Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary August 1828

Monday 4 August 1828

4 50/60

In spite of sprinkling my bed with vinegar bit last night. On the box of the Independent coach at 5 55/60. Stop 5 minutes at the great coach office higher up the street (Argyll Street) opposite the tower. Stop at 7½ at the Hamilton Arms, Hamilton, for 5 minutes but do not change horses till, after passing the fine 5 arch bridge over the Clyde & Evan, stop at Wishaw at 8 20/60. A native of Berlin on the coach. Said the best part of the scenery on the Rhine was from Cologne to Colmar. He travelled per coach, not like our coaches (the German malle poste, in fact), carried only 9 passengers, from Berlin to Cologne, 80 German leagues or 400 English miles. Accum Frederick, the book leaf stealing London chemist, has built a house at Berlin. Teaches English & chemistry.1Friedrich Accum (or Frederick Accum) (1769-1838) was a German chemist who lived in London from 1793 to 1821. He was unpopular among London food manufacturers because he researched and wrote about the dangers of common additives to processed foods used at the time. He was also responsible for advances in the field of gas lighting. He gave popular lectures to the public on chemistry and minerology and wrote textbooks that were accessible to the layperson. However, he left London under a cloud after a librarian at the Royal Institution discovered (by spying on Accum through a hole he had cut in the wall) him tearing out pages from library books (in this instances the pages were about chocolate!) and taking them home. Accum was cleared of criminal charges but fled London and returned to German when the Royal Institution took out a private lawsuit against him. gave gratis lectures twice a week last winter before the King & such as he chose to admit. Going to publish a complete set of his works. Set down our Berlinois & an Englishman at Cartland crags to go down to the Stonebyres falls & stopped at the Clydesdale Inn, Lanark at 9 50/60. Breakfast.

Satirical print, Friedrich Christian Accum lectures to the Surrey Institution on chemistry, circa 1810. Engraver Thomas Rowlandson.
Source: The British Museum

Off again at 10¼. In 3 or 4 minutes (right) ruined church, old Lanark burying ground. At 10 25/60, on 1 side the road (right), wall of the fir plantations (house not seen) of Bonniton (Lady Mary Ross). On the other (left) Lanark race ground, one mile round. Nice looking little course. Said to be good races here. Good red road, made of (said the coachman (sitting on my left), left handed – the 1st left handed coach man I ever saw in my life) burnt stone. All the stone hereabouts red sandstone. Fineish open country. Thorn hedges. The mail had turned off 6 miles before Lanark & we should get into [her] road (for a little way) 17 miles from Lanark. At 10 35/60 cross the Clyde. Homeford bridge handsome 5 arch, red sandstone bridge. At 10 55/60 sort of moor all round, partly cultivated, partly sweet gale and heather, closed by the Biggar hills in the distance. At 11 35/60 change horses at Chester Hall Inn (lone house). Comfortable inn enough. Coach from Edinburgh meets us here. Take up passengers & luggage & off at 12. Between Hamilton & Lanark bull without horns, polled, i.e. of the Galloway breed. Never before saw a bull of this breed. Cutting hay grass beyond Chester Hall Inn. Telford did the 8 miles of new road to Lanark & surveyed the whole line? from Sterling to Caerlisle – 110 miles. At 12 35/60 pass over Duneaton bridge, 3 arches, over Duneaton river. Good river. Falls into the Clyde just below the bridge.

At 1 12/60 change horses at Crawford. Neat white inn, neat small church. Good straw-thatched & partly blue-slated village. The ruin of Crawford Castle (belonging to the Colebrooke family) just on the other side the Clyde (still a goodish river), neither large nor picturesque as seen from the village. More like the ruin of an old gable-ended house than a regular castle. A few old shabby trees around it & at a little distance a neatish white farmhouse nearly hid among the old trees & farm buildings. At Crawford (thro’ which the mail passes) the mail-road distance from Glasgow to Caerlisle is marked Glasgow 40, Caerlisle 54 = 94 miles; but the distance we go (vid. itinerary) is about 119 miles. On asking the coachman why we did not, as I had understood at Glasgow we should, pass thro’ Kilmarnock (22 miles from Glasgow) he merely said the coach did not go that way today. No beauty in the vale of Clyde from Chester Hall Inn to here (Crawford). Bleak, bare hills, goodish sheep-pasture & not very good land in the bottom. No wood. The hills nearer Crawford & beyond brown heathery, wildish & bare. A peat moss just on getting out of the village. No orchards all the way from Lanark nor did I see any about Hamilton. Why Clydesdale the orchard of Scotland? No part left for it but the 14½ miles (charged 15 miles) from Lanark to Hamilton & in the 1st 2 miles from Lanark only saw 2 little orchards when there before.

