Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Annandia. Nithia, vulgo Nidisdale  
Pagination: 46
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Translation of text:

Spedlingium, Montisrupia, Muscella, Vallistermini, Comlongon, Castlemilk, Hoddom, Newbie, Calodendria, in the vernacular Bonshaw, Cleughhead[?], Stapleton, Kirkconnel or rather Kirkdonald, Eicovodia, Gillo Roberti, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Cello-Kephala, Blaetevodia. Cities are Annan and Lochmaben, lovely with castle and lake: the castle was built by Thomas Randolph, supreme governor of Scotland and has remained the perpetual dwelling of the prefect of the March. The lake is noted for unknown fish, which are found nowhere except in Lochmaben, and are called by the inhabitants Vandes or Gevandes. Not far from Lochmaben there are seven other lochs.

On the banks of the [Riven] from the region of England by harrowing, piling up and boiling the sand in water, they produce excellent salt. And what is pleasant both in use and labour, those who live at the boundary wait on the sandbanks of the Solway for the arrival of salmon, and when they have seen them coming up the river, they spur on their horses and enter the water, and with lances armed with iron points they easily spear and draw them out.

in the vernacular

(Section Note)

To Annandale on the west is joined Nithsdale, not poor in fields and pasture, its name taken from the River Nith, which is given wrongly by Ptolemy as Nobius, instead of Nodius or Nidius; there are other sandy and thick rivers in Britain with this name, as here too is the Nith. It rises from Loch Cure[?], at which Corda of the Selgovae flourished, flows first through Sanquhar a castle of the Crichtons, who were long famous under the style of Barons of Sanquhar and the authority of perpetual Sheriffs of Nithsdale, then through Morton which gave the title of Earl to some of the Douglas family, others of which had their mansion at Drumlanrig on the same river; [ADDITION. All these lands of Sanquhar and Morton now by right of purchase belong to the Lord of Drumlanrig, who are now called Earl of Queensberry,] (1) near its mouth Dumfries sits between two hills, the most flourishing town of this area, displaying its own old castle. It is known for the manufacture of woollen rugs, and stamped by the murder of John Comyn, the most powerful of all Scots in dependents: in the church, so that he should not block his own path to the kingship, Robert Bruce ran him through with his sword, and easily obtained from the Roman Pontiff pardon for murder committed in a sacred place.

[ADDITION. This poem was written by Arthur Johnston in praise of Dumfries: (Section Note)
A shepherd from Amphrysus seeing the pastures of Dumfries
From a distance, preferred them to the ridges of Admetus.
As many fat calves browse here on the flowery meadows
As the earth in spring-time pours out grasses.
Its herds of cattle satisfy foreign races
And often, England, load your tables.
Richer than the herd is the crop, and the sail-bearing river,
And the sea, tempered by the light breath of Zephyrus.
In this town a church rises, to which the temples of Diana yield,
Or whatever more venerable is owned by Greece.
Here Cumyn, traitor to his country, by the virtue of Bruce
Fell, and stained the holy ground with blood.
Scotland, he prefers the altar of Dumfries to the others,
Here golden liberty was won for you.]

Nearer the mouth the village of Solway retains something of the ancient name of the Selgovae. At the mouth is set Caerlaverock, in Ptolemy Carbantorigum, a fortification considered impregnable, although King Edward I, accompanied by the flower of the nobility of England, besieged and captured it; now however it is the undefended dwelling of the Barons Maxwell, who, being of the ancient nobility, were for long Wardens of this Western March, and were recently elevated by marriage to the daughter and one of the heirs of the Earl of Morton, whence John Lord Maxwell was declared Earl of Morton, and likewise to the daughter and heir of Herries Lord Terregles, who was taken as wife by J. the second son, who thence received the title of Baron Herries.

Now, this castle was destroyed in the most recent civil wars and Maxwell was declared by Parliament an enemy to his country.

Glencairn also lies on a loch in this valley, whence the Cunninghams (concerning whom in their own place) long bore the title of Earl.

This Nithsdale together with Annandale nurtures a warlike race of men, but they have a bad reputation on acoount of their raiding. For they occupy the sandy Solway Firth, through which they often went out to England to raid, and in which the inhabitants on both sides in a jolly spectacle and joyous labour hunt on horseback with spears, or fish if you prefer, the salmon with which it abounds.

Of the nature of the rustlers who live in these border valleys of the kingdoms, let John Leslie, himself a Scot and Bishop of Ross, speak: ‘At night they go out from their territory in bands, through pathless places and with many twists. During the day they refresh their horses and their own strength in pre-determined hiding places, until at last in darkness they reach the spot they wish. Having seized the booty, they similarly return by night to their own land by circuitous by-ways. The more skilled a man can be at guiding them through these solitary, tortuous and precipitous places in the midst of gloom and darkness, in the greater honour is he held as outstanding in ability: and they possess such skill that very rarely do they allow their booty to be snatched from them, except that sometimes they are taken by their adversaries if they are led by scent-following dogs [in the vernacular Sleuth-hounds or Bloodhounds, which are often valued at 100 crowns and more] who follow always straight in their footsteps. But if they are captured, they have such power of eloquence and enticements of sweetly flowing words, that they strongly move both judges and adversaries, however severe, if not to pity, at least to admiration and commiseration also.'


The most limpid River Nith is enlarged with the waters of, from the north the Crawick, Mennock, Gutterbin[?], Carron

  [Continuation of text]

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