12th century was lord of the larger part of Nithsdale, clearly represents a survival
among the great Celtic landowners then in process of being replaced by Normans.
From his eldest son the family took the surname of Randolph, and its best known
representative was the Thomas Randolph of the War of Independence, nephew of
Robert the Bruce and first Earl of Moray. A junior branch similarly adopted the
surname of Edgar, and in the early 14th century was possessed of the castle of
Sanquhar and half the barony. ¹ At the southern end of the Nith the family of
Maxwell, from the neighbourhood of Kelso in Roxburghshire, probably acquired the
barony of Caerlaverock early in the 13th century. ² Above Dumfries are Dalswinton
and Duncow, in which there were Comyns. In the immediate neighbourhood was the
barony of Tinwald, which appears to have been in possession of the family of Mande-
ville since the time a Mandeville married an illegitimate daughter of William the
Lion. In part Tinwald Mote (No. 582), original messuage of the barony, still
survives. About the middle of the 15th century the line ended in heiresses, of whom
one married Edward Maxwell. ³ Maxwell in course of time acquired the other
portions of the barony.
Eskdale in the 12th and 13th centuries was wholly Norman in lordship. In
the upper valley and part of the lower were the Avenels, conspicuous patrons of
the Abbey of Melrose. This line ended in heiresses and the Dumfriesshire lands
passed to the husband of the elder, a Graeme of Dalkeith. In the middle Esk the
barony of Westerkirk (Wathstirker, Watiskirker) was in the possession of the great
Liddesdale family of De Soulis. In Ewesdale were Lovels; in Wauchopedale, after
1285, Lindsays, who, with a break extending substantially over the 16th century,
continued there till 1707. ⁴ Lower Eskdale was largely owned by the Rossedals
(Norse hross-dalr, "horse-dale"), another family almost entirely known for its gener-
osity to Jedburgh Abbey (as the Avenels for their connection with Melrose) and its
foundation of the Priory at Canonbie for Augustinian canons as a cell of Jedburgh.
The Rossedals make a silent and unexplained exit from history.
The War of Independence, and the long struggle against England, brought about
a partial redistribution of Dumfriesshire lordships. A temporary imposition of some
English owners may be neglected. A Bohun or a Percy in Annandale was but a bird
of passage. It was the Scottish kings proper who had the final word. As a result,
the main territorial feature in the district during more than a century is the steady
expansion of the wealth and power of the Douglas family by grant and acquisition.
The first of the family to own lands in Dumfriesshire was the "good Lord
James," Bruce's friend, when in 1321 he had a grant of lands in the barony of
Westerkirk. ⁵ That followed on the elimination of De Soulis, who had been forfeited
and executed on a treason charge a year before. About twenty years later, the
Lovels, as supporters of England, disappeared from Ewesdale, and their lands too
were added to the Douglas holdings, being transferred to William, nephew of Lord
James, first Earl of Douglas. ⁶ The most important of the Douglas vassals in this
quarter was the knightly family of Glendinning from Roxburghshire in Eskdale-
muir. ⁷ In Ewesdale again were a branch of the Teviotdale Frasers, till, on their
resignation, the property in 1426 was granted to Simon Lytil or Little, ⁸ with which
family it remained for quite two centuries.

1 Reg. Mag. Sig. (new edition), i. p. 8, No. 27.
2 Orig. Paroch., i. p. 446; Book of Caerlaverock, i. p. 40.
3 Exchequer Rolls, vi. p. 168.
4 Armstrong's Liddesdale, p. 168.
5 Reg. Mag. Sig., i. pp. 522, 544.
6 Ibid., p. 565.
7 Armstrong's Liddesdale, p. 160.
8 Reg. Mag. Sig., ii. No. 48.

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