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Farmers, Dairymen and Ploughmen

Uncle Bill had his own farm for many years. He still living in Stranraer and is now 92 Here he is helping us with the family Tree chart. Uncle bills father was our grandfathers brother. Click for a bigger picture.


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Life in Wigtownshire from the 18th to 20th century

Many iof these were taken from he Dumfries and Galloway Museum Website to whom these images are copyright. They are all related to dairy, creamery, cheese-making and butter making. If you would like further information on any of these images please let me know.


By THOMAS MACLELLAND, North Balfern, Kirkinner, Wigtownshire.

Farmers , ploughmen and dairymen living in Wigtownshire  in the 19th Century

Dairies and Dairy Management.

The introduction of dairy or Ayrshire stock into Galloway dates back more than sixty-five years ago. Writing in 1810, the Rev. Mr Smith of Borgue states that several dairies on a large scale, besides some smaller ones, had been established in Wigtownshire by farmers from Ayrshire; and the same writer gives an instance of a dairy of 60 cows in the Rhinns district in 1808. From that date the Ayrshire cows have been coming gradually into favour in Galloway, taking the place of the native breed, which they threaten sooner or later to thrust out entirely
Owing to the high price of beef, a reaction has set in favour of rearing a portion of young stock, combining cheese-making with the production of beef. As the dairy system has hitherto been carried on, it is eminently destructive of stock, the calves,. with the exception of those kept for breeders, being all sold for the shambles as soon as dropped; the price obtained is about 7s. 6d. a head. From this circumstance little attention has been paid to the selection of the bulls, and generally the choice runs in the direction of using the smallest sires, with the view of giving greater ease to the cow in gestation and parturition. Of course, where the calves are reared on the farm for the purpose of keeping up the stock, great care is bestowed on the selection of the bull, as well as on the pedigree and appearance of the mother. A few calves are reared for this purpose in most dairies, though the great bulk of the young stock is imported from the higher districts of Ayrshire, where the farmers lay themselves out for the rearing of dairy queys.
The dairy system having commenced so early in the present century in the Rhinns district of Wigtownshire, that locality seems to have taken and kept the lead, not only as to the number of its dairies, but also as to their size; for, with the exception of a few farms, the whole of this peninsula is at present under the cheese-making system. During the last five and twenty years great changes have likewise taken place in the Machars or lower district; large dairies having been introduced on farms where the Galloway stock were formerly bred and fattened.
In Kirkcudbright the dairy system has increased to a considerable extent among the farms on the lower grounds; though, from the high price of sheep stock, it is not likely to extend in the meantime to the higher grassy lands, as has been the case of late years in Dumfriesshire.
The size of the dairies varies from 40 to 100 cows. There may be a few which contain a smaller number than the former figure; but it is generally considered cheese can be produced more economically in a dairy of this size than with a less number of cows. On the other hand, when the number much exceeds 100, it is found inconvenient, with the private appliances on the farm, for the manufacture of cheese. There are as yet no public dairies.
Formerly, it was the almost universal custom to let the cows to a bower, but latterly this arrangement has been in many cases departed from, preference being given to the system of employing a responsible dairyman, or dairymaid, to look after the cheese-making, and everything in connection with the dairy. In following out this plan the owner can exercise more freedom in the feeding of the cows, and can vary the quantity as well as the kind of feeding according to circumstances, more readily than when under a contract with a bower to supply a certain kind of food of a given quality and quantity. When the cows are let, a written agreement is drawn out specifying the number of stones of cheese the bower is’ to give for each cow or quey, and also the amount of feeding the cows are to receive in the winter and spring, stating also the time they are to be turned out to grass, and the number of acres of pasture allowed to them. To avoid misunderstanding, it is necessary to be minute and explicit in detailing all the different items of the contract, so that nothing may occur to mar the harmony and good feeling so desirable for the successful conducting of the dairy.
When the cows are not let, but given into the charge of a dairyman, it is found advisable for his encouragement, besides payment of his usual wages, to enter into an agreement with him something like the following :— Dairyman to take charge of the cows, and, if they produce above 20 stones of cheese, of 24 lbs. to each cow, and 16 stones to each quey, he shall receive one half of all above these quantities up to the value of £60.
The term of entry is always at Martinmas, and, when the dairy is let, it is for one year, a fresh engagement being necessary every season. The first care at the commencement of the dairy year is to have the cows properly wintered; as upon the careful feeding of them while in the house depends in a great measure their milking powers during the ensuing summer.
The amount of feeding given during winter varies on different farms; but the following may be taken as general examples of the winter treatment cows receive, and the allowance of extra food given to each. Two tons of yellow turnips given before Martinmas, to keep up the winter milk; or, where cabbages are grown, they are sometimes substituted; and 5 tons of Swedes or yellows afterwards, with 2 or 3 bushels of beans ground, after calving. In winter the cows get straw at hall-past five in the morning, turnips at eight, and straw again after they have eaten the turnips. They are put out for two hours during the day, and when they come in they get turnips, then straw, and finally straw at eight at night. (On many farms the cows are not allowed to go out during winter after Martinmas, but have water supplied to them in the house.)  The straw is supplied to them in small quantities at a time, and never allowed to accumulate in the racks before then]. On some farms a certain number of acres of turnips are allowed, say — 1 Scots acre to six cows—the dairyman lifting them and taking his chance of the crop.
On Baldoon Mains and Crook, where few turnips are grown on the clay soils, draff, obtained from the neighbouring distillery at Bladnoch, is used as a substitute, and is found to answer the purpose well, about half a bushel a day being allowed to each cow. A good meadow is a valuable addition to a dairy farm. It supplies excellent winter feeding for cows. With good meadow hay cows winter well with few turnips; and in spring it is unsurpassed for milk-producing properties. Dairymen prefer to have the cows to calve early, say in February. This involves long feeding with artificial food; but, no doubt, the bower is anxious to get as much as he can from the cows before the following Martinmas. The cows are generally allowed to go dry about November, or three months before calving, late milking being supposed to induce abortion. The dairy stock is not turned out until the grass is well up, which is from the 1st of May to the 16th of the month, according to the season; an acre and a quarter being allowed to each cow. As soon as the early sown fitches or clover are ready for cutting, which is in June, the cows get a feed night and morning during the time of milking; two acres of the former and two of the latter being sufficient for this purpose, when irrigated with liquid manure, for a dairy of 90 cows during the season.
Having thus brought the dairy stock to the grass when the cows are in full milk, and the work of the dairy is in operation, we shall now look into the mysteries of cheese making. There are two kinds of cheeses made—the Cheddar and the Dunlop.  (As the Dunlop system is little practised, except in some small dairies, we have confined our remarks to the manufacture of the Cheddar cheese.)   The Cheddar is so called after a village in Somersetshire, where the celebrated cheeses of that name were originally produced. The soil of the Cheddar district rests on the limestone, upon which always grows rich and sweet herbage; and it is to this circumstance, perhaps, as much as to the care bestowed on their making, that the native cheeses owe so much of their excellence. Considerable diversity of opinion prevails among Galloway dairymen as to the effect of different qualities of soil on the production of cheese. Some affirm that cheese produced on good soil should not be of a better quality than that produced on soils of an inferior description. Others again argue that it is the soil that gives character to the cheese, the management in both cases being equal. In Wigtownshire a good deal of emulation prevails between the Rhinns and Machars dairymen. A large share of the prizes at the chief cheese shows having fallen to the lower district, the Rhinns dairymen are naturally looking to their laurels; but, notwithstanding much care and inquiry among them, Mr Gardner at Baldoon, when he competes, generally stands first. The fine pastures on this farm, it is averred, contribute in no small degree to Mr Gardner’s success, while he, on the other hand, does not attach so much importance to the richness of the pasture in seeking for first quality of cheese, as to the careful manipulation and management during the process of making. Without asserting a strong opinion on this subject, we shall only remark, that wheat, grown on the same farm, is ascertained to produce more loaves to the quarter than wheat of the same weight per bushel, and to appearance as good, grown on inferior soils in the same county. Reasoning from this, we would be disposed to attribute the superiority of the Baldoon cheese, in part at least, to the soil, but, without careful management and observation, this excellence could not be obtained.
The success of the dairy depends in no small measure on the completeness of the buildings and utensils required for carrying on the operation of cheese making, and great improvements have been made within the last few years, chiefly by the introduction of steam in the process of manufacture, and for heating the different rooms in the dairy. The buildings of a well-arranged dairy recently erected in the upper district of Wigtownshire are as follows :—First, the apartment for keeping the milk at night, and for steeping, 20 feet by 17 feet; second, the press house, 20 feet by 12 feet; third, the cheese room (on the ground floor), 28 feet by 21 feet; height of ceilings, 10 feet.   (The position of the cheese room on the ground floor may be objected to, but Mr M’Master, Culhorn Mains, whose dairy we are describing, considers it rather an advantage than otherwise, inasmuch as it insures a lower temperature in summer, and the winter temperature can be easily regulated by the heating apparatus. The saving of labour in the carrying of the cheeses up stairs is also considerable.)   All the apartments are well ventilated from the roof and sides to keep down the temperature in hot weather. Fourth, the heating apparatus; this consists of a boiler, 8 feet long by 2 1/2 feet in diameter, connected by pipes with the steeping tub, to supply steam for raising the temperature in process of cheese making. The several apartments are fitted up with 3-inch metal pipes, into which steam is introduced from the boiler to keep up the temperature in cold weather. The steam from this boiler also heats the water used in washing the dairy utensils, cooking food for the pigs, horses, and cows in spring.
The dairy utensils comprise steeping-tub of tin with false bottom for heating the milk; fire-clay milk coolers; cheesits, of which nine are required, 14 1/2 inches wide by 14 deep, holding 80 lbs. of green curd; two double presses, and one single one; two curd coolers, with grating of wood in the bottom covered with canvass, so as to allow the whey to escape from the curd; breaking-shovels; curd breaker; pails, &c.
There are, however, many of the chief dairies, without appliances for raising the temperature by steam, in which the curd and milk are heated in the usual old fashioned way. It is understood that greater care is requisite in heating the milk or curd by steam being introduced underneath, than in the usual method by warmed milk or whey. Mr Gardner still adheres to the old way as being safer. He considers it better to have his cheese room up stairs, as being more airy, and calculated to mature the cheese sooner than when on the ground floor. He objects also to the cheese room being heated with steam-pipes, as they cause a moisture in the apartment unfavourable to the ripening of the cheese. An open fireplace at one end of the’ room, and a close stove at the other, is all that is necessary for heating purposes.
In making Cheddar cheese slight diversity exists among the different dairies as to the carrying out of the practical details, but as we cannot enter into many of these minutiae, the details of one or two of the methods most generally practised are here given.
At the Baldoon dairy, Mr Gardner puts the warm morning’s milk into the steeping-tub first, then adds the previous evening’s milk, which has been all night in the coolers. By doing so he considers that the temperature of the milk can be brought to a more uniform degree than when the warm milk is added to the cold. The milk thus mixed is then heated up to 80o, by means of hot whey which has been previously soured. When the temperature of the milk is 70o little sour whey is required; at 60o, 12 choppins or English quarts are needed to sour 90 gallons. It is this souring process that gives character to the Cheddar cheese, and to the careful management of which a good deal of the perfection of the cheese belongs. If too much acid is present in the curd it imparts to it a bitter taste, and if too little the curd is tasteless, and does not possess that delicate flavour so indispensable to good Cheddar cheese. By being properly soured the cheese also becomes earlier ripe and sooner marketable. The proper degree of sourness is ascertained, when draining off the whey, by the last few canfuls only showing the presence of acid, and, if there is reason to suspect that acid is present in excess;. the curd is washed with fresh whey, until the superfluous acid disappears. So much for the souring process.
When the milk in the steeping-tub has been heated by the sour whey to 80o the steep and colouring are added, and carefully stirred until the whole is properly mixed. As much steep is used as will produce curd in forty-five minutes. If the milk, stands unsteeped longer than that, the cream begins to rise, and goes off in the whey, whereby the quality of the cheese is deteriorated Breaking then commences, and is continued for half an hour; when a little whey is taken off the top, and heated in the warmer to 140o. This is used to raise the temperature of the curd in the tub to 83o This occupies a quarter of an hour, during which breaking is continued, and for a quarter of an. hour afterwards,, so that the whole time occupied by breaking is one hour. The contents of the tub are then allowed to remain at rest for half an hour covered up, when the whey is taken off to within three inches of the top of the curds. Part of the whey is put into the warmer, and heated to 160o. This is used to raise the temperature of the curd to 100o. It takes half an hour to heat, and during that time the curd in the tub is constantly stirred. The warmer is again filled with cold: whey, which is heated to 160o, with which the temperature of the curd in the tub is raised to 102o. It is then stirred for half an hour, and afterwards. covered up for half an hour. The whey is then run off, and the last few canfulls kept for souring the milk in the steeping-tub in the morning. The curd is then put into the centre of the bottom of the tub to drain, and covered with hot cloths, in which state it remains for half an hour. The cloths are then. taken off, and the curd cut in four pieces; these are placed one above the other, and in this way it remains for half an hour covered up with hot cloths. It is afterwards lifted to the cooler, where it lies for half an hour, turned, and left to cool another half hour. It is then milled and salted at the usual rate of 1 lb. of salt to 56 lbs. of curd. It is then put into the vats, which are placed in the press. It is by this time about three P.M., and a gentle pressure is put on until seven, when the hot cloths are supplied, and the cheese returned to the press. The pressure is increased until next morning, when the cloths are changed, and full pressure put on; the cloths are again changed at night. The cheese, after remaining in the press for twenty-four hours, are taken out, capped, and put back to the press for twenty-four hours. They are then taken out, bandaged, and sent to the cheese room. The caps remain four weeks on. The cheeses are ripe in three or four months.
At the dairy of West Mains of Baldoon, where cheese of an excellent character is made, the following are the chief points in the management :—Twenty gallons of milk are put into the steeping-tub at night, to which is added next day, first, the morning’s milk, and then the remainder of the milk of the previous evening. The thermometer stands at 80o when the steep and colouring are put in, and curd is formed fit for breaking in an hour. The temperature of the milk in the steeping-tub is raised by warmed milk, there being no appliances for heating with steam. The breaking occupies about forty minutes; but, before this is completed, warm whey is added to keep up the temperature to 80o. The curd is then allowed to settle for half an hour, when some whey is put into the beater for the second beating, and the remainder let off until the curd is visible. The curd is next broken and stirred up, and the temperature raised to 90o, when it is allowed to settle again for half an hour, after which the whey that remains is drawn off and the curd heated to 100o. It is now left to settle for a quarter of an hour, when the curd is gathered into the centre of the bottom of the tub, where it remains for half an hour to allow the whey to drain off. It is then put into the vats, and. under pressure for a few minutes, according to the acidity, and when taken out of the presses, is weighed and spread on the coolers for half an hour before
milling. After being milled, the curd is salted, and put into the cheesits and press; full pressure is put on at once. The dairy-maid here considers that, if the curd is rightly made, no butter will show by the full pressure being put on at first. On the second day hot whey is put over the cheeses, the cloths changed, and the pressure continued. Next day they are taken out of the vats, and bandaged and put on the shelf of the cheese room. They are ripe in three months.
The Canadian system has been introduced into Wigtownshire, and is practised in a modified way with more or less success in several dairies. As the working of it is somewhat different from either of the methods described, the details are here given in full, as carried out by Mr M’Master, Culhorn Mains. -
The evening’s milk on being taken from the cows is put into coolers until the morning, when it is drawn off into the steeping-tub The temperature of the evening’s milk is kept about 66o, so that little heated sour whey is required to raise it to 83o, when the morning’s milk is added, at which point the milk should stand when it receives the rennet and colouring. As much rennet is put into the milk as will produce curd in about sixty minutes fit for breaking. Care is taken to break the curd gently at first, and the process is continued for thirty or forty minutes, until the curd is firm, and in a proper state for the separation of the whey. The mass is then allowed to settle for about thirty minutes, when it is stirred up, and the steam applied gently at first, and then gradually raised during thirty or forty minutes to 97o in summer, and 20 more in spring and winter. The stirring is continued for forty-five minutes, or until the curd comes to the proper firmness, which is ascertained by the curd feeling elastic, opening up, and dividing freely on being squeezed in the hand. The curd is then allowed to settle down for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from getting into a solid state. The whey is then drawn off in the usual way, until the curd appears, so that when acidity is approaching, the whey can be more quickly taken away; this is done as soon as the acidity makes its appearance. This is a very important stage in the operation of cheese making, and great care is needful to secure the right degree of acidity; if too sour the cheese becomes dry, and if too sweet softness and holes are produced. In the souring process the degree can be ascertained at an early stage of the operation, and when not sufficiently advanced the making process can be lengthened, and, on the contrary, hastened when the acidity is too forward. After the whey has been drawn off the curd is lifted out of the tub, and put into the cooler, and constantly stirred up for twenty minutes to keep it in a divided state; after which it is stirred occasionally until the proper acidity is acquired, and to allow the remaining whey to escape. The curd is then weighed, and salted at the usual rate. It is then allowed to cool down to 68o or 70o, when it is put into the vats or cheesits, which are immediately placed in the press. By this time it is between four and five o’clock in the afternoon. A gentle pressure is put on at first, which is gradually increased, until ten P.M., when full pressure is continued during the night. Next morning the cheeses are taken out of the vats, and immersed in scalding water for about three minutes for the purpose of giving them a good skin, and preventing them from cracking. Dry clothes being supplied, they are replaced in the press until the following morning, when the cloths are taken off, and the cheeses put into dry vats previously heated, without any cloths, and again placed in the press, where they remain until next morning. They are then bandaged and carried to the cheese-room, where they are turned regularly once a day. With a well-aired and well-ventilated cheese-room, and the temperature kept steady at 60o to 65o, they will be ripe for market in three months.
In making cheese by this method in Canada, it is calculated that it takes from 9 1/2 lbs. to 10 3/4 lbs. of milk to make 1 lb. of cheese, which is somewhat near the quantity required in this country. The expense of making is 1 dol. 10 c. ( One Dollar 10 Cents) per 100 lbs., boxes included, or about 5s. of our money. This is considerably under the cost of production in this country, for if we take the working expenses of the dairy at 30s. per cow, and her produce at 480 lbs. of cheese, this gives 6s. 3d. as the cost of making 100 lbs.
A great drawback to the success of the dairy is the number of cows that every year lose their calves from abortion, or that require to be replaced through defective vessels, age, or other causes. On a moderate calculation, this number is about 14 per cent., of which 8 per cent, is from abortion alone. This disease is frequently the cause of a great deal of disappointment and loss in some dairies, while in others it seldom appears except in isolated cases. The cause of it has not been very satisfactorily explained; and, for prevention, it is curious to note, that the course adopted by some dairymen is exactly that which others think is the producing cause. For example, it is a common opinion in some places that allowing the cows to go out for an hour or two about midday in winter is apt to induce this disease; whilst other practical men, who do not in general allow the cows to leave their byres in winter, recommend them to be put out for two hours every day as a preventive if abortion shows itself in any of the cows. It is hardly within the province of this report to enter into an elaborate discussion as to the causes of this disease. At the same time it is worthy of remark, that Galloway cows are seldom known to lose their calves; and they5 as a rule, are a great part of the winter’s day in the open air.
Regular feeding, with clean and wholesome diet, when confined to the byre, goes a great way to prevent abortion, care being taken at all times to have the turnips well cleaned and free from frost when given to the cows.
Pig feeding is an important branch of dairy management. When the whey leaves the steeping-tub, it is conveyed by an underground pipe to a tank or reservoir situated as near as possible to the pig-houses. These houses are generally built expressly for the purpose, and are constructed on different principles in different dairies; in one place the pigs are not allowed to see daylight from the time they are put in until ready for the market; while at another, each house is furnished with a small open court, in which the feeding troughs are placed. This latter plan seemingly recommends itself to reason as the more advantageous of the two. By feeding outside the bed is kept dry, and the animals thrive and grow the better of having a little room to move about, while under close confinement their legs are apt to became bent and deformed. Whey alone is seldom used to feed pigs ; it may keep the young stock in a thriving state for a certain time, but some more solid substances are used to complete the growth of the hogs and bring them to maturity. Indian corn, ground and boiled, or steeped in hot water overnight, is a common adjunct, and of this 1 to 3 lbs. to each pig is allowed daily. With careful selection of the breed to be fed, and minute attention to cleanliness and proper diet, pigs at six months old can be fed to weigh 15 imperial stones.
It is understood by dairymen that the pigs, after deducting the cost of all extra food, leave as much clear profit as will pay for the working expenses of the dairy, which amounts to about 30s. per cow.
There were 9659 pigs in Kirkcudbright in 1871, being an increase since 1857 of 2456. In Wigtownshire the numbers in 1871 were 11,352, being an increase of 1079 since 1866.
The exportations from Galloway by rail and sea, during the year ending 30th June 1873, amounted to 13,048.

A Tenants life:

The Farm Labourers, Wages, contracts and their homes.

The married ploughmen are, for the most part, accommodated with cottages on the farm; any young lads that may be required are kept in the farmer’s kitchen. There are no bothies in Galloway. The engagements of the cottagers are for one year, gene rally from 26th of May; six months notice of removal is given. The hours of the men in summer are from six in the morning till twelve, when two hours are taken for dinner and rest; they resume at two afternoon, and stop at six. In winter, when the horses are in the stable, the men come to feed and clean them at half-past five in the morning, yoke at half-past seven, and plough eight hours, unyoking for feeding at twelve. The men again attend the horses at eight in the evening to supper them and rub them down.
Five and twenty years ago it was the custom on most farms to thrash the crop with the men by candlelight in the morning, who were also engaged in winnowing grain in the barn two nights in the week. (The winnowing of grain in the winter evenings by the farm servants was first introduced into Galloway more than a century William Craik Arbigland.)   This is almost entirely abandoned now, except in isolated cases, a regular staff of barn workers being appointed on all well-regulated farms.
On dairy farms each of the men is bound to furnish a milker, who also by agreement is to be kept employed in farm work when it is to be had. This part of the bargain is not in general acceptance among the ploughman, and the masters affirm they can get only men of a secondary class to agree to it.
The wages have hitherto been paid partly in kind and partly in money, but there is a growing desire both among employer and employed for money payments entirely, which, on many farms, have been adopted. Payments in kind are called "benefits," the items of which vary in the several districts of the two counties. It is a curious fact that they are highest in value on the best farmed land, or on the land in the vicinity of the sea-shore, which, no doubt, has the effect of attracting a better class of men to those districts. "Benefits" and money wages have been advanced considerably during the last three years; the following may be taken as the higher rate, while on many farms it is from 10 to 12 per cent, lower. The farm produce is here calculated at the average price of the last three years, the coals at present (1873) rates
7 1/2 boils, or 150 stones of oatmeal, at 2s.
6 bushels of barley, at 4s. 6d
£ 1.7.0.
3 bushels potatoes, planted
£ 1.10.0.
3 tons (24 cwt. each) of coals, carted free
£ 5.2.0.
House and garden, with manure
£ 3.0.0.
£ 15.0.0.
Allowance in harvest
£ 1.0.0.
Leave to keep a pig, hens, &c.
£ 41.19.0.
 When money wages are given they amount to nearly the same sum.
The wages of lads, or young ploughmen living in their masters’ houses, are from £12 to £13 in the half year. As these young men are to form the ploughmen of the future, we may very shortly allude to their position and prospects. Living apart from the evil influence of the bothy, they are in general sober, steady, and free from vice. Having a good deal of time at their disposal in the long winter evenings, ample opportunity is afforded them for self-improvement, which, we are afraid, is oily in rare cases taken advantage of. A very few manage to save out of their earnings, so that when they marry, which is ‘generally early, there is little to commence housekeeping on. Feeling deeply, as all who reflect on this subject must feel, we will be excused a word of regret that the ways of applying their spare time to useful purposes, and forming habits of thrift and saving, have not been adopted by our young working men. This is the more to be regretted, when we see how much personal comfort is secured to the working man by the possession of a few pounds at the outset of his married life; and we feel compelled strongly to urge upon all these young men the necessity of acquiring early habits of saving, which, with determined effort have before now enabled, and are still enabling, men of this class to rise to situations of trust.
The rise in the wages of the married men within the last five years, taking the foregoing as the basis of calculation, may be estimated at one-fourth, or 25 per cent.; and no one acquainted with the general steady character of the men, will for a moment grudge them the advance. As a class they have hitherto been underpaid, and it is to be feared that their position at present would compare unfavourably with that occupied by the same class five and twenty or thirty years ago. At that time the cotters on most of the farms were each in possession of a cow, for the keeping of which £4, l0s. was deducted from his wages; the calf also was allowed to run on the farm until the following spring, when it was purchased by the master for £4 or £ 5. For the small amount of the purchase money at that time, the cottagers had the means within themselves of furnishing their families with milk and butter; but at present very few of them could afford to purchase a cow for this purpose.
The cottage accommodation has hitherto, in many places, been defective, both as to extent and in interior arrangements for comfort. A movement was made’ some years ago to pull down unsightly cottages without providing any better accommodation. The effect of this was to drive the working population to the villages and towns, from which the labourer had to walk long distances to and from his work. Now, however, a reaction has set in favour of extending the cottage accommodation, especially in the Rhinns district of Wigtownshire, where it had always been most defective. The Earl of Stair is showing a good example in this respect, having, since the beginning of 1872, erected no fewer than twenty-eight cottages on his estate in the Rhinns, and about fourteen more are in process of erection. These cottages have been erected either by agreement with the tenant at the beginning of a lease, or by the tenant agreeing to pay 5 per cent. on the outlay; and T. Greig, Esq., the factor on the property, affirms that the tenants are glad to get the cottages built on paying the interest, so much is the want of houses felt in that district. On the estate of Carrick Moore, Esq., of Corsewell, five double cottages have been erected during the last two or three years, without any interest being charged to the tenants. Some of the old cottages which were pulled down were built of dry stone, covered outside and inside with clay, and all with one apartment, the floor of which was formed with till. They were generally in a tumble-down state, being propped up with wooden posts, which, in some cases, protruded into the interior of the building.
We give the cost and dimensions of the apartments of some of these new cottages. One, erected in 1873 on Lord Stair’s property, consisted of two rooms, 12 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, and 10 feet 10 inches by 13 feet 6 inches respectively; height of ceiling 9 feet 6 inches. It was built of bricks, and cost I£ 70, 5s, A double cottage for two families, with three apartments in each, cost £158. The cottages on the Corsewell estate were built after a design of D. Guthrie, Esq., the factor there. They are double houses for two families, consisting of three apartment, of the following dimensions :—Kitchen, 15 feet 6 inches by 15 feet 2 inches; bedroom, 10 feet by 6 feet 4 inches; bed-closet, 7 feet by 6 feet 4 inches—height of ceiling, 8 feet 6 inches. Built with projecting windows, each of the double cottages cost £120, and when less ornamental, £96.
The furniture of the old houses do not fit the new buildings; and the men complain that they have to purchase an entirely new suit at a considerable expense, which they can ill afford. This might be remedied by the landlord or tenant putting in iron bedsteads, and making a moderate charge for use of them.
The old-fashioned worker’s house consists of one apartment only; any division required is made with what is called a "boxbed." In these circumstances separation of the sexes is impossible; nor is it possible to obtain that privacy for the individual members of the family so essential for their proper upbringing.
Randolph, late Earl of Galloway, bestowed a good deal of attention on the cottages on his estate in Wigtownshire, and accomplished a great reformation in that respect. Many new ones, some of them of elegant design, were erected, all containing three apartments, without any additional charge to the tenant on whose farm they were placed. A number of the old ones were likewise remodelled, improved, and subdivided. Still a good deal remains to be done in the same line; and now that the call is for better houses, it is hoped it will be heartily responded to on all sides.

The Farm Buildings.

A modern well-appointed farm-steading is very different from the buildings required on the farm fifty years ago. At that time the only houses in use for the cattle were long empty sheds, opening into court-yards, in which the hardy Galloways were wintered. These have given place to, or have been supplemented by, substantially fitted up feeding-byres or cow-houses, and other buildings in connection with the dairy. Then the flail and horse-mill were the chief thrashing instruments which beat out the corn without separating it from the chaff. These also have been displaced by the powerful water-wheel, or the stationary steam-engine in connection with machinery, which at one operation thrashes the corn, and prepares the grain for the market. In all these advances, the tenants have borne their full share of the outlay. Did a change in the system of management necessitate the erection of a feeding-byre ? In many cases it had to be done at the tenant’s own expense, or on payment of heavy interest. Or, if steam had to be introduced to drive the thrashing-mill instead of horses, the whole cost of the erections in connection therewith, including the building of the costly chimney, fell upon the tenant, and without any hope of being recouped at the end of the lease. Neither does it improve matters when, at the beginning of a lease, the tenant is asked to pay 6 3/4 per cent. on capital expended by the landlord in necessary farm buildings. This is the rate of interest fixed by the Lands Improvement Companies on loans advanced for the erection of farm buildings, the payment of which ceases at the expiry of twenty-five years. It seems hard for a tenant to be asked to pay this interest, when at the end of that period the buildings become the property of the landlord free of charge. These companies insist also on the best and most expensive materials being used in the construction of the buildings. Hewn stones for the corners, the best pine for the roof, and everything in a style calculated to endure for a hundred years. This extravagance has no doubt deterred many of the tenants from encountering such a high rate of interest; but if a more equitable arrangement could he made, such as dividing the interest between landlord and tenant, we might indulge in the hope of seeing ere long, fewer ruined homesteads over the country.
A satisfactory arrangement has been recently introduced, and is being carried out under the energetic direction of J. Drew, Esq., on the Earl of Galloway’s estates, which seems to work well. When the leases expire, the buildings are remodelled, or the accommodation increased where found deficient. The rents are then fixed, on the assumption that the buildings are complete.


21. Conclusion.

Taking a general survey of Galloway, it may be said that the progress made by agriculture in the province during the last twenty-five years has been considerable. Iii the soil itself great changes for the better have been wrought. Stones and rocks have been removed from the surface, or quarried from the soil; and in some localities this has been done to such an extent as to change the face of the country. Mosses and swamps have been drained, and converted into arable land, which is now bearing corn or grass in rotation with the dry portions of the fields. These improvements have been executed in numerous cases by the tenants at their own expense. Occasionally some proprietors take up a farm to improve it before leasing it; but the greater part of these changes have been wrought by the occupiers of the farms.
The increase in the valuation of the counties has been noticed previously. This increase cannot in fairness be all claimed as the result of the improvements effected by the tenants. But, in justice to them, it must be said that a large share of it has been produced by the progressive value of the land, consequent on their own expenditure in lime, manure, and wages. On most of the land in Galloway it is scarcely possible for an enterprising tenant to carry on farming without, to a certain extent, increasing the value of his farm at the end of a nineteen years lease. There are also men of easy disposition who do not go in for much of this, and leave things pretty much as they found them. When the valuator conies round at the end of the lease, the enterprising man has no chance with his less pushing neighbour. For every stone or rock he has removed from the soil, for every drain he has made, for every open ditch he has covered, as well as for the extra manure he has applied during the currency of the lease, he has to pay now, in the advance of rent that is asked, owing to the improved appearance of the farm:
In justice to many landlords it must be said, there are gentlemen amongst them who consider the position of an improving tenant at the end of his lease, and are far from exacting "the pound of flesh."
A desire is beginning to manifest itself among landowners, to shorten the usual duration of leases, which has hitherto been nineteen years. It is to be feared that this is a step in the wrong direction. The present improved appearance of Wigtownshire is mainly owing to the existence of leases of nineteen or twenty-one years. On land incapable of further improvement there might be some show of reason in this movement, which is evidently for the purpose of obtaining the advance of rent at the end of twelve instead of nineteen years. But on land such as the Galloway soils, where so much capital is still required to bring it into a high state of cultivation, it is simply a mistake. Farmers will not expend their capital freely on a farm under a twelve or a fifteen years’ lease. But this restriction may act beneficially on themselves; it will make them pause in their expenditure on their farms, which have hitherto been carried on, in many instances, more as if they were the landlords than the tenants.
New and more stringent clauses are being introduced into some of the leases of the present day; the purport of which is to give directions as to the general management and manuring of the farm, and other points. With regard to the manuring clause, this part of the obligation may be deemed necessary, owing to the increased number of strangers, unacquainted with the business of farming, who now occupy farms. The old class of Galloway farmers have always been liberal in applying manure, and generally leave the land in better condition at the end of the lease than when they got it, to which the rich manure, made from highly-fed cattle, in no small degree contributes. Dairy farming, on the contrary, tends to reduce the condition of the land, and more artificial manures are needed to sustain its fertility than where cattle are fed.
During the last five and twenty years, the rent of land has advanced 58 per cent. in Wigtown, and 66 per cent. in Kirkcudbright
The gradual rise that has taken place in agricultural produce since 1848 will, owing to the increased cost of labour, and the extra quantity of manure required to produce crops equal to those of former years, scarcely account for this. The advance in the price of grain, beef, mutton, and dairy produce, since the above date, may be stated at 33 per cent. On the other hand, the rise in men’s wages since that time amounts to 50 per cent; and in women’s or field workers’ wages, the advance has been 70 per cent. Putting these figures together, we have—rents advanced 62 per cent., labour advanced 60 per cent., while the advance on the produce of the farm has been only 33 per cent.; wool alone excepted, the value of which has risen more than 100 per cent.
It will be inferred from these figures, that the profits of farming at present are not equal to those of former years; and still the demand for land continues, and the advance, notwithstanding the increased cost of labour, still goes on. There is, however, a limit to every thing; and the feeling generally entertained by experienced men is, that land has got beyond its value. With the lesson of 1806 before them, and its consequent train of ruin and overturn, farmers are acting cautiously in offering for land.
It is now the custom on some estates to call in the services of valuators from a distance at the end of the leases to put a rental on the farms. Without saying a word in disparagement of these gentlemen, whose judgement at home we have no doubt is in repute concerning laud with which they are acquainted, we must be allowed the remark, that no strangers, coming from the neighbourhood of cities, where ready markets are available, into a distant province such as Galloway, can have an adequate idea of the expense attending the marketing of the farm produce. These expenses amount to 12 per cent, on grain, and 6 per cent. on cattle and sheep sent to the Liverpool market, and in a valuation by a stranger are generally lost sight of.
It is the prevailing opinion of practical men in the district, that the local factors are much more likely to arrive at a proper estimate of the value of land, than an utter stranger unacquainted with its position or capabilities. Though brought up as lawyers, they are well acquainted with the agriculture of the district, and farmers would receive a valuation from them with greater confidence than from a stranger.


In describing the climate of two such counties as Kirkcudbright and Wigtown, where the difference of altitude of the land is so great, it will be necessary for the sake of perspicuity to divide them into two districts, and treat of the climate of each separately; as, indeed, they are possessed of almost distinctly different climates. These may be denominated the low-lying or sea-bound district of both counties, and the inland and mountain district. The climate of the former, or low-lying district, is very much influenced by its being in a great measure surrounded by the sea. Wigtown, though a small county of only 512 square miles, has 140 miles of sea-board, or more than one mile of sea shore for every four square miles of land. The tides which visit these shores twice a day, come through the North Channel, and are in immediate connection with the north-west branch of the Gulf-stream. The effect of this upon the climate of the western part of Wigtownshire particularly, is very marked. Along the coast, by Burrow Head and Mull of Galloway, which are the most southern points of Scotland, it is calculated that the tide in spring flows at the rate of six miles an hour; and such is the influence of these currents, that, while the soil four or five miles inland is bound with frost, the plough is rarely stopped in the vicinity of the sea-coast. The same remarks apply to the land stretching from the Mull of Galloway to Corsewell Point, where severe frosts are almost unknown. Farmers in these districts do not require to have a great store of turnips in winter as they are seldom prevented by frost from lifting them, even when it is severe in the inland districts. Snow, when it falls, which is not often, seldom remains more than two or three days, and in some severe winters, when the high lands in the Stewartry and part of Wigtownshire, as well as most of Scotland, are covered, all the low-lying lands in the latter county are entirely clear of it.
Though the climate of the lands along the sea-coast is so mild, it is at the same time very moist. A table of the rainfall is sub-joined, from which it will be seen that, on the average of the past eight years, the rainfall is greater, and the number of wet days very considerably more, than in the east of Scotland. The prevailing winds are from the south and south-west, which show their effect along the whole line of the western coast, the tops of the trees and bushes growing near the sea being cut away, as with the pruning-knife, by the salt spray. The south and south-west winds are exceedingly mild in winter, and frequently in moist weather the fields assume the green hues of summer. When these winds prevail about the beginning of November, the anomaly is presented of the night temperature, at that time, being similar to that of the 1st of June. During the course of many years’ observation the writer has noticed this to be of frequent occurrence. Heavy dews are another characteristic of the climate, which, though of immense advantage to young plants in dry weather, prove very troublesome in harvest, at which time, particularly when the weather is dry and calm, the moisture is so heavy as to weigh down the heads of the grain.
These heavy dews frequently cause harvest operations to be suspended for some hours in the morning—a singular contrast to the climate of East Lothian, where dew is of rare occurrence at that season.
The inland and mountain division, which includes the high and northern part of Wigtown and the greater part of Kirkcudbright, with the exception of the land along the sea-board, has a climate a good deal more rigorous than that of the lower district. Snow generally begins to appear on the high lands in Minnigaff in November, which, however, does not often remain over winter. The same hills get a fresh covering now and then during winter, and occasionally they are "stormed" for six weeks or two months. Frost, when it does occur, is very severe among the hills, one or two nights of it being sufficient to freeze the lochs for curling.
Lower down in the arable districts, free from sea influences in the inland parishes, frost occasionally occurs with severity, and turnips require to be early secured in pits, or otherwise covered with earth, to withstand it. The two counties are comparatively sheltered by the high lands in the midland counties of Scotland, from the easterly and north-easterly gales, the force of which is partially expended before reaching them.
A great drawback to the success of agriculture is the broken weather which prevails during the harvest months; indeed, it not infrequently happens that August and September are the wettest months in the year. The following table shows the rainfall in these two months for the last eight years, with the number of days on which rain fell, which, compared with the table of the rainfall during the same months in East Lothian, will show the disadvantage at which the south-western counties are placed in that respect.

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