Friday, 26 July 2013

The Solomon’s Seal Saw Fly

Solomon's Seal
If you have a Solomon’s Seal plant in your garden it might be interesting to take a look at its  leaves during the summer months after the plant has finished flowering. The leaves might be intact, but on the other hand they might be gradually disappearing. If this is the case, take a closer look at the plant and you will find that it is covered in small grey caterpillars, which are systematically stripping the leaves. In fact you can see the leaf visibly being “munched” as you watch!

Solomon's Seal Saw Fly
The sawfly is an unremarkable looking black fly. When the plant is flowering , the female lays rows of eggs in the stem of the leaf.  The ovipositor looks and acts like a saw...thus the name. You can see purplish brown marks on the leaf stems where they have been sawn!
The caterpillars/larvae emerge and as they grow in size so does their appetite, as they systematically  devour the foliage of the plant.
When winter comes they burrow underground to pupate and  emerge in the spring as sawflies, and thus the cycle begins once more.

If your Solomon’s Seal plant is affected  it will gradually lose its strength, and become less abundant the following year.

Someone in the area has said that the sawfly larvae also enjoy eating through gooseberry leaves. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013


On the 21st of every month, a different place in Kirkmahoe will be featured and you are invited to contact the blog on to tell us:-
1. What the place is called
2. Where is it located
3. Any interesting information about it.......

There are no prizes, other than satisfaction of being right!
Your replies will help us to build up an interesting and useful resource of information about the featured places.

Everyone who accurately identifies the location will have their name published, unless they request otherwise.

BT1306 Answers

Stables at Carnsalloch

Sadly after neglect, vandalism and a fire the house and stables at Carnsalloch have fallen into disrepair.

Stables Description

Classical, square-plan stablecourt with single storey ranges wrapped around massive central taller block. Squared red rubble with polished dressings and margins. Each elevation has a pedimented central gateway rising above eaves level, with round-arched opening reaching into open pediment, and keystoned Diocletian window (louvered inner, blind outer lights) on inner tower above. Some altered openings at ground level; 12-pane sashes flanking blocked opening of gate on south elevation: irregularly arranged openings to other elevations. Eaves cornices; piended slate roofs, apex roof light above tower. Tower may originally have had a cupola (Historic Scotland)

Aerial view of Carnsalloch

Historical information about Carnsalloch - A Cairn of willows or shallows

A groat of Henry VIIl's second coinage—in fair
condition—has been found in the grounds of Carnsalloch House.

1550 the land was in possession of Robert Maxwell who gave it to son Homer Maxwell of Dalscone. Remained with the Maxwells until sold to Alexander Johnston around 1750.

Built for Alexander Johnstone of Carnsalloch. He is
described in the sasines as a chemist in London, so it may
be that a London architect was employed, and perhaps Isaac
Ware, whose 1756 publication included design of a "House built
for Alexander Johnstone, Esq, in Scotland" (a more expensive
scheme which was probably never done) (see H Colvin,

The Architect? Possibly Isaac Ware
Isaac Ware architect
Alexander Johnston had a son, also named Alexander.
Sir Alexander Johnston 1775-1849

Johnston was born in Carnsalloch, Dumfriesshire in Scotland to Samuel Johnston and Hester Napier, daughter of Francis Napier, 6th Lord Napier. Johnston moved with his family when his father obtained a posting in Madras in 1781.

Colonial career

Johnston's family returned to UK in 1792 and then accepted a post as Advocate General in Celyon in 1799.
Johnston retired in 1817 and return to UK in 1819.
He learned the Tamil, Telugu, and Hindustani languages.


After retirement Johnston founded the Royal Asiatic Society died in London in 1849.


His son Alexander Robert Johnston was a colonial official in Mauritius and Hong Kong before going to England (and died in the United States in 1888).

Cheshire Home

In the 1950s the House became a Cheshire Home for the Disabled then briefly served as a Private School. It was then bought by developers who sadly neglected the property which was vandalised and badly damaged by fire. It is now in the hands of new developers who have plans to restore the property.These plans were turned down by the Planning Committee in 2010 due to the risk of flooding.

Salmon Fishing

The River Nith flows past Carnsalloch and has been know to provide many a good salmon for fishermen. Here is a link for salmon fishing at Carnsalloch

If anyone has more information on Carnsalloch, please send it to so that we can add it to our records

Friday, 19 July 2013

Plea for help in tracing family

Kirkmahoe News has received a request from Mr Ian Carruthers in Zimbabwe for help in tracing any relatives still connected with this area.
He has sent the following details, and if anyone can help, please send your information to from whence it will be forwarded to Mr Carruthers.
My g/g grandfather James Carruthers (b.1795 Guillyburn d.1848 Quarrelwood) was an agricultural laborer, he is on the 1841 census for Guillyburn, but was there from at least 1831, by the 1851 census he had moved to Quarrelwood. He married at Urr, KKD. in 1822 Sarah McDonald, her family were shoemakers from Lochrutton, their son my g/grandfather also James became a shoemaker and brought that trade to South Africa etc.
James snr traveled a fair bit as all the kids were born in different areas such as Lochmaben/Guillyburn/Ruthwell & Mouswald. Perhaps the agricultural work was seasonal not sure!
A branch of the family lived in Park Village just south of Closeburn, apparently there is still Carruthers family living there however I'm unable to get email details to contact them, all will come in time.
I am listing a few spouses that married in from that area, may jog folks memories.
Bobbett, Jardine, Murray, MacAlpine & Neilson.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Facebook Page link

Steve Wells has set up a Facebook page which shows some lovely photos of the Gala.

Here is the link

Friday, 12 July 2013

Appeal for help with design

 A small group of us are trying to develop a series of walks in the area, and are trying to identify someone with design experience who could assist us with designing a "walks leaflet" for Stroll Around Kirkmahoe.

If you feel you could help us please contact

With Thanks