Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

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Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Gallovidiae  
Pagination: 50
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Translation of text:

St Mary’s, at the estuary of the Dee, about four-fifths of a mile below Kirkcudbright; Soulseat, in the peninsula. However the founders of each of these is uncertain because of the lack of sources.

The inhabitants are brave and warlike: certainly in the recent battle of Newburn on the Tyne in England, a few Galloway cavalry under the leadership of Patrick Mackay, whose son was killed in that engagement, most distinguished (2) cavalry gave an outstanding instance of their valour; for with their long spears they so broke the very tight line of the enemy, that they proferred an easy victory to the rest. Formerly this people were ready to nourish discord, but have gradually learned by a more humane culture and refined religion to dispense with ferocity. The Gentry, ready with hand and counsel, are easily the equal of any in elegance of body and custom. The common people are of strong body and not wretched ability.

Those who live on the Moors, that is in wildernesses, survive by feeding animals and have large flocks of sheep. The sheep there are of the best type, both for the flavour of their meat and for the quality of their fleeces. Wool from here is exported to outside regions in large quantities by merchants, who make no small profit from this.

Those who live in the Machars, that is the cultivated and low-lying places, make their living from cultivating the fields; nor do they lack fertile pastures and flocks. Oats grow there of small but firm body, from which they manufacture excellent flour.

Galloway breeds horses which are small in size, but swift and strong; they are sold everywhere for a very high price.

The better-known families here are those of Gordon, Maxwell, Maclellan, Macdowall, Mackay, Macculloch, Stewart, Agnew and Adair. But the rest are in antiquity and ancient dignity surpassed by those of Macdowall, Maclellan, Mackay and Macculloch. The others are more recent. Formerly the family of Maclellan flourished there, easily the first in race and wealth (as Buchanan testifies), but when Patrick, the chief of that family, had been rubbed out by Douglas, his friends, eager for revenge, gathered a band of their men and raged with sword and fire against the Clydesdale allies of the Douglases; then because of this disgraceful crime their goods were forfeited to the treasury and they themselves were proscribed and made to till the land, and reduced a very prosperous family to such a point of misery that it has still never fully emerged from it. But after a few years Patrick’s son, who had long lain hidden, killed an African pirate who was attacking the Galloway shores, and was restored to the King’s favour and to Bombie, part of his old patrimony.

Stitchill in Teviotdale is an old seat of the Gordons, from which two brothers set out, one to Galloway, the other to Bogie, and in each place founded a very flourishing family of Gordons. The one who came to Galloway killed a boar which was devastating the country, was given the estate of Gordon and Lochinvar by the king, and grew to a numerous family. The Adairs are believed to derive from a branch of the Kildare kingship in Ireland.

The nobles of Galloway are Stewart Earl of Galloway, Gordon Viscount of Kenmure, and Maclellan Baron of Kirkcudbright, each head of his family there. There are also many landed gentry.

There are many castles there, but the strongest of all in recent times is Threave, on an island of the River Dee, built eight miles from Kirkcudbright by Douglas, who in the reign of James II caused much trouble to his country. In our recent disturbances it was defended by allies of Maxwell Earl of Nithsdale; but in the end surrendered, it was made useless for war by having its arches breached and its roof and floor removed. There is also Kenmure Castle, on Loch Ken, situated on quite a high little hill, built by John Gordon grandfather of the Viscount of Kenmure: it looks down from its height on the valley and lake below. Two castles stronger than the rest may be seen in the Rhinns, Kennedy on Loch Isle of the Earl of Cassillis, and Scaeodunum (called in the vernacular Dunskey, that is winged castle), founded by the ancestors of Robert Adair on a sheer rock by the sea. There are also others, for example Crugleton, once a highly fortified defence on the estuary of the Cree, Glasserton, Garlies, Clary, Cuthbert[?], Cardoness and Rusko[?], apart from many distinguished buildings.

Lochs in lower Galloway are Caloverca[?], Milton, Rutton and Ken, in upper Myrton, Mochrum, Castle, Isle and Neevon Loch[?]. Woods which make this region beautiful are those of Kenmure, Cree and Garlies.

Anyone who wants to know about battles fought here should consult the histories of Scottish affairs by Buchanan and Boece. Galloway, to compress into the fewest words, is (although it sometimes is criticised by those ignorant of the region)
A land content with its own goods, not in need of Foreign wares,
Perchance there is here lack of much luxury, yet none of nature.
In no part of Scotland is the wool so outstanding, nowhere in Scotland are there more outstanding horses, though of small stature, which they call Galloway-nags. So that the English call all good horses Galloways.

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