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Document 1371

The Lost Town of Innermessan

Author(s): Jack Hunter

Copyright holder(s): Jack Hunter: Reproduced with kind permission of Stranraer and District Local History Trust

Text

INTRODUCTION

This history of Innermessan is an expanded version of The Bill Gill Lecture for 2002, given to The Wigtownshire Antiquarian and Natural History Society. Bill had a close connection with Innermessan: not only did he live near it, at Bishopburn and later Cairnryan, but he had also done a considerable amount of documentary research on the vanished town. I was fortunate enough to have access to his primary source material although the conclusions I have drawn from it might not have earned his endorsement.

Readers may justifiably find the use of the term "op. cit." pretentious and irritating. It has been employed to avoid repeating the title of a book already referred to and was adopted to save both author and reader time and avoid holding up the narrative.

I have to thank Charlie Collins for advice on matters maritime; Fraser Hunter for help with the archaeological sections and for proof reading; Donnie Nelson for taking the photographs of present-day Innermessan; and Margaret Sherriffs for information about the site. I am grateful to The RCAHMS, The National Archives of Scotland and The Trustees of The National Library of Scotland for permission to reproduce copyright material. All factual errors, conclusions, and speculations are entirely my responsibility.


THE LOST TOWN OF INNERMESSAN

In his poem "The Ballad of Semmerwater" Sir William Watson tells the story of a splendid city which stood by a lake and which vanished without trace:

"Once there stood by Semmerwater
A mickle town and tall;
King's tower and queen's bower,
And the wakeman on the wall."

The verse seems a particularly apt description of medieval Innermessan, which was also "a mickle town and tall" but of which today virtually no trace remains.

No doubt exists of Innermessan's former importance. Writing in 1684, the Rev. Andrew Symson of Kirkinner, author of the first comprehensive account of Galloway, states:

"Of old Innermessan was the most considerable place in the Rhins and the gratest town thereabout till Stranraer was built."

Earlier, it is recorded that in the fourteenth century King David II made a grant to the Bishop of Galloway "of the lands of Dermore (Drummore) in the Rhins, within the town of Innermessan" (M'Kerlie: "Lands and Their Owners in Galloway"). This geographical paradox has been explained as meaning that these lands lay within the area where Innermessan was the major settlement. Innermessan's dominant position in the Rhinns is underlined by famous mapmaker Timothy Pont in his "Galloway Typographised" written in the late sixteenth century. Here Innermessan is one of only three towns listed for Wigtownshire, the other two being the royal burghs of Whithorn and Wigtown.

Yet 100 years later the previously mentioned Andrew Symson can describe the Innermessan of his day as "a little hamlet or village" and today careful examination reveals only the slightest traces of the former "mickle town and tall". Modern Innermessan consists of a scatter of four houses at the junction of the A75 and the A751 two miles north of Stranraer. It is this spectacular decline which gives the settlement its fascination: the Assistant Keeper at the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh described it in a 1960s letter to noted local historian Bill Gill as "a very interesting example of a lost town".

For the lost town's name two meanings have been suggested. That it comes from Gaelic and means "the mouth of the Messan" is not in dispute and links this former capital of the Rhinns with the capital of the Highlands. But opinion has divided on the meaning of the name of the burn. P.H. M' Kerlie, whose imagination was equal to most challenges, claimed that it represents the Gaelic word for "rough" or "rugged", describing the scenery in the upper part of its course (M'Kerlie: op. cit.). But the name Messan Burn applies to the watercourse only after the confluence of the Kirclachie Burn with that draining the Black Loch, which occurs on low pasture land close to the A77. More convincing is Professor MacQueen's explanation that "Messan" derives from the Gaelic word for "little dog", a reference to the way that the burn winds itself round the motte like a small dog round its master's ankles (MacQueen: "Place-Names in The Rhinns").


