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"GRETNA, (or Graitney), a parish and post town in the district of Annandale, county Dumfries, Scotland, 5 miles E. of Annan. It is a station on the Caledonian and Dumfries railway. The parish is situated just on the Scottish side of the Border, and is 6½ miles long, its greatest breadth 3½. It contains the villages of Gretna Green and Springfield, and the hamlets of Old Gretna and Rigg of Gretna. Its boundaries are Half Morton on the N., the river Sark on the E., the Solway on the S., and Dornock on the W. The surface is nearly level, the principal hill being Gretna, or Greatknowe Hill, which commands an extensive view. The soil is productive and well cultivated. The Kirtle and Black Sark traverse the interior. This parish is in the presbytery of Annan and synod of Dumfries. The minister has a stipend of £237. The church was built in 1790. Here are an United Presbyterian church, two parish schools, three non-parochial schools, and a mechanics' institute. The extinct parishes of Gretna How and Ren-Patrick were incorporated with Gretna in 1609. The old churches of these parishes belonged to the monks of Gisburn. Ren, or Redkirk Church, stood on the headland still bearing its name, but has long since been wiped out by the violence of the tide. Gretna Green is a small hamlet immediately adjoining the village of Springfield, and was the well-known retreat for the celebration of runaway marriages, performed, since 1760, by Paisley, a tobacconist, and his family. There were extensive Druidical remains existing here some years ago, also traces of several Border strongholds. In times past the whole district was the constant scene of feuds and Border warfare, and the resort of smugglers."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]


    Presbyterian / Unitarian
    Gretna, Church of Scotland


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