has changed little, for he still bikes to Tynron on a cycle he bought in the 1920ís and which he has kept in good working order since.

For a hill farmer the vagaries of the weather can bring bitter recollections. Jim vividly recalls the 26th and 27th April 1919. "That was a bad storm, the worst. We were just in the middle of the lambing. The snow began at 11 oíclock and I thought it was just a shower, which would go past. But we could not see the dykes at night. There were lambs buried galore. They were all right if they were at the dykeback with some shelter."

"Then 1947 was bad too. There were a terrible number of lambs lost that year. It rained for a whole week without stopping. The wind would have blown the coat off you. There were lambs lying in the morning on their backs with their bellies turned up and their mothers were away getting shelter. Where there were burns an awful lot of lambs were washed away."

In the changing fortunes of the glen, Jim reckons the introduction of modern veterinary aids helped improve the sheep stock and led to higher lambing percentages. That and pasture improvement.

But it was always hard to make a profit, he contended. "I remember there used to be a lot of corn grown on the hills before my day. The ministers were paid with the crop, but if it was grown beyond the dyke the minister could not claim it."

The social scene has changed too in Shinnel. Jim used to bowl at a house, long demolished, called Clodra, and here too they held many enjoyable invitation-only dances, some surviving from 7p.m. to 5a.m. He remembers walking back home from a dance once in Scaur Water and finding the family sitting at breakfast when he arrived back. He had then to change clothes and get onto the road and walk two heifers to Thornhill market. One did not make the required price, so he drove them home, where one promptly gave birth to twin calves.

There are plenty of reminiscences too about the sheep shearing. Jim was buister, the youngster who puts on the flock brand with Archangel tar, at many clippings even before leaving school. He has seen as many as 13 men clipping at the neighbourings, which brought together all the sheepmen from the glens.

"There were some happy days. Even the folk were different too somehow," said Jim.

Glencorse is an old family name in Tynron, but now Jim has died and he was the last Glencorse in the glen. Browns of Macqueston and Telfers in Parkhouse are the main families with deep roots now in Tynron. The oldest inhabitant, until she moved in 1993, was 86 year old Miss Annie Watson of Stenhouse Lodge. Annie was born in the mining village of Kirkconnel and came to Killiewarren as a servant in 1919 straight out of school. In 1941 she moved to Stenhouse.

The first substantial buildings in Tynron after the school were in 1785 when Kirkland and its farmhouse were built and also the manse with its 14 acre glebe in 1786. The farmhouse is one of the few places with a date over the door. The kirk cottages would be of much the same age. They would have replaced the previous damp houses. The kirk cottages were rebuilt about 1860, when some houses were still thatched. Lann Hall was apparently built in 1745, making it the second oldest building in Tynron.


The kirk is sited on a prominent knoll on top of the remains of many previous kirks. Tynron village has gathered round the kirk at a river crossing and a minor road junction.


Names and details of the ministers since 1540 can be found in Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, available in the Ewart, but here is an abbreviated list:

Robert Welsh 1540-1568 was probably a monk from Holywood.

William Taylor 1568-1604? was previously in Penpont and Glencairn. He renounced the Papish religion.

Richard Brown 1604-1645

John Lidderdale 1644-1662 was deprived of this charge on the establishment of Episcopacy.

Robert Ramsay 1664-1677 was presented by Charles II and thus conformed to Episcopacy.

David Laing 1677-1689 deserted his charge at the Restoration.

John Murray 1691-1700 first minister after the Restoration of 1689.

Simon Riddell 1701-1743 in 1715 marched to Stirling against the Jacobites with several parishioners.

Thomas Wilson 1743-1780 was the first minister presented by the Duke of Queensberry. He was a Wilson of Croglin.

James Wilson 1780-1827 nephew of above. Had 6 daughters and 2 sons.

Robert Wilson 1828-1870 was related to the above. He was the first minister known to have been born in Tynron, at Auchengibbert.

He had eight daughters before he had his only son.

David Couper 1871-1906 was seen as a squire as well as a minister. He had two daughters, three maids, a laundry woman, a coachman and a gardener-cum-odd-job-man.

Samuel Gilfillan Carmichael 1906-1938.

There is a story worth repeating about the Rev. Carmichael. Next to the manse was a piece of land where tinkers used to stay and one day when they moved on they left a dead donkey. The minister asked the council when they were going to remove the corpse. The man from the council replied that he thought the minister was responsible for dealing with the dead of the parish. Carmichael, who was much of a character, then stated that he was just informing next of kin!

The last minister was John McWilliam from 1938-65. He was a well-known birdwatcher, President of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club no less. He is said to have spent all his time on birds, while his wife did the parish work. He was Irish and was often so moved by his own preaching that he had tears in his eyes.

When McWilliam died the manse was quickly sold, renamed The Garth and Tynron sadly ceased to be a separate parish, when it was linked with Glencairn and Moniaive on 27 November 1966. Rev. John Richard from Glencairn manse then served Tynron until his retirement in 1976. Then there was another change when Tynron was linked with Penpont and Keir. Rev. James Wilkie was in charge until 1994, when Robert Gehrke took over at Penpont. McWilliam pointed out that no Tynron minister had ever left to take on another charge! Make what you will of that!

Along with every other small kirk the threat of closure has hung heavily over Tynron church. It has not survived and another facet of old village life is gone. The church is for sale. What will become of it?

Tynron ChurchX

The first substantial church was built just after 1700, but there was a succession of older buildings before that going back to the twelfth century and there is a long association with St. Cuthbert. Cuthbert was an Anglo-Saxon, a monk and later bishop of Lindisfarne. Cuthbert may not have visited this area, but his remains were transported round the country after Lindisfarne fell to the Danes in 875.

The communion cups date back to 1610. Half the roof of the church of 1700 fell down in 1750, but unfortunately freestone from Tynron Doon was used to rebuild it. There were further major repairs in 1787 which made the church comfortable except when snow penetrated the crevices in the roof!

Tynron Kirk was again in a ruinous state in 1834 and the present building was built in 1837 for £975 by John Dalyell of Minnyhive. The architect was William Burn of George Street, Edinburgh. His plans are in the RCAHMS in Edinburgh and it seems that he initially envisaged a simple rectangular building.

The church was rebuilt in 1889 when there was a fashionable wedding to reopen it, Marion Brown, daughter of Adam Brown at Bennan. There were huge crowds and schoolchildren were given a bag of edibles and a sixpence.

The heritors were liable for the upkeep of the kirk. Even in 1912 Mr. MacRae was being asked for a levy of two pence in the pound rental to meet the cost of new windows. MacRae duly paid his share, £2.7s. MacRae also had to pay £23.9.2 towards the minister's stipend.

Until fairly recently pew rents were paid by the heritors, whereby pews would be reserved for the family and servants. In 1908 Mr MacRae from Stenhouse enquired as to how much pew space the MacRaes were entitled to. The total pew length was duly measured, the Duke of Buccleuch consulted, and MacRaes were allotted two seats and a bit. (The majority of the pews were allocated to Buccleuch). See *31 to see how this was allocated. This was even though the MacRaes themselves attended the Free Church in Dunreggan.

Some Tynronians had left the Church of Scotland with the formation of the evangelical Free Church in 1843 and had to make the long walk over the hill to the new kirk at the end of Dunreggan, now in ruins. Some preferred the Cameronians at Scaur church in Penpont.

James Shaw gave this account of births, marriages and deaths 1865-95:

On Sundays waggon loads of children, carefully packed in straw, presided over by the maternal or paternal owner, or both, would pass my home on the road to the church. Wives and maidens, who could not command such a conveyance, walked past, their shoes and stockings in a napkin, ready to be put on at the rivuletís side nearest the church. At that time the greater part of the families in my district were Cameronian or Reformed Presbyterian. At the present time the Parish Church has the greater number of adherents, and it being a much nearer place of worship, these modes of travelling are wearing out.

Ever since I came to Tynron, the child enters the Christian Church on a secular day. Neighbours are invited and the table groans with every kind of food. Butter (salt, fresh or powdered), bacon and eggs, sweet milk and skimmed milk cheese, potato scones, soda scones, drop scones, treacle scones, tea and a dram are part of the fare. The shepherds have a very restricted number of baptismal names. At one time the fourth of my schoolboys were "William".

Weddings are celebrated in the same hospitable and jovial style. I have sat in a barn or cheese-room, the walls of which were lined with sheeting to protect our clothes, the floor sawdusted for dancing. The built-in boiler was transposed into a platform for the fiddlers. The tea was taken in relays. The minister, schoolmaster and small gentry occupied seats at the first table, which, along with forms for sitting on, was improvised from slabs for the occasion.

The commoner folk and young herds were next regaled at a second spread, while the elders smoked tobacco outside. The dances did not consist of walking, simpering and circling round each other with planetary regularity, but were like those that took place in Alloway church, as far as noise, life and motion were concerned. Towards morning came that awful ordeal, the pillow dance, or "Bob at the bolster", an ingenious method of picking out the bonny and weel-liked and placing the less distinguished at the bottom of the class. The best man having picked out the bride, it next became her turn to throw the handkerchief to whomsoever she chose. The happy swain knelt as she stooped. The fiddlers shrieked a minuendo and the last kiss that ever alien lips should secure was wrested from the bride.

Funerals were well attended and the custom of having a service prevailed and only began to thin out after I entered the parish. I was told by a well-wisher to get acquainted with the people and to attend all the sheep shearings and funerals to which I was invited. The attendance at funerals is diminishing and generally a few gigs now pick up all the mourners. The exodus of young men and daughters into the large towns reacts on provincial simplicity. I witnessed wreaths of flowers heaped on the coffin of an old Cameronian, whose opinion, I am certain, had never been taken on the matter. The humblest family must have a memorial stone.

In the 1950's, 25 or 30 attended weekly services, but recently services have been restricted to just one a month at Tynron, run from Penpont, as part of the Penpont, Keir and Tynron Parish. Nevertheless the church and churchyard are kept in good condition by the council and a Covenanters Trail signpost has been erected. The kirk is surprisingly big inside and will hold some 314 people. The only time it does, though, is at the occasional wedding or funeral.

The oldest tombstone is of 1683, John Douglas of Stenhouse. From the opposite side of the religious spectrum is the stone of William Smith the Covenanter, but this stone dated 1685 is much later than the event. There is a 1692 stone of the Wilson family of Croglin and early 1700's stones of Glencorse and Brownrigg, old Tynron Families. Older graves are there but they have no stones. Most gravestones were made from Gatelawbridge sandstone, which has lasted fairly well. For a complete list of gravestones see Rev. McWilliam's exhaustive survey in TDGNHAS.

Village Hall

The Tynron Parish Hall was created about 1927-8. It was formed from a joiner's workshop and stable, which properties were gifted by Misses MacRae. One of the original aims was to house the village library. It was also stipulated by the MacRaes in the agreement that no intoxicating liquor was to be sold on the premises. So what happens at dances now is a continual disappearance of the participants to their cars for a medicinal tot! Needless really, as there was also a stipulation that alcohol could be consumed in the hall on special occasions

Tynron Womenís Rural Institute

There had been great pressure for the building of a new hall in the twenties from the newly formed Tynron W.R.I., who had nowhere to meet, with the school hall not always being available. Tynron W.R.I. has been going strong ever since. Competitions held have included:

cardboard box covered in wallpaper

potato peeling


bowl from a gramophone record


footstool made from syrup tins

neatest ankles

apron made out of a flour bag

best sixpenny supper for one person

peeling potato blindfolded.

neatest parcel of a pair of shoes

Tynron W.R.I. cards as early as 1924 are in the MacRae collection. See *32a&b. At that time the women would walk down the glen in the dark evenings, carrying their lights. As each lady saw the lights coming, she would know it was time to leave the house and join the merry party walking down the glen road.

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The village hall got a new car park in 1993 to go with the alterations which have put in Velux windows in the roof and repaired the flat roof. A grant has been obtained for this work, but materials and help have also been freely given by the folk of Tynron. The newly renovated and freshly painted hall is still used for Tynron Rural, carpet bowling, Halloween parties, dances, meetings and as a polling station.

Tynron Community Council meets regularly to decide on all the local issues. See *33.

  • Gas

A gasometer was marked on the 1856 and 1900 OS maps. It was sited by Lann Hall farmhouse and, as far as I can tell, must have supplied the village, as happened in Moniaive.

