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History of Moffat
With frequent notices of Moffatdale and Annandale by W Robertson Turnbull (1871)


WE consider preliminary and explanatory observations regarding the origin and presumed utility of the present work unnecessary, therefore the few pages flourishing under the name of a "preface" may be regarded as a simple manifestation of gratitude to those parties who have in any way assisted me in collating material for the present work. Parties who particularly claim our thanks are, Mr. John Muir, Glasgow, who facilitated our researched by ready access to the valuable collection of works in the Faculty Library; Mr. Charles Stewart, Hillside, by Lockerbie, and Mr. 'Wilson, Moffat, the former of whom has long held the reputation of being an indisputable authority on historical subjects specially bearing on Dumfriesshire, and who himself has published an admirable little work, which has already received the share of public approbation which it merits. To Mr. James Johnstone, Edinburgh (whose advice was ever of the most kind and encouraging character), our thanks are especially due for the perusal of. many prints and manuscripts relating to the Burgh's rights and boundaries. We also take this opportunity of thanking Messrs. Blackie & Sons, Publishers, who, with their customary kindness and courtesy, readily granted permission to insert in the Appendix the analysis of Moffat's sulphurous spring, effected in 1854 by the celebrated chemist, Dr. Macadam, and subsequently published under their auspices. Our thanks are due also to the Rev. Messrs. J. G. M'Vicar, D.D., LLD., Robert Kinnear, and William Hutton, for supplying the statistics of their respective churches; and the former of whom has in many ways contributed much to the value of these pages. Having been led to believe that a sketch of Moffat at or about 1770 was still extant, we exerted ourselves to procure it, through the medium of the public prints, but our exertions, we regret to announce, proved unavailing.

We commend this crude sketch of Moffat, as it was and is, to the lenient consideration of parties interested in the subjects bidding it, in the words of Southey, 'farewell.'

"Go, little book, from forth my solitude,
I cast thee on the waters, go thy ways;
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The world shall find thee after many days."

W. R. T.
Lockhart House, Dennistoun.
Glasgow. July 1871


  • Chapter I
    Sketch of the Parish—Its Rivers, Population, and Extent.—The origin of the Town —Its Trade—Supposed former site of the Town.
  • Chapter II
    Its Physical aspect—Moffat at a remote period denominated a "Toune"—The Inhabitants and their Customs.—Early Charters.—Ecelesiastical Notes—Moffat Church prior to the Reformation—The Vicarlands.
  • Chapter IlI
    Edward Baliol—The "Three Stan'in' Stanes."The Gallowhill
  • Chapter IV
    The Frenches of Frenchland.—The Whitefurdes—Discovery of Moffat Well by Miss Whitefurde. —Dr Robert Johnstone—His Grammar School.
  • Chapter V
    The Johnstones of Annandale-Viewed as Freebooters.-The "Devil's Beef Tub."-The present Representative of the Family.
  • Chapter VI
    Sketch of the History of the Covenant.—Claverhouse in Annandale—His Letters from Moffat. -William Moffat —Dobb's Linn.
  • Chapter VII
    The Sulphurous Spring—Various Analysts.—Visitors.
  • Chapter VIII
    Burghs of Barony and Regality.—Dr Whitefurde. —Charter of 1662, and the Ratification of 1669.—Mr Johnstone's Charter of 1831—The Commonlands. - Market - Place and Meal House.—Magistrates.
  • Chapter IX
    Moffat in 1704.—Hartfell Spa.—Moffat House.—The Town in 1770.—Moffat as a Market Town. —Trade.—Ecclesiastical Notes, continued.
  • Chapter X
    Opening of the Caledonian Railway— Good derived from it.
  • Chapter XI
    Eminent Men connected with the Town and Parish.
  • Chapter XlI
    Summary of Events from 1848 to 1871.
  • Appendix

Some old pictures of Moffat from Sean at the Moffat Toffee Shop

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