Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Maxwelltown

Maxwelltown, a burgh of barony in the parish of Troqueer, Kirkcudbrightshire. It stands on the right bank of the curving Nith, at the eastern verge of Kirkcudbrightshire, directly opposite Dumfries, and is included within the parliamentary boundaries of that burgh. Its site is a bank or low ridge circling along the margin of the river, and it is connected with Dumfries by three bridges. The older parts of the burgh are poorly built and badly aligned; but the new are pleasant, neat, and airy. A narrow street or alley, immediately on the Nith, N of the uppermost bridge, inhabited mainly by families of the working classes, leads out to the ruins of Lincluden, and bears the name of College Street. A street parallel to this brings down the Glasgow and Dumfries turnpike, is straight and spacious, has several good houses, and, near the middle, on its W side, exhibits a small court-house of neat exterior. A street at right angles with these, and on a line with the bridge, carries westward the Dumfries and Portpatrick road, is also straight and spacious, and at its W end passes off into the country in a series of villalike houses. A wide brief street forking into two between the bridges, a street somewhat parallel to it on the W, and one or two other thoroughfares are in general of mixed or poor appearance, but slightly relieved of their plain, low, dingy aspect by a sprinkling or occasional series of tolerable houses. Corbelly Hill, swelling up at the S end but a brief distance from the brink of the river, bears aloft the fine convent and church (1881-84) of the Immaculate Conception, whilst a little lower down is a picturesque building, which, originally a windmill, since 1838 has served the double purpose of an observatory and a museum. Along the face of this fine rising-ground, fronting Dumfries, stands a range of elegant houses. On the brink of the stream, with but a narrow belt of plain intervening from the base of the hill, stands a complete suite of large grain mills, each mill supplied with water-power in one of several parallel dams, extending from a strong high-water weir built diagonally across the whole breadth of the river. The entire town, exclusive of its burgh roods, is about two-thirds of a mile in length, and nearly the same in breadth. Maxwelltown has a station on the line to Castle-Douglas, the large Troqueer tweed mills (1866-70), a dye work, 2 saw-mills, nurserygrounds, etc.; and it shares considerably in the trade and commerce of Dumfries. The Established church of Maxwelltown quoad sacra parish is a Gothic edifice, with a spire and 800 sittings, built at a cost of £2000 in lieu of a previous chapel of ease, which was burned on 28 Sept. 1842. A handsome Free church was built in 1866, and a public school in 1876, the latter costing £2200, and accommodating 359 children. The town originally bore the name of Bridgend, and was such a disorderly village, that, according to the byword, ` You might trace a rogue all over the kingdom, but were sure to lose him at the Bridgend of Dumfries. ' But in 1810 it was erected into a free burgh of barony, under the name of Maxwelltown, in honour of Mr Maxwell of Nithsdale, its superior, and was placed under the government of a provost, 2 bailies, and 4 councillors; and it speedily underwent great improvement, as to at once its police, its trade, the condition of its houses, and the manners of its people. The general police act has also been adopted with good effect; and the management of this is reposed in 12 commissioners, 3 of whom are police magistrates. Sheriff circuit small debt courts are held on the second Tuesday of January and June, the third Tuesday of March, and the fourth Tuesday of September, and justice of peace small debt courts on the first Thursday of every month. Valuation (1884) £15,142. Pop. (1831) 3230, (1861) 3599, (1871) 4198, (1881) 4455, of whom 2425 were females, and 2070 were in the quoad sacra parish. Houses (18 81) 965 inhabited, 64 vacant, 5 building.—Ord. Sur., sh. 9, 1863. See also Dumfries and Troqueer.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a burgh of barony"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Troqueer ScoP       Kirkcudbrightshire ScoCnty
Place: Maxwelltown

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