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Photos of Minnigaff and Newton Stewart, and of the Galloway Area

 

Cree Valley

Cree River Winding Below Newtown Stewart

Newtown Stewart

In the 16th and 17th centuries the hills were moorland.  Forestation was done in the 20th century.

Newtown Stewart from the Back

Cree Valley Gorse Bank

Cree River Meadow

Minnigaff/ Newtown Stewart -

once upon a time the trees were apparently not there.

Cree River

Cree River

Stewart Castle near Newtown Stewart (the town was founded in the mid 18th century, to compete with Minnigaff on the

other side of the river, by William Stewart, the youngest son of the Earl of Galloway.)

Newtown Stewart Village

 

 

Hamlet of Blackcraig.   Old farm fields where Thomas McKinstry’s land was early in the 16th century.  As far as I can tell the lead mine dates to the 19th century, though if there were minerals in the area it may have been mined before.   The Cree River snakes through the lower left.   Newtown Stewart is nearby in the upper right corner.  Blackcraig is properly in Minnigaff parish since it is on the east side of the river.  Minnigaff is the smaller village across the river from Newtown Stewart.   A bridge has been at Minnigaff since medieval times.  

Remember that in the 16th century when McKinstry’s lived here, the forestation on the hilltop was not there; that was pastureland for cattle and sheep, which were raised for market.   Today the forest is part of a national park, with hiking trails.  

Below are examples of what the original upland moor would have looked like in the 16th century.  Some of the photos are from nearby Dumriesshire.  

Galloway grazing

These last two are of the large McKinstry sheep farm on Glenhead Road, in Glenwherry, Co Antrim, Ireland. (from Google Earth)

Note how much they look like Galloway moor land.  Cliff McKinstry of the Meigs Co Ohio McKinstry family says

that no matter how many times his ancestors moved, they always moved to land just as barren and hilly, with shallow soil,

as what they left.   This behavior is characteristic of the Scotch-Irish.