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"RUTHWELL, (or Ruthwald), (anciently RYVAL), a parish and burgh of barony in the district of Annandale, county Dumfries, Scotland. It contains a village of its own name, and that of Clarencefield; also the hamlet of Brow. It extends in length about 5½ miles from N.W. to S.E., with an extreme breadth of 3 miles, stretching along the northern shore of the Solway Frith. It is bounded by the Solway Frith and by the parishes of Caerlaverock, Mouswald, Dalton, and Cummertrees. The surface is flat, and the soil shallow, but fertile. Peat abounds at Locharmoss, a considerable tract lying westward, and separated from Caerlaveroch by the dreary estuary of Lochar-water. The prevailing rocks are limestone, of which there are extensive quarries near Comlongan. The principal seat is Comlongan Castle, belonging to the Earl of Mansfield, and formerly inhabited by the Murrays, of Cockpool, a family of power and eminence in Annandale, and who were created earls of Annandale by James VI. of Scotland. At the mouth of the river Lochar there is a small port where little coasting vessels deliver coals and grain. The parish is traversed by the road from Dumfries to Annan, and by the great military road from Carlisle to Port-Patrick; also by the line of the Glasgow and South-Western railway, on which it has a station 8¼ miles from Dumfries. The village of Ruthwell is about 6 miles W. of Annan, and 10¼ S.E. of Dumfries. It is situated on the Solway Frith, and was rebuilt at the expense of Viscount Stormont about the beginning of the present century. It has a southern exposure, and is much resorted to as a bathing-place. Near the shore is the Brow well and hamlet where the poet Burns spent several of the last weeks of his life. At an early period salt was manufactured here, which was made exempt from taxes by a grant of James VI. It is a burgh of barony, and is privileged to hold markets and fairs, by a grant in favour of Sir John Murray in 1509. This parish is in the presbytery of Annan and synod of Dumfries. The stipend of the minister is about £262. There are a Free church, two parochial schools, and a parochial library; also a grammar school, endowed with 300 merks, Scotch. The Earl of Mansfield is principal landowner."

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


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