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The following descriptions were made in 1900.
There is very little now to be seen of Luce except a few fragments.
It was formerly a parish, and a church was founded here by St. Kentigern
in the sixth century. The ancient parish of Luce, now part of Hoddom,
seems to have been bounded by Annan Water on the west, by Mein Water on
the north-west, until it joined Pennersax, opposite Newbiggen, then it
struck south to the Brownmuir through the wood by the existing march
fence until it meets tlie Bonshaw estate, then following the boundary of
the Bonshaw estate down Butcherbeck Burn to Annan \Vater, near
Cleughheads. The area of the parish was about 1200 acres.
1. In the garden in front of the Farm House
at Luce Mains there is a stone with the Douglas arms carved in bold
relief representing the flying heart surmounted by a coronet, with the
motto 'FORWARD" in Roman capitals — date 1778. The stone is 2 ft. 4 in.
high, 10 in. broad at the foot, and 161/2 in. at the top, with a margin
of 3 in. all round.
It has evidently been made for the keystone
of an arch. Tradition says it was cut by " Old Mortality." This may be,
as Robert Paterson was related to the then tenant of
The Parish of Luce.
Luce Mains. It used to be fixed in the gable of the old barn, and when
the barn was pulled down it was removed into the garden for safety.
2. At the farm of New Orchard there is a stone tablet built
into the garden wall about 4 feet high by 3 feet broad. At the top cut
iu a scroll is the date 1772 and the word " sicker " in capital Roman
letters, each about 1 in. long. There is an inscription at the foot of
the tablet as under : "Archibald Douglas, Esquire of Morton, erected
this stone 1784." On the door lintel entering- the garden there is an
older stone with the following initials and date : " I I E 1672." The
length of the stone is 3 ft. 9 in., 6 in. deep, and 3 in. broad. It has
evidently been part of some older buildings. In the centre is a small
shield about 8 feet broad at the top. On the left half of the shield are
three holly leaves cut in relief, and on the right half two diagonal
cross bars in relief.
On the sides of the shield is the date l6
on the left and 72 on the right. Near the end of the stone on the left,
in a small panel, are two letters " I I," and in a corresponding panel
on the right is the letter ' E.' The letters "II" and the three holly
leaves on the shield indicate that it records some of the Irvings who
were owners of New Orchard in 1G72, but I cannot make out what the
letter ' E ' means. In the Valuation Roll of 1823 Archibald Douglas,
advocate, is returned of part of Kirkconnel, called New Orchard, of the
annual value of 40 merks.
The Laird of Luce was great
grandson of Archibald
Douglas of Dornock, second son of the first Earl of Queensberry, and
son of the last Laird of Dornock by a daughter of Sir James Johnstone of
Westerhall. His father sold the estates of Dornock to the Duke of
Queensberry, but bought Castlemilk, which he sold in 1768. He was a
madman, and dangerous in his cups. Displeased with a ploughman, he
immediately whipt off one of his ears with a gullie which he happened to
hold in his hand.
The Irvings of Luce seem to have shared the bad
luck of many of their clan, and were obliged to part with their estate
early in the 18th century to Douglas of Dornock. In the old valuation of
1667 Douglas of Kelhead received 40 merks per annum as rent from Adam
Carlile, and had other lands in Luce valued at 82 merks. James Douglas
the elder and Archibald Douglas the younger of Dornock, in the early
part of the 18th century, were very large landowners in Dornock, Hoddom,
and St. Mango. In 1718 Douglas acquired several farms in Hoddom from Wm.
Irving of Kirkconnell, in addition to what he had in Luce. In 1768
Archibald Douglas sold his Hoddom and other estates by roup.
• Douglas of