PREHISTORIC INNERMESSAN

Innermessan was not only at one time a "considerable place"; it is also a place of great antiquity. The earliest settlement dates to the arrival of the first human beings in Galloway 10,000 years ago. The evidence for this is a scatter of 23 flints found in the field in the angle between the A77 and the road to Innermessan farm on the south side of the latter road. This represents the debris from the manufacture of weapons and tools by a group of our Mesolithic ancestors who camped here for a time in the course of their nomadic existence. Indeed they may have returned on several occasions for the site enjoys numerous natural advantages, best appreciated from Balyett picnic site to the south. With sea level higher than today, here was a break in the escarpment of the coastline creating a good launching - and landing place for fishing in the loch. An ample supply of fresh water from the burn and sheltered ground for an encampment made the site a Mesolithic estate agent's star property.

Unsurprisingly, subsequent and more permanent settlers were attracted to this first-class location and in numbers. Cropmarks on aerial photographs reveal an almost urban complex north and east of the present Innermessan farmhouse over a period of 4,000 years from the Neolithic period through to the Iron Age and the first century A.D. This included a circular settlement with at least three round houses, each approximately 15m in diameter, in close proximity. It and a neighbouring rectangular enclosure are put in the shade by two other features of the complex. The first is a possible souterrain, a bow-shaped, stone-lined, underground, storage chamber for food and a rare find in Wigtownshire. Even more glamorously, the other may be a cursus, a 150m long processional avenue defined by parallel earth banks. And it is reasonable to assume that these barely surviving traces are only a part of what existed at Innermessan in prehistoric times.

The evidence of cropmarks is more tangibly confirmed by several finds from the area dating to this time. A spearhead and an axe both from the Bronze Age have disappeared since they were reported in the nineteenth century but two more axes of the same date have survived. One is in Stranraer Museum (Page I) while the other resides in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh with an exotic companion from the same age, a fragment of a side-blown horn (Page II): music-making in the Stranraer area clearly has a long ancestry.


ROMANO-BRITISH AND DARK AGE INNERMESSAN

One of the most fascinating periods in Innermessan's story occurs at the interface between prehistory and history. In the second century A.D. the Alexandrian scholar Ptolemy included in his list of place names in Britain, by then a Roman province, "Rerigonium", which was situated on Rerigonius Sinus, that is, Loch Ryan. Ptolemy gives no details about Rerigonium but it may have been a Roman site, perhaps a fort or a port for the Solway fleet. It is impossible to be certain that Rerigonium is Innermessan but the latter is a very strong candidate from a small number of possibilities. The Roman road running towards Loch Ryan can be clearly seen on aerial photographs at Dunragit. Just before Soulseat Loch it appears to swing north in the direction of Innermessan; the topography would certainly make that a good line for the road. Rerigonium was probably a port and the coast at Innermessan lends itself to this purpose, as First and Second World War history both show. A comparatively short pier gives an adequate depth of water at all times for vessels of modest size. And just to the north the shore opposite Dalminnoch farm does not dry out at low tide. Finally, on the plateau 350m north of Innermessan farmhouse cropmarks (and, admittedly, the eye of faith) may reveal two ditches forming a corner angle similar to that of a Roman camp.

The name "Rerigonium" indicates the site was already a place of significance when the Romans came for it means "very royal place" (MacQueen: op. cit.) and so it seems that the Romans built their fort and port on the site of an existing, important, Celtic, Iron Age town. And Innermessan continued to be a major centre during the subsequent Dark Ages (to use the politically incorrect but familiar term). Welsh twelfth century bards, rehearsing the doings of their ancestors in South-West Scotland before the ninth century, refer to "kaer rian", which is the Cymric or early Celtic version of Rerigonium (MacQueen: op. cit.).


MEDIEVAL INNERMESSAN: THE MOTTE

Up till now the evidence for Innermessan's past is insubstantial: cropmarks on aerial photographs and a few artefacts. But when we reach the twelfth century we not only find the site was still an important one but we have as substantial a piece of evidence for that fact as could be wished for. Innermessan motte, a plum-pudding-shaped, artificial, earth mound on the coastal escarpment, is one of the most prominent landmarks in the area. It is still almost 13m high with a summit diameter of over 29m, dimensions which were very much greater before nine centuries of erosion took their toll. It was the base for a wooden castle erected by an unknown Anglo-Norman lord who had been granted land in the area by King David I in return for imposing law and order on the local population (or attempting to). It is yet further evidence of the site's natural assets for the angle between the steep coastal bank and the burn provides an excellent defensive position, enhanced by a broad ditch excavated round the mound by its prudent builder to make assurance doubly sure. Even today the ascent to the motte from burn or shore is not for the sedentary.

