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MOUSWALD

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"MOUSWALD, (or Moswald), a parish in county Dumfries, Scotland, 7 miles S.E. of Dumfries, and 10 W. by. N. of Annan. It is situated in that district formerly called the Stewartry of Annandale, midway between the rivers Nith and Annan, and was anciently covered with wood, as its name implies, "The Wood near the Moss." It is bounded by the parishes of Lochmaben, Dalton, Rothwell, and Torthorwald, and contains the post-office village of its own name, and the hamlets of Old Brocklehurst and Cleughbrae. It is about 5 miles in length, with a mean breadth of 2 miles, comprising an area of 8½ square miles. The surface is mostly level, with some rising grounds, but the ascent of which is so moderate as to admit of cultivation to their very summits. The soil is in general light and sandy, except in the eastern part, where it is a rich loam, and in the S., which is occupied by Lochar Moss, comprising 8,828 acres. There are some thriving natural woods and extensive plantations, but the land is in general arable, the proportion of cultivated to unreclaimed being as 33 to 10. The only rivers are the Lochar-water, which touches the parish on the S.W., and the Wath-burn, which enters it from the N. and flows along the western boundary to its confluence with the Lochar. The prevailing rock formations are greywacke and clay slate, and the fuel in general use is peat. The village of Mouswald stands on the road from Dumfries to Annan, about 7 miles from the former, and is wholly agricultural. The principal mansion is Rock Hall, the seat of Sir Alexander Grierson, Bart., who, with seven other proprietors, claims the whole of the land. The parish is traversed by the Glasgow and South-Western railway, and by the coach roads from Dumfries to Annan and Ruthwell. The parish is in the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries. The minister's stipend is £250, besides a glebe valued at £20. The original church was dedicated to St. Peter, but a modern edifice has been built on a conspicuous site near the village. In the church is a very ancient circular stone font described in "Archæologia," vol. ii. p. 106, also a monument to Sir Simon Carruthers, "the belted knight" and laird of Mouswald, whose seat was the border fortress of Mouswald Mains, sometimes called The Place, but now in ruins. There are parochial and other schools. The ruinous castle of Lag, once the seat of the Grierson family, stands in a deep, narrow ravine called the Glen of Lag, and was anciently surrounded by a lake, which is now a marsh. There are also several cairns, and traces of ancient British camps, one of which, at Barron-hill, is surrounded by a strong double fosse."

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