Extracted from the Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, Volume 2. Published by Fullerton, Glasgow in 1842.

The Parish of Kelton.

KELTON, a parish nearly in the centre of the southern division of Kirkcudbrightshire; bounded on the north by Crossmichael; on the east by Buittle; on the south by Rerwick and Kirkcudbright; and on the west, or rather north-west, by Tongueland and Balmaghie. The Dee, here an important stream, and navigable for commercial purposes by flat-bottomed boats, divides the parish miles from Balmaghie and Tongueland, forms immediately after contact two considerable islets, one of which belongs to Kelton, and the other to Balmaghie, and offers, among other fish, the dark-coloured salmon which abound in its waters. Doach Burn rises on the eastern boundary a little north-east of Kelton Hill, and traces that boundary over a distance of 3¾ miles. Carlinwark or Castle Douglas Loch, ¾ of a mile in length, expands its waters near the northern extremity; and has yielded up, at the expense of diminishing its own bulk, an opulently large mass of shell marl, the aspersion of which over the face of various parishes formed an era in the history of Galloway agricultural improvements.

North-westward, over a distance of 1½ mile to the Dee, extends a canal, traced most part of the way along the boundary with Crossmichael; and though formed for the special, perhaps sole, purpose of offering transit to the marl of the lake, it is now of considerable consequence as a navigable line of communication with the not unimportant burgh of Castle Douglas, situated at the lake's northern extremity. Five or six rills, all except one of local origin, traverse the parish in various directions, and at once drain and enrich its soil. Toward the southern and southeastern extremities of the parish, steep and rocky hills, chiefly clad in heath, exhibit an aspect of desolation, the highest of them rising 1,100 feet above the level of the sea. Elsewhere the surface displays a singularly knobbed or knolly appearance, sending up tumours, or abounding in little round hills. But over this oddly rolling surface, as well on the rising grounds as in the hollows, the parish, though not luxuriant, is arable. The soil is generally thin; in some places, is a fine loam; and in others, especially on the little hills, is a deep watery till; but it has everywhere been greatly enriched both by the mail from Loch Carlinwark and by other manurial appliances.

In the parish are the burgh of Castle Douglas, and the village of Kelton Hill. The latter, situated 2½ miles south of Castle-Douglas, was, till of late, a place of not a little consequence. Here was annually held, on the first Tuesday after the 17th of June, O.S., probably the largest horse-fair in Scotland, frequented by horse-dealers from England, Ireland, and the Lowlands of Scotland, and attracting so large a concourse, that tents for the sale of provisions and liquors were erected by persons from Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse-of-Fleet, and other towns. This fair, however, with all its advantages, has been transferred to Castle Douglas.

The parish is traversed by the great turnpike between Dumfries and Port-Patrick, and is otherwise well-provided with roads.

Population, in 1801, 1,905; in 1831, 2,877. Houses 479. Assessed property, in 1815, £9,627.

Kelton is in the presbytery of Kirkcudbright, and synod of Galloway. Patron, the Crown. Stipend £246 18s. 2d.; glebe £20. Unappropriated teinds £211 17s. 4d. There are three parochial schools, conducted by four teachers, and attended by a maximum of 434 scholars; and six non-parochial schools, conducted by six teachers, and attended by a maximum of 150 scholars. One of the teachers of the parochial schools is an assistant; and the other three have each £17 2s. 2d. salary, with collectively £130 fees. Five of the non-parochial schools are taught by females; and one of these five is a boarding-school.

The present parish comprehends the three old parishes of Kelton, Gelston, and Kirkcormack. Of the united parish, Kelton forms the north corner, Kirkcormack the south-west, and Gelston the south-east corner. The churches of Kelton and Kirkcormack belonged first to the monks of Icolmkill, and next to those of Holyrood; and, at the establishment of Episcopacy by Charles I., they were given to the bishop of Edinburgh. The church of Gelston belonged to the prior and canons of Whithorn, and, in 1606, was given to the bishop of Galloway. Vestiges both of it and of the church of Kirkcormack still exist; and their cemeteries continue to be used.