[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"LOCHMABEN, a parish in the district of Annandale, in the county of Dumfries, Scotland. It is about the centre of Annandale and includes a royal burgh of its own name, together with the villages of Greenhill, Heck, Hightae, Smallholm, and Templand. The length of the parish southward is about 10 miles, and its greatest breadth is 3½. The surface is flat, and a large proportion of it is disposed in meadow land and pasture. The district is watered by the rivers Annan, Ae, and Kinnel. There are eight lakes, the largest of which, the Castle-loch, measures over 200 acres, and contains, among other sorts of fish, the vendace, or vendise, which is peculiar to this loch, and is said not to be met with anywhere else in Britain. At Corncockle-moor red sandstone is quarried. The parish is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £289. The parish church, built in 1819, is a commodious structure. There is a Free church at Lochmaben, a Reformed Presbyterian church at Hightae, and an United Presbyterian church at Barrows. Throughout the parish there are six non-parochial schools. Here are the remains of two strongholds of the Bruces, which came through the Douglasses to the crown in 1487, and thence to the Murrays and Johnstones. The ruins of Woody or Dinwoody Castle are about half a mile W. of the town. There are several traces of Roman camps in the district. The chief residences are Elshieshields, Halleaths, and Broadchapel. Lochmaben is a town of considerable antiquity, a royal burgh, and a railway station on the Dumfries and Lockerbie branch of the Caledonian line. It is 8 miles E. of Dumfries, and 4 W.N.W. of Lockerby. It is encircled by lakes, and derived its name from the loch on which it is placed, the word Lochmaben signifying in the Scoto-Irish, "the lake on the white plain." The town consists of one principal street, and contains a town-house, and an ancient market-cross. The parish church is a structure in the pointed style of architecture, with a bold square tower, and was rebuilt in 1819 on the site of an ancient one burnt in 1591 by the Johnstones, when the Maxwells sought refuge in it. There is a Free church, and also an United Presbyterian church. The date of the first erection of Lochmaben into a royal burgh is unknown, but its present charter was granted by James VI., and bears date 16th July, 1612. From this it appears that the town was more than once burnt during the civil wars, and its ancient records totally lost. Although the whole of its former privileges have been regained, the place itself has never recovered its former consequence. The municipal government is vested in a provost, three bailies, a dean of guild, and a treasurer, with 15 councillors. Lochmaben unites with Dumfries, Annan, Sanquhar, and Kirkcudbright in sending a member to parliament. It is a place of narrow trade, the chief manufactures being flannel shirts and socks. Pig-feeding for the English markets is carried on throughout the parish. The National Bank has an office, and there is a savings-bank. A market is held during the winter months every fortnight for the sale of pork, &c.; and fairs on the first Tuesdays in January, April, July, and October (all old style)."
"FOUR-TOWNS, the popular nomenclature given to the villages of Hightae, Greenhill, Heck, and Smallholm (which see), in the parish of Lochmaben, county Dumfries, Scotland."
"GREENHILL, a village in the parish of Lochmaben, county Dumfries, Scotland, 6 miles N.E. of Dumfries. It is one of the "Four Towns,""
"HECK, a village in the parish of Lochmaben, county Dumfries, Scotland, 6 miles N.E. of Dumfries. It is one of the "Four Towns.""
"HIGHTAE, a village in the parish of Lochmaben, county Dumfries, Scotland, 3 miles S.W. of Lockerby. It is situated near Hightae Loch, a fine piece of water. It is one of the "four towns" of the parish, and has a Reformed Presbytery meetinghouse."
"SMALLHOLM, a village in the parish of Lochmaben, county Dumfries, Scotland, 3 miles S.W. of Lockerby."
"TEMPLAND, a village in the parish of Lochmaben, county Dumfries, Scotland, 4 miles W. of Lockerby. It is situated near the confluence of the rivers Dryffe and Kinnel."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]