A fine example of a type of monument common in Galloway, Innermessan motte has not been professionally excavated but in 1834 the Rev. James Fergusson of Inch was impelled by his archaeo-historical enthusiasm to have a hole three feet deep dug in the centre of the summit. At that level the diggers found a layer consisting of ashes, charred wood, and fragments of bone, tantalizing clues perhaps to the last chapter in the motte's story. It is interesting to note that Rev. Fergusson, writing in 1839 in "The New Statistical Account", gave the height of the motte as 78', almost double what it is today.

[NOTE: Eight pages of illustrations here in original]

THE GOLDEN AGE

While Innermessan, then, had been a place of consequence for centuries, it arguably reached its zenith in the 1400s and 1500s as the largest town in the Rhinns on a par with the royal burghs of Whithorn and Wigtown. Yet today on the ground almost no trace of this important settlement remains. So what was the lost town like? As befitted its status, it boasted many stone-built houses, some with slate roofs, no common feature in those distant days. And it certainly was a "substantial place": even in the mid-eighteenth century, 150 years after its glory so suddenly departed, there were still to be seen the remains of 80 houses "of the better sort" (Agnew: "Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway"). However, no such remains are revealed on aerial photographs, suggesting that the town was a compact one occupying the valley of the Messan Burn east and south of the motte. As this area is rarely cultivated because of the restricted space, no crop marks occur. And a considerable part of Innermessan lay west of the motte on land which has now been lost by erosion to the sea. Evidence for this loss comes from an old charter which speaks of a road running "from the public road to the sea" (Scottish Record Office papers) at a time when the public road ran along the shore roughly on the line of the Second World War military railway.

Because Innermessan was the chief settlement in the Rhinns, the local lairds as a matter of status had town houses or at least property there. They included the heads of the frequently feuding two main branches of the famous Ayrshire Kennedy family, Kennedy of Bargany and Kennedy of Cassilis, Lord Cassilis. Another notable Ayrshire name, making up a highly volatile mixture from that county, was Mure of Auchendrain. With shorter distances to travel were Neilson of Craigcaffie (just across the road), McDowall of Garthland, Gambil or Campbell of Corsewall (who was provost of the town in 1426), Boyd of Achrochir, and Agnew of Lochnaw. Two church dignitaries with property in Innermessan were the Abbot of Glenluce and the Bishop of Whithorn. The latter is a key figure in the town's story as he was the lord of Innermessan, holding the lands from the Crown, and as such almost certainly obtained for the settlement its charter creating it a burgh of barony. Proof positive is lacking as the actual charter no longer exists.

The Agnew claim, repeated in "The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway", that this crucial role was played by one of their family is incorrect. It certainly seems that in 1426 an Agnew acquired certain tofts and crofts (houses with pieces of land attached) and a mill lying "between the torrents in the Barony of Innermessan" (Agnew: op. cit.) but eleven years before the Pope had issued a mandate to the subdean of the church of Glasgow to protect and defend the Bishop of Whithorn in possession of his lands including Innermessan. The mandate also stated that the Bishops of Whithorn had held those lands "from a time whereof the memory of man knows not the beginning" (Reid: "Wigtownshire Charters").

