Description of the parish in 1846
"STRANRAER, a royal burgh, a sea-port, and parish, in the county of Wigtown, 50 (S. S. W.) from Ayr; containing 3440 inhabitants. The town, which is coextensive with the parish, is beautifully situated at the head of Loch Ryan, a branch of the Frith of Clyde; and consists mainly of several parallel streets, of which the principal extends for nearly half a mile along the loch, and which are intersected at right angles by smaller streets leading to the shore. ..
An important fishery is carried on in Loch Ryan, for skate, flounders, turbot, halibut, cod, haddocks, whiting, lobsters, and crabs; oysters of good quality are also found in great abundance. The trade of the port consists chiefly in the export of grain, cattle, and other agricultural produce, leather shoes, and a few other articles, which are sent to Glasgow, Belfast, and Liverpool; and in the importation of timber from the Baltic, iron, and coal. A good trade is also carried on for the supply of the town and the neighbouring district. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port, in 1843, was thirty-four, of an aggregate burthen of 1895 tons; and the amount of duties paid at the custom-house during that year was considerable. ..
A market, which is amply supplied with provisions of all kinds, is held weekly, on Friday. Fairs are held annually, on the Tuesday before the first Wednesday in January, and the Tuesday before Kilton Hill fair in June, for horses; on the third Friday in April, the first and third Fridays in May, and the third Friday in July, August, September, and November, for cattle; and on the third Friday in October, for fruit. The post-office has a good delivery; and facility of communication is afforded by the great military road from Carlisle to Edinburgh, which passes through the town, and by vessels that frequent the harbour. The town was erected into a royal Burgh, in 1617, by charter of James VI., under which the government is vested in a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and thirteen common-councillors. There are no incorporated trades having exclusive privileges; but the magistrates may compel any one carrying on business within the burgh to enter as a burgess, for which the fee of admission varies from one to three guineas. The magistrates exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction, and hold both bailie and dean-of-guild courts for the trial of cases within the burgh. ..
The parish, consisting of about forty acres, originally formed part of the parishes of Leswalt and Inch; its ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Stranraer, of which the town is the seat, and of the synod of Galloway. The minister's stipend is £158, including an allowance for communion elements, and of which £120 are paid from the exchequer; an allowance of £30 per annum is received in lieu of a manse, and the glebe is valued at £70 per annum; patron, the Crown. The old church, which contained 700 sittings, being condemned in 1833 as unsafe and incapable of repair, a temporary building of wood was erected by the minister for the use of the congregation; and the present church, which is a neat structure, was built by subscription in 1841. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, United Secession, Reformed Presbyterians, and the Relief; and a Roman Catholic chapel. The Academy, erected in 1845, at a cost of £2000, is well attended; and a parochial or burgh schoolmaster has a salary of £20, and the fees." - edited from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis, 1846.