AT HOME: Route 2

From the Cross, along Chapel Street, returning by Ayr Street

At the Cross

The Cherry Tree was planted in 1953 to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, it is a glorious sight in full bloom.

The Craigdarroch Hotel – The coaching origins of the inn are obvious from the stables at the rear. It was extended at the front to take in Macara’s Grain Store.  It has been an important part of village life for many years, hosting the lunch which took place to mark the opening of the Cairn Valley Railway.

Graham Watson’s Shop – Previously single storey, the double fronted shop was once owned by Graham F Macara, “Merchant” who bottled beer on the premises. An interesting photograph exists with a First World War recruiting poster in the window. These posters are much talked about, but less often seen. For a while, it was a vintage shop called “Secondhand Swank” with creative and much talked about window displays!

Walk along Chapel Street

The Bank House – This imposing early 19th century house on your left was once the Union Bank of Scotland. In 1886 Slaters Directory lists William Smith as the Bank’s Agent and Thomas A. Burrell as the Accountant. The doomed Western Bank also had a branch in the High Street.

The Memorial Institute – This late Georgian building was originally built as a United Presbyterian Church, replacing an earlier church on the same site. The Congregation was earlier based near Kirkcudbright Farm. As the various Presbyterian Churches amalgamated in the 20th century there was no need for all the buildings. This one was acquired just after the First World War to serve as a practical War Memorial providing recreational activities, particularly for young men. This was a controversial idea and at one meeting tempers were so heated that it was reported in the local newspaper.

Saddlers – The cottage directly opposite the Institute was once a shop belonging to Brown, the saddler, a reminder that well into the 20th century, horses played a major role in rural life. Nearby, behind the Institute, is the Stackyard where John Bryden kept his coach and horses.

Moniaive Primary School – The main part of the school is Victorian, with an addition in the 1970s. There were several earlier schools in the village. In 1931 Miss E Taylor wrote about coming to teach in Moniaive, almost 50 years earlier. Between the wars, Moniaive was a 5-teacher school with one classroom in a hut in the playground. Miss E. Taylor who came as a teacher in 1931 kept a journal:

As well as desks, my classroom contained woodwork benches, a little science equipment and a sink. Miss Armour’s room doubled for cookery, so contained a sink and a primus stove. Here we had our morning tea, there was no staffroom.

Miss Taylor’s class had 38 pupils, but numbers fell and in 1938 she had to leave. She was sad to go even although one pupil filled her Wellington boots with water!

The Bakery – As Robert Burns said, Scotland is a land o’ cakes and our bakers are justifiably well known, as is our sweet tooth. McHattie the baker took over from Reid and served the village from this site. It employed 8 people and had its own delivery van.

Railway Station – The remains of this rare rural station building is a reminder that after decades of trying Moniaive was finally linked to Dumfries in 1905 by The Cairn Valley Railway. It was immaculately kept by George Macdonald and staff. Men left from here to fight in World War I and the King of Norway was a passenger when, during the Second World War, he visited officers at Craigdarroch House. The line was closed to passengers in 1943 and finally to freight in 1949.

Old Lamp Post – On the grass embankment after the last cottage to the right you will see the remains of an old lamppost. The village was lit in the late 19th century by gas lighting, with gas that was produced in the village.

Turn left into The Grainnes

Grainnes – Swan the blacksmith, who had previously been in Ayr Street, was here. The “smiddy”, was an important part of rural life.

Tramps’ Rest – The triangular building after the smiddy was built as a night shelter for tramps. Vagrancy was considered a problem in the 19th century and greatly troubled Parish Councils. With permission they could stay here overnight. Inevitably they would be troubled by lice and the locals referred to it as “the scratching shed.”

Waulk Mill – The Waulk Mill (now used as an agricultural building) was a key building in a pre-duvet age. It produced red and black, square patterned blankets. It was powered by a waterwheel fed by the lade running from the Dalwhat River near Barbuie bridge. There were several sluices to control the flow. Part of this complex later became a laundry run by two ladies, which some residents still recall. Walk to the end of the Grainnes to look across to the back of the Mill.

Return to Chapel street and turn left

Waulk Mill Bridge – This early 19th century Bridge is B-listed. As John Corrie the postmaster commented in 1910, for a village lying between two stretches of water “bridges must always have been of supreme importance.” A notable bridgebuilder in the area was mason William Stewart, who lived in the Grainnes and died in 1821. He is buried in Glencairn Kirkyard.

Turn back and go through the gate on the right (if there is no livestock there) to walk around the river bend and up “the entry” to Ayr Street

Free Church Schoolhouse – Until the 1872 Education Act, education was the responsibility of the Church. When the Church dramatically split in 1843, those who left the Church of Scotland set up their own schools. Like the Free Churches, these were built very quickly. This split caused a lot of bad feeling throughout Scotland.

Free Church Schoolmaster’s House – In the 1840s and 1850s six different schoolmasters were appointed by the Free Church.

Back into Ayr Street and return to the Cross