1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Thornhill (Scotland)

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THORNHILL, a village of the parish of Morton, Nithsdale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, 14 m. N.N.W. of Dumfries by the Glasgow & South-Western railway. Pop. (1901), 1132. It is beautifully situated in the midst of tree-clad hills and watered by the bountiful Nith and such streams as the Carron, Cample and Crichope. Morton parish church lies in the village, and among other buildings are the library and the natural history museum, in the grounds of which there is a statue of Richard Cameron, the covenanter (1680). The weekly sales of livestock are important, and an agricultural show is held every September. Three miles N.N.W. stands Drumlanrig Castle, a seat of the duke of Buccleuch. It is built of red sandstone in the form of a hollow square, and has 145 ft. of outer walls, which are surmounted with turrets, and capped and spired at the angles. The castle was begun in 1679 and finished in 1689, and cost the first duke of Queensberry an immense sum. He is believed to have spent but a single night under its roof. The fourth duke of Queensberry, Old “ Q., ” incurred the wrath of Robert Burns and Wordsworth by his wanton destruction of the magnificent woods. On the death of “ Old Q.” without issue in 1810, Henry, third duke of Buccleuch, succeeded to the dukedom of Queensberry, and the property has since been adequately cared for. Trees, planted on the most extensive scale, have repaired the ravages of the former owner; the gardens have been laid out with exquisite taste; and the vast policy, intersected by the Nith, is one of the finest parks in Scotland. The ruins of Tibber's Castle, dismantled in 1311 by Robert Bruce, stand in the grounds, about 1 m. from the ducal mansion. Two miles and a half N.N.E. of Thornhill is found another ruined fortress, that of Morton Castle, interesting as the residence of Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, regent during the early years of the minority of David II., and as belonging afterwards to a branch of the Douglases, who derived from it the title of earl. About 3 m. south-east of Thornhill stands the ruined castle of Closeburn, once a stronghold of the Kirkpatricks. It was Sir Roger of that ilk who helped “ mak sikker” the death of John, “Red” Comyn, of Badenoch (1306). In Closeburn parish (pop. 1275) occur cairns, tumuli and a stone circle, besides Roman and prehistoric remains. Two mineral wells give the place the promise of some degree of popular favour, likely to be enhanced by the romantic beauty of its surroundings.