"ESKDALEMUIR, a parish in the district of Eskdale, county Dumfries, Scotland. Langholm is its post town. It is surrounded by the parishes of Westerkirk, Hutton, Moffat, and the counties of Selkirk and Roxburgh. Its length is 11 miles, its greatest breadth over 9 miles. The surface is mountainous. Ettrick rises 2,200 feet above sea-level. Loch Fell is the next prominent summit. The rivers Black and White Esk traverse the parish, with their numerous tributaries. There are very beautiful cascades on the Garvald water and Finglandhope rivulets. This parish is in the presbytery of Langholm and synod of Dumfries. The minister has a stipend of £241. The church was erected in 1826. Here are a meeting-house for Reformed Presbyterians, two schools, private and parochial, and library. This parish was separated from Westerkirk in 1703. Traces of encampments are seen on nearly every hill-top, and at a spot near the meeting of the two Esks is an oval encampment, supposed to be Roman. At Coatt farm are two circles, having the appearance of Druidical temples. A singular custom was in former times kept up here-that of "hand-fasting," or taking a wife on a twelvemonth's trial; if at the end of that period the parties did not agree, they separated, and were at liberty to make another choice at an annual fair held for that purpose."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
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