The presence among property-holding lairds of two Kennedies and the fact that the family were known as the Kings of Carrick add to the appropriateness of the "Semmerwater" verse quoted at the start of this booklet: like that ill-starred town Innermessan had its "king's tower" and "queen's bower". Indeed it arguably had two of each. In the ranks of the non-regal the name of Boyd of Achrochir catches the eye for here is a lost property to complement the lost town. No estate or farm of that name exists today. However in Timothy Pont's famous 1590s map of Wigtownshire the name Achrocchyrr appears between Loch Magillie and the mill at the mouth of the Bishop Burn, the place apparently lying on each side of that watercourse. Professor MacQueen's mention of the modern "Auchrochar Bank" in the vicinity of Aird farm (MacQueen: op. cit.) confirms that our lost property lay somewhere between the present Inch church and the mouth of the Bishop Burn, which is beside the former Repeater Station on the A77 on the eastern outskirts of Stranraer.

The search area can probably be narrowed further. In the Wigtownshire Parish Lists for 1684, where entries are given in geographical and not alphabetical order, "Ochrocher" is listed between Kirkland of Inch and the Balyetts. The weight of evidence putting Achrochir close to the Balyetts is added to by a 1795 estate map (Page VIII) which shows "Boyds Moss" (bereft of its apostrophe) immediately north-west of Meikle (High) Balyett. Perhaps the disappearance of the property from the map is not unconnected with its name, which in Gaelic means "the field of the hangman".

Wherever the exact location of Achrochir was, its laird, Boyd, would be only an occasional resident at his Innermessan property, as would the other lairds. What of the town's permanent residents? Fortunately we know the names of some of them from the protocol books or records of two local lawyers who were in practice around 1600, William Gardner and James Glover. Through their good (and gratuitous) offices we meet John Kennedy, armourer, as well as John McWhirk arid Martin McCullie, who were more peacefully occupied as shoe-maker and tailor respectively. Corn miller Michael Wallace would obviously be a key member of the community but the occupations of John Cunningham and Niven McGilbar are not known to us. However they were burgesses and so men of consequence since they could engage in a trade or have a shop. This elevated them above William Walker, Norman McNeillie, and John Rollane, who as mere indwellers could do neither. With regard to the size of the population, local historian Bill Gill suggested that the number of inhabitants may have been roughly the same as the number of residents in the modern Innermessan caravan site in the summer season.

And our evidence for the existence of those Innermessan folk is not merely documentary. Much more evocative is the seal of Reginald the merchant, with its pre-Reformation pelican emblem, complementing the three-legged, brass water-ewer (Page I) of an earlier age. The latter's modest size (it is just over eight inches high) suggests its use may have been to alleviate the sticky-fingers syndrome for the residents of the motte castle at meal times.

As the status and occupations of its inhabitants suggest, Innermessan was a busy, thriving, commercial centre. It enjoyed the natural advantage of a good landing place: indeed it may have possessed a proper harbour for a charter of 1668 says so, albeit unhelpfully in Latin: "apud portum marinum". Another major natural asset was an abundant supply of water power from the Messan Burn, which combined the waters of the Kirclachie Burn flowing down from Braid Fell and the stream, whose very straight course suggests an artificial origin, draining the Black Loch. A large mill dam roughly opposite the present Craigcaffie roadend on the A77 supplied two mills, which performed different roles at different times but mainly those of corn mill and woollen mill. Reference in a charter to the "malting still" indicates the town boasted a brewery or distillery. It also had a corn-drying kiln and a boat-building facility; Innermessan boatbuilders were famous, particularly one named Peter who complemented his manual skills with the gift of second sight and the black arts of the warlock. Presumably he had few claims under guarantee against his workmanship.

As for the layout of the town, we even know the names of some of the streets and thoroughfares which armourer John Kennedy and his fellow residents walked. Predictably, the burgh possessed a High Street while the Common Street may have been the public road, at the foot of the escarpment, to Ballantrae and points north (a document of 1543 refers to an area of the town "between the common road on the east and the seashore on the west", another reminder of how much of the town lay on land now lost to the sea). The Bray was surely the road between the motte and the burn (Page V) and thus possibly the same as "the passage to the Moit". Traces of it are still visible on the level ground beside the burn. The Foregate and the Highgate are good Scottish terms while the Burgess Close reminds us of a standard feature of older Scottish towns.

