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

The Parish of Kirkgunzeon

KIRKGUNZEON, a parish in the south-east division of Kirkcudbrightshire; bounded on the north by Lochrutton; on the east by New Abbey; on the south by Colvend; and on the west by Urr. It is of an oblong form, stretching north and south, with a small westward projection at its south-west corner ; and has an extreme length of 7 miles, and an extreme breadth of 4¼ miles.

A rivulet which issues from Loch Milton in Urr, and 2 miles south of its point of efflux touches Kirkgunzeon, and which bears successively the names of Milton Burn, Craichty Burn, Culloch Burn, Kirkgunzeon Burn, and Dalbeattie Burn, flows 7½ miles sinuously along the western boundary, washes the village of Dalbeattie, falls into the Urr about 3 furlongs after leaving the parish, and is for a little way navigable by small craft coming up from the sea.

Three or four minor brooks water the interior. The surface of the parish is, in general, hilly; yet contains a considerable proportion of fine flat land. The hills, the greater section of which ranges from north to south along the east, are, in some instances, heathy and fit only for sheep pasturage, but, in other instances, arc covered with soil and verdure, and serve either for tillage or for the feeding of black cattle. The lowlands are, for the most part, very fertile; but, till improved by draining and the removing of obstructions, were rendered in a great degree impracticable to the plough by swamps, little stony hills, and large isolated blocks of stone.

Though cultivated and enclosed, and quite lovely enough in the eyes of the mere farmer, even these best parts of the parish have a chilled and naked appearance, nearly destitute of trees, and chequered with thin stripes of stone dyke as a succedaneum for the lively hedge.

Prime attention is given to the rearing of black cattle. At Barclosh, Corrah, and Drumcultran are ancient towers or castles, the first once the seat of the family of Herries, and the second built by Sir John Maxwell, who obtained by marriage the estate and titles of Terregles. There are also a Druidical temple, and several Roman camps. In the south-west projection of the parish stands the village of Dalbeattie. The parish is bisected lengthways by a turnpike, and has an aggregate of about 13 miles of other roads. Population, in 1801, 546; in 1831, 652. Houses 107.
Assessed property, in 1815, £3,921 Kirkgunzeon is in the presbytery and synod of Dumfries. Patron, Maxwell of Terregles. Stipend £158 6s. 6d. ; glebe £12. Salary of the schoolmaster, who employs an assistant, £30, with about £15 fees, and a house and garden. The teacher of a non-parochial school has £4 4s., and fees.

The parish was anciently called Kirkwinnyn, and has its name from the same saint as Kilwinning in Ayrshire. The church, with its pertinents, was given by Uchtred, the son of Fergus, Lord of Galloway, to the monks of Holm-Cultram, in Cumberland; and continued with them till they took part in the English wars against David Bruce; and it was then, in 1369, given to Sir John Herries of Terregles, and made a free parsonage. A separate commisariat, independent of that of Dumfries, anciently extended over Kirkgunzeon, and was hereditarily held by the Earls of Nithsdale; but, like other jurisdictions of its class, it was abolished in 1747.