From the Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, published Edinburgh in1856.

Urr Parish

URR, a parish in the south-east part of Kirkcudbrightshire. It forms a long and very irregular belt of country, extending from north to south; and terminating at each end in a slightly rounded point. The parishes which march with it, on the east side, are Kirkpatrick-Irongray, Lochrutton, Kirkgunzeon, and Colvend; and those which march with it along the west side, are Buittle, Crossmichael, and Kirkpatrick-Durham. Its length is 13½ miles; its mean breadth over 9 miles at the extremities, chiefly at the south, is little more than a mile; its greatest breadth is about 4 miles; and its superficial extent is nearly 12,000 acres. The surface, compared to that of most Galloway parishes, is pretty level, few of the hills being of considerable height. The upper districts, though moorish, are, for the most part, capable of tillage. The arable lands of the whole area, compared with those which cannot be ploughed, are as 12 to 1. The soil is in general light and productive. The growth of wood, especially oak, ash, elm, and Scotch fir, is exceedingly rapid; and was, at one time, extensively attended to, simply for its produce in fuel. Shell-marl abounds; limestone occurs, and is very hard; iron-ore is plentiful, but cannot be worked for want of coal. Urr Water divides the parish from Crossmichael and Buittle. Dalbeattie or Kirkgunzeon-burn, traces the boundary for some miles on the east, and a little before its confluence with the Urr, sweeps past the village of Dalbeattie. These streams and some minor ones have valuable water-power for the propelling of machinery; and the Urr and its main tributary bring up to Dalbeattie vessels of 60 tons burden.

Auchenreoch and Milton lochs are situated in the north; the former a long and narrow expansion of a brook on the western boundary; and the latter a sheet of water, about 3 miles in circumference, in the interior. On the west bank of Urr-water, a little below the parish-church, is the celebrated Moat of Urr, an artificial mount or table-land, rising from concentric and successive terraces, and anciently used as a seat of judicature by the petty chiefs of the feudal times. This is probably the largest work of its kind in Scotland; and, though anything but Roman in its own construction, was attended by outworks, some remains of which existed about 80 years ago, and seemed to be of Roman origin. Two drawings of the Moat are given by Grose. The villages of the parish, with their population, in 1836, are Dalbeattie with 1,393; Haugh, with about 220; and Springholm, with about 300. The population, except in Dalbeattie, which contains a mixture of all occupations, is chiefly agricultural. The parish is crossed in the north by the mail road from Dumfries to Portpatrick, and traversed for some distance south-westward by the turnpike branch to Kirkcudbright. Population, in 1801, 1,719; in 1831, 3,098. Houses 589. Assessed property, in1825, £12.516.

Urr is in the presbytery and synod of Dumfries. Patron, the Crown. Stipend £232 19s. 6d.; glebe £30. Unappropriated teinds £303 6s. 7d. The parish-church was built in 1815. Sittings 615. There are four dissenting places of worship. A Reformed Presbyterian meeting-house was built in the village of Springholm about 25 years ago, and has about 600 sittings. The minister has charge also of a congregation at Castle Douglas, and officiates at Springholm only on every third Sabbath. Stipend from both congregations £95. An United Christian congregation was formed in Dalbeattie in 1831. Their place of worship was a house, built in 1811, and purchased for £200 in 1832. Sittings  - 510. The minister officiates on alternate Sabbaths here and at Castle-Douglas. Stipend about £55. An United Secession congregation was established at Hardgate in 1760. Their meeting-house was built, in 1798, at a cost of about £400. Sittings -  480. Stipend £90, with a house and garden. A Roman Catholic congregation was established in the contiguous parish of Buittle at a remote but unascertained date, and removed, in 1814, to Dalbeattie. Their place of meeting in Buittle was the mansion-house of Munshes, and in Dalbeattie is a house, called St. Peter's church, which was opened in 1814. Sittings 252. The minister officiates at stated intervals in places of meeting at Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse, and Dalry, but regards Dalbeattie as his home. Stipend about £50, with a dwelling-house.  An ecclesiastical survey of 1836, exhibited the population as then 3,059, and distributed them into 2,030 churchmen, 1,026 dissenters, and 3 nondescripts. There are three parochial and three unendowed schools. In 1834, the former were attended by 364 scholars, and the latter by 185. Salary of the first parish-schoolmaster £22 8s. 9d., with £21 7s. 4d fees; of the second £18 5s. 11d., with £23 8s. 6d. fees; of the third £10 9s., with £15 12s. 7d. fees.— The ancient church was dedicated to the royal and Culdee Saint Constantine ; from the 12th century till the Reformation, it was a vicarage under the monks of Holyrood ; and, in 1633, it was given by Charles I. to the bishops of Edinburgh to aid the support of their nascent and evanescent see. Of several chapels which anciently stood in the parish, and were subordinate to its church, one was situated at a place which still bears the name of Chapelton.


DALBEATTIE, a village in the parish of Urr and Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It is situated on Dalbeattie burn, 3 or 4 furlongs above its confluence with Urr water. The village was commenced about the year 1780, and advanced rapidly in prosperity. It is built of a lively-coloured granite, and offers high advantages, as to both garden-grounds and the right of cutting peats, to feuars; but is surrounded with a country bleak, barren, and, in many respects, unpropitious to manufacture or commerce. Though vessels of small burden can come up from the sea, Dalbeattie is not likely to become ever of commercial importance.