By the end of the eighteenth century Dumfries and Carlisle were connected by a turnpike [toll] road.
It was along this new highway that Collin [the stress is on the second syllable] developed in the early 1800s.
Many of the cottars eked a living from home-based weaving.
The land for Collin's housing was released by the local Rockhall estate, a possession from the
fifteenth century of the Grierson family in addition to their castle at Lag near Dunscore.
The present house of Rockhall, which lies to the east of Collin, took shape in the late sixteenth century.
It remained in Grierson hands until the 1950s when it was sold and turned into a hotel.
In 1997 it became once again a private home.
Collin thus has an association, through his occupation of Rockhall, with Sir Robert Grierson of Lag,
the demonised agent of the Covenanter suppression in the seventeenth century (see Some Historical Background).
It was here that he spent his retirement until his death in 1733. He had a pet monkey that blew a whistle, and its
ghost - complete with whistle - is reputed to haunt the old house.
Another Grierson, a daughter of the 5th baronet and later a Crichton by marriage, was well known for more beneficent reasons.
Rockhall was the birthplace in 1779 of Elizabeth Crichton, founder of the Crichton Royal Hospital (now the Crichton Campus) in Dumfries.
Rockhall Mote (Rokele)
A short distance to the north of Rockhall, the farm of Rockhallhead has the sites of a twelfth-century
Norman castle (of the motte-and-bailey type) and of a chapel, known in early records as Rokele.
Even seasoned ancient monuments inspectors can no longer find traces of the chapel;
however, a religious stone carving now in Dumfries Museum is believed to have come from Rokele.
When the railway system came to the district
(see Some Historical Background),
the folk of Collin did not have far to go to catch a train. From around 1850 there was a station at Racks,
a short distance to the south. The line still runs through to Dumfries but the station was closed in the 1960s.
The hamlet of Racks was largely railway-generated. Its name is thought to have come from the 'racks' laid for access to the nearby peat moss.