Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Gallovidiae Descriptio, Ioanne Maclellano Autore  
Pagination: 48-49
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Translation of text:

years Gilbert died and Uchtred’s son Roland recovered his paternal inheritance; by the sister of William de Morville, Constable of Scotland, he fathered Alan Lord of Galloway and Constable of Scotland. Alan by Margaret eldest daughter of David Earl of Huntingdon fathered Devorgilla, the wife of John Balliol and mother of John Balliol King of Scotland, who disputed the Kingdom of Scotland with Robert Bruce, and by his first (as it seems) wife Helen who was married to an Englishman, Roger de Quincy Earl of Winchester, who hence was Constable of Scotland, as also was William Ferrers de Groby grandson of that Roger by his daughter and co-heir. But the English quickly lost their inheritance in Scotland, and the position of Constable, which the Comyns Earls of Buchan, also descended from a daughter of Roger de Quincy, held until it was transferred to the Earls of Erroll. The title of Lords of Galloway later came into the family of the Douglases.

By JOHN MACLELLAN (Section Note)

Galloway takes its name from Gallovid, which in the language of the old Scots means Gaul; for initially the Scots called the Britons, the oldest inhabitants of Britain, Gauls, as being derived from the countries of Gaul. This old dominion of the Britons is bounded on the south by the Irish Sea, on the west by the Firth of Clyde, on the north by Carrick and Kyle, and on the north east by the River Nith; it extends in length from north east to south west for 70 miles, between the bridge of Dumfries and the Mull, the end of the promontory. In width it stretches from north to south in one place 24, in another 20, in another 16 miles. Six rivers cut through it, Urr, Dee, Ken, Cree, Bladnoch and Luce, running into the Irish Sea. The Ken, intersecting the valley of Ken, flows into the loch of the same name, and again coming out of it, flows into the Dee, losing its name, twelve miles from the sea. There are also the rivers Fleet (half way between Dee and Cree) and Palinurus[?]; but these are not classed among the major rivers. All are known for salmon-fishing, especially the Dee. The whole region has a very healthy climate and soil: it rarely rises into mountains, and only swells with frequent hills. Three mountains of uncommon height are to be seen there; one is at the estuary of the Cree, in the vernacular Cairnsmore, that is (if you translate it) ‘desert of the cairn’; the second, not far away, Maratz Hill; and the third, at the estuary of the Nith, Criffel. The land lying beyond the Luce is named the Rhinns, that is beak, of Galloway: for it projects like the beak of a bird; and its final point is called the Promontory of the Novantes, to the inhabitants the Mull, that is smooth and shorn: for the old Scots call promontories Mulls, by metaphor from a shorn head. The estuary of the Luce, to Ptolemy Rerigonius, on the east, and Loch Ryan, to Ptolemy Vidogara, on the west, force the land into narrows and make an isthmus and Chersonese or peninsula, not unlike the Peloponnese. The whole of Galloway has the shape of an elephant: the head is the Rhinns, the trunk the Mull, the feet the promontories stretching into the sea, the shoulders the mountains mentioned above, the spine of the back the rocks and moors, the rest of the body the rest of the region.

The better-known ports are Kirkcudbright in the estuary of the Dee, with space for many ships and a safe haven, as it is protected from the winds on all sides by the barrier of the mountains and island of Ross; Cariovilla[?], a safe anchorage for ships; and three in the peninsula or Rhinns, Nessoc, Loch Ryan and Portpatrick.

The whole province is divided into upper and lower Galloway: upper lies between the River Cree and the promontory of the Mull, and has as its judge of capital affairs the head of the family of Agnew, which honour transferred to him after the disaster of the family of Maclellan. Lower, commonly the prefecture of Kirkcudbright, has as judge the head of the family of Maxwell.

There are three divisions or Presbyteries, Kirkcudbright, Wigtown and Stranraer. In the division of Kirkcudbright are numbered 17 parish churches, in Wigtown 9, and in Stranraer 8. From these twice a year the Synod is summoned. The churches below the Urr belong to the division of Dumfries.

It has the towns of Shrine of Cuthbert (in the vernacular Kirkcudbright) on the estuary of the Dee, noted for the port of the same name; Wigtown, once a celebrated market, founded (it is thought) by the Britons on the estuary of the Cree; White House (in the vernacular Whithorn), famous for its monastery; Chapel or (as some prefer) Stranraer on Loch Ryan in the peninsula. Fairly recently New Galloway, on the River Ken, has been added to the number of cities, but it has virtually nothing of a city except the name, few buildings having been erected there; for the Viscount of Kenmure, who had decided to found a town there, was prevented by death and left the work incomplete. Still a market is held there each week (1), to which the people of the neighbourhood gather in quite large numbers, some to buy, others to sell the produce which is brought there by merchants from the surrounding region.

Monasteries in Galloway are Whithorn, sacred to Ninian whom they think is the tutelary god, in the farthest recess of Galloway, to which formerly people from far-off regions undertook journeys for the sake of religion, to see the relics and church of Ninian, and to take away some sacred dust, a great proof of holiness in those times; the monastery of Glenluce, at the bay of the River Luce; Dundrennan, at the fourth milestone from Kirkcudbright to the east; Sweetheart, commonly New Abbey, at the estuary of the Nith; Tongland, on the banks of the Dee;

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