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Tynron Glen

By John Shaw

References

I have looked over every possible reference source in the Ewart & Library, Dumfries and these are the ones I found most useful.  They are in no particular order.

 Books and Booklets

A Country Schoolmaster, James Shaw  Robert Wallace 1899

Tynron in Picture, Poetry and Prose  William A. Wilson 1927

Tynron, Topography and Historical Notes  William A. Wilson 1940

Tynron, Dumfriesshire from the Mists of Antiquity and Verse  William A. Wilson 1957

Tynron Reminiscences  William A. Wilson 1960-6, (lodged in Dumfries Museum, an unpublished handwritten manuscript)

The Churchyard of Tynron  Rev J. M. McWilliam 1959

The Natural and Genealogical History of the Shire of Dumfries, Penpont Presbytery  Rev Peter Rae 1747

Covenant and Hearth vol. iii Tynron Parish No 34  Robert A. Shannon 1973

Diary of Andrew Hunter, Surgeon, Camling, Tynron  1781

Annals of Glencairn  John Corrie 1910

The Parish of Glencairn  Rev John Monteith 1876

Why Forget?  Moniaive in Bygone Days  Jock Black 1992

The Gallovidian, Winter 1902  R. de Bruce Trotter

Glencairn and Tynron Scrapbook, 1893-1911  Mrs Pollock of Tynron Kirk

Making of the Scottish Landscape  R. N. Millman 1975

Evolution of Scotland’s Scenery  J. B. Sissons 1967

The South of Scotland, British Regional Geology, 3rd edition 1971

The Place-names of Dumfriesshire  Col. Sir Edward Johnson-Ferguson 1935

The Book of Dumfriesshire  James Anderson Russell 1964

History of the Douglas Family  Percy W. L. Adams 1921

The Lag Charters 1400-1720  Scottish Record Society 1958

The Queensberry Papers

General View of the Agriculture, State of Property and Improvements in the County of Dumfries Dr Singer 1812

Birds of Dumfriesshire  Hugh S. Gladstone 1910

Early Education in Dumfriesshire  James Anderson Russell 1967

Glenesslin, Nithsdale  The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1994

Inventory of Monuments in Dumfriesshire  Historical Monuments (Scotland) Commission

History of Dumfries and Galloway  Sir Herbert Maxwell 1896

Caledonia  George Chalmers 1902

An Historical Atlas of Scotland c400 – c1600  Peter McNeill and Ranald Nicholson editors 1975

 Statistical Accounts

1st Statistical Account of Dumfriesshire 1791-3                                              Tynron by Rev James Wilson

2nd Statistical Account of Dumfriesshire 1836-41                                  Tynron by Rev Robert Wilson

Unpublished Statistical Account 1873 (bound in Ewart Library)            Dumfries and Galloway Courier

3rd Statistical Account of Scotland 1958, County of Dumfries                Tynron by Rev J. M. McWilliam

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 9NX has all the historical and architectural monuments on a card index and on maps plus photos of listed buildings and aerial photos of Tynron.

The National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW has a copy of any book for reference.

Tynron Parish Registers, births, marriages and deaths, available at New Register House, Edinburgh and Dumfries Archive Centre in Burns Street on Microfiche, 1743-1854.  (Marriages and deaths missing 1783-1823.  Later marriages give no place names).

Tynron Census Records 1841-91 available at New Register House and Dumfries Archive Centre.

The Ewart Library has most of these records, all of the books, but it also has the records of Highway Authorities, County Treasurer’s Department, Tynron School Board and Log Books, the MacRae Papers, Newspaper Index, Photo Collection for Tynron, Map Collection, Electoral Rolls and Valuation Rolls.

Electoral Rolls from 1914 and Valuation Rolls from 1863 are also available at 27, Moffat Road, Dumfries.  Staff there were very helpful.

The Domesday Disk contains information on Tynron by Tynron’s children and others.  The disk is kept in the Ewart or is more likely to be on tour around the county.

General Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YY has tax registers and sasines.

TDGNHAS = Transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society;

many articles with Tynron connections, including

1885                List of Birds in Tynron Parish              Tom Brown

1887                Glencairn Bird Report      Corrie, plus Gladstone’s bird reports

1949-50           Wilson of Croglin                                R. C. Reid

1957-8             Churchyard of Tynron                         Rev J. M. McWilliam

1958-9              Tynron parish records

1964 and 1971      Tynron Doon                       A. C. Truckell and J. Williams

 Maps

1:50000 Geological Maps                               New Galloway, solid and drift

Thornhill, solid and drift

1:63360 Geological Map                                  Maxwelltown, solid and drift

1:25000 sheets NX 69/79, 89/99; 1:50000 sheets 77 and 78 Ordnance Survey Maps

1850s large-scale Ordnance Survey maps are lodged in Dumfries Museum.

West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh has eighteenth and nineteenth century Buccleuch estate maps

The National Map Library, 33 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SL has copies of every OS map available and is open to the public.  First and second edition Ordnance Survey maps are especially interesting.  The older maps are here too.

The Tynron Challenge

There are thirteen tops over 500 metres in Shinnel Glen.  You have to be fit and mentally unbalanced to do them all in one walk, but the stupendous views are worth it.

Start at Countam.  The 300 metre climb up from Old Auchenbrack takes 40 minutes.  Countam to Bail is about 20 kilometres and the total climb, starting from Old Auchenbrack is about 900 metres, so it is the equivalent of doing a serious Munro.  This was my schedule at my steady amble, pausing to speculate, cogitate, masticate and urinate.  I then had the long walk into Moniaive, giving a total of nine hours.

                      height          time taken

Countam        502m               00.00

(Keb Hill)        499m               00.11   (too low, it does not count)

Ox Hill             505m               01.04

Allan’s Cairn   497m               02.02   (doesn’t count either)

High Countam 502m               02.22   The Southern Upland Way makes walking easier on this stretch, although ATV tracks can be followed for much of the way.

Black Hill         550m               02.45   (the top is not in Shinnel Glen)

Colt Hill            598m               03.03

Lamgarroch     573m               03.46   It is tedious then retracing your steps.

Lagdubh Hill    560m               04.27

Blackcraig Hill 555m          04.32   Going up and down Conrick Hass is a pain!

Mullwhanny     535m               05.15   (twin peaks)

Transparra      528m               05.31

Cormunnoch   500m               05.57

Green Hill        540m               06.07

Bail                  517m               06.19   get a helicopter to meet you here

 Tormentil

Potentilla erecta.  I have not included a section on wildflowers, as this would be an enormous undertaking.  The glen is predominantly sheep pasture and the tormentil provides such a beautiful display on the cropped turf from June to September that I regard it as the flower that would always remind me of Tynron.

Dramatist, John Fletcher, expressed the widespread belief in the medicinal power of tormentil in the seventeenth century, when he wrote:

This tormentil, whose vertue is to part

All deadly killing poison from the heart

In the “Country Farme”, a book of rustic lore published in 1616, a powder or decoction of tormentil roots was recommended “to appease the rage and torment of the teeth”.  Tormentil roots are grand for curing colic, diarrhoea and cystitis, so if you are suffering from all three it is a good bet, as there must be millions of tormentil flowers in the glen in July.

A local name for tormentil, blood root, refers to a red dye extracted from the roots and used to colour clothing.  Tormentil roots were also used as an alternative to the oak bark in tanning hides, their highly astringent quality proving ideal for the purpose.

The tormentil’s buttercup-like golden-yellow flowers secrete a nectar that attracts pollinating insects.  In wet weather or at night, when the four petals close up, the tormentil flower has the clever ability to pollinate itself, producing up to twenty fruits on its seed head.

Vanessa Gourlay’s beautiful watercolour shows the height tormentil can reach on ungrazed land.  Sheep obviously enjoy it and munch it down to the level of short grass pasture.