Other elements of the town's topography are known to us, at least by name. "The lochan" is probably the already mentioned mill dam, still shown on the 1849 OS map. More puzzling are the "wynerigg" and the "akerspitell" although the latter hints at the existence of a building or group of buildings where travellers, especially pilgrims, could find food and shelter; "spittal" is found in other Wigtownshire place names. If Innermessan indeed had one of those institutions, it may have had an "aker" of land attached. As for "wynerigg", the idea of a vineyard on the slopes of the Messan Burn is no less tempting than it is improbable.

The names of numerous other tenements (holdings of land) are known, some of them more easily written than pronounced: Culfannan, Dunis Roume, Knokcanteroch, Lagroben, Kincanzeraucht. A number contain the element "croft" suggesting they were pieces of agricultural land: Darfarsonis Croft, Croftmonnock, McCrerie' s Croft. Particularly noteworthy is the 1543 reference to the "temple croft called Croft Grier" as it shows that the famous (or notorious) military order of the Knights Templar held land in Innermessan. This is confirmed by a reference in another charter to "the templelands". The town was not unique locally in its Templar connection for the order also at one time held land near Drummore (MacQueen: op. cit.).

Another type of tenement was the rood, an area of a quarter of an acre apparently used for agriculture but much smaller than a croft. An estate map of around 1795 and the 1849 OS map both mark an area on the plateau north of the present farmhouse as the Roods of Innermessan. Readers of a certain age may hear echoes of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village..."

However the most important and prestigious address in the town was "the principal place and fortalice", that is, the tower house. Strangely, like the rest of Innermessan town, it has disappeared virtually without trace but it stood in what is now the steading of modern Innermessan farm. Who built it is not known nor are the names of its occupants before 1603 but the smart money would go on the Kennedy family. In 1603, by which time the town's glory was rapidly departing, it was held by Uchtred McKie but a connection links that gentleman almost inevitably with the Kennedies.

What the relationship was between the occupants of Innermessan tower house and those of Craigcaffie tower house barely a mile away and easily visible is an appealing puzzle. The situations of the two strongholds are very different. Innermessan, on the plateau, must have been conspicuous over a considerable area, from both land and sea. Clearly its residents were happy to advertise their presence. By contrast Craigcaffie hides in a hollow, invisible except from close at hand in a manner reminiscent of Corsewall castle at the north end of the Rhinns. The locations suggest that the Craigcaffie Neilsons had no desire to compete with their Innermessan fortalice neighbours and were content to occupy a subordinate position. This impression is reinforced by the fact that during the entire Neilson possession of Craigcaffie the estate did not expand at all. The very modest size of Craigcaffie tower house points to the same conclusion.


DECLINE AND FALL

Innermessan's golden age ended abruptly for around 1600 this large, thriving town went into rapid and irreversible decline: only 80 years later Andrew Symson could describe it as a "little hamlet" (Symson: "A Large Description of Galloway"). Unlike the Semmerwater of the ballad of that name and other towns of popular legend it was not overwhelmed by a natural catastrophe. It was not left literally high and dry by a change in sea level for it still had a harbour in 1668. Nor did it suddenly lose its vital source of industrial power for the Messan Burn flows strongly to this day.

It seems therefore that the reason for its demise must be political. A frequently held view was reiterated by J. S. Boyd in his "Royal Burgh of Stranraer". He suggested that Innermessan was an Agnew town while Stranraer was an Adair/Kennedy town and that as the Agnews' fortunes declined and those of the Adairs/Kennedies rose the same happened to their respective client towns. However this attractive explanation is not borne out by the facts. Despite Agnew claims that the family were lords of Innermessan from around 1426, they did not in fact attain this position until the town was well into its decline in the seventeenth century.