  • Electricity

Electricity came through the village in 1931-3. It was supplied by Dumfriesshire County Council from the Penpont-Moniaive line, though I am not sure how many houses in the village were connected, if any! The lines were low voltage and could only supply lighting, which cost £1 per room per annum. Stenhouse, of course, had been generating their own electricity from a water-wheel since 1907.

It was not until 1954 that the South-West Scotland Electricity Board put up an 11 kilovolt line and supplied Tynron's outlying farms and cottages with enough to power all the latest gadgets available.

In 1991 new street lights were put up. One resident remarked that they no longer need to go to Blackpool for the illuminations! Nowadays unlimited power is available to every house and is taken for granted. How people complain nowadays if the power goes off for an hour or two!

  • Water Supply

Until 1924 the church, school and village were supplied from a tank situated above the church. The new village hall would have needed more water and there was already scarcely enough for the rest, so a new supply was laid on from Auchengibbert Linn above Kirkland.

The 1950's brought mains water. Nowadays water comes from Kettleton Reservoir, constructed in 1938, but this only goes up the glen to the two bridges. Water from Kettleton is gravity-fed into a tank at Auchengibbert, refurbished in 1991, from where it is piped down to the village.

Farms like Auchenbrack still have their own source from the hillside. Auchenbrack's water kept flowing even in the tremendous drought of summer 1984, but barely.

Penpont's water supply used to come from the spring across the road from Clonrae.

  • Public Services

The nearest police station is at Thornhill, but it is not manned all the time. A police car is almost a rarity in Tynron and sets all the tongues wagging. The fire engine has to come from Thornhill. Doctors from Moniaive and Thornhill and the district nurse provide an excellent service. Dumfries Infirmary deals with most of the hospital cases. The yellow library van travels up to Glenburn regularly. The mobile shop has stopped visiting recently, but there is still the fish van.

  • Buses

The motor car has all but killed off the bus services, but even in 1996 two buses and a daily postbus call in the village, connecting the glen with Thornhill, Moniaive and Dumfries. More regular buses run along the Clone road and do not call in at Tynron village, but they too are little used, as almost everyone uses a car.

  • Trains

Thornhill railway station opened in 1850. Now trains can be caught at Dumfries, Sanquhar (reopened 1994) or Kirkconnel, though the line is under threat and services reduced. The Glencairn branch ran from Dumfries to Moniaive from 1905-43. Plans were drawn up at the turn of the century for a railway line from Thornhill to Moniaive, which would have passed over the Clone. It never came to fruition, so Tynron missed having its own station.

Life in Tynron?

There is still some life in Tynron, but no longer is agriculture the only raison d'Ítre. The kirk cottages have been bought by the National Trust for Scotland, beautifully refurbished and sold on to suitable buyers. They have improved the appearance of the village and a good thing too, as one visitor was moved to write to the Standard about the appalling state of Tynron. Unfortunately, this letter was written while the post office was being done up and before Rose Cottage and the kirk cottages were improved. Tynron Kirk is now tidy, almost twee. Now planning permission has been gained, despite opposition, for a new house by the kirk cottages, now being built in 1996. No new house has been built in the glen since the fifties. It is extremely surprising that anyone is allowed to put up a new building in Tynron and now land has been cleared for a small new settlement at Lann Hall by the lodge.

Tynron village was made a conservation area in 1989 by Nithsdale District Council to stop the village being spoiled. This allows for the planned bungalow on the Island field. It is an eye-opener to see this 1.9 acre site valued at £32,000.

New residents are likely to be outsiders, some escaping from Scotlandís cities, some from overcrowded and overpriced England and either retired or working in Dumfries. By and large the "holiday home" crisis has not yet hit Tynron, though, as elsewhere, properties are out of reach of first-time buyers. Lann Hall and Kirkland are holiday homes at present and it seems outrageous that the National Trust for Scotland has made the newly-renovated corner cottage a holiday home. The community has protested that this is something the N.T.S. should not be encouraging.

Tynron has the same problem as every other small community. Its sons and daughters leave as soon as they can, as there are no jobs and no houses available. Are these children of Tynron ever likely to return to stay?

The blessing or curse of tourism has not really hit Tynron. Not a holiday caravan nor a bed and breakfast. Not yet. The sight of a caravanette driving up the glen is still a novelty. Perhaps it is fortunate that the glen road is no-through-road and the steep hill to Moniaive protects Tynron from tourists. And yet Tynron Glen is as attractive as any in Scotland. Some would say that it is a good thing to be hidden away in the top left-hand corner of Dumfriesshire.


The Auld Alliance Twinning Association of Keir, Tynron, Penpont and Dunscore has been very active. Tynronians have visited villages in L'Oise Department in France and the reciprocal visit of the French picked out the one wet day of June 1995.

The Hen Hoose

The Hen Hoose took over the buildings formerly used by the battery farm at Lann Hall in 1993. What an unlikely setting for an ambitious venture, restoring furniture and providing a centre for arts and crafts mainly for women. The bric-ŗ-brac and the tearoom are certainly aimed at the tourist market and are attracting visitors into Tynron.

At least Tynron has enjoyed something it has not often done before - 50 years of peace. History shows that this will not last for long, but let us enjoy it while it lasts. The next war might be the last...

Football, Cricket and Sports

A late football result:

1896 Tynron 1 Moniaive 0, played on Tynron ground, the glebe.

Whatever happened to that fixture?

Cricket used to be played too at Stenhouse, even before the First World War. There is a photo of a team from 1922 in the Ewart, when they played on the field over the road from the village houses.

Sports were held too in the field by the village or on Dalmakerran Holm, especially on jubilees and other royal events.

Carpet Bowling

Carpet bowling is the big sport still played in Tynron. As late as 1958 it was still played in the old village hall 3 kilometres up the glen at Clodderoch, (pronounced Clodrie), now less than a ruin. Tynron Bowling Club were the tenants of Clodderoch in the 1930's. Looking at the ruins of Clodderoch in the 1990ís it is difficult to imagine it being big enough for bowling and the village dances. But it was! The 1851 census showed six McCaws living there. In 1881 there were seven MacDuffs in Clodderoch.


Tynron's great traditional sport has been curling. John Laurie's pamphlet "Curling Songs of Tynron" 1870-6 has this wee poem:

Oor bonnie loch, the news is brocht

Wi' twa-inch haup is cled

A braver sheet, mair true an' sweet

King Johnny never spread.

In 1861 Tynron Curling Society was formed. There were games long before this, but nothing organised. In 1865 Tynron Core had a rink in fine condition.

There are many references in the newspapers to AGM's and matches in the nineteenth century. The curling loch was Aird Loch, which was somewhat smaller than at present, and Tynron's successful years were the 1860's and 1870's. Back in 1863 they had used a sheet of ice in a neighbouring parish. The new loch at Craigturra was in use by 1886, when Aird Loch was "open and exposed". There were still three rinks in 1910 and curling was brilliant in the 1930's, when there was lots of ice. Tynron Curling Club was still renting the pond from Buccleuch in 1939 for one shilling per annum, and I imagine curling would have stopped during the war or just after.

In 1996 Craigturra Loch is overgrown with willows and totally unusable. Aird Loch could still be used, but it is difficult to imagine more than a very few days in the 1980's or 1990's when a suitable thickness of ice would have been formed. Perhaps a long term climatic change helped to put an end to curling.

Gardens and Crafts

The Glencairn and Tynron Amateurs', Cottagers' and Gardeners' Horticultural Society is in its 117th year in 1996. In Moniaive in August all sorts of garden and industrial produce is exhibited and Tynron is quite well represented.

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PHOTO *P The Endowed School in Tynron, where John Laurie taught



The first census of the parish was taken by Alexander Webster in 1755, as things were improving in Tynron:

1755 464 including 92 and four-fifths fighting men.

1793 500

1801 563

1811 574 Culmination of Improvements and farming expansion.

1821 513 Post-war decline, reduced prices and increase in farm size.

1831 493

It is interesting that Tynron was one of only two parishes in Dumfriesshire showing a population reduction 1801-31. Glencairn increased by 665 and Penpont by 266 in that same period.

1851 482

1861 446

1871 381 Drift to towns and cities. Less farm workers needed.

1881 416 Gentry houses empty in census month of April.

1891 359

1901 334

1911 309 Continual drift away from the land.

1921 315

1931 295 Mechanisation of farms.

1951 244

1961 205

1971 166 Forestry taking up agricultural land, but providing few, if any, jobs.

1991 estimated 140 folk in Tynron Glen, the lowest population of any parish in Dumfriesshire. Can this figure get any lower? There are few jobs locally, but as Tynron is a desirable place of residence, surely numbers cannot drop further?


These figures include the part of the parish up the Scaur, but not the part of the Shinnel Glen in Keir parish. The total population of Tynron Glen has always been therefore slightly less than the figures above.

In 1801 there were 101 inhabited houses and 5 uninhabited. 336 people were employed in agriculture, 27 in trade, manufacture or handicraft.

In 1831 there were 90 inhabited houses, i.e. 5Ĺ people per house. There were 80 people in the village. 170 children under 15 lived in the glen.

In 1990 there are 58 inhabited houses with about 140 people, i.e. less than 2Ĺ people per house. The houses were much smaller in 1831!

The electoral rolls for 1913 and 1988 are printed here. See *34 and *35. They are a treasure trove of information. In 1913 there were 66 voters on the list, all men, of course! Some women got the vote in 1918. In 1988 there were 114 voters. Not many surnames are on both lists.

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Prehistoric Roads

These would have been just tracks through the forest, so for evidence of these tracks to be preserved would need a stroke of good fortune. There would have been some well-trodden paths, but perhaps not much in the way of through routes, as Tynron is hardly on a major crossroads or valley route.

Roman Roads

When the Romans built their well-known road up Nithsdale, there is a tradition that there was a spur road up the glen, crossing Colt Hill at the top of the glen.

Pre-Improvement Roads

Unmade roads and tracks continued to be used until the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth century tenants had horses, which were used for bringing in crops from fields, transporting peat and stone and performing carriage services for the landlord, i.e. delivering cain rents or taking produce to market.

Unmade roads made wheeled vehicles impractical, so pack animals were used, for instance a horse could carry 2 cwt of wool. Heavier loads could be pulled by oxen or by using slypes for hauling hay, stone or peat. There would have been a few heavy two-wheeled carts drawn by a single horse. It was a good day's work to get to Dumfries market with a cart.

Slypes or sleds drawn by horses were still used in Torthorwald in 1750, but were only a memory by 1790. They were replaced by two- or four-wheeled carts pulled by horses, or Queensberry might have had some heavier ox-drawn wagons.

Improving Roads

Narrow, unsurfaced, rutted, uneven, all roads were quagmires in wet weather.

Tynron, however, lay on the direct route, the post road, between Edinburgh and Galloway. This was the pilgrimage road to Whithorn and kings would have passed through Tynron. James IV passed through in 1507. General Roy's Military Map of 1747 shows the old Edinburgh road, which runs through Penpont to Moniaive via Tynron and Hillhead. It was unmade and maintained to a minimum standard under statute labour by the men of Tynron parish.

Statute Labour

The 1790's Statistical Account says roads were much improved in Tynron since statute labour. This had begun in 1669 (and ended in 1845) with the Highways and Bridges Act and meant that each man spent four days per year repairing, ditching, fencing and making the 13 miles of main highways 20 feet wide. Most of the time this meant throwing stones from one of the many roadside quarries into the biggest ruts. An excellent map of the Statute Labour roads in the 1840ís is available in West Register House, Edinburgh.

Tynron Kirk Bridge

A new stone bridge was built at Tynron Kirk in 1718, following the first county survey of bridges and highways, which found the roads very much decayed and almost impassable. The new builder was allowed timber and stone from the old bridge. The bridge was strengthened in 1724 for the post road, but needed repairs after 1764. It finally fell in the floods of 1782 and was rebuilt in 1783. It was again rebuilt after 1850. I saw an advert in the paper in 1851 for rebuilding and improving Tynron Kirk bridge. Plans and specifications were held by Mr Kennedy in Kirkland.

Scaur Bridge

In 1801 the old bridge over the Scaur into Penpont was taken down and a new one built. This was at the time the whole Edinburgh road was improved. The old Scaur bridge had been of one semicircular arch, supported by two steep rocks. It says in the 1790's Statistical Account that it was not known when it had been built, but 1670 may mark the first substantial stone bridge, though it was widened in 1723 for carriages.

