Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

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Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Nithia… Gallovidia vulgo Galloway  
Pagination: 47
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Translation of text:

and Cample; and from the south the Ulzie, Carpell[?], Scar, Shinnel and Cairn. Not far from the source is situated the city of Sanquhar, and not far from the mouth is Dumfries, a beautiful city, flourishing, the first of the whole sheriffdom, famous for its bridge, which is supported on nine arches of squared stone and is of such width that it readily at one and the same time admits two carriages. The Nith has woods, on the north Holywood, from which the famous astrologer John of Holywood takes his name, Caerlaverock, Mouswold, Tinwald, Amisfield, Dalswinton, Closeburn, Enteckmea[?] and Montisrubra[?]; and on the south Mainenkin[?], Elioch and Drumlanrig (of oaks, six miles long). The Scar Water is shaded by the woods of Craigina[?], Comlongon and Storka[?]; the Shinnel by those of Croglin, Killywarren and Auchengibbert. Castles overhanging the Nith, or not far from the river, are: S. Sanquhar or Sanchare, Drumlanrig, Castlehill, Coshogle, Enochum[?], Closeburn, Dalswinton, the ancient dwelling of the Comyn who, a rival of Robert Bruce for the kingdom, fell by Bruce’s sword in the Church of the Franciscans in Dumfries, Amisfield, Lagg, Tinwald, Torthorwald, Montisbubulum[?], Carse and others.

The Cairn, the second river of Nithsdale after the Nith, rises in the Dibbinian mountains, is very much increased by the streams of Craigdarroch and Castlefairn Water, flows past the castle of Jarbruck, Glencairn castle, the wood of Craigdarroch, and the woods of Cuthloch[?], Maxwellton, Crawfordton, Dardarroch, Snade and Gribton, and finally is received by the Nith above Dumfries.

At the second milestone from Dumfries is the famous peatmoss Lochar, 10 miles long, 3 wide: peats dug from here and hardened in the sun are burned by the whole neighbouring region. Lochar is divided in two by the Lochar Water, which floods in heavy rains and irrigates the surrounding fields with fertilising water; hence there is very great profit in hay. Finally its last course is blocked by an impregnable fortification, which is called Isle Tower.


NOVANTES (Section Note)

Next the Novantes lived in valleys in that land which runs to the west over great areas, yet so hollowed out in recesses that it narrows frequently, and again spreads out more freely in relaxation at the final point, whence some have called it the Peninsula of the Novantes. Today their region conprises Galloway, Carrick, Kyle and Cunningham.

GALLOVIDIA,
in the vernacular
GALLOWAY

FROM CAMDEN (Section Note)

Galloway to the Latin writers of the Middle Ages is Gallwallia and Gallovidia, the name having been made by the Irish who formerly occupied it and call themselves by contraction ‘Gael’ in their tongue. The region rises in hills everywhere, which are more productive for feeding herds than growing crops. The inhabitants engage in fishing both in the surrounding sea and in the rivers and lochs which flow everywhere below the hills; from these at the autumnal equinox they catch in boxes an incredible number of very tasty eels, whence they make no less profit than from the tiny horses with compact, strong limbs for enduring toil which are exported from here. The first town among them, on the river mentioned as Dea by Ptolemy, which still retains the name being called the Dee, is Kirkcudbright, the most capacious harbour on this coast; second is Stewartry of Scotland, which still belongs to the Maxwells; then Cardoness, a fort on the River Fleet set on a rugged and high rock and defended by strong walls. Nearby the River Ken, in Ptolemy corruptly Iena, flows to the sea, then Wigtown, a port with a rather narrow entrance between the out-flowing Bladnoch and Cree, which is also classed as a sheriffdom, over which Agnew of the Isle[?] presides. It once had as earl Archibald Douglas, famous in the French war, and today thanks to King James VI it has John Fleming, who traces his descent from the ancient Earls of Wigtown.

Near this place Ptolemy put the city of Leucopibia; I really do not know where to find it. Yet the location demands that it should be that episcopal seat of Ninian, which Bede calls Candida Casa, and the English and Scots with the same meaning With-herne. What then if what the Britons called Candida Casa Ptolemy in his usual fashion translated into Greek as Leuk’ oikidia? that is white houses, for which the copyists thrust Leucopibia on us. In this place Ninia or Ninian, a Briton and a saintly man, who was the first to instruct the southern Picts in the Christian faith, during the reign of the younger Theodosius, had his seat, and built a church dedicated to the name of St Martin, in an unusual fashion for the Britons, as Bede says, who narrates that in his day the English had gained this province, and, as the number of the faithful had grown at this Candida Casa, it had been made the episcopal seat. A little further along a narrow road a peninsula is joined to the land with the sea close on each side, which is properly called the Peninsula of the Novantes and Promontory, in the vernacular the Mull of Galloway, i.e. Beak of Gallovidia.

Beyond this to the north a bay full of islands opens over a large area, into which very many rivers discharge from all sides. The first from the end of the Promontory is the Abravanus, which, a little moved from its position, is so called by Ptolemy, for Aber-Ruanus, that is Mouth of the Ruanus. For today that river is named the Ryan and the loch from which it pours out Loch Ryan, quite plentiful in herring and rock fish.

Galloway once had its own princes and lords, of whom the first to be celebrated in the monuments of annals was Fergus, during the reign of Henry I in England; his insignia was an upright silver lion, crowned on an azure shield. After causing much trouble he was forced by King Malcolm to hand over his son Uchtred as a hostage, and tired of human affairs he took the habit of a canon at Holyrood in Edinburgh. Now Uchtred was captured in battle by his younger brother Gilbert, and with his tongue cut out and his eyes dug out he was wretchedly deprived of his life and his patrimony. But within a very few

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