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The ancient history of the lands called Almorness we do not possess, but Chalmers in his "Caledonia" mentions Maclellan of Almorness, at the time of the Reformation. After the Annexation Act of 1587, as is well known, the hangers on at Court obtained large grants of the church and other lands. Amongst these grants there was one, " Daitet 8 October 1587, viz., ane charter granted be his Majestie under the Great Seal to James Douglas of Drumlanrig, his airs and assignees, of all and haill the ten merk land of Almorness, with the mains, place, houses, biggins, &c., to be halden in feu." We have obtained no earlier information, no doubt from the fact that the land was formerly a portion of the Buittle or other estate.

The next notice is dated 25th January 1614, when Alexander Kirkpatrick of Kirkmichael was served heir to his mother, Margaret Cairns, in the third part of Orchardtoun, alias Irisbuittle. We may mention here that Orchardtoun was one of the farms, and we often find the owner so styled. Of Almorness we find, on the 10th August 1642, that James of Innerwick, heir and brother of William Maxwell of Kirkhouse, had retour.

He was followed, on the 17th May 1653, by William Maxwell, heir of James ErIe of Dirletoun, his gudesirís brotherís sone. On the 15th September 1663, he was succeeded by his son Robert. After this, on the 22d October 1695, James, Duke of Queensberry, had retour of the lands of Almorness.

On the 21st November 1699, we find George, son of Robert Maxwell of Orchardtoun. Again, on the 4th September 1729, John Burne of Broomhill had sasine of the lands and tennandrie of Almorness and following, on the 24th August 1730, we find him called John Birnie of Brownhill in liferent, and John Birnie, his eldest son, in fie, of the land of Almorness, for the principal and land of Her Elstoun (Earlstoun?) in warrandice. The first of this family is stated to have been the Episcopal minister of the parish of Caerlaverock when Prelacy was in the ascendant, and that he married a daughter of the bishop of Galloway. He purchased the property, and the retours, &c., previously given by us must have referred to the superiority. The family ended in a daughter and heiress, who became the owner, in confirmation of which, Mrs Katherine Birnie Mitchelson of Broomhill had sasine on the 24th October 1796, of the lands of Almerness and others, on precept from Chancery.

The next owner was James Douglas, who was in possession in 1799. He is styled of Orchardtoun. As mentioned under Orchardton, parish of Rerwick, he was the grandson of William Douglas(1), the founder of the town of Castle-Douglas, parish of Kelton, to which we refer, as also to Orchardton, for an account of himself and his descendants. The farms owned were Almorness, Orchardtoun, Little Castlegowar, Caigtoun, Clonyards, and Blackbelly. We find him still owner in 1819. To his daughter Mary he left the farms of Nethertoun, South Glen, North Glen and HoIm, Ordchardton Mains, &c. She married William Rose-Robinson, Clermiston, Mid-Lothian. He was an advocate, and Sheriff of Lanarkshire. They had issue---
George, born 1814.
Elizabeth, married ---- Frere, and since his death again married.
Mary, died young.
Matilda, married William Leslie of Warthill, Aberdeenshire, and has issue.
Caroline, married ---- Davidson, son of ---- Davidson of.
Sarah, married Alexander Davidson of Desswood, Aberdeenshire, the brother to her sisterís husband.

The eldest son George succeeded to Almorness on the death of his mother in 1864. He entered the Church of England, and for some time was rector of Bisley, Surrey. He married, in 1849, Jane Eleanor, only daughter of the late Boyd Miller of Colliers Wood, Surrey, and has issue- William, born in 1851, with others whose names we have not got. Mrs Robinson died at Rome in 1874.

To the farms mentioned as left to Mrs Robinson are to be added the small holdings named Isle, Clonyard and pendicle, Lochhill, and Woodhead.

The woods are extensive, and over fifty yearsí growth. Adjoining the farm of Nethertoun, the fossil head of what is called a bison was found many years ago.

It is probable that in early times the woods were equally, if not more extensive than at present, and that the name is derived from the Norse words almr and nes (ness), the first meaning the elm-tree, and the latter a headland, &c., which in English is the " elm-tree promontory."

1.  This does not ring true.  He was more likely the brother of William Douglas of Castle Douglas

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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024