Torthorwald
The Dumfriesshire Companion
Haig Gordon

THEMES & PERSONALITIES

Introduction

Some Historical Background

The Border

From Westerkirk to Westminster Abbey -
Thomas Telford


Robert Burns - Doonhamer

The Sage of Ecclefechan - Thomas Carlyle

Hugh MacDiarmid and the Muckle Toon

Other Literary Figures

The Artists

Fame and Fortune

Other Pairs of Eyes

Torthorwald


The name is Viking-inspired. It is normally taken to mean 'tower of Thor [Norse god] in the wood'.


The ruinous castle was built in the fourteenth century and added to in the fifteenth. The Kirkpatricks were its first occupants, followed by the Carlyles.


In the 1470s Torthorwald was created a burgh of barony.


The present kirk was built in the 1780s (though later extended) when an earlier building was demolished. There has been a kirk here probably since about 1200.


The village has a rare example of a cruck-framed cottage.
The whole building is constructed around and supported by three huge oak trusses resting on the ground and held in place by foundation boulders. The great advantage of this technique is that the walls need be only infill, not load-bearing. Traditionally this type of house was thatched with straw laid on a lining of turf. This one was faithfully restored in the early 1990s.



John Gibson Paton

A similar cottage, that was adjacent until it was demolished in 1948, was the childhood home of the controversial nineteenth-century Christian missionary John Gibson Paton.

Paton spent his early working life in the weaving trade of his father before embarking on the attempted conversion of the South Pacific islands then known as the New Hebrides.

When Paton re-visited Torthorwald in the 1880s he reckoned that up to seventy cottages of the cruck design had been either demolished or substantially altered since his childhood.

PLACES

Ae
Amisfield
Annan
Auldgirth
Bankend
Beattock
Bentpath
Brydekirk
Canonbie
Carronbridge
Carrurtherstown
Chapelknowe
Clarencefield
Closeburn
Collin
Cummertrees
Dalswinton
Dalton
Dornock
Dumfries
Duncow
Dunscore
Durisdeer
Eaglesfield
Eastriggs
Ecclefechan
Eskdalemuir
Glencaple
Gretna
Hightae
Holywood
Johnstonebridge
Kettleholm
Kirkconnel
Kirkpatrick Fleming
Kirkton
Kirtlebridge
Langholm
Lochmaben
Lockerbie
Middlebie
Moffat
Moniaive
Mouswald
Newton Wamphray
Parkgate
Penpont
Powfoot
Ruthwell
Sanquhar
Templand
Thornhill
Tinwald
Torthorwald
Tynron
Wanlockhead
Waterbeck

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