During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Duncow, the focal point for the parish of Kirkmahoe,
was a more substantial village of up to 200 inhabitants, many of them employed by or servicing the surrounding big estates.
The large landholdings around here, as elsewhere in the county, were attractive rural investments for Victorian business magnates
from the cities.
Duncow estate, to the south-east of the village, was acquired in 1877 by John Crabbie, a wine and spirit merchant from Leith.
Its mansion house, completed in 1860, has since been demolished.
To the north the Newlands estate was bought by Walter Duncan, a Glasgow tea merchant.
Its house, described by an architectural authority as a 'dottily martial Baronial villa', was built in 1911.
During the Second World War it was taken over as a hospital for the
Norwegian troops who were stationed
in Dumfries following the
German takeover of their country.
An earlier military presence in the area was a Roman camp, evidence of which has been found at Gallaberry due south of Duncow Bridge.
The Duncow area was notable for its adherence to the Covenanters' cause during the religious turmoil of the seventeenth century
(see Some Historical Background).
This fundamentalist strain of Presbyterianism carried on in the district:
Quarrelwood House, to the north-west, was built around 1798 as a manse, with an attached chapel, for the Cameronian sect.
Subsequently the chapel fell into ruins but in the 1960s was renovated into a library for the house.
Every generation has its own way of saying how things aren't what they used to be.
Try this early 1950s version written for the Third Statistical Account of Scotland by the then laird of Newlands:
Little interest is taken by the young people in 'birds and beasts and flowers', and the passion with which
as small boys my brothers and I scoured the countryside for birds' eggs, caterpillars and botanical specimens
is not understood by the modern boys. On the other hand they know about the radio, the internal combustion
engine and football pools, and some of them can 'drive Daddy's tractor' before they can read or write.
Peevors is still played on traditional stances on the public road regardless of the danger from modern traffic.
At Castlehill farm, along the road going east towards Amisfield Tower, is a
tower that was the base for a windmill of about 1700.