Crawford Castle
Walter Baxter / Crawford Castle / CC BY-SA 2.0
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Off from Crawford at 1 20/60. At 1 35/60 2 roads. That to the left the mail road to Caerlisle. We take that to the right, to Dumfries, & pass over 1 arch stone bridge over broadish stream which must at a very short distance fall into the Clyde below. The village of Leadhills [on] 5 miles from where the 2 roads meet. Leadhills lies between us and Sanquhar (pronounced Sankar), Clyde close left and handsome 3 arch bridge, & Newton, Lord Newton, a good, comfortable-looking, square, 3 story, red sandstone house (like an English shooting box2A small country house built to accommodate shooting parties), and small village of Ellwell foot consisting of ½ dozen straw-thatched cottages and a white inn. We had had rain (but not much) from 11 20/60 for ¼ hour but it began to rain about 1¾ & rained very heavily for about an hour. However I was not much wet, save my tartan cloak which was soaked thro’. Wild, bleak, bare road (on the ascent) till about 2¾ when we reach the head of the glen of Dalveen where begins the property of the Duke of Bucleugh. Here too changes the course of the waters, which on the other side ran towards the [German?] ocean & here run towards the Atlantic. The Carron runs down along the glen. The lofty, precipitous, green mountains occasionally striped with shingle, the narrow green glen with its little rapid stream (the Carron). The road gradually descending along the mountainside (made about 14 years ago) fenced off like the Simplon3The Simplon Pass in the Alps with set stones at 2 or 3 yards distance, the steep height above and the steep depth below. Very fine. Luckily the rain was rather abating & I could hold aside the umbrella to look about me. Not expecting this fine glen perhaps it struck me more.

Dalveen Pass from Comb Head summit, near Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Photo by Kenny Muir, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

In 10 minutes down upon the little white one-story inn & turnpike (lone house). Change horses in 5 minutes & off again at 3 (peats here). In 5 minutes more turn left with the Carron & out of the glen of Dalveen? and enter wide bare-hilled valley along the bottom of which the Carron flows down a little shallow glen (as it were within the wider glen). Unpicturesque because no wood till a mile or 2 from Drumlanric castle (Duke of Bucleugh). Here we get pretty well wooded. A few gentlemen’s seats all along here & there from Glasgow but not in general conspicuous enough for me, on the top of a coach, to note them down. Drumlanrick castle, distance right, old house-like castle conspicuous among woods, at 3¾ & in 2 or 3 minutes more pass thro’ the neat little village of Cornbrig or Thornbrig? (slates or rather flags put on diamondwise here & afterwards because in the common way they will not drain each other so well). Wildish, wide country bounded all round by ranges of hill. Pretty well wooded southwards. Red sandstone fence walls & but few thorn hedges here & ever since leaving Dalveen. At 4 change horses at the very good village, or nice neat little town (houses chiefly 1 story high), of Thornhill. Old fluted column with sort of fret-work capital surmounted by a diminutive looking flying horse. Stands on a high, large base or pedestal (hexagon?) 3 steps running all round it. Called the market cross. Red sandstone town but mostly washed over & generally white.

Thornhill Market Cross
derek menzies / Thornhill Mercat cross 1 / CC BY-SA 2.0
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Off at 4 10/60. Open, habitable, green, more populous country. Peat moss just below the town. At 4¾ come down upon the Neth, broad, good river (the flat banks seem rather wooded & pretty). Pass the 3 brothers (a fine, large green oak of 3 exactly similar boles from 1 stock) & at 4 51/60 cross handsome 3 arch red sandstone bridge (Algirth bridge) over the Neth and change horses at 4 55/60 at a mere cottage and little stable 8 miles from Dumfries. At 5¼ (little distance left, almost hid among the trees) Ellisland (6 miles from Dumfries) (as pronounced) the farm occupied by the poet Robert Burns. The house & farmstead still as when he left it. At 5 35/60 see (left) in the distance beyond us peeping from among the trees, the ruins of what the coachman calls the old [college] of Dumfries. Cross the Clooton (as pronounced) over 1 large arched red sandstone bridge and pass thro’ the small village of Clooton.

Prettyish or finish? drive from our 1st coming down upon the Neth to Dumfries and goodish land 3 or 4 miles from Dumfries. Cross fine 7 arch red sandstone bridge (an older red sandstone bridge of 7 arches at a little distance right also over the Neth) over the Neth (fine river here) & enter Dumfries and stop at the King’s Arms at 6. Very civil people & could have stayed there comfortably. Seems a good inn. Excellent hodge podge4A soup or stew made with a mix of vegetables and meat. ‘Hodge podge’ or ‘hotch potch’ is English slang for a confused mixture of things. & some hot roast beef & a little baked budding, but hardly time to eat. Dined in 12 minutes. Had been quarter hour upstairs changing the paper of my napkin, much of my cousin. Nothing to see in the town but Burns’s monument in the old church yard. 3 churches (all, & town too, red sandstone) with neat spires. Very nice, neat, pretty town. No trade. Depends on its cattle market. Great market for pigs from Ireland. Thorn hedges & fertile all (off from Dumfries at 6½) round the town, save where the large peat moss just out of the town, & now so accustomed to this can scarce think the comforts of a Scottish town secure without a peat moss.5By ‘peat moss’ I assume she is referring to an area of peatland or peat bog. ‘Peat moss’ is a common name for Sphagnum moss a genus of moss from which peat often forms. Scotland has a lot of peat bogs due to the rainy climate and the fact that the soil does not allow rainwater to drain away quickly.
Capital road. White villages & houses scattered all around. Very few horned cattle. The polled all hereabouts i.e. the Galloway breed. Asked if they were good milk cows. Yes! But excellent beef.

Devorguilla Bridge, Dumfries
C L T Smith / Devorguilla Bridge, Dumfries / CC BY-SA 2.0
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

At 6 55/60 1st turnpike from Dumfries. 2 roads. Left, 16 miles to Annan. Hilly. The mail road. Could go the other in as little time but several gentlemen’s seats that way & “it suits” to have a coach on each road. Right, our road, 17 miles. But pay only ½ toll this way. From here the country plain, flat, not wooded. Neither pretty, not picturesque. At 7 10/60 see the Solway Firth & 3 stooks of oats cut. Had ask before why some corn was so much [forwarder] than the rest, particularly 1 patch of oats quite yellow & another close to it quite a dark green. “Oh! Because the land” (of the yellow oats) “was lighter.” At 7 35/60 change horses at the end of the little white village of Clarrensfield (as pronounced). Pass close under the very neat, good, small white row of houses called Cumertree, and at 8½ cross 3 arch red sandstone bridge over the river Annan & enter the good red sandstone but pretty white washed town of Annan. Handsome church steeple. The towns always [better] as nearer England? Smell coal-smoke here. Off at 8 40/60. Getting too dusky to see much. Disappointed that we do not pass thro’ the village of Gretna Green but change horses at 9½ at a little white inn by the roadside ¼ or ½ mile from the village. The mail changes at the inn (excellent, built by a Colonel Maxwell, to whom Gretna belongs, for himself but his wife did not like it so let it for an inn & it is one of the best on the road) in the village.

At 9 50/60 at the last turnpike in Scotland. The girl gave the coachman whisky. 4/. per gallon duty on it in England & not drinkable there. So tasted with the coachman by way of adieu to Scotland and her whisky, tho’ I had been all along the road musing whether to go from Caerlisle to Selkirk (6 miles from Melrose Abbey & 60 miles from Caerlisle according to the coachman) per mail which leaves Caerlisle every morning at 7 for Edinburgh. I ought to have gone from Glasgow to Edinburgh & thence by Selkirk but feared time & knew not exactly the mail road. Almost immediately after leaving the last turnpike, cross bridge over the Sark [another] great stream that here parts England from Scotland. Soon afterwards pass the cast iron bridge (one of the 1st of these bridges) over the broad Eske. The tide comes up as far as here. ‘Tis called the head of the Solway Firth said our coachman. Heavyish rain for about 20 minutes before getting into Carlisle. Alight at the . . . a second rate sort of not very comfortable coach house at 10 50/60. By the negligence of the guard my box (caravan) of light things taken off & left at Dumfries. To have it at 5 p.m. tomorrow. So I must stay here whether I would or not. About 1¼ hours heavy rain early in the afternoon (vid. above) but very fine evening from about 5 to 10½ & fine morning till it began to look threatening at 11.

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