The Naming of Beeswing Village

In connection with the name of Beeswing, the following is extracted from the author's "A Minister's Easter Mondays." It is part of a description of a tricycle ride between Dumfries and Dalbeattie, April 18th, 1892.

"What's the name of this village, lassie?" we ask as we come to a row of white-washed houses on one side of the highway.

"Beeswing, sir," was her reply.

"Beeswing," we say to ourselves. "Surely this cannot be the place to find the bell of the rare vintage of Oporto. When we were boys in Northumberland every farmer's house contained the portraits of the great racehorses Beeswing and Lanercost. Can this clachan in the Stewartry have any connection with Mr. Orde of Nunnykirk's famous brown mare? Let us enquire."And so we made for the manse. But the minister was at Dumfries, and then we went to the smithy.

"Son of Vulcan," we ask, "how do they come to call this place Beeswing?"

"I'm no sure," replied the genial giant, "but there's an auld body there, an' she'll tell you."

Hereupon an old woman came up to my tricycle, and at her I put the same question. She was afraid her memory was not good enough now to answer any questions; but I reassured her, and dismounting, led the way into her cottage, and we, that is, Vulcan, the old woman, and myself, soon had the knotty point settled.

"Now tell me the right name of this place,"I asked.

"Well," she replied, "I ought to know, for my father built the first house here, and he was the blacksmith. The right name is the West Park of Loch Arthur, but an auld wife used to call it Sclate Raw."

"But what about Beeswing?" I asked.

"Oh," said she, "a man cam' here and built a public hoose, an' put a galloping horse ower the door for a sign, and ca'ad it Beeswing, an' then the Post Office cam,' an' they put Beeswing on the stamp, an' sae its Beeswing now." Shades of Mr. Ramshay's Lanercost and Mr. Orde's Beeswing, how days speak! Last Tuesday I turned up the file of the Carlisle Journal for July, 1840, and found the names of both horses entered for the Carlisle Races, and it is only a few weeks since I read of the death of the purchaser of the great Cumberland horse when his racing days were over.

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