Description of the parish in 1846
"KIRKCOWAN, a parish, in the county of Wigtown; containing, with the hamlet of Kiltersan, 1423 inhabitants, of whom 607 are in the village of Kirkowan, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from Newton Stewart. ..
The parish is bounded on the east by the river Bladnoch, and on the west by the river Tarf; it is about fifteen miles in length, and varies from less than two miles to nearly seven in breadth, comprising 30,580 acres, of which 7000 are arable, 300 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. ..
The hills afford good pasturage for sheep, of which more than 10,000 are reared, principally of the black-faced breed; they are much prized for the fineness of their wool, about 1200 stone being annually sold, producing an income of £900. The cattle are all of the pure Galloway breed, and are usually disposed of when two years old to dealers from Dumfries, whence they are sent southwards, and, after a year's pasture in England, forwarded to the London market, where they are in great estimation. ..
The village is on the road to Wigtown, and near the river Tarf, on which a mill was erected in 1822, for the manufacture of woollen cloths, affording employment to about seventy persons; the articles made are, blankets, plaidings, flannels, and plain and pilot cloths, for the dyeing and dressing of which the water of the Tarf, from its peculiar softness is well adapted. A post-office has been established under that of Newton Stewart. Facility of communication is maintained by the roads to Wigtown and Portpatrick. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Wigtown and synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £292. 11. 8., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £6 per annum; patrons, the Agnew family. The church, erected in 1829, is a neat substantial structure with a tower, and is conveniently situated in the village. A congregation of Seceders assembles for public worship in an old barn which has been fitted up for the purpose. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £25. 13., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £30 per annum." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.