NEW ABBEY, Kirkcudbrightshire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

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

"NEW ABBEY, (anciently Kirkinder), a parish in the county of Kirkcudbright, Scotland. It comprises the village of the same name, also the village of Drumbarn. It extends about 10 miles in length from S.E. to N.W., with an extreme breadth of about 4½ miles. It is bounded on the E. by the estuary of the Nith, which falls into the Solway Frith, and on the other sides by the parishes of Kirkbean, Colvend, Kirkgunzean, Lochrutton, and Troqueer. Towards the S. the surface is level, and is regularly enclosed and highly cultivated, but in the western extremity it is hilly and interspersed with mosses and extensive muirs. The soil in the uplands is chiefly gravel and loam, and in the level district to the S.E. alluvial clay. The climate, though subject to frequent storms of wind and heavy rains, is nevertheless remarkably healthy. In the southern part of the parish is Loch Kinder, a lake about 1¼ mile long and three-quarters of a mile broad, abounding with trout. There are also two other smaller lakes, each about three-quarters of a mile long, Lochend and Craigend, abounding with pike. The burn, called New Abbey Pows, allows vessels of 60 to 70 tons burthen to come up to the village, importing lime and shells for manure, and some coals. On the N. lie the woods of Shambelly, and to the S. the dark braes of Criffle, the lofty hill of which rises to the height of 2,000 feet above sea-level. Near the shore of Lochend is the spot where one of the early Covenanters of this district met an untimely end. On the Glen Hill, a continuation of the Criffle, stands a monument erected in commemoration of the battle of Waterloo. It is a granite column of spiral form, 50 feet in height and 16 in diameter, and has a spiral staircase within. At Craigend farm there is a rocking stone, consisting of a huge block of syenite, computed to be about 15 tons in weight. There are various mills in the parish. The parish is traversed by the coach road from Dumfries to Kirkcudbright. The village of Newabbey is about 12 miles E. of Dalbeattie, and 7 W. of Dumfries. It is of small extent, and is situated at the eastern extremity of the county, near the mouth of the Nith. It was originally called Kirkinder, but took the name of Newabbey from the once celebrated religious establishment founded in the 13th century for the Cistercian order of monks by Dervorguilla, daughter of Alan, lord of Galloway, and wife of John Baliol, Lord of Castle Barnard, and mother of John Baliol, king of Scotland. Andrew Winton, who was Prior of Loch Leven, informs us that after the death of Baliol in 1269, the Lady Dervorguilla caused his heart to be embalmed and put into an ivory box, which was then embedded in the wall of the abbey church near the high altar, from which circumstance it was styled the Abbey of Sweetheart, though it was afterwards more generally called New Abbey. The ruins occupy an area of 240 by 150 feet. The abbey was a lofty building of the light Gothic style of architecture, supported on arches and Gothic pillars. The area, called the Precinct, is still used as a place of interment for Roman Catholics. The church is the chief portion of the existing ruin. Near it are the remains of an ancient tower called the Abbot's Tower, which was once the residence of the abbots, and from its elevated position commands extensive views. This parish is in the presbytery and synod of Dumfries, in the patronage of the crown. The minister has a stipend of £254. The parish church, which was erected before the Reformation, was rebuilt about half a century back, and has since that period been enlarged. The Roman Catholics have a chapel at Kirkconnel. There are three parochial schools."

"DRUMBURN, a hamlet in the parish of Newabbey, in the county of Kirkcudbright, Scotland."

"KIRKCONNEL, a locality in the parish of Newabbey, county Kirkcudbright, Scotland. The Roman Catholics have a chapel here."

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