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Parish of Sanquhar -- Co. [County] of Dumfries

Dr. [Doctor] Simpson does not pretend to answer, farther than hazarding a Conjecture that it was constructed by the Britons immediately subsequent to the evacuation of Scotland by the Romans
in the 5th Century,- having a precisely similar object as the Catrail, - for the purpose of opposing the Picts and Saxons. Simpson says "it is an ancient Celtic dyke, which as Chambers informs
"us takes its rise at the head of Lochryan near Stranraer and pafsing [passing] through the uplands of Galloway advances along the wilds of Carsphairn and stretches forward to the frowing [frowning] heights
"of Afton; it then turns down Nithsdale, pursuing its course on the South side of the River along the moorlands; it crofses [crosses] the face of the hills on the farms of Ulzieside and South Mains
"where it is remarkably distinct and well defined; it then points towards the Woods of Eliock, from which it advances through Durisdeer and the Parishes beyond, pushes through Annandale
"and on to Carlisle where it terminates, accomplishing a course of much more that 100 miles." - From this description, it is evidently the object termed Deil's Dike by other authorities
About one mile North of the Battle Field, a circular entrenchment may be easily traced - which is pronounced to be the Site of a Celtic Fort "The breadth of the foundation is visible, it had
"a basis of dry stones 14 feet broad - the Stones have been carried away." Dr [Doctor] Simpson's supposition for this being a Celtic Fort is founded upon the immense thicknefs [thickness] of its wall and similar
formation to other such Camps, described by different authors. About 4 miles N [North] from the foregoing and nearly on N.Wn. [North Western] Parish Boundary there is a Circular mound surrounded by
a trench, all in good preservation, which Dr. [Doctor] Simpson and other local authorities pronounce a British Camp.- The Site of An Ancient fort is still traceable "by a ring round a
"knoll" a little to the West or North-West of the Burgh.- "It was a stronghold in the British times and when the Scots-Irish made an invasion from the Emerald Isle, they
"found an old fortification which in their speech they denominated Sean Caer which is the Old Fort" And from which as is generally supposed this Parish derives its
name - written in the Charters of 13th Century Senechar and Sanchar.- Towards the South-Eastern extremity of Parish there are the remains of a Cairn Said to have been the
place of interment of a Chief. The larger Stones of this Cairn have however been removed.- About ¾ mile South
from the Burgh near the mouth of Euchan Water the Site of an Ancient Stronghold may be defined by traces of an entrenchment Dr [Doctor] Simpson says "the Site of an
"Ancient Fort called Kemp's Castle, which name in the old British signifies Warrior's Castle.- This was a vitrified Fort, which is demonstrated by the burnt stones and fused pieces
"that are still to be found about the place".- The Name and indications are therefore in every way Confirmatory of its origin.- A Somewhat peculiar object towards the Eastern Parish
district - that of a large Crofs [Cross] formed on the ground "as plain and well defined", says the Author of the history of Sanquhar - "as if it had been laid down yesterday, constructed of
"Stones and loose earth after the manner of the Celtic Graves already mentioned and which is plainly the manufacture of a remote age "may be easily discerned, from which
peculiar feature of construction doubtlefsly, [doubtlessly] the historian hazards the following "Here then is the sacred mark indicative of the existence of an ancient place of worship which has been
"occupied as far back as the British times as the name Pan plainly shews,- Pan being precisely the same as Llan (gaelic) a Church"- referring here to the adjoining rills termed Pan
Grains - and which may be farther Confirmed in that of Starn Capel Nook" in the immediate vicinity.- On Knockenhair Hill about 2½ miles North from the Burgh there
is a large Cairn surrounded by a thick wall said in locality to be a Druidical Circle.- The Author of the History of Sanquhar does not notice it. The features are certainly
at variance with precedents of Druidical Temples. The probability is,- like the one previously mentioned - it is merely the resting place of some important Celtic or British Chief
Cairn (only) therefore, would appear a lefs [less] hazardous application. Adjoining the Manse, a similar Cairn is said to have existed on a small mound, which Dr. [Doctor] S. [Simpson] conjectures may have been the Scene of Druidical worship.
The venerable ruins of Sanquhar Castle, the most Conspicuous object of Antiquity in the district, situate a little South
of the Burgh Shew this Stronghold, to have been a coarse but very Strong Structure and from the utter want of Architectural taste thereon, it is conjec=
=tured to have been reared at a very early period.- Its precise date cannot be ascertained.- It appears however by some documents extant "to have
"been inhabited (if not built) by Dunegal, Chieftain of Stranith (Nithsdale) in the time of David I", which would be between 1124 and 1152 - the dates respectively
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Nora Edwards, George Howat

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