In fact, Innermessan's decline was the work of the Kennedy family. After the Reformation of 1560 the lands of Innermessan, like other church lands, were annexed by the Crown and thence found their way, with a certain inevitability, into the capacious hands of the Kennedies, Earls of Cassilis. But the Kennedies were also effectively lords of Stranraer. It was certainly Ninian Adair of the well known Rhinns family who obtained Stranraer's burgh of barony charter in 1595 but he was the son of Helen Kennedy, daughter of Gilbert, 2nd Earl of Cassilis, and Kennedy blood was notoriously thick. Furthermore at the creation of the burgh of barony in 1595 the tower, fortalice, manor place, yards, and orchards of Chappell (in the heart of the new burgh) were reserved to Elizabeth Kennedy, nee Adair, wife of John Kennedy of Creechan. Mention in 1601 of her son, Hugh Kennedy of Chappell, confirms the extreme closeness of the Adair-Kennedy connection. When therefore the main branch of the Adair family returned to Ireland in 1608, Stranraer was left firmly in Kennedy hands.

It was consequently a Kennedy decision that Stranraer should expand and Innermessan decline since the family controlled both towns. It is impossible to be sure of the reason for their choice. It may have been connected with the building of a new castle or tower house at Castle Kennedy by the Kennedies around 1600 but surely it had nothing to do with distance and travelling convenience since the distance from Castle Kennedy to the two towns is virtually the same. Did too many other local lairds hold property in Innermessan to allow the Kennedies undisputed sway? In 1607 the Neilsons of Craigcaffie held the waulkmill and 25 other tenements (Reid: op. cit.). In a new burgh like Stranraer it may have been easier to control who was given land and on what terms. We may be dealing here with an early example of that supposedly 21st century phenomenon, the control freak. All that is certain is that pivotal town became backwater clachan with astonishing speed.


FINAL CHAPTER

Sometime in the seventeenth century the Agnews of Lochnaw became the lords of Innermessan and its tower house, now known as the manor place of Innermessan. The Hearth Tax Collection List for 1692 shows its relatively modest position by now in the pecking order of local stately homes. With its seven hearths it was on a par with Castle of Park at Glenluce, which was credited with eight, but well below Castle Kennedy with thirteen and table-topping Lochnaw, recently much expanded, with an impressive fifteen. However it could still claim superior status to neighbouring Craigcaffie with its shiver-inducing four fire-places. The manor place may have been the residence of the heir to the Lochnaw title and estates.

The Agnews did not reign long by the Messan Burn. In 1723 they disposed of the tower house and lands to the Earl of Stair by excambion, that is, exchange of land. With his house at Castle Kennedy destroyed by the disastrous fire of 1716, Stair had decided to take up residence at Culhorn on the eastern outskirts of Stranraer. However, the latter property was occupied by his cavalry regiment, The Inniskillen Dragoons. The Earl decided that Innermessan tower house would make suitable cavalry barracks and persuaded Sir James Agnew of Lochnaw to swap the house and lands in return for a portion of Stair holdings. Since three members of the Lochnaw family were serving in The Inniskillen Dragoons, Sir James was not in a strong negotiating position.

However, the deal hit a snag. The Stair lands proposed for exchange were the farms of Balquherry and Barbeth in Kirkcolm parish, and the tenant of Balquherry, unlike the laird of Lochnaw, had no inhibitions about expressing his views on the proposal. He hurried to Castle Kennedy, found the Earl setting out for a walk with a visitor, and broached the matter of the exchange without preamble:

"A wise man abroad, a rule at hame!"

The Earl, formerly British ambassador at Paris, knew his Balquherry tenant and valued his idiosyncrasies. He therefore enquired with commendable mildness what the cause of concern was. Balquherry repeated his previous statement even more emphatically and elaborated:

"Ye'd gie the broad bogs o Barbeth, that would carry leek and onion, for the stunted knowes o Innermessan. Ye'd swap away the howes o Balquherry for the scabbit braes o Inch. Fye, milord, fye!"

To the Earl of Stair's great credit he not only tolerated the criticism but responded to it by retaining Balquherry and Barbeth, giving the unfortunate laird of Lochnaw the distinctly inferior lands of Larbrax (Agnew: op. cit.).

After Innermessan tower house was no longer needed to accommodate The Inniskillen Dragoons, it was left empty. Since at the time several successive Earls of Stair did not reside in Wigtownshire, the castle and numerous other abandoned buildings at Innermessan were used as a convenient quarry for building stone by a neighbourhood enthusiastically committed to the recycling philosophy. (The lack of stone in the local soil may have helped shape their views.) Specifically it is claimed that the steading at nearby High Balyett was built of material from Innermessan tower house. However, another version says the steading so built was at Innermessan farm itself. In favour of the first version is the fact that several carved stones are built into High Balyett farmhouse, most prominently one located above the front door and engraved with three concentric circles (Page II).

Today it is very difficult to find traces of the former town of Innermessan on the ground. The dedicated searcher will find traces of the sewer (or lade) which the Rev. Fergusson in 1839 said was the only vestige of the town and castle then remaining (Page IV). Equally careful examination of the banks of the Messan Burn between the A77 and the caravan site will reveal short stretches of dressed, drystone walling, presumably connected with the two mills which formerly stood there. Less effort is required to discover halfway up the road to Innermessan farm a substantial stretch of walling in the bank on the right of the track (Page III). The presence of a blocked-up doorway in it (Page III) rules out a role as a retaining wall and indicates it was part of a building. Perhaps most rewardingly of all, in the steading just behind the farmhouse is a half-circle of stones about four feet in diameter set into the cobbling of the yard (Page V). This may well be part of the foundations of the tower house.

"Nothing beside remains."

But when you travel past the motte and farm and tiny clachan that today carry the name of Innermessan it is well to remember the words of the old ballad in slightly amended form:

"Once there stood by Messan Water
A mickle town and tall;
King's tower and queen's bower,
And the wakeman on the wall."


SOURCES

Agnew, Sir Andrew "The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway", 2nd edn, 1893.
Agnew, Sir Andrew "Wigtownshire, A Guide for Visitors", 3rd edn, 1931
Boyd, J.S. "The Royal and Ancient Burgh of Stranraer1617-1967, 2nd edn, 2000.
Chalmers, George "Caledonia, Vol. III", 1824.
Fergusson, Jas "The Parish of Inch" in "The New Statistical Account", 1839.
Fergusson, Peter "The Parish of Inch" in "The Old Statistical Account", 1791.
Fullarton, W. (comp.) "The Wigtownshire Hearth Tax Collection Lists of 1692", 1979.
Gill, Wm Unpublished archive of papers.
Gilone, John "A Plan of Indermessan and Inch", c1795 (held in The National Archives of Scotland).
McIlwraith, Wm "The Visitor's Guide to Wigtownshire", 1875.
M'Kerlie, P.H. "A History of the Lands and their Owners in Galloway", 2nd edn, 1906.
MacQueen, John "Place-Names in the Rhinns of Galloway and Luce Valley", 2002.
Ordnance Survey "Wigtownshire, Sheet 10", 1849 (held in The National Map Library).
Reid, R.C. "Wigtownshire Charters", 1960.
RCAHMS The National Monument Record of Scotland.
Symson, Andrew "A Large Description of Galloway", 1684.
Scot, Wm "Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff 1684", 1916.
Smith, Ian et al. "The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland 26: East Rhins", 1987.
Torrie, P. and Coleman, R. "Historic Stranraer", 1995.

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Information about Document 1371

The Lost Town of Innermessan

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Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2002
Word count 5358
General description Local history booklet

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Book

Text publication details

Published
Publisher Stranraer and District Local History Trust
Publication year 2003
Place of publication Stranraer
ISBN/ISSN 0 954 2966 1 3
Edition 1st

Text setting

Leisure/entertainment

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Prose: nonfiction

Author

Author details

Author id 927
Forenames Jack
Surname Hunter
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Schoolteacher (retired)
Place of birth Wigtown
Region of birth Wigtown
Birthplace CSD dialect area Wgt
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Stranraer
Region of residence W Dumfries
Residence CSD dialect area Dmf
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Sheriff-Clerk Depute
Father's place of birth Kirkcudbright
Father's region of birth Kirkcudbright
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Kcb
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Secretary
Mother's place of birth Dailly
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland

Languages

Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work, at home
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes With others proficient in Scots (& with pleasure)

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