Shinnel Bridge

The Shinnel Bridge by the Ford dates from 1786.. It has been completely rebuilt to cope with timber lorries in 1996 and is now a fine bridge with wide pavements for some unknown reason. The bridge itself is interesting when viewed from below where it shows clearly the different stages of construction. Beside the bridge the foundations of a cottage, still in use in 1915, were mostly destroyed in the rebuild.

Other Bridges

In December 1758 Christian Alison, a servant girl, going along a timber bridge at Mounthooly, Holmhead, the bridge fell with her and she died in the water and her corps was found near Killiwarran next morning.

The first proper bridges up the glen were Mounthoolie Bridge at Holmhead (previously Holmhouseford), dating from 1808, when it was an important crossing of the Shinnel on the Minnyhive-Sanquhar road and Laird's Bridge over the Kirkconnel Burn in 1807. Shaw says the glen road still crossed streams by fords in 1862, with logs laid across for pedestrians. The bridge above Old Auchenbrack was not there till after Appin Lodge was built about 1880.

The Duke of Buccleuch was a good landlord and improved the glen road quite early in the nineteenth century, though even then the main roads themselves were passable only on horseback.


In 1789 Turnpike Roads were begun in Penpont. This gives us a definite date for another improvement of the Edinburgh-Galloway route. On one of these occasions the road between Clonrae and Craigturra was realigned. The old road can be seen on the south side of the present road.

The first Scottish Turnpike Act had been in 1750, but as usual progress was slow in the backwoods! The map of the Edinburgh-Wigtoun road *36, taken from Taylor and Skinner's "Survey of the Roads of Scotland", published in 1776, shows the Tynron stretch clearly. Tynron was on the main road!

In 1836 there was a daily post between Moniaive and Thornhill and there were 15 miles of road in Tynron Parish, 14 maintained by statute labour and one mile of turnpike maintained by tolls. The one mile was from Scaur Bridge to Shinnel Bridge at the Ford. The Clone road is not in Tynron Parish. There were tolls in Penpont and at the bottom of the Dunreggan Hill in Moniaive, but there was no toll in Tynron. Tolls were abolished in 1878, when the county road trustees took over responsibility.

I am not sure when the Clone road, now the A702, superseded the Hillhead route, though most probably about 1800, when coaches started becoming a popular means of transport instead of horses and the Dumfries to Ayr road via Moniaive and over the Clone to Tynron was improved to take coaches. The first proper coach, The Craigengillan Castle, did not run this route until 1833. In 1865 an omnibus started between Moniaive and Thornhill Station. It is difficult to picture any coach crossing to Moniaive via Hillhead, when there was always the much easier, though rather longer, Clone route with 100 metres less climb.

The track through the Ford and Linnhouse to Tynron and beyond to Killiewarren was prominent still in 1896, but little used by 1922. The old drove road, previously mentioned, from Moniaive-Gled Brae-Bennan-Duddiestone Hass-Sanquhar is shown on map *20.

The first motor cars must have had a rough ride. The glen road was poor even in the 1920's and used to end as a surfaced road at Old Auchenbrack. Perhaps that is why Old Auchenbrack is built at such an angle across the road. Map *20 also shows the glen track above Old Auchenbrack used to run on both sides of the Shinnel and up to Appin across a ford. The line can still be seen clearly on Everside on the north-east side of the Shinnel, above Old Auchenbrack.

Road Trustees

The records of the Road Trustees from 1843 are kept in the Ewart.

They had powers to raise money. In Tynron, for instance. they could raise 5d in the £ on the valuation. They reveal, for example, that the 300 yards of road from Macqueston to Shinnel Water was surfaced properly in 1883, so it was put on the list of Highways of Tynron. The Road Trustees were abolished in 1889 and the responsibility for the roads passed to the newly-formed County Council. The Trustees records are very informative. In 1845 from a total of £28 16s, the following were allocated:

Airdwood Road


Land Road

£4 7s

Auchenbrack Road


Scar Water Road


Mecklewood Main Road


It also states who the money was paid to, the surveyor and those responsible for the roads.

Examples: in 1854 Mr Kennedy of Kirkland was doing much road work and Mr Wallace was doing the Auchenbrack road.

In 1847 the Dalmakerran to Glencairn Parish road was added to the above list and the Strathmilligan road repaired, as was the road to the Manse.

The 1849 schedule for Tynron bridge to be widened and reconstructed was after a petition laid before the commissioners.

In 1851 the Auchenbrack road ran only to Appin march. The road was then extended towards Shinnel Head.

Also in 1851 it was agreed that the Mecklewood road, i.e. the present A702, should be maintained jointly by Tynron and Glencairn and that Glencairn should contribute towards the work on Tynron bridge.

In 1856 Mr Kennedy had done up the road to the manse and had built a wall along and encroached on the road and narrowed it. Mr Hunter at the manse had complained. The Trustees had to go and see to decide.

In the 1990's the roads are kept up very well by the council. Even the glen road gets regularly resurfaced and potholes are filled in quite promptly. The plentiful new lay-bys for the forestry vehicles are not unwelcome. The council are not quite so successful at keeping water off the roads. They get everybody moaning when the mechanical flail makes a hell of a mess of the roadside hedges and trees.

1990 saw the first decent signposts. The glen road up from Tynron no longer just has a no-through-road sign, and there are directions now to Tynron off the main road.

Two of the old granite mileposts are still standing, at Low Lann cottage (15 miles to the Midsteeple at Dumfries) and by Tynron Kirk bridge (16 miles).



Most of the year the glen receives air from across the North Atlantic, the most common directions being from between south and south-west. This is moist maritime air and brings us more than our fair share of precipitation.

Air from over the North Atlantic Drift has the miraculous effect of keeping the glen 17įC warmer in winter than average for our latitude and only about 1įC cooler in summer. It leads to comparatively little difference between winter and summer temperatures. An extreme example was in 1984, when the highest temperatures on 23 June and 23 December were identical at 11įC. Both days were cool and damp, showing that the midsummer can be no warmer than a mild wet day just before Christmas. Contrary to much adverse publicity, average winter temperatures of about 3įC in the glen are hardly any colder than those of South-East England.

Actual figures are hard to come by, so I am using figures for Eskdalemuir, which, I suppose, would be similar to those of Shinnelhead. However, the weather down at Tynron village or by the Scaur Bridge at the bottom of the glen is so often vastly different from that at Shinnelhead. Eskdalemuir has a mean January temperature of 1.9įC and 112 nights with ground frost. July temperatures at Eskdalemuir average 13.3įC. It is in summer that we envy temperatures down in England, though we can always say it is too hot down there.

S Precipitation increases with altitude up the glen. Scaur Bridge gets about 1,300mm annually and Colt Hill, not very far away, gets 2,100mm, but annual totals are very variable. Eskdalemuir averages 1,130 hours of rainfall per year, with over 70% days having complete cloud cover at 0900. December is commonly the wettest month and May most likely to be driest.

Eskdalemuir averages 50 days with snow or sleet falling and 24 days of snow lying. Some years there is very little snow lying in Tynron Glen, except on the tops, 1988-9 and 1989-90 being examples, which were very mild. In other years patches survive through from January to April. !995 brought a proper white Christmas with 15 centimetres of T snowT falling on Christmas Eve, followed by a severe spell up to New Year, when the temperature plummeted to minus 16įC and did not rise above minus 8įC for four days. Naturally the New Year brought the usual wet and mild weather with temperatures well above zero. The 5th and 6th of February 1996 brought record snowfalls of 50 cm with another 15 cm on the 9th.

Shinnel Glen can hardly claim to be an exceptionally sunny spot. Eskdalemuir averages just 1.4 hours of sunshine a day in January and 5.6 in June. January 1996 was the dullest on record with a total of just nine hours.

Some summers can be wonderfully hot. 1976, 1982, 1983 and 1984 were warm and dry. In 1991 even August was fine, though it is usually a disappointing month. I remember climbing up the hills in the summer of 1984 and thinking that the glen looked like nothing less than a desert, with barely any green to be seen following a drought. 1995 has brought the hottest summer this century, with temperatures hitting a record 32įC on 31 July and reaching 30įC on several days.

Yes, the great thing about Tynron's weather is its unpredictability. I remember one day in 1987 when the glen road was awash with floodwater and gravel, so that parts were washed away or blocked. The water at the glen road end was at bum level in my car. There are often problems with the stream from Kirkland, which overflows down Tynron High Street, despite much time and money being spent. In 1899 the Post Office and shop were flooded following torrential rain. From Christmas 1990 to early January 1991 the floods were out everywhere.


I decided to do some more detailed research on Auchenbrack and the surrounding lands. These were chosen because I was staying at Thornie Park on Auchenbrack when I started this work, though I am sure other farms would be equally interesting.


Auchenbrack was a separate holding as early as 1369. "The History of the Douglas Family" contains this first reference to Aghenbrekis, when it was transferred from one branch of the Maitland family to another.

In 1451 the king granted the Barony of Tibbers to George de Creichtoun, Knight, but later the same year William Matelande's charter to it was confirmed and it was returned to the Maitlands. Later in 1451 James Maitland received the barony from his brother, William, and it included Achinbrek. So Auchenbrack was just one of the many lands in the Barony of Tibbers, which seems to have included all the land between the Shinnel and the Scaur.

The Maitland family of Auchingassill (Penpont parish) were prominent until 1606, when their lands were taken over by the Queensberry Estate.


The Barony of Tibbers, including the five merkland of Auchenbrack had passed in 1509 to the Douglas family and indeed may have belonged to Douglases before, who had marriage connections with the Maitlands.

In 1579 Bessie Douglas, widow of John Hunter at Auchinbrak, died and left her estate to John Douglas of Killiewarren. Douglases were in Pinzarie, Stenhouse, Kirkland and Killiewarren in the seventeenth century.

Achinbraik is marked on the Pont map of circa 1590 and in 1685 Sir Duncan Campbell, a prominent Argyll supporter, lived here. The Hearth Tax shows Thomas and William Hunter at Auchenbreck as tenants of Queensberry in 1691. The 1690's were bad years and Queensberry's tenants at Auchenbrack, like James Hunter, Jon Tait and William Hunter were in severe debt. The Hunters were a prominent Tynron family in Bennan, Pinzarie, Craigencoon and Auchenbrack. It is said that they were chased out at the point of a gun by the Douglases.


The parish registers, first mention 1751, show that the Queensberry tenants at Auchenbrack were Williamsons, first James, died 1787, then Samuel, died 1807, then another James, until he died in 1840.

In 1810 Buccleuch took over the run-down estates of Queensberry and Auchenbrack was to benefit greatly. The final dykes were built and then, probably in the 1830's, the present steading was added on to the existing eighteenth century farmhouse, formerly called Upper Craigencoon (see later). The rectangular steading was commissioned by Buccleuch and designed by famous Dumfries architect, Walter Newall, to provide up-to-date stables, byres, mill, storage and a bothy.


The 1841 census shows the coming of the Wallaces, well, Samuel Williamson Wallace initially. He was 30 years old and a tenant of Buccleuch at £300 per annum.

Samuel Wallace married Susan Reid and by 1851 he employed 12 labourers and ran 1900 acres. In 1852 their first child, James Reid Williamson Wallace, was born, giving us the clue that the Wallaces were not unrelated to the Williamsons.

The 1861 census is a great example of the interesting information that can be revealed. It says Auchenbrack (at that time usually spelt "Auchenbreck") had ten rooms with windows:

b. Glencairn Samuel Wallace 50 farmer

b. Dalmellington Susan Wallace 37 wife

b. Tynron James 9 scholar

b. Tynron Robert 7 scholar

b. Tynron Samuel 6 scholar

b. Tynron Janet 4

b. Tynron Margaret 2

b. Tynron John 1

b. Sanquhar Agnes Kerr 22 governess

b. Carsphairn David Clark 29 shepherd

b. Penpont Robert Kerr 17 ploughman

b. Tinwald Marion Hucheon 29 cook

b. Glencairn Margaret Thompson 18 dairymaid

b. Tynron Jane Ritchie 15 nursery maid

Further children, Quintin and Walter, were born later. The herd and ploughman would have been in the bothy, the servant girls in the house and the sexes kept apart as far as possible. Jane Ritchie's family were in Old Auchenbrack.

The long-serving shepherd for the Wallaces at Old Auchenbrack was her father, James Ritchie. He and his wife, Mary Armstrong, had at least ten children, several not surviving childhood. Living at Old Auchenbrack, which only had one room with a window in 1861, must have been rather crowded, but only too typical of the times. James Ritchie was twenty years old in 1841. He spent all his working life herding on the braes of Auchenbrack, till he died in 1887, aged 70, or so it says on his stone in Tynron Kirkyard. This was not typical, as other workers came and went. Ritchie himself was born in Closeburn and most labour was hired in from surrounding parishes. Samuel Wallace was from Glencairn, Mary Ritchie from Durisdeer. Wallaces had servants and labourers from Sanquhar, Carsphairn, Penpont and Tinwald, even one from Ireland and one from England. Tynron has never been a place where families have stayed for ever.

In the 1870's Princes Park Cottage was built, where Auchenbrack's second herd stayed.

The 1881 census reveals that only a housekeeper, Jane Rae, unmarried and aged 55, was in Auchenbrack with its 15 rooms with windows. This supports James Shaw's comment that the heritors were all away for the winter and returned for the summer, after the census month of April.

In 1885 fire destroyed half the dwelling-house of Auchenbrack.

In 1890 the farm came up to let from Whit Sunday. It was advertised with 1950 acres, including 473 arable, meadow and enclosed pasture. It had good dairy, Cheviot ewes with half-bred lambs and Blackface ewes with cross lambs. Present tenant not an offerer (or so it said in the newspapers).

At least since 1875 James Reid Williamson Wallace had been the joint tenant. Samuel had died in 1884 and James was in charge. James was renting Appin too after 1890 and Shinnelhead from 1895, building up a vast area at the top of the glen. In 1905 he moved to Auchenbainzie, Penpont and younger brother, John William Wallace, became Buccleuch's tenant in Ford. James Wallace retained the tenancy of Appin until 1917 and died in Thornhill in 1922. Quentin Wallace held Shinnelhead until about 1960, when it was bought by the Forestry Commission, while more of the family moved in to Macqueston and Corriedow until they left in 1923. Wallaces left Ford in 1933 and all that remained of the Wallaces then was the tenancy of Shinnelhead.

I chanced upon the graves of Samuel Wallace, his wife, Susan Reid, and eldest son, James Reid Williamson Wallace in Glencairn Churchyard.

Robert Wallace

Robert, named above on the 1861 census, became Professor Robert Wallace at Edinburgh University, a leading world authority on agriculture, who wrote about farming practices in places like India, Egypt, New Zealand and Canada. He wrote "Country Schoolmaster" about his Tynron teacher, James Shaw and his own short biography is in the Ewart. His brother, Samuel Williamson Wallace, was Director of Agriculture in Victoria, Australia in 1902.


In 1912 the tenancy was taken over by William Rawstorne Gaskell, known as Ross to everybody. The Gaskells had been in engineering and the Liverpool Daily Post in Lancashire, but this Gaskell was an agricultural student. He married Florence Helen Melland in 1915, but the war got in the way of everything. Frankie Gourlay at Milnton had arrived in the glen at much the same time as Ross Gaskell. They were both officers in the KOSB in the war with Ivor MacRae. The Gaskells had four children, Trevor 1920, Peter 1922, Elizabeth 1927 and Daniel Hunter 1930.

1926 was a landmark as Ross Gaskell bought Auchenbrack from Buccleuch. In 1927 he started building. Firstly he made the terrace and put a second storey on the old part of the building. In 1933 the tennis court was made and two years later the new wing was added nearest the road.

In 1932 Gaskell became tenant of Holmhouse from Stenhouse, then in 1935 Strathmilligan and Kilnmark were bought from Stenhouse. The 1920's and 1930's saw the planting of the now familiar windbreaks on the hillsides, named after important events, starting with Dan's Wood in 1930 and finishing with Exhibition Wood in 1938. There were only ten acres of woodland on Auchenbrack previously.

World War II brought tragedy to the Gaskells, as Sergeant Pilot Trevor and Ordinary Seaman Peter were killed. They are two of the five names on Tynron war memorial.

After the war Thornie Park was built in 1949, at which date the bothy at Auchenbrack finally ceased to be lived in. Princes Park Cottage was renamed Primrose Cottage circa 1955, but now it is Princes Cottage again. Prince is said to have been one of the horses. Horses were still hauling trees on Auchenbrack in the 1950's.

Ross Gaskell died in 1950, but his wife, Helen, not until 1980.

Mains electricity came to Auchenbrack in 1954, though there was already a 110 volt supply from a petrol-driven engine and batteries.

Auchenbrack Farm

Auchenbrack in 1991 has 1100 Blackface ewes and 15 Blueface Leicester ewes on 797 hectares. The Blackface ewes are kept for five years and crossed with 30 Blueface Leicester tups to give a 135% lambing rate, high for a hill farm. Three Blackface tups are retained to keep a small supply of home-grown ewes. The rest are bought in.

There are 70 beef cows, mostly Blue-Greys, half of which calve in the autumn and half in spring. At any time there might be 100 calves of various ages. The cows are crossed with the two Simmental bulls. Three Ayrshire house cows are kept for supplying milk to the houses on Auchenbrack.

The main crop is silage. About 12 hectares is cut per annum and a slightly smaller area for hay. The silage is big-bale, but the hay is traditional small-bale. A few hectares are improved each year by sowing rape or typhon. Sheep are folded on this land and then grass is sown. Typhon is a new crop like miniature turnips, the tops of which is eaten by sheep and it grows again. A small patch of tatties is grown for farm consumption and some turnips mainly for feeding to animals.

Small shelter belts are still being planted by Dan Gaskell, the latest on Everside in 1995.

The farm has a shepherd, Bill Brown, at Princes Cottage and a stockman/tractorman, George McMillan, at Kilnmark, who does everything. There are two tractors and an ATV.

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PHOTO *Q Princes Cottage, left, and Thornie Park on Auchenbrack

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PHOTO *R Craigencoon in 1986 before restoration. Some can imagine a stone circle in the boulders by the cottage


Kilnmark is usually spelt Kilmark on old documents. It used to be a rather small area, just a one merkland, being only 46 hectares on its own. Including, as it does now, Tynleoch and Marqueston it is 205 hectares, with 114 of hill and 91 of meadow and pasture.

Early Documents

I found no mention of it until 1590, when Kilmark is marked on Pont's map. In 1606 it occurs in the Queensberry Papers. In 1609 or 26 John Wilson of Croglin acquired the merkland of Kilmark from Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn. John passed it to his son James in 1660, then it went to James and William Wilson in 1690. Kilnmark, strangely, is not mentioned in the Hearth Tax. However, a kiln is indicated at Tynleoch and James Wilson held it as a tenant of Douglas of Stenhouse.

In 1720 it was sold to Alexander Ferguson of Craigdarroch and in 1724 it was bought by Peter McTurk of Stenhouse.

Parish Registers

Its first mention in the parish registers is in 1756. This entry is for the birth of William, born to Robert Dempster and Isobel McWhir. This couple were in Midshinnel both before and after Kilmark and had at least five other children.

Queensberry owned Kilmark again in 1770.

In 1825 there was this advert in the newspaper:

Kilmark with Strathmilligan, Tinlego and Marqueston to be sold by Stenhouse. Quantity of thriving young wood, plenty of game, land in highest order. All four steadings may be sold separately.

I presume Buccleuch bought it.

Large Families on the Censuses

The 1841 census saw John and Flora Corrie, their six children and two labourers in Killmark. Corries were simultaneously in Tinlego (Tynleoch).

In 1846 or 7 Samuel Wallace of Auchenbrack took over the tenancy of Kilmark, which now was definitely owned by Buccleuch.

In 1851 James and Jean Johnstone were in Killmark with six children.

In the censuses of 1861, 71 and 81 and until 1890 Thomas and Martha McLean were the occupiers. They had seven children and went to the Free Church of Glencairn.

1890-1902 Adam and Sarah Lees were in Kilmark with six children and four servants. They, typically, had moved on from Auchinleck to Cumnock, Penpont and finally Tynron.

Kilnmark had been the dairy farm for Auchenbrack since Wallace took over in 1846/7, but in 1912 it was sold to MacRae of Stenhouse for £6,900. Wallaces had gone and now Charles Dickie was tenant and the dairyman in Kilnmark was David Goudie. MacRae trustees sold Kilnmark to Gaskells in 1935 and Kilnmark reached its present situation of being part of Auchenbrack.

The McMillans in Kilnmark since the 1970ís, but leaving in May 1996, have continued the tradition of large families.


The first reference to Tanelagoch is in 1511 in the Queensberry Papers. Since the name means "shallow water", I would think that the hollow beside the present ruin was once filled with water, as it is once again now. Alternatively the name may refer to a shallow ford across the Shinnel to give access to the road. Nowadays Tynleoch is reached over Kilnmark bridge and all there is to see of it is the foundations. It is a lovely spot in summer, but rather bleak in winter as it faces away from the sun.

There are many and various spellings of the name, though I have heard it pronounced "Tinlake". Tonluoch is marked by Pont, for instance. Janelagoch was part of the Barony of Glencairn in 1611. In 1626 Susanna Wilson (of the Wilsons) married John Sitlingtoun and was liferented by him in Tynlagow. Tenleuth is in the Hearth Tax records of 1691 as occupied by James Wilsone as a tenant of Douglas of Stenhouse.

In 1744 it is first mentioned in the registers, when Barbra was born to Andrew Clark and Marrion Tait. In 1767 Tanlego was Queensberry's, but by 1770 was part of the Wilson's Croglin estate, when byres were being built.

A 1794 advertisement was for a sale by public roup at Tynron Kirk of a quantity of oak and ash from McQuestown ... and Tanleoch, belonging to Mr Wilson of Croglin, including sixty large old oak trees, the best in Nithsdale. In 1796 Tynleoch was sold with the break-up of the Wilson lands.

In 1825 Tinlego still had a steading, as it was advertised for sale by Stenhouse. In 1830 there was the sale of land from the sequestrated estates of John Smith in Glencairn and Tynron, including the superiorities of Croglin, Tinlego and Land.

Tynleoch Abandoned

In 1841 Tynleoch was still inhabited by James and Jean Corrie and their daughter, but they may have been the last occupiers, as all signs point to the abandonment of Tynleoch in the 1840's:

  • 1. there is no further mention in the census.
  • 2. Tynleoch is not marked, nor is a house mentioned on the Buccleuch map of circa 1847-53.
  • 3. the potato blight disaster of 1845/6 could have been the last straw.
  • 4. in 1846/7 Tynleoch probably became part of the Kilnmark set-up and a steading was no longer viable.
  • 5. the 1850's OS map marks Tenlaight in ruins.

There are many entries in the registers up to 1838 and it is clear that two families lived in Tynleoch at times, a family in each room of a but and ben, along with uncertain numbers of children, grandparents and servants. It is also apparent that families often only stayed there for a year, before moving on to another rental, perhaps again only for the one year.

In the 1840's Tynleoch consisted of 95 hectares, of which 75 were hill pasture and only 17 arable, a difficult living. You can imagine the life these families led. What incentive was there to farm well, what chance to get out of the rut?

Buccleuch, presumably, had bought Tynleoch in 1825 and finally sold it to Stenhouse in 1912. In 1935 Gaskells acquired Tynleoch and its present status was reached. Now it is just the name of one of Auchenbrack's hirsels.

Above the head dyke run-rig can be seen on some of the fairly level land on the spurs, showing that, before the dykes, there was cultivation much higher up the hill than now. The field to the south-east of the house site was recently ploughed and much broken pottery was turned up.

Marqueston Park/McQueston

I expect that most people are unaware that there were two McQuestons in the glen, with many different though confusingly similar spellings. This McQueston is now part of Kilnmark, though it was once a separate holding. It is very small, 65 hectares, and it must have been difficult to make a living on it.

The first mention of Marqueston Park is in 1511, when it is mentioned in the Queensberry Papers. The Pont map of circa 1590 shows Margwasten above Kilmark. In 1611 Mirgwastune was part of the Barony of Glencairn. In 1691 in the Hearth Tax Murgristoun was held by Jo and William Irvings as part of the Stenhouse estate of the Douglases.

In 1737 Walter Wilson of Croglin inherited the half merkland of Makverstoun. This is undoubtedly Marqueston Park and not THE Macqueston. Then come the entries in the parish registers.

In the parish registers it is never clear to me which Maqueston is which. Somebody could untangle the two, given time, but I did not bother to try. If you go there now, you can still see the foundations and you can ponder on how any family could have survived.

The 1747 Roy map does not mark it, but does mark two Kilimarks. In 1770 Wilson, the Laird of Croglin, held Tanlego, Marchiston, Maqueston, Thirsty Mark, Margmalloch and Markreoch, value £565.

A newspaper advert of 1789 announced:

To let for 5 years from Whitsunday 1789 by Croglin Estate:

(the other) McQuerston, Birkhill and Thistlymark, 372 acres

presently held by Wm. Hewetson, AND lands of McQuerston Park,

136 acres presently possessed by Samuel Williamson, Auchenbrack,

AND lands of Tinlego, Tanleoch (both!), Appin, Croglin and Marcreoch, 2014 acres

possessed by James Hewetson and James McTurk.

By 1791 Queensberry had bought McQuerston Park and was letting it to Samuel Williamson of Auchenbrack for £31.

Marqueston Park is not marked on the Thomson map of 1821 and neither is there any mention in the 1841 census. It could have been empty at the time. However, it had been mentioned on the 1827 valuation and an 1847-53 Buccleuch map does mark the house.

The next evidence is the 1851 census for

Upper Killmark:

b.Keir Ann Prentice 44 widow, farm servant

b.Kirkmahoe Thomas Prentice 14 scholar

b.Tynron Sarah Prentice 7 scholar

b.Tynron Margaret Prentice 5 scholar

Widow Prentice was on Tynron's poor roll 1847/55, receiving 2 shillings a week (10p).

Then the 1861 census for


b.Tynron Robert Walters 47 ploughman

b.Kirkpatrick Durham Ann Walters 46

b.Closeburn Jane 23 domestic servant

b.Tynron Joseph 14 agri lab

b.Closeburn Robert 7 scholar

I assume these two references are to the house in question. There are no accounts of it in the later censuses, so it may be that Marqueston was not abandoned as a separate settlement until the 1860's.

It is still mentioned later in land sales. For instance, in 1912 it was bought by Stenhouse as part of Kilmark and Strathmilligan. This included all the lands of Marquieston now called Marquieston Park. In 1935 it became part of Auchenbrack.


Craigencoon first appears on paper in 1578, when it was held by John Douglas of Craiginkunne (Johnne Douglas curatouris of Craigincwne), nephew of Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig. Craigencoon belonged to Queensberry until 1810 and presumably before that it was part of the Barony of Tibbers. The 1590 Pont map shows Kraginkum, but only one. There were once two Craigencoons!

In 1602 John Hunter held it. He died, leaving four sons, Robert, William, Andrew and Archibald. The Hunters of Craigencoon, Pinzarie and Glenlochar could be offshoots of the Penpont Auchenbainzie Hunters. In 1691 the Hearth Tax names two Craigencoons: Thomas Hunter, Craigincome and Jon Hunter in Neyr Craigincome. This is exciting, as it is the first indication that there were two Craigencoons.

This Thomas Hunter, sometime of Craigencoon, died age 84 in 1727. Jane Shitlington, his spouse, died in 1714 age 69. Shitlingtons held Stanehouse as early as 1484. Two magnificent tombstones of Craigencoon now stand by the door of Tynron Kirk.

The 1747 Roy map shows Upper and Nether Craiginscoon. From now on it is difficult to distinguish between these two, as the parish registers often just say Craigencoon, rather than Upper and Nether.

The first entry for Craigencoon in the parish registers is in 1746, when Thomas Hunter was in Nether Craigencoon, and then in 1751, when Andrew Hunter was in Upper Craigencoon. Hunters were still in Upper at least until 1812. There are many, many entries for Craigencoon.

Craigencoon in the Twentieth Century

In 1914 was the first naming of Craigencoon as such in valuation rolls. Up to then it was just one of the houses on Bennan. In 1914 it was inhabited by David Carruthers, ploughman. He went away to the war and Craigencoon lay empty for several years. After the war Hugh Broatch took Craigencoon as a smallholding for the resettlement of soldiers. Buccleuch Estates had been asked to make available suitable small plots of land. Hugh is always listed as a poultry farmer. He had just the two fields from Bennan, and stayed with his mother and father, Ina and William. Hugh was the postie for some years until his retirement in the fifties.

Hugh's daughter, Charlotte Stenhouse Broatch, was born in Craigencoon and Charlotte, later Scott, can claim to be one of the few folk to be born in the glen and to live and die here. Charlotte's funeral in 1995 brought out as many folk as Jim Gourlay's a few months earlier, great occasions both. Broatches were still at Craigencoon till 1974, when Hugh died aged 79.

The house was soon empty. In the early 1980's Craigencoon belonged to Forsyths of Bennan and was only used as a holiday home for an artist, as it had no facilities and was becoming a ruin. Economic Forestry bought it in 1986 and at last, 1990-5, it has been done up, quite tastefully too, retaining the fine old cow-byre with its stalls. Sadly, however, it often seems to be empty, though there are plenty of improvements going on even in late 1995.

Upper Craigencoon

What happened to Upper Craigencoon, which no longer exists, and where it was, have long puzzled me. It disappeared from the parish registers about 1812. Only one Craigencoon is mentioned in the censuses of 1841-91 and this has got to be the present Craigencoon, i.e. Nether Craigencoon.

Look at the map of Auchenbrack, map *37. See how the present farm of Auchenbrack consists of six previous holdings, now amalgamated:- the small areas of Marqueston Park, Kilnmark and Tanleoch on the south-west side of the Shinnel and the rather larger holdings of Midshinnel (well, half of it), Auchenbrack and Upper Craigencoon on the north-east side. The 1772 Queensberry estates map shows that these were all separate then still.

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The Improvements brought a change to larger land holdings. First Midshinnel was split between Shinnelhead and Auchenbrack and the steading abandoned. This happened before 1820. Auchenbrack and Upper Craigencoon were obviously run together and when it came to the building of the new steading, it was decided that it would be built at Upper Craigencoon. There is more room for a new steading at the present Auchenbrack. Upper Craigencoon was then renamed Auchenbrack and the old Auchenbrack became Old or High Auchenbrack. With the three farms to the south-west included, the new Auchenbrack farm and steading was better placed and the Williamsons and Wallaces had new efficient farms.

Thus the Auchenbrack on all the old maps and documents was Old or High Auchenbrack.

Look where Auchenbrack is marked on the Thomson and Johnston maps, *16 and *17. Both the Thomson map 1821 and Johnston map circa 1850 still mark Upper and Nether Craigencoon. Thomson was correct, but Johnston had it wrong, showing that his map must have been based on previous maps without checking. Upper Craigencoon is clearly in the position of the present Auchenbrack. The lower hirsel of Auchenbrack is still called Craigencoon.

The 1876-7 Valuation Roll gives one holding of Buccleuch as Auchenbrack, Upper Craigencoon, Midshinnel, Marqueston, Kilmark and Tenleago. Nether Craigencoon, Pinzarie and Bennan were listed together as a different holding of Buccleuch.


Further up the glen is the site of the house at Midshinnel is on the north-east bank of the Shinnel 50 metres downstream from the bridge at 743986. Midshinnel as a land holding died shortly after 1808, when one half of Midshinnel went into Shinnelhead and the other half became the north-west hirsel of Auchenbrack, The Craig. The Forestry Commission avoided planting over the last remains of the building.

Magmalloch and Markreach

These lands lie opposite Appin on the south-west side of Appin Burn, i.e. above Kilnmark and Marqueston Park. There is still a Markreach Hill and Magmalloch Burn, but these are now under forestry. They are land holdings mentioned on old documents and they are marked as the settlements of Markraigoch and Margnaroch on Pont's map of 1590. At one time they held houses too, as the 1691 Hearth Tax shows: Margmelock, James McCall and Mercroch, James Wilsone. They are in the most remote and god-forsaken part of Tynron Glen. The Gaelic names are most appropriate!

Magmalloch is mentioned in Queensberry Papers in 1511 and Markreach in 1611. By 1770 Magmalloch and Markreoch belonged to Wilsons of Croglin, who was building byres at Margmalloch in 1781. In 1796 the two holdings were sold with the break-up of the Wilson Estate. Was this the end for both, as the 1821 Thomson map marks neither (nor Appin!)?

Someone was still at Magmalloch in 1765, but any houses up there were abandoned soon afterwards. Where folk lived exactly may be difficult to find now that forestry has buried any evidence. Magmalloch was probably on Magmalloch Burn, almost opposite Appin at 743970. I wonder if Markreach was renamed Upper Appin, as there does not appear to have been another settlement further up Appin Glen.


Tynron is great for birdwatchers!

In a reasonable year you could expect to see up to 90 species. There is such a wide variety of habitat, from open moorland to deciduous woods, coniferous plantations and wee lochs. There are 119 species on this list, though I have only seen 102 in 15 years as a keen birdwatcher. A birdwatching trip can vary from a walk on the tops in the winter, when all that is seen is a solitary crow, to a bright morning in late May in Stenhouse Wood with many vociferous songbirds.

This is my personal survey since 1980. I am grateful for advice from Brian Turner, Shinnel Forge, the one person who knows more about Tynron's birds than I do. Brian is a well-known bird photographer, who has had his pictures published in many birds magazines. He also has a moth trap and can tell you which moths frequent his bit of Shinnel Glen.

R = Resident seen all year round

B = Breeding

V = Visitor to the glen. Not breeding in the glen

S = Summer

W = Winter

LITTLE GREBE V(B?) Best place is Aird Loch.

CORMORANT V Seen sometimes at Aird Loch or Capenoch, mainly in winter, or flying over. I have seen several at once, drying their wings on the boat.

GREY HERON RB Colony at Aird Loch, but the trees were cut down in 1992. Also nested in Hulton Wood until it was cut down in 1990. 1993 moved to small plantation of larch and Scots pine close to Aird Loch with ten nests in 1995. Herons are doing well. The old curling pond at Craigturra often has one.

MUTE SWAN V I have occasionally seen one or more likely two in Tynron.

WHOOPER SWAN WV Try Kirkconnel Loch.

GREYLAG GOOSE V I have seen some flying over.

CANADA GOOSE V Very recent arrivals. Bred at Aird Loch in 1991, but I have not seen them since. Expanding in South-West Scotland.

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE V Noisy flocks of geese often seen flying over in winter in V formation are most likely to be pink-footed.

TEAL V I have only once seen any round here, though I know someone who shot teal in Tynron in 1992. MacRae shot one or two in the early years of the century.

MALLARD RB Many breed along the Shinnel. They can be seen anywhere wet. I have seen sixty on Capenoch Loch in winter.

TUFTED DUCK V In the area, but rarely seen in Tynron.

GOLDENEYE WV One duck on Aird Loch in 1995/6.

GOOSANDER RB 3 or 4 pairs breeding. A fine sight flying along the Shinnel. This is one bird that is subject to disturbance. Water bailiffs will destroy nests if they can. Rafts of baby goosanders are delightful.

RED KITE ? Became extinct in the nineteenth century. I read a wonderful report from about 1880, "shot a red kite, believed to be the last in the area"! However, kites have been reported in the area recently, after being reintroduced into Scotland.

HEN HARRIER ? Reported on Kirkconnel, but I have yet to see one.

GOSHAWK ? Reported up the glen in the forestry. They breed in Glencairn.

SPARROWHAWK RB Around, but not often seen.

BUZZARD RB Several pairs. They have done well recently. Buzzard calls are a very typical sound of the glen.

GOLDEN EAGLE V Always rumours of an odd eagle, but likely to be mistaken for buzzards. I have only ever seen one, near Old Auchenbrack, being chased by a buzzard protecting its nest and simultaneously mobbed by a peregrine.

OSPREY V Reported seen on migration.

KESTREL RB Plenty around, a wonderful sight. Croglin Craig is Kestrel City.

MERLIN ? Rare sightings.

PEREGRINE SB Usually two breeding pairs. Expanding in South-West Scotland. They winter on the coast, but still pop back to their nest sites sometimes in winter.

RED GROUSE RB A few breed up on the heather, on the tops above Auchenbrack and Kirkconnel and on Capenoch, but they are much less common now.

BLACK GROUSE RB One or two around, but this is a bird which has disappeared in an alarming fashion in the seventies and eighties. Leks of 12 males were at Appin in the seventies. Above the Clone as many as 29 lekking males were reported in the early eighties. Sir Hugh Gladstone records that 114 were shot at Auchenbrack on 25 Oct 1910, which he calls a good year!

GREY PARTRIDGE RB Almost disappeared in the 1980's, as so little grain is now grown. Common earlier this century, but hard to find now.

PHEASANT RB Very common, especially squashed on the road.

CORNCRAKE Now a distant memory. Common last century, but gone by the 1950's.

MOORHEN RB One or two pairs breed along the Shinnel or Aird Loch. Getting hard to find.

COOT V Aird and Kirkconnel Lochs, if you are lucky.

OYSTERCATCHER SB Hearing the first oystercatchers fly over at night is one of the first signs of spring.

GOLDEN PLOVER SB One pair bred successfully in 1990. Only found on the very tops, if at all.

LAPWING SB Not nearly as common as they were ten years ago. Early silage cuts are probably to blame. On mild winter days flocks may come inland to feed.

DUNLIN ? I have never seen any in Tynron.

SNIPE RB You always have a good chance of putting one up in one of Tynron's many bogs.

WOODCOCK RB Best seen roding in the spring.

CURLEW SB Arrive on the first mild days, if any, in February. The braes suddenly go very quiet when the curlews leave in August.

REDSHANK S(B?) Occasionally seen, notably at Kirkconnel Loch.

COMMON SANDPIPER SB Arrive in April, only stay three months to breed.

BLACK-HEADED GULL V Large flocks from Loch Urr visit most of the year, but especially in spring and summer on the flat fields around Tynron village.

COMMON GULL V The gull most likely to be seen in Tynron in winter.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL V Visit when bored with Dumfries.

HERRING GULL V Sometimes appear.

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL V Most likely in summer, when one or two fly around.

FERAL PIGEON RB Breed at Hillhead and High Pinzarie.

STOCK DOVE V?B? Elusive.

WOODPIGEON RB Too common, say some people.

COLLARED DOVE V Expanding rapidly locally in the 1980's. I am not sure if they are breeding in Tynron.

CUCKOO SB Heard commonly from May to July.

BARN OWL RB We are lucky to have breeding pairs. One very cold winter day I found one frozen solid to a branch at the Ford.

TAWNY OWL RB Can be heard almost any night.

LONG-EARED OWL SB Breed in small coniferous plantations on hillsides.

SHORT-EARED OWL RB Breed on moorland.

NIGHTJAR ? Possible.

SWIFT SV Fly over from Penpont, Maxwelton or Moniaive.

KINGFISHER V Reported lower down the glen. I saw one at Moniaive Bridge in December 1993.

GREEN WOODPECKER RB One or two pairs probably. The yaffle draws attention to them.

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER RB Less rare, 4 or 5 pairs.

SKYLARK SB Fantastic song on the hillsides in spring, but seem to leave in winter.

SAND MARTIN SV Common in the nineteenth century. Now sometimes seen down the glen.

SWALLOW SB Most settlements have them. Have two, sometimes three, broods.

HOUSE MARTIN SB At some farms.

TREE PIPIT SB Pairs on valley floor every 100 metres or so some years. Some years there are few and many people never notice this bird with its spectacular song flight. The 1879 bird report said that tree pipits had been scarce all year and some had lingered exceptionally late into October. The writer adds that he shot a fine pair, though! The nineteenth century mentality of naturalists was of shooting and egg-collecting.

MEADOW PIPIT RB Everywhere on the moors and braes. Many are summer visitors, yet it is often the only small bird out on the hills in winter.

GREY WAGTAIL RB Riparian. Flick their long tails by streams, mostly in summer.

PIED WAGTAIL RB Most now leave in winter. Breed in the stone dykes along the roadside.

WAXWING WV? You never know.

DIPPER RB The Shinnel is not yet acid enough to deter dippers, so they are breeding still. At least 5 pairs.

WREN RB May be the commonest bird in Tynron.


DUNNOCK RB Very common.

ROBIN RB Start singing, when other birds are silent in September. Found right up to the top of the forestry.

REDSTART SB Attracted to nestboxes.

WHINCHAT SB Rare, but attracted to new forestry.

STONECHAT RB I thought probably the last ones disappeared in the 1980's, but I have seen one or two in 1995/6. Once common.

WHEATEAR SB One of the early migrants, late March or early April.

RING OUSEL ? Mythical bird as far as I am concerned. I have walked all the likely localities without success. I am assured that they must be there.

BLACKBIRD RB A typical glen bird.

FIELDFARE W Huge flocks appear in October and stay till April.

SONGTHRUSH SB All or most leave for the winter.

REDWING W Often in mixed flocks with fieldfares.

MISTLETHRUSH RB Plenty around.

GRASSHOPPER WARBLER S?(B)? Possible, as they like new forestry, but I searched in vain in May 1996.

SEDGE WARBLER S?(B)? Probable, but I am surprised that I have not noticed any yet.

WHITETHROAT SB Not many probably.

GARDEN WARBLER SB Song so easily confused with blackcap. I have found garden warbler nests though.


WOOD WARBLER SB These warblers are very localised in specific habitats, like Stenhouse Wood.


WILLOW WARBLER SB Common as muck.

GOLDCREST RB Conifers full of them with their distinctive song.

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER SB Arrive very late, often late May. Use nestboxes.

PIED FLYCATCHER SB Brian Turner has his own colony of up to 12 pairs at Shinnel Mill, established by putting up lots of nestboxes. Elsewhere not many, except in Stenhouse Wood.

LONG-TAILED TIT RB Small groups of this most beautiful bird can be seen in winter feeding with other tits.



BLUE TIT RB Likes nestboxes.

GREAT TIT RB Attracted to nestboxes. One of the winter sounds, starting in December, is the great tits piping away.

TREECREEPER RB Common, but not easy to find when you are looking for them.

JAY RB A few lower down the glen.

MAGPIE RB In 1980 a rarity, but have since colonised the glen.

JACKDAW RB Fond of chimneys.

ROOK RB Large colony of 114 nests at Auchenbrack in 1993 split into five separate rookeries with 149 nests in 1996 all close by. There are only a few now at Macqueston, four in fact in 1993, but up to 19 in 1996, where there was a rookery of 107 in 1973 in Scots pines. There were 7 rookeries in 1885, including one by the manse. They were all gone by 1910.

CARRION CROW RB The only bird which can be seen absolutely anywhere in the glen at any season.

RAVEN RB Easily seen flying over, cavorting and croaking characteristically. Family parties especially conspicuous in autumn. Have bred at Capenoch Loch, Appin Glen and even very close to Tynron on Craigturra Craig.

STARLING RB Declining nationally, but lots in Tynron. Terrific mimics of curlew and oystercatcher calls.

HOUSE SPARROW RB Not common in the glen.

TREE SPARROW ? Never seen any round here.

CHAFFINCH RB Ubiquitous. They nest separately, then in August they form big flocks.

BRAMBLING WV? I've never seen any.

GREENFINCH RB Bird feeders attract them.

GOLDFINCH RB Appear as if by magic when dandelions are in seed. Also common in winter on thistle seeds.

SISKIN RB More and more come to bird feeders especially after January. Small flocks in winter. Also like dandelion seeds.

LINNET SB Getting quite scarce. Now rarely seen in winter.

REDPOLL RB Difficult to find except when dandelions are in seed. I remember seeing redpolls, linnets, siskins and goldfinches all feeding on one prolific crop of dandelions (in my front garden at Thornie Park!).

CROSSBILL WV Another of my bÍtes noires. Everyone else sees them plundering the pine cones.



YELLOWHAMMER RB I think they are not as common now and many disappear in winter as there is nothing much for them to eat.

REED BUNTING RB A few around.





The glen is full of mammals and reptiles, but it would still be possible to go for a walk and see only a few rabbits or a flat hedgehog on the road.


Mole Molehills are not uncommon even on the hill tops, and there is still a molecatcher in Tynron in the nineties.

Bat There are eight species of bat in Dumfriesshire, but although pipistrelle are very common, I have
never seen any of the larger bats. I am told that noctule, Daubentonís, Nattererís and brown
long-eared bats are likely to be in Tynron, though hard to spot.

Hare Common. One of the most endearing sights is to see hares running up the road in front of the car and finally diving into a gateway to escape. They seem to like the roadsides, but can be seen anywhere, waiting until the last minute on your approach and then shooting off. Some of the hares on the hills turn very pale in winter, but are not true mountain hares.

Vole Billions! Water, bank and field voles. A boom year means good eating for short-eared owls.

Melting snow on grassy hillsides reveals the network of tunnels made by voles under the snow.

Brown rat Some rats live at the farms, but not too many.

Red squirrel Common enough and not threatened by grey squirrels.

Fox Always a fox around, but we kept poultry and were never troubled. I sat by an upturned tree at Magmalloch one day and was surprised by a fox coming out of a hole beside me. Was she more shocked than me? I could hear cubs mewing inside.

Badger Some, possibly several setts. I only ever saw one in Tynron, along the road by Lann Hall.

Weasel Plenty. Once at the Ford on a summer's day, I was watching young sparrows taking dust baths on the road. Suddenly a weasel popped out, picked up a baby sparrow, looked round, then disappeared. There was no fuss. The other sparrows watched quite unconcerned.

Stoat Easiest to spot them crossing the road.

Otter Are there any on the Shinnel? They are reported on the Shinnel and the Dalwhat in 1994/5.

James Shaw says the last otter was in the 1870's.

Mink They are a nuisance. Everyone says so, yet I have never seen one alive on all my walks. I did

find one knocked over on the road near Shinnel Mill in 1996.

Roe deer A good number. You are quite likely to see them down the glen.

Red deer You will probably only see these up the glen in the forestry, but they are getting bolder.

Hedgehog Common.

Shrew Common, pygmy and water should all be present.

Mice House mouse and wood mouse.

Polecat Exterminated in the nineteenth century.

Frog Plenty, right up to the pools on the tops of the hills, where I have seen a crow eating the spawn.

Toad Less common than frogs.

Adder Always possible you might see one. I have personally never seen one in Shinnel Glen..

Slowworm Plenty around, I expect. I have twice narrowly missed mowing one with my mower.

Lizard I have only seen a dead one. There must be plenty.

Newt Common newt and great water newt have been reported. Palmated newt is possible.



Most of these names are to be found on NX 79 and NX 89 1:25000 OS maps. Though quite a few names are Old English (O.E.), more are Gaelic in origin and have been Anglicised to some extent. At the time these names were written down, in the twelfth century mostly, Gaelic was dominant. I got lots of help from Johnson-Fergusonís book.

A four-figure map reference is given.

AIKIEKNOWE 8092 O.E. hill with oaks, (the steep rocky wee hill by the glen road end)

THE AIKS 7992 O.E. oaks

AIRD 8293 ard = a height or high place

APPIN 7497 apuinn = abbey lands

AUCHENBRACK 7696 achadh na = field of; breac = spotted; or salmon, trout

AUCHENGIBBERT 8093 tiobart = a well; or Gilbert

AUCHENGOWER 7698 gobhar = goats

BAIL HILL 7296 O.E. back; or bonfire, beacon hill

BARR 8292 hilltop

BENNAN 7894 beannan = small hill

BIRKHILL 7893 O.E. birch

BLACKCRAIG HILL 7098 creag = crag

BROOMY KNOWE 7795 O.E. cnoll = round-topped hill

BROWN KNOWES 7298 and 7895

BRUNT HILL 7496 probably "burnt"

CAIRNEYCROFT 8293 O.E. croft of cairns

CAIRNEY KNOWE 7697 O.E. hill of cairns

CAMLING 8394 cam linne = winding pool

CAPENOCH 8392 ceapanach = place of tillage or tree stumps

CAUL 7993 O.E. cald = dam to divert water into a mill lead.

CLODDEROCH 7893 cluain = meadow; darroch = oak

CLODQUHANOCH 7992 clach = stone; canach = of the tax;

or chanaigh = of cotton-grass

CLONE 8291 cluain = meadow

CLONRAE 8293 cluain = meadow; reidh = smooth

COATS WOOD 8393 probably Cotts, who ran Shinnel Mill

COLT HILL 6998 O.E. colt

CONRICK HASS 7097 comhrag = confluence, meeting-place; (Norse) hass = a pass

CORFARDINE HILL 7995 curr = end, pit; feoirlinn = farthingland

CORMILLIGAN 7495 mollachan = hillock, or Milligan a name as in Strathmilligan.

CORMUNNOCH 7396 (Welsh) cor = bog, or coire = deep circular hollow;

munnoch = ? O.E. bilberry

CORRIEDOW 7694 coire = deep circular hollow; dubh = black

COUNTAM 7698 con = hound; or can = head of; tom = hill

COURT HILL 8192 used as a court by barony of Aird?

CRAIGELLER 7199 creag = crag; iolaire = eagle

CRAIGENCOON 7795 creagan = little crag; cumhainn = of the gorge

CRAIGSKEAN 7399 sgine = knife-cut

CRAIGTURRA 8193 turaid = turret; or O.E. turf or peat

CRAW LINN 7000 O.E. crow

CROGLIN 7397 creag linn = crag waterfall



DALMAKERRAN 8092 dail = field; of sons of Ciaran

DALRY dal righ = meadow, field of the king

DALWHAT HILL 7295 chat = wild-cat

DEMPSTERS HASS 7396 dempster = judge or officer of court; (Norse) hass = a pass

DRY BURN 7295 and 7594 O.E. burn = stream

DUDDIESTONE HASS 7996 Duddie or Doddie is probably a name (George);

or doddy = without horns or bare hill

DUN BRAE 7397 (Anglo-Saxon) dun = hill or place or dwelling

DUN CLEUCH 7297 O.E. cloh = steep-sided valley

DUNSCORE (Welsh) din = fort; ysgor = rampart

or dun = hill; sgor = sharp rock

EVERSIDE 7597 O.E. upper side



FIDDLERS MOSS 7698 O.E. mos = moss; fiddler = common sandpiper

FORD 8292

GLED BRAE 7893 gled = kite

GLENSKELLY HILL 7395 sgealaighe = teller of tales

GRAIN BURN 7199 (Norse) grein = a small valley branching off a big one

GREEN HILL 7296 green = grein? as above

HALFMARK 7696 measurement of land by value

HARD KNOWE 7499 O.E. hard = herd

HERD NAZE 7100 O.E. shepherd's promontory


HOLMHEAD HILL 7593 (Norse) holm = low-lying land by river


HULTON 8293 O.E. hyli tun = hill farm

JARNEY HILL 7499 ?O.E. marshy place

KEB HILL 7598 O.E. keb = a ewe that has an immature lamb

KEIR (Welsh) caer = fort

KILLIEWARREN 7993 coille = wood; a'bharain = baron, or gharain = undergrowth

KILNMARK 7696 O.E. cyla = grain-drying kiln or

coille = wood; mark = land measure

KIRKCONNEL 7694 O.E. Connel's Church

KIRKLAND 8093 land belonging to the church

LADY'S KNOWE 7992 which lady?

LAGDUBH HILL 7098 black hollow

LAGGANPARK HILL 8390 lagan = a hollow

LAGLUFF 7199 lagan again

LAIRD'S BRIDGE 7894 Queensberry probably

LAMGARROCH 7198 O.E. lann = enclosed land; or lamb; carroch = rough

LAMGARROCH STRAND 7299 O.E. strand = stream

LANN 8092 (enclosed) land

LINNHOUSE 8192 linn = waterfall

LOCKERTY SHEUCHS, 7000 luachair = rush; O.E. sheuch = ditch, stream,

SYKES, BURN and BOG furrow or peat digging; O.E. sic = stream or ditch

LOOP END 7497 ?winding glen

MACQUESTON 7794 personal name + O.E. tun

MAGMALLOCH 7396 marg = mark; mallaichte = accursed

MARKMONY 7893 monadh = hill

MARKREACH 7397 reachd = of the law; or of great sorrow

MARQUESTON BURN 7596 O.E. marg = markland; wasten = O.E. western


MILNTON 8192 O.E. mill farm

MONIAIVE moine = a mossy place; shaimhe = of stillness; or eibhe = cry

or monadh abh = hill stream

MOUNTHOOLIE BRIDGE 7894 monadh chuile = hill with corner or nook

MOUNTRASCAL 8092 monadh raschoill = hill of brushwood; or O.E. raskill = deer

MULLWHANNY 7197 meall or maoil = hill; vaine = green; or chanaigh = cotton-grass

OX HILL 7200

PAGAN'S THORN 7794 ???


PEAT RIG 7298 O.E. rig = ridge

PEELTON HILL 8091 (Old French) pel = palisade of stakes

PENFILLAN MOOR 8492 (Welsh) pen = a head; faolan = little wolf

PENPONT (Welsh) head of bridge

PINZARIE 7894 peighinn = pennyland; iaraigh = westerly; or arigh = shieling

ROUGH CRAIG 7299 O.E. rush




SCAUR LAW 7399 sgor = mark, notch, sharp rock

O.E. hlaw = a hill

SCROGHOUSE 8193 O.E. stunted bush, thornbush

SHANCASTLE DOON 8190 sean chaisteal = old castle


SHIEL 7398 (Middle English) schele = a shepherd's summer hut

SHINNEL sean allt = old river



SNAB 7795 O.E. projecting point

STELLBRAE 7594 O.E. steall = place with stones, enclosure for sheep

STENHOUSE 8093 O.E. stonhuis = stone house

STONEFAULD KNOWES 7496 O.E. fald = fold

STRATHMILLIGAN 7794 srath = valley + Maolagan 1291 (a name)

TERERRAN HILL 7693 tir iaran = western land

THISTLEMARK 7795 sounds obvious, but old spelling is Sislimark or Thirstymark

TORBRAEHEAD 7896 O.E. torr = pile of rocks, rocky peak

TRANSPARRA 7296 O.E. parroch = small field

TROSTON HILL 7099 (Welsh) traws = across; O.E. tun = enclosure with dwelling

TYNLEOCH 7695 tanaloch = shallow water

TYNRON 8092 various old spellings:

Tynrone, Tintroyn, Tindroyn, Tintroyan,

Tinrin, Tyndron, Tindrim, Tinnerin, Tinrane.

suggested meanings:

dun ron = fortified hill with nose

tan drum = fire ridge

(Welsh) din rhon = lance fort

tigh an sroin = house on the point

WAUK HILL 8490 O.E. wet, or fulling of cloth

WETHER HILL 7196 a male lamb


YEARN CRAG 7298 O.E. earn = eagle

Other place names are not recorded on maps and so can easily be lost. As an example, King's Seat is the prominent rock on the top of the face of Pinzarie Hill. It is now disappearing into the forestry. Another is Silver Well Brae, the gentle incline up from Killiewarren Bridge, beside which in a layby was once a well-known horse trough, Silver Well. Glenmar Linns is the disused name of the rapids above the bridge on the forestry road on the way up to Shinnelhead.

Place names on Ordnance Survey maps can also be misleading. In the 1980's update of the 1:25000 maps the survey confused the names of the woods on Auchenbrack. For instance, Jubilee Wood is the one at 772963 and not as marked. Unfortunately this sort of mistake is likely to remain on future maps, although I did write to the OS and point out this plus other small errors on the new map.



I have looked over every possible reference source in the Ewart & Library, Dumfries and these are the ones I found most useful. They are in no particular order.



Books and Booklets



A Country Schoolmaster, James Shaw Robert Wallace 1899

Tynron in Picture, Poetry and Prose William A. Wilson 1927

Tynron, Topography and Historical Notes William A. Wilson 1940

Tynron, Dumfriesshire from the Mists of Antiquity and Verse William A. Wilson 1957

Tynron Reminiscences William A. Wilson 1960-6

(lodged in Dumfries Museum, an unpublished handwritten manuscript)

The Churchyard of Tynron Rev. J. M. McWilliam 1959

The Natural and Genealogical History of the Shire of Dumfries, Penpont Presbytery Rev. Peter Rae 1747

Covenant and Hearth vol. iii Tynron Parish No 34 Robert A. Shannon 1973

Diary of Andrew Hunter, Surgeon, Camling, Tynron 1781

Annals of Glencairn John Corrie 1910

The Parish of Glencairn Rev. John Monteith 1876

Why Forget? Moniaive in Bygone Days Jock Black 1992

The Gallovidian, Winter 1902 R. de Bruce Trotter

Glencairn and Tynron Scrapbook, 1893-1911 Mrs Pollock of Tynron Kirk

Making of the Scottish Landscape R. N. Millman 1975

Evolution of Scotland's Scenery J. B. Sissons 1967

The South of Scotland, British Regional Geology, 3rd edition 1971

The Place-names of Dumfriesshire Col. Sir Edward Johnson-Ferguson 1935

The Book of Dumfriesshire James Anderson Russell 1964

History of the Douglas Family Percy W. L. Adams 1921

The Lag Charters 1400-1720 Scottish Record Society 1958

The Queensberry Papers

General View of the Agriculture, State of Property and Improvements in the County of Dumfries Dr. Singer 1812

Birds of Dumfriesshire Hugh S. Gladstone 1910

Early Education in Dumfriesshire James Anderson Russell 1967

Glenesslin, Nithsdale The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1994

Inventory of Monuments in Dumfriesshire Historical Monuments (Scotland) Commission

History of Dumfries and Galloway Sir Herbert Maxwell 1896

Caledonia George Chalmers 1902

An Historical Atlas of Scotland c400 - c1600 Peter McNeill and Ranald Nicholson editors 1975



Statistical Accounts

1st Statistical Account of Dumfriesshire 1791-3 Tynron by Rev. James Wilson

2nd Statistical Account of Dumfriesshire 1836-41 Tynron by Rev. Robert Wilson

Unpublished Statistical Account 1873 (bound in Ewart Library) Dumfries and Galloway Courier

3rd Statistical Account of Scotland 1958, County of Dumfries Tynron by Rev. J. M. McWilliam


The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 9NX has all the historical and architectural monuments on a card index and on maps plus photos of listed buildings and aerial photos of Tynron. &

The National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW has a copy of any book for reference.

Tynron Parish Registers, births, marriages and deaths, available at New Register House, Edinburgh and Dumfries Archive Centre in Burns Street on Microfiche, 1743-1854.

(Marriages and deaths missing 1783-1823. Later marriages give no place names).

Tynron Census Records 1841-91 available at New Register House and Dumfries Archive Centre.

The Ewart Library has most of these records, all of the books, but it also has the records of Highway Authorities, County Treasurer's Department, Tynron School Board and Log Books, the MacRae Papers, Newspaper Index, Photo Collection for Tynron, Map Collection, Electoral Rolls and Valuation Rolls.

Electoral Rolls from 1914 and Valuation Rolls from 1863 are also available at 27, Moffat Road, Dumfries. Staff there were very helpful.

The Domesday Disk contains information on Tynron by Tynron's children and others. The disk is kept in the Ewart or is more likely to be on tour around the county.

General Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YY has tax registers and sasines.

TDGNHAS = Transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society;

many articles with Tynron connections, including

1885 List of Birds in Tynron Parish Tom Brown

1887 Glencairn Bird Report Corrie, plus Gladstone's bird reports

1949-50 Wilson of Croglin R. C. Reid

1957-8 Churchyard of Tynron Rev. J. M. McWilliam

1958-9 Tynron parish records

1964 and 1971 Tynron Doon A. C. Truckell and J. Williams


1:50000 Geological Maps New Galloway, solid and drift

Thornhill, solid and drift

1:63360 Geological Map Maxwelltown, solid and drift

1:25000 sheets NX 69/79, 89/99; 1:50000 sheets 77 and 78 Ordnance Survey Maps

1850's large-scale Ordnance Survey maps are lodged in Dumfries Museum.

West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh has eighteenth and nineteenth century Buccleuch estate maps

The National Map Library, 33 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SL has copies of every OS map available and is open to the public. First and second edition Ordnance Survey maps are especially interesting. The older maps are here too.


The Tynron Challenge

There are thirteen tops over 500 metres in Shinnel Glen. You have to be fit and mentally unbalanced to do them all in one walk, but the stupendous views are worth it.

Start at Countam. The 300 metre climb up from Old Auchenbrack takes 40 minutes. Countam to Bail is about 20 kilometres and the total climb, starting from Old Auchenbrack is about 900 metres, so it is the equivalent of doing a serious Munro. This was my schedule at my steady amble, pausing to speculate, cogitate, masticate and urinate. I then had the long walk into Moniaive, giving a total of nine hours.

height time taken

Countam 502m 00.00

(Keb Hill) 499m 00.11 (too low, it does not count)

Ox Hill 505m 01.04

Allanís Cairn 497m 02.02 (doesnít count either)

High Countam 502m 02.22 The Southern Upland Way makes walking easier on this stretch, although ATV tracks can be followed for much of the way.

Black Hill 550m 02.45 (the top is not in Shinnel Glen)

Colt Hill 598m 03.03

Lamgarroch 573m 03.46 It is tedious then retracing your steps.

Lagdubh Hill 560m 04.27

Blackcraig Hill 555m 04.32 Going up and down Conrick Hass is a pain!

Mullwhanny 535m 05.15 (twin peaks)

Transparra 528m 05.31

Cormunnoch 500m 05.57

Green Hill 540m 06.07

Bail 517m 06.19 get a helicopter to meet you here



Potentilla erecta. I have not included a section on wildflowers, as this would be an enormous undertaking. The glen is predominantly sheep pasture and the tormentil provides such a beautiful display on the cropped turf from June to September that I regard it as the flower that would always remind me of Tynron.

Dramatist, John Fletcher, expressed the widespread belief in the medicinal power of tormentil in the seventeenth century, when he wrote:

This tormentil, whose vertue is to part

All deadly killing poison from the heart

In the "Country Farme", a book of rustic lore published in 1616, a powder or decoction of tormentil roots was recommended "to appease the rage and torment of the teeth". Tormentil roots are grand for curing colic, diarrhoea and cystitis, so if you are suffering from all three it is a good bet, as there must be millions of tormentil flowers in the glen in July.

A local name for tormentil, blood root, refers to a red dye extracted from the roots and used to colour clothing. Tormentil roots were also used as an alternative to the oak bark in tanning hides, their highly astringent quality proving ideal for the purpose.

The tormentilís buttercup-like golden-yellow flowers secrete a nectar that attracts pollinating insects. In wet weather or at night, when the four petals close up, the tormentil flower has the clever ability to pollinate itself, producing up to twenty fruits on its seed head.

Vanessa Gourlayís beautiful watercolour shows the height tormentil can reach on ungrazed land. Sheep obviously enjoy it and munch it down to the level of short grass pasture.



Aird 6, 27, 30, 42-3, 50, 58, 70-2, 99, 118-9

Allanís Cairn 32, 129

Angles 22

animals 58, 75, 121

Appin 5, 11, 12, 27, 30, 50, 63, 67-9, 104, 106, 114, 116-7,


Armstrong family 62-3, 109

Auchenbrack 4, 9-12, 14, 18, 27, 29-30, 35, 38, 42, 49, 55-6,

66, 94, 104, 106, 108-20, 129

Auchengibbert 30, 49-50, 55, 58, 65, 67, 71, 94

Auchenhessnane 4, 30, 50, 53, 55, 88


Barr 4,56

Bennan 25, 27, 53, 56, 64, 66, 73, 77, 82, 92, 106, 115, 117

Birkhill 27, 36, 50, 74, 88

bridges 104

Britons 17, 20-2

Bronze Age 14-5

Bruce 24, 33

Buccleuch 6, 42, 48-50, 65, 75, 92, 99, 104, 108-10, 112-5

buses 97


Cairneycroft 24, 30, 33, 42, 45, 55, 61, 70

cairns 13-15, 17

Camling 30, 47, 50

Capenoch 14, 27, 45, 56, 67-8, 71-2, 118-20

Carmichael, Rev. 90

carpet bowling 98

Carronbridge 19-20

cattle 22-3, 35, 45, 47-9, 53, 63-4, 75, 77, 88-9, 109, 111

Celts 17, 21

church 31, 75, 90-3, 112

Clodderoch 89, 98

Clone 9, 19, 97, 105, 119

Clonrae 9, 29-30, 50, 55-6, 65, 94, 104

Colt Hill 4, 19, 103, 129

Cormilligan 12, 27, 30, 49-50, 53, 61-3

Corriedow 27, 30, 50, 110

Covenanters 32-3, 44, 93

crops 14, 34-6, 40, 45-8, 54, 63, 66, 77, 82-3, 88-9, 111

Craigencoon 5, 11, 14-16, 27, 30, 37-42, 50, 72, 108, 111,


Craigturra 9, 11, 13, 20, 30-2, 35, 70, 99, 104, 118, 120

Croglin 9, 11, 27, 30, 50, 113, 116, 118

curling 99


Dalmakerran 30, 44, 50, 55-6, 64-6, 73, 75, 82, 106

Dalwhat 9, 67, 121

David I 23,31

Deilís Dyke 36

discordant scenery 8

diversification 66

Douglas family 25, 27, 30, 32, 34, 77, 93, 108, 112-5

drainage pattern 9

drove road 53, 88

Drumlanrig 19-20, 25, 32, 115

Duddiestone Hass 53, 106

Durisdeer 19-20, 44, 109


electricity 56, 77, 94, 110

erratics 5

Ewart Library 4, 44, 47, 74, 83, 98, 126


flooding 72

fluvio-glacial deposits 12

food 36, 44, 47-8, 54

Ford 30, 42, 49-50, 56, 70, 104-6, 110, 121

forestry 67-9, 72-3

forts 17, 20, 36


Gaelic 22-3, 29, 82

gas 94

Gaskell family 110-2

gateposts 45

Gibson, John 82

Glencairn 3-4, 19, 27, 33, 36, 53, 74, 90, 100, 106,

109-10, 113-4, 118

Glencorse, Jim 63, 87-9

Glenesslin 13, 15, 18

Gourlay, Vanessa 127, 131

Grennan 20

greywacke 5

Grierson family 27, 30, 32


haughland 35

hearth tax 25, 29-30, 42, 77, 108, 112-5

Heidless Horseman 29

Hen Hoose 65, 98

hens 63, 65, 77, 115

Hillhead 61, 103, 105, 119

Holmhouse 110

Holywood 31-2

homestead 18

horses 34, 45, 48-9, 63, 65, 88, 103, 110

houses 23, 48

Hulton 58, 118

Hunter, Andrew, surgeon 47


Ice Age 9, 11

igneous rocks 6

index 128-9

infield and outfield 34-5, 42

Iron Age 17-8, 20-1


Johnston map 49, 52, 117

Juniper Wood 70


Keir 3, 4, 56, 100, 114

Killiewarren 20, 25-7, 30, 36, 50, 55-6, 89, 108

Kilnmark 28, 50, 64, 74-7, 110, 112-7

Kirkconnel 11, 14, 27, 30-1, 50, 53, 62-3, 72, 104, 118-9

Kirkland 27, 45, 50, 55, 58, 65-6, 76-7, 84, 89, 98, 104, 106-8

kirk-session 33, 82


Lag Charters 27, 32

Lairdís Bridge 104

Lamgarroch 4, 14, 129

landowners 24, 27, 32, 34

Lann Hall 14, 27, 45, 49-50, 55-6, 63, 65, 66, 69, 71, 89, 97-8,

106, 113, 121

Laurie, James, merchant 82, 84-5, 87-8

Laurie, John, schoolteacher 83, 99

lime 45, 47-9, 66

Linn 10, 12, 58, 106

lochs 72, 99, 118

Low Lann 47, 55-6, 58


Macqueston 9, 10, 14, 27, 30, 34, 36, 50, 55-6, 58, 64, 73,

88-9, 106, 110, 114, 120

Magmalloch 27, 30, 50, 114, 117, 121

Maitland family 27, 108

Markmony 30, 36, 53, 67, 74, 76-7

Markreach 30, 50, 114, 117

Marqueston Park 27, 30, 50, 74, 112-4, 116-7

Maxwelton 32, 119

McCaw family 53, 61-2, 98

McWilliam, Rev. 90, 93, 125

Mesolithic 13

Midshinnel 27, 30, 112, 116-7

mills 56-9

Milnton 30, 34, 42, 50, 58, 65, 110

ministers 27, 31-2, 82-3, 90

Moniaive 84, 87, 88, 90, 92, 94, 97-8, 103-6, 119

mottes 20, 23-4

Morton Castle 23, 25

Mounthoolie Bridge 104


Neolithic 13, 156

Novantae 17


Palaeolithic 13

parish boundary 4

peat 14, 35, 47-8, 103

Penman family 58

Penpont 4, 45, 47, 62, 83-4, 87-8, 90, 92-4, 100, 103-5,

109-10, 112, 115, 119

pigs 22, 49, 63-4

Pinzarie 14-17, 25, 27, 30, 35, 37-42, 61, 67-9, 71, 88, 108,

115-7, 119

ploughteams 31,34-5, 45

Pont, Timothy 29, 30, 58, 108, 112-5, 117

potatoes 45, 47-9, 63, 66, 83, 111, 113


quarries 6

Queensberry 27, 30, 44-5, 47, 49, 50, 53, 65, 82, 103, 108, 112-5



Rae, Rev. Peter 44, 125

railway 77, 88, 97

Reformation 32

roads 68, 103-6

Romans 17, 19-21

Roy map 23, 44-6, 103, 114

rubbish 73

run-rig 12, 15, 18, 34, 37-41, 44-5, 113


St. Connel 14, 31, 61

St. Cuthbert 31, 92

sandstone 6

Scaur 3,4, 6, 9, 20, 29, 44, 53, 62, 67, 89, 92, 100,


schools 53-5, 82-3, 99

Scots 19, 21-2

sea-level changes 9

Selgovae 17

Shancastle 4, 20, 23

Shaw, James 53-6, 83, 110, 125

sheep 35, 47-9, 53, 63-6, 75, 79, 88-9, 109, 111

shielings 35, 38

Shinnel Forge 55, 58-9, 118, 120

Shinnelhead 5, 27, 30, 65, 67, 69, 106-7, 110, 117

silver fox 65

Singer, Dr. 45, 48, 125

sod dykes 15, 18, 34-40, 42, 48

sports 77, 98-9,

statistical accounts 44, 47, 104, 126

Stenhouse 25, 27, 30, 32, 45, 50, 57-8, 66-8, 70,

72-3, 74-81, 89, 92-4, 98, 108, 112-4, 131

stone dykes 6, 17, 42, 44-5, 47-8, 70

Strathclyde 21-2

Strathmilligan 30, 50, 55, 58, 63, 65, 74-5, 77, 88, 106,

110, 112, 114


tanyard 84

tenants 34, 44-5, 47, 49, 61

Thistlemark 6, 27, 29, 30, 38, 50, 114

Thomson map 49, 51, 114, 117

Thornhill 6, 84, 87-8, 97, 105, 110

Tibbers 24-5, 27, 108, 115

till 9, 11, 13

tormentil 131

trades 76, 84

Turner, Brian 58, 118

twinning 98

Tynleoch 27, 30, 50, 74, 112-3, 116-7

Tynron Doon 4, 9, 11, 20, 21, 29, 35-6, 70, 92


valuations 29, 30, 49, 50, 76

Vikings 22

village hall 93-4

vitrified fort 17

voters 55, 101-2


Wallace family 106, 109-10, 117, 125

water supply 94

whinstone 5, 13

whisky 84, 87-9

Williamson family 74, 108-9, 114, 117

Wilson family of Croglin 27, 30, 32, 50, 74, 82, 93,

112-4, 117

Wilson, William 4, 20, 31, 36, 84, 87, 89, 125

wind farms 66

woodland 13-15, 22, 48, 66, 69-72, 110, 118

WRI 77, 93-6

If you can read this small, I am so so sorry if I have missed anything in this index, but it is a tedious business! JS

A_2.jpg (22351 bytes)

PHOTO *S Tynron from Auchenbrack to the forestry. This photo was on the cover of the first edition on "Tynron Glen"







This second edition has only been made possible

through the generous sponsorship of

Pat and Rowland Smith of The Hague, The Netherlands




Thanks to my son, James Shaw, for the computer and help with computing.

Thanks to Vanessa Gourlay for her water-colour of the tormentil.

Thanks to the Ordnance Survey for permission to use OS maps.

Thanks to Buccleuch Estates for use of maps.

Thanks to the Dumfries and Galloway Standard for permission to use articles.

Thanks to the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society for permission too.

This work has been a labour of love, a tired old clichť (I am fond of tired old clichťs), but I have typed it all in using one finger, two if you count the shift key. I imagine someone reading this in 2096 and I think of how much I would have enjoyed reading a book about Tynron written in 1896. It is a home-made production, but I still hope that it gives enjoyment to a few folk and that this might inspire the next Willie Wilson to produce an improved version sometime in the future.

Tynron Glen first produced using ôKindwords 3 on an ôAmiga Computer April 1992

The 1st edition was produced using ôMicrosoft Word 7 ˇ and ôWindows 95 on an ôIBM

Photos taken by the author

This 2nd edition has minor changes © John Shaw Moniaive 08 December 1996