Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

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Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Lavden sive Lothien. Selgovae; Lidesdale  
Pagination: 42-43
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Translation of text:

got out with difficulty, half dead, and as though struck from heaven lost all their senses thereafter. The author of the cruel torture is unknown to this day: but an Englishman, Edward Paris by name, a servant of the Earl of Haddington, who himself died in the same disaster, has been laid under suspicion of the unprecedented crime, because he was at the time in charge of the arsenal, and reports of the profligacy and utter dissipation of the English army at the water of Neorcus (in the vernacular Newburn) had shortly before come to the ears of the Governor, at which people close to him declare that the villain was stirred and secretly provoked with indignation. Further the man himself was worthless and dissolute above all others, and was promoted to his position only by the false opinion and unfortunate credulity of his master, although all his friends and good people advised against it. Many other points are openly proclaimed and varied rumours abound, but to delay the order of my purpose on them does not really seem worthwhile. The castle is located at the foot of a grassy hill, where many perennial waters run. The soil is rich and notably fertile; the reason for the fertility is the dampness flowing from the foot of the hill, almost all the soil sweating on account of veins of water. There are also varied and healthy groves of apples. Hollows too are cultivated with gardens and topiary, and richly pastured fields stretch out with the same joyous greenness. This place owes more to nature, whose skill and ingenuity outweighs all the works of craftsmen. One third of a mile to the north from the castle is a lovely plain, extending naturally from the ridge of the hill, in which the estate called in the vernacular Lawfield is surrounded on both sides and almost hidden with trees entwining in themselves and mingling with pliant twigs, and shaded all round with dense and pleasant shrubs and the varied greenness of many bushes. Excellent coal is extracted here for all purposes, but especially for burning salt and lime; there are here too salt-works, in which salt is prepared from sea-water. The parish church is situated a mile to the south beyond the castle of Dunglass, in the vernacular named Oldhamstocks (10). Close to Dunglass on the east is a wood stretching over a large area from mount Leingupfleid[?] to the sea; its length extends to three miles. It is impassable on both sides because of sheer cliffs and natural fortifications, and forms a huge defence for Scotland in this area; for a few men can guard this boundary against an army with the help of this fortification. This wood divides the Merse from Lothian. There is another defensive wood beyond this, a mile to the east, called Cockburm wood, and a town, which takes its name from the wood. In it is the parish church, to which because of its closeness and shortage of revenue is added the parish called Oldcambus, to the east; in it, apart from an abundance of flocks and herds and a richness of crops, in which the whole of this region abounds, there is nothing that is important and memorable.


SELGOVAE (Section Note)

Below the Gadeni to the south and west, where are now the sub-regions of Liddesdale, Ewesdale, Eskdale, Annandale and Nithsdale, named from the small rivers flowing through them, which all bury themselves in the Solway Firth, once were settled the Selgovae, the remains of whose name seem to me, if not to others, to survive in that name of Solway.


LIDDESDALE (Section Note)

In Liddesdale rose up Hermitage, so called because it will at one time have been dedicated to the solitary life; but now it is a well-fortified castle, which belonged to the Hepburns; they trace their origin to an English prisoner, whom the Earl of March enriched because he had freed him from danger. They were Earls of Bothwell and for long by hereditary right Admirals of Scotland.

Now by the marriage of a sister of James Earl of Bothwell, the last of the Hepburns, to John Prior of Coldingham, a natural son of King James V (who sired exceedingly many bastards), both title and patrimony came to his son. Now the Duke of Lennox owns them, for by forfeiture of the bastard himself they came into the hands of the King, and the Lord is now Buccleuch. Nearby is Branxholm, home of the warlike family of Buccleuch of the name of Scot, and around are many small towers of military men.

Half of this barony of Branxholm was held by the Lord of Buccleuch in the time of James I by exchange of the barony of Murdistoun his ancient patrimony from a certain Inglis. The other half was given to him by James III because of faithful service in driving out of Scotland the Douglas brother of the Earl of Douglas, whom James III stabbed with his own hand at Stirling, because he refused to renounce the treaty between him and the Earl of Crawford and Ross, to be held in chief for payment of a red rose yearly in blanchfarme. There is found in the register a charter of Walter Scott of Kirkurd granted by James I, where is included a ratification of a charter of Robert III, his father, concerning the disposition of the barony of Ecfurd for the seizing of Gilbert Rutherfurd, dated 3 May 1424. Another charter of James II was granted to Walter Scott of Kirkurd for his faithful service at Arkanholme (it is part of the barony of Langholm, which once belonged to Lord Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale, now to Lord Buccleuch by purchase), where Archibald Earl of Moray was killed and Hugh Douglas Earl of Ormond was captured, of the lands of Abington, Fairholm and Glendonarie, 22 February 1458. James III granted to Walter and David Scot his son for their strong and faithful work given in attacking and defeating James Douglas and his brother, half of the lands of Branxholm, in blanchfarme, for payment of a red rose yearly, 7 October 1463.

Mary granted to Walter Scot of Buccleuch the barony of Ormiston, because of distinguished deeds in war against the English, dated 2 Febr. 1548. The diploma of the Lord of Buccleuch as greater baron is dated 18 March 1606. The diploma of the Earl of Buccleuch is dated 16 March 1619.

In Liddesdale there are no cornfields, all is pasture and moorland, which we call fens, land suited for digging turfs for the hearth.

  [Continuation of text]

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