The name given to the middle of the three geographic divisions of the former county of Dumfriesshire in Dumfries and Galloway, Annandale occupies the valley of the River Annan which flows from north to south with Nithsdale to the west and Eskdale to the east. In 1124, under the name of 'Estra-Hanet', the lands of Annandale were given by King David I to the Bruce family whose descendants eventually became kings of Scotland. Lochmaben was the chief seat of the Bruces at that time. The title of Earl of Annandale was conferred in 1643 upon the Johnstones of Lochwood, a member of this family being the poet Ben Jonson. A Marquessate of Annandale created in 1701 fell into abeyance in 1792. The hollow in the hills to the north of Moffat generally known as the Devil's Beef-Tub used to be known as the Marquis of Annandale's Beef-Stand, a reminder of the days when stolen cattle were kept here by the reivers of Annandale.

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