The colourful welcome to Dalton Pottery
Until 1633 there were two parishes hereabouts: Meikle Dalton and Little Dalton.
The ruins of Little Dalton Kirk can be found on the banks of the Dalton Burn to the north-west of the village at the farm of Kirkhill.
The building was probably put up in the early 1500s.
In the village, obviously the heart of Meikle Dalton, the present parish kirk was built in the 1890s
but the ecclesiastical use of the site goes much further back in time. Within the kirkyard are the
ruins of the old parish church completed in 1704, which itself was built upon the foundations of a medieval kirk,
some of the latter's walling having been incorporated into its successor.
Dalton's best-known minister was Rev Dr James Cririe (1752-1835). He began his working life as a herdsman but through
vigorous self-improvement rose to be the rector of the High School of Edinburgh. Having also been ordained, he came
as minister to Dalton in 1800 and spent the rest of his life here. Cririe was a bit of a poet.
Apparently Robert Burns liked his 'Address to Loch Lomond' but a contemporary critic judged it to
be 'not much better than a book of the roads would be, were it put into verse; and, when the reader
arrives at the end, he is almost as fatigued as if he had travelled the journey himself.'
Dalton was the birthplace in 1793 of the physician and poet William Beattie.
Dalton Pottery was started by Geoff and Jenny Finch, who have been making ceramics together since they met at college in 1982.
The ceramic medium was ingeniously used for the village's 2000 millennium memorial, which is made up of the hand
impressions of 110 children in Dalton and Carrutherstown.
Another kind of memorial can be found at the top of Almagill Hill to the north-west of the village.
It commemorates a popular local countryman Joe Graham: 'many years
huntsman of the Dumfriesshire Foxhounds, who died in 1898 at the age of 80'.
Joe, a former weaver from Cumberland, was with the Dumfriesshire Hunt from its formation in 1848. H
e is praised in D J Bell-Irving's sporting memoirs Tally-Ho (1920):
Joe Graham came to Dumfriesshire with a great reputation as a horseman.
He was also credited with having, when the need arose, quite his share of expressive language,
though one of his maxims was: "Don't swear in the hunting field if you can help it,
but if you can't, give it them hot and strong and to the point."
He was a great believer in the music of the pack.He always maintained that a musical
hound was a loyal hound that wanted the rest of the pack to share in the scent.