Old County of East Lothian


A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1834-45: Haddington

Haddingtonshire or East Lothian, a maritime county in the south-east of Scotland, is situated between 55° 46' 10" and 56° 4' N lat., and between 2° 8' and 2° 49' W long., and is bounded on the NW and N by the Firth of Forth, on the N E and E by the German Ocean, on the SW and S by Berwickshire, and on the W by Edinburghshire. With the exception of four small streamlets which divide it towards the SW, NE, and SE angles from Berwickshire and Edinburghshire, and the summit line of the Lammermuirs, which forms about one-half of the march with Berwickshire, the county has, along its SE, S, and W frontiers, no natural or geographical features to mark its boundary. It has a total coast-line of 31¾ miles, of which 15¼ lie along the Firth of Forth to the W of North Berwick, and present a flat and generally sandy beach; while the 16½ miles that extend along the German Ocean rise in irregular and bold cliffs. There are harbours at Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Port Seton, North Berwick, and Dunbar. The only bays of any size are Aberlady Bay, a wide sandy flat at low water, and Tyninghame Bay, at the mouth of the Tyne. Its land boundaries on the S and W extend respectively for 16 and 13 miles. The greatest length of Haddingtonshire, from E to W, is 26 ½ miles; its greatest breadth, from N by W to S by E, is 19 miles; and its circumference is roughly about 80 miles. Its total area is 280 square miles, or 179,142 acres, of which 173,298 are land, 5505 foreshore, and 189½ water. A small part of Humbie parish is quite detached from the body of the county, which includes also the Bass Rock.

Haddingtonshire has on the whole a northern exposure, stretching from its highest point in the S, where the Lammermuir Hills rise, in a gradual though not unbroken slope to the seaboard on the N. The land in the higher region is almost entirely pasturage, of the Lowland Scotch hill character, though the skirts of the hills are, to a considerable extent, brought under cultivation. About one-third of the entire area of the county is occupied by this district, which commences at the E coast in Oldhamstocks and Innerwick parishes, and extends westwards across the southern part of the county to the boundary of Edinburghshire. The average height is not great, and the genera; aspect is not mountainous; for the Lammermuirs present a series of softly rounded hills, and their greatest elevation is attained in Lammer Law, which rises to a height of 1733 feet above sea-level. Other summits are Clints Dod (1307 feet), Lowrans Law (1631), and Soutra Hill (1209). The northern plain between the base of the hill country and the sea has its surface interrupted by the Garleton Hills (590 feet) on the W, by Gullane Hill on the NE coast, and by the conspicuously isolated cones of North Berwick Law (612 feet) on the N coast and Traprain or Dumpender Law (700) near the centre. The county, owing to its geographical position and limited extent, has few streams of any kind, and only one-the Tyne-of any importance. This last, 7 miles from its source, crosses the Edinburghshire border, 8 miles SW of Ormiston, and flows through Haddingtonshire to the NE seaboard, where it falls into the German Ocean at Tyninghame. Good trout, and in some places salmon, are caught in the Tyne. Among the smaller streams may be mentioned the Salton Water and the Gifford Water, flowing from the uplands to the Tyne; Peffer Burn, running to the German sea, about 2 miles SE of Tantallon Castle; and the Belton Water, which debouches at Belhaven, near Dunbar. The Berwickshire stream-the Whitadder-has its source and upper course for some miles in East Lothian. The chief lakes are Presmennan and Danskine Lochs, both of small extent. The former was artificially made in 1819 by damming up a ravine through which a streamlet used to discharge its waters. Mineral springs are found in the parishes of Spott, Pencaitland, Humbie, and Salton, and some of them have had a certain medicinal repute.

Geology.—In this county the ancient Silurian tableland is sharply defined from the area occupied by the younger palæozoic rocks. The steep slope presented by the chain of the Lammermuirs towards the NW, roughly coincides with the boundary line between the Silurian and Old Red Sandstone strata on the one hand and the members of the Carboniferous system on the other. This prominent feature crosses the county diagonally from Dunbar to the village of Fala. The smooth-flowing outline of the Lammermuirs is due to the occurrence of thick masses of shales of Low-er Silurian age which are associated with flagstones, greywackes, and grits. Possessing a persistent NE and SW strike in harmony with the trend of the chain, these strata have been thrown into a series of folds lby means of which the same beds are repeatedly brought to the surface. Beyond the county boundary at the head of Lauderdale, bands of black shales, yielding graptolites in profusion, rest in narrow synclinal troughs of the shaly series. One of these bands is exposed on the S slope of Lammer Law, near the source of the Kelphope Burn, which can be followed SW to the Headshaw Burn, near Carfrae Common; while still further to the N another band is met with on the Soutra Hill. The Silurian strata exposed in the Lammermuirs are the NE prolongations of the grey shales and greywackes which are so characteristically developed in the Lowther range in the N of Dumfriesshire. In the latter area there are fewer intercalations of greywackes and grits, but with this exception the genera; character of the beds in these widely separated ranges is identical.

Throughout the area occupied by these rocks numerous veins and bosses of felstone are met with, which have been injected-mainly along the lines of bedding. There is one small triangular area, however, of highly crystalline rock, which has attracted considerable attention among geologists on account of the evidence which it affords of its metamorphic origin. It is situated at the junction of the Fassney Water with the Whiteadder. From the description of this mass given by Professor A. Geikie, it is apparent that a gradual passage can be traced from the unaltered greywackes and shales into the granitic rock of Priestlaw. Along the margin of the altered area, the stratified rocks are compact and subcrystalline breaking with a conchoidal fracture. These, when followed towards the centre of the area, merge into felspathic rocks with quartz granules, which are indistinguishable from ordinary felstones. The alteration culminates in the felspathic mass of Priestlaw, which, by the crystallisation of the felspar and quartz, and by the addition of mica and hornblende, presents the character of a typical granite.

Only the upper division of the Old Red Sandstone is represented within the county. As in other districts in Scotland we have here striking evidence of the complete discordance between the members of this division and the older rocks. Prior to the deposition of the Upper Old Red Sandstone, the Lammermuir chain had undergone extensive denudation. Deep valleys had been excavated in the ancient tableland, which were subsequently filled with conglomerates and sandstones belonging to this period. On the S side of the range one of these ancient valleys is represented by Lauderdale, which, though formerly filled with Old Red deposits, has been excavated anew by the Leader and its tributaries. Another striking example occurs in the E part of the chain, where a belt of conglomerate, stretching from Dunbar to Dirrington Law, divides the Silurian rocks into two separate areas. From the relations which the conglomerate bears to the underlying rocks, there can be little doubt that it fills an old hollow which completely traversed the Silurian tableland from N to S. The belt of conglomerate now referred to forms the largest area of Upper Old Red Sandstone strata within the county. It has an average breadth of 4 miles between Dunbar and Oldhamstocks, tapering off to 2 miles near the county boundary, and again swelling out towards the wide area occupied by this deposit in the Berwickshire plain. The conglomerates along this belt rest unconformably on the Silurian rocks, the pebbles being mainly composed of these materials. At Oldhamstocks a narrow band branches off from the main mass, and extends E by Cockburnspath to the sea-coast at Siccar Point, where the complete unconformability between the Old Red Sandstone and Silurian formations is admirably displayed. In this latter area the strata mainly consist of red sandstones and shales, the underlying conglomerate having thinned out to small dimensions. The beds are inclined to the N at angles varying from 10o to 30o. Again, along the NW slopes of the Lammermuirs from Dunbar to near the village of Gifford, a belt of red sandstones and marls can be traced, having an average breadth of about 1 mile. This belt is bounded on the N and S by two parallel faults, both of which have a downthrow to the N. One of these dislocations, that which forms the S boundary, is of great importance, as it completely traverses the county from the sea-coast near Dunbar to the village of Fala. Between Dunbar and Gifford it brings the Old Red Sandstones and marls against the Old Red conglomerate and Silurian rocks, while beyond Gifford towards Fala it throws the members of the Carboniferous system against the Old Red Sandstone and Silurian formations. About 1 mile to the S of Gifford and about ½ mile S of Fala church, there are two small semicircular areas of Old Red conglomerate resting unconformably on the Silurian rocks, and bounded on the N by the great fault just described. Equally interesting and suggestive is the small outlier of conglomerate of this age, forming a flat cake on the crest of the ridge E of Soutra Hill. Within the county no fossils have been obtained from this formation, but at Siccar Point beyond the county boundary the red sandstones have yielded scales of Holoptychius and other fishes, which serve to define the age of the beds.

The strata next in order belong to the Calciferous Sandstone series, but, strange to say, at no point in Haddingtonshire are these beds seen in contact with the Upper Old Red Sandstones without the intervention of a fault. But beyond the county boundary at Siccar Point the perfect passage between the two formations is well seen. The members of this series occupy the whole of the coast-line between Cockburnspath and Thornton loch, where they pass below the Carboniferous Limestone. Near the base, the sandstones have yielded Cycadites Caledonicus, which, from recent investigations, appears to be a fragment of a Eurypterid. The strata exposed along the coast-line consist of alternations of sandstones, shales, and thin limestones, which, on the whole, are markedly fossiliferous. Numerous land plants have been obtained from the shales, chiefly -Lepidodendron (Sagenaria) Veltheimianum, Sigillaria, Cyclopteris, and Sphenopteris, while the limestones contain abundant remains of encrinites, with Schizodus, Sanguinolites, Area, Pteronites, Athyris ambigua, etc.

The broad tract of country extending from Dunbar to Aberlady, and from North Berwick to Gifford, is occupied with the members of this series, but differing in a marked degree from those just described. The type represented in this area is characterised by a remarkable development of volcanic rocks, which, indeed, cover the greater portion of the tract. Towards the beginning of the Calciferous Sandstone period volcanic activity commenced in the East Lothian district, and continued with little cessation to near the close. During this long interval the volcanoes discharged sheets of lava and showers of ashes till they reached a thickness of well-nigh 1500 feet, but so local was the development that no trace of these volcanic materials is to be found in the Calciferous Sandstone area between Cockburnspath and Thorntonloch. The following is the succession of the strata given in descending order:-(a) sandstones, shales, and thin limestones; (b) thick sheets of porphyrite lavas, becoming more augitic towards the bottom of the series; (c) coarse ash and volcanic breccia; (d) red and white sandstones and marls. The sedimentary strata underlying the volcanic series are exposed on both sides of the mouth of the Tyne, where they are thrown into an anticlinal arch, the axis of which extends from Belhaven Bay SW to Traprain Law. On the N side of this anticline the strata dip to the NW, and pass underneath the great pile of lavas and tuffs of the Garleton Hills, while on the S side they are succeeded only by a portion of the volcanic series. The earliest ejections in Haddingtonshire consisted of tuffs and coarse breccias, which occupy the greater part of the coast-line between North Berwick and Tantallon Castle. The base of the series is exposed on the shore at the Gegan about ½ mile to the E of Tantallon, where the tuff is underlaid by sandstones and marls dipping to the W at a low angle. In places the ash forms prominent cliffs, as at the Gin Head, near Canty Bay, which afford excellent opportunities for studying the features of the deposit. Its general character is somewhat varied. On the whole, it is well stratified, showing alternations of coarse breccia and layers of fine tuff, with small felspathic lapilli. The volcanic breccia contains numerous bombs of porphyrite, the largest measuring 2 feet across, with fragments of sandstones, shales, and thin limestones. A characteristic feature of this deposit is the intercalation of thin seams and lenticular patches of sandstones, shales, and limestones, clearly proving the submarine character of the eruptions. One of these bands of limestone occurs near the base of the series at the Gegan, and another at the Rhodes quarry about 1 mile E of North Berwick. In places they emit a fetid odour. The tuff and volcanic breccia which cover such a great extent of coast-line W of Tantallon Castle extend inland as far as Traprain, forming a belt of variable width round the base of the overlying lavas. They reappear on the S side of the anticline at Traprain Law, and can be followed E to the Biel Burn N of Stenton church, where they are truncated by the dislocation which brings the Calciferous Sandstones into conjunction with the Upper Old Red Sandstones and marls. Between Belhaven Bay and Dunbar, however, the tuffs are again exposed with a SE inclination, where they present the characteristic features just described.

The tuffs and volcanic breccias are overlaid by a great succession of porphyrite lavas which have no intercalation of ash or sedimentary deposits. They form the range of the Garleton Hills, and as they are inclined to the W at gentle angles, they present slight escarpments towards the E. The lavas first ejected, which rest on the tuff, are more augitic than the overlying sheets, the augite crystals being large, and the triclinic felspars being well striated. The later ejections, on the other hand, are less basic, and present the characteristic microscopic characters of porphyrites. The lavