- DALTON, a parish, in the county of Dumfries; containing 638 inhabitants, of whom 54 are in the village, 6 miles (W. by S.) from Ecclesfechan. The name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon term Dal-ton, or Dal-dun, signifying "the fort in the dale," and appears to have been applied on account of a fort in the immediate neighbourhood of the village of Dalton, at which village baronial courts were held in ancient times. The parish is seven miles long, from north to south, and three broad, and contains 6753 acres. It is bounded on the north-east by the river Annan, in which great quantities of salmon, grilse, sea-trout, and whiting are taken, though they are far from being so numerous as formerly, in consequence of stake-nets having been placed at the mouth of the river, in the Solway Frith. The surface presents considerable variety of features. The soil to a great extent is alluvial, consisting chiefly of gravel and sand, spread over the lowlands, and formed into ranges and groups of little hills. In the higher lands the soil is mainly composed of the waste and debris of the transition rocks, but is tolerably fertile, and the transported soil on the banks of the river is exceedingly productive. The whole is cultivated, with the exception of 600 acres, which are waste or pasture, and 517 acres underwood; all kinds of crops are raised, and the improved system of husbandry is adopted, though greatly varied by different farmers in the rotation of crops. The cattle are the black Galloway, and the few sheep reared consist of Cheviots and Leicesters. The produce of the soil is usually sent to Annan, seven miles distant, where is a weekly market. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4031.Among the mansions is that of Rammerscales, which occupies a romantic site upon a hilly range, surrounded with overhanging wood, and commanding the whole vale of Annan. The chief house, however, Dormont, built in 1823, an elegant structure, is situated on the bank of the Annan, and ornamented with beautiful grounds and plantations; and another seat, also on the river, and like the preceding, of modern erection, is entitled to notice. The principal village is Dalton, the communication of which with the nearest market-towns is convenient, not only by the parish roads, but by the great turnpike-road from Carlisle to Portpatrick, which passes through the south end of the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Lochmaben and synod of Dumfries; patron, David Sandeman, Esq. The stipend is £171. 12., and there is a manse, with a glebe of ten acres, valued at £10 per annum. The church, situated in the village, was built in 1704, and will accommodate 300 persons. There is a parochial school, at which French, the classics, and practical mathematics, with the usual branches of education, are taught; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and about £20 fees. The only relics of antiquity are, the ruins of a castle at Holmains, formerly the residence of the Carruthers, and a camp of circular form on the Almagill hills, now named Range Castle. The latter stands upon a transition rock of greywacke, and is a beautiful specimen of this class of military works; its diameter is 102 yards, and the fosse which encompasses it is nine feet deep, and twenty-seven broad. The late Sir Andrew Halliday, physician to the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV., was a native of the parish.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.