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Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
by S. R. Crockett (1902)
[Our thanks to John Snyder for ocr'ing in this book for us]


Foreword 

CONCERNING WHAT I PROPOSE TO MYSELF AND WHAT NOT

IT is my desire, not so much to write a new book about Galloway, as to focus and concentrate what I have already written for the use of Galloway-lovers and Galloway-travellers. I am not making a guide-book, but rather a garrulous literary companion to the guide-books which already exist, and to those which may be written in the future. Secondly, I write not of All Galloway, but only of the part best known to me-that which has, in some degree, come to be called " The Raiders' Country "-about which traditions new and old have materialised themselves with something of the concreteness and exactitude of history. In short, I have no purpose before me, save that of saying what I wish to say in my own way, acknowledging no law save my own fancy, and desiring only to give a true, if incomplete, picture of the Ancient Free Province of Galloway, specially of that more mountainous and easterly portion of it known as the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

For a hitherto unfrequented province Galloway is well equipped with books dealing with its history and topography. And these, too, are not stately and costly tomes like the great English County histories, but compact and easily obtainable volumes which may accompany the traveller on his journeyings, or remind him in his easy-chair after his return of the wild land of bog-myrtle and peat where he has been sojourning.

Of the former sort - those which every traveller ought to carry about with him - there are, first of all, Mr. Malcolm Harper's admirable " Rambles in Galloway," a book full of knowledge and sympathy, savouring alike of the brown moors and of Galloway's oat-cakes and mutton-hams. The author has quite recently brought it up to date, and made it more indispensable than ever to all who wish to understand the history and antiquities of the province.

To Mr. Harper's book ought to be added the excellent and very practical "Guide to the Stewartry" by the late Mr. J. H. Maxwell of Castle-Douglas, the father of a family of journalists, whose writings have been more widely read than those signed by many more famous names.

To these I hope that the smaller edition of " Raiderland " may be added, as a record of the more poetical and imaginative interests of Galloway, as these appear to the present writer.

Of books which may occupy a place in the library of the lover of our mountainous southland, there are many. A full list of them may be found at the end of Sir Herbert Maxwell's excellent " History of Dumfriesshire and Galloway." Of these, my own private shelf contains the following : to wit, two chronicles - Mackenzie's old-fashioned but most readable " History of Galloway "-and (what is indispensable for the critical student), Sir Herbert Maxwell's aforesaid History, in which he applies modern methods to many a good old hoary fiction concocted by the romancers of the times of eld, and leaves his pages plain and truth-telling as mine (fair warning!) are romance-laden and imaginative.

However, I object entirely to the tacking our free and ancient province to the tail of Dumfriesshire. And though Sir Herbert, like a patriotic Gallovidian, generally allows the tail to wag the dog throughout his terse and knowledgeable chapters, still he owes it to his native heather that he should write the History of Galloway more at large, leaving all the Johnstones and Jardines of Annandale and the Border to settle their own moss-trooping affairs.

To the histories ought to be added quaint John Mactaggart's "Galloway Encyclopaedia" and Dr. Trotter's two excellent books of "Galloway Gossip." Nothing more racy, more characteristic of the older Galloway now passing away, has ever been put on paper than Dr. Trotter's reminiscences of an old Scottish housewife, with her prejudices, her opinions and opinionatedness, her scraps of old rhymes and proverbial catchwords. We cannot have too much of such folk-lore put into concise and racy dialect.

To these must be added Professor H. M. B. Reid's " A Cameronian Apostle," a very remarkable and honourable achievement in sympathetic biography, full of digested knowledge, reaching past the outer husk of MacMillan's life to the inner kernel of the man. It is, in my opinion, by far the best Galloway biography ever written, setting a good man's life in the very atmosphere of his time and thinking.

If the shelf be not too full by this time, then the late Sir Andrew Agnew's interesting " Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway " ought to be added, together with an excellently edited and comprehensive selection from "The Bards of Galloway," published by Mr. Harper in 1889.

So much by way of supplement to these random personal chronicles and impressions of mine included in "Raiderland." For the rest, my book has nothing to do with modern improvements or facilities of travel. Railway timetables and livery stables will supply these. The seeing eye and a good map will point out the castles and mansions of the great. I have not yielded to the advice of friends and booksellers to place a large map in "Raiderland" - first, because maps unfolding out of volumes designed to be read in the open air are temper-ruffling things, all too apt to give employment to the recording angel as they flutter in the breeze. Then in the second place Bartholomew's excellent hand maps can be bought at every book-stall and stationer's counter throughout the province. My business is with the Galloway of brown bent and red heather, of green knowe and grey gnarled thorn, of long low-built farm-town and wild gipsy raid, of Levellers and love-making, of sea-mew and whaup. And in particular and especial, it concerns the Galloway of a certain dreamy long-legged callant who, with a staff in his hand and a whang of soda-scone in his pocket, left few of its farms unvisited and few of its fastnesses unexplored in his unhaltered boyhood of twenty-five years ago.

If anything be found by the visitor of the twentieth century to have changed, let him take for granted that it was as stated in the sixties and seventies of the previous era. But of this I am not greatly afraid. Galloway will long keep its own flavour, wild and keen as that of heather honey. It is a far cry to Loch Enoch and the Spear of the Merrick. The depths of the Murder Hole will not give up their secret yet a while-whether that secret be the bones of wayfaring men or only of stray black-faced sheep. Nevertheless the western wind will bring even to those who travel in railway haste, wafts of peat-reek and muir-burn from the Clints of Drummore and the Dungeon of Buchan.

Of Mr. Pennell's drawings I need say little. In their several places and relations they will speak for themselves. I have long desired that Galloway should be interpreted by Mr. Pennell's pencil and brush. And I resolved that till my friend could undertake the work, I should not publish this book. Now, however, events have conspired to produce this desirable consummation, and the result is before men's eyes in this volume. It may be interesting to say that I did nothing to guide Mr. Pennell in his choice of subject. I supplied him with a route-plan merely. But it was in all cases his own artist's eye which chose the subject and his own incommunicable touch which interpreted it. As Mr. Pennell had never been in Galloway before, and came to it after a world-wide experience of the beautiful in all lands, I believe that the result will be found singularly fresh and unconventional.

S. R. CROCKETT.

AUCHENCAIRN, GALLOWAY, 1904

Contents

CHAPTER I

  • THE GATES OF GALLOWAY

    • HOW THE SCHOLAR CAME HOME

CHAPTER II

  • THE HEART OF GALLOWAY - FOUR GALLOWAY FARMS

    • THE FARM BY THE WATERSIDE - THE DUCHRAE OF BALMAGHIE

    • DRUMBRECK UNDERNEATH THE FLOWE
    • THE BIG FARM - AIRIELAND
    • THE FARM IN RAIDERLAND - GLENHEAD OF TROOL

CHAPTER III

  • THE RAIDERS' COUNTRY

    • WHY WE ARE WHAT WE ARE
    • WHAT WE SEE IN RAIDERLAND
    • WHAT WE SAY THERE, AND HOW WE SAY IT
    • THE DOLE OF THE THIRTEEN HERRINGS: A TALE OF THE SEA-BOARD PARISHES

CHAPTER IV

  • SWEETHEART ABBEY

CHAPTER V

  • DOUGLAS HALL .

CHAPTER VI

  • COLVEND -"THE RIDDLINGS OF CREATION" .

CHAPTER VII

  • DALBEATTIE

CHAPTER VIII

  • CASTLE-DOUGLAS

CHAPTER IX

  • A SCHOOL AND A KIRK

CHAPTER X

  • KIRKCUDBRIGHT

CHAPTER XI

  • AUCHENCAIRN

CHAPTER XII

  • THE SMIDDY PARLIAMENT

CHAPTER XIII

  • BORGUE

CHAPTER XIV

  • TWO GALLOWAY SHRINES
    • RUTHERFORD'S KIRK
    • SHALLOCH-ON-MINNOCH

CHAPTER XV

  • A GLIMPSE OF BALMAGHIE IN THE TIMES OF OLD

CHAPTER XVI

  • THE KIRK KNOWE OF BALMAGHIE

CHAPTER XVII

  • SOME BALMAGHIE WORTHIES

CHAPTER XVIII

  • WOODHALL LOCH

CHAPTER XIX

  • THE LEVELLERS' COUNTRY

CHAPTER XX

  • LOCH KEN

CHAPTER XXI

  • THE RAIDERS' BRIDGE

CHAPTER XXII

  • THE GLENKENS

CHAPTER XXIII

  • THE ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER GORDON

CHAPTER XXIV

  • THE GARPEL LYNN

CHAPTER XXV

  • LOCHINVAR LOCH

CHAPTER XXVI

  • PURPLE GALLOWAY

CHAPTER XXVII

  • CLASHDAAN

CHAPTER XXVIII

  • THE COUNTRY OF THE LOCHS

CHAPTER XXIX

  • GLEN TROOL

CHAPTER XXX

  • WIGTOWN SANDS

CHAPTER XXXI

  • TWO LAKE LAND S-GALLOWAY AND CUMBERLAND

CHAPTER XXXII

  • THE DIARY OF AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY GALLOWAY LAIRD

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