Borgue (from Maxwell’s Guide Book)

9th Edition, 1922


While the visitor makes Kirkcudbright his headquarters, a day might be very enjoyably spent in a walk or drive to the many places of interest in the parish of Borgue, which is situated on the opposite side of the river, and has a sea frontage fully ten miles in extent.

Leaving the town by the bridge across the Dee, we take the first turning to the left, and proceeding a short distance along the margin of the river, the first object of interest which attracts our attention is the churchyard of Kirkchrist, one of the haunts of ” Old Mortality,” with part of the old church, pleasantly situated in a ,secluded position. This was formerly a parish church, but is now united to Twynholm. Nearby was a distillery, hence the modern name of Stell, and which furnished Burns with the name of ” Whisky Jean,” in one of his Election Ballads. Passing Bishopton and Kirkeoch, a fine view is had Of the Manxman’s Lake, fringed on either side with the woods of St. Mary’s Isle and Senwick, and the Ross Island, with its lighthouse guarding the entrance. The Fish-house is next passed, and at Nunmi!l there is an old archway which is all that remains of a nunnery that stood here. The adjacent farms of High and Low Nunton also derived their names from the nunnery. On an eminence near here are the remains of an ancient British Fort, with clearly defined triple mounds and double fosse. Leaving the public road near Culraven, a most delightful walk can be had through the Senwick woods. Passing Senwick House, a short distance further on are the old church and churchyard of Senwick. Among the more notable people buried here is John Mactaggart, author of the Gallovidian Encyclopaedia, who was born at Lennox Plunton, in Borgue parish. Continuing our walk, we pass Brighouse, Rockville, and several cottages near the shore. The farm-house of Borness occupies a fine position facing Borness Point. The remains of an old fort, known as Borness Batteries, are to be seen here, and the almost Inaccessible Borness Bone Cave. The farm of Muncraig is a little further round the coast. Regaining the public road, we pass the United Free Church Manse and Borgue House, and soon arrive at the village of Borgue.

Near the top of the village is the Academy, a widely-known educational institution. In the wall in front of the Academy will be seen a public memorial of the Galloway Bard, William Nicholson, the author of the well-known poem ” The Brownie o’ Blednoch,” who was born at Tannymaas In this parish, in 1783, and died in 1849. The monument, of grey granite, was unveiled on 18th August, 1900, by Sheriff Jameson (Lord Ardwall). The Parish Church occupies a commanding position, surrounded by some fine old trees. The United Free Church, a neat little building, is immediately adjoining. A short distance from the village is Earlston House, the seat of Lady Gordon, whose husband, the late Sir William Gordon, Bart., was a distinguished military officer. He was born in 1830, entered the army as a cornet in the 17th Lancers in 1849 and served with his regiment in the Crimea. In that campaign he rendered signal services, and was one of the Six Hundred at Balaclava, whose deeds are immortalised by Tennyson in his thrilling poem entitled ” The Charge of the Light Brigade.” In 1856 Sir William was created a Knight of the Legion of Honour. In 1859 he became a major in his own regiment, and in 1862 a lieutenant-colonel. He died on 12th May, 1906. John Wilson, of the 17th Lancers, belonging to this parish, fell in the same charge, and a stone is erected to his memory in the churchyard.

Leaving the village by the south end, we pass the farms of Chapelton, Knockmulloch, and Ingleston, before reaching the ancient hamlet of


which, although very insignificant, has historical interest. It is recorded that In 1334, when Edward Baliol surrendered to the King of England the county Of Dumfries, including the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, in so precipitate a manner that the deed conveyed a right to Baliol’s private property in Galloway, Edward Ill. issued a declaration excluding from the instrument of resignation, among other lands in Galloway, those of Kirkandrews. In the churchyard may -still be seen the remains of the old church, which originally belonged to the Monks of Iona. The churchyard is noted as being the resting-place of William Nicholson, the Galloway Bard. On the head of a long prostrate slab of whinstone lying on the ground to the south of the wall there are rudely cut the lines of a very primitive sundial, one of the very few of the same early type to be seen in Galloway. The district is rich in Covenanting associations, and one tombstone, erected to the memory of Alexander Dobie, bears a quaint inscription, and another records the death, at the hands of the dragoons, of Robert M’Whae.

An ancient stone fort, or castle, situated on a rocky promontory half a mile west of Kirkandrews, has been opened up, and the plan of the building laid bare. It is oval on the east, and straight on the west, and consists of a central area, 60 feet by 35 feet, begirt by a great dry-built wall about 15 feet thick. This has a gallery on the east side, in the middle of its thickness, 80 feet long and 31 feet wide; and on the west side a gallery or long chamber, 54 feet in length and 31 feet in width, and at a little distance a smaller chamber, 14 feet long and 4 feet wide.

Taking the road past Roberton and Barlocco, Knockbrex House is seen on the left, and a little further on are the ruins of Plunton Castle. The farm of Lennox Plunton is next passed, and we reach the main road from Kirkcudbright to Gatehouse at Barharrow. Proceeding by Minto Cottage, Conchieton, and Barluka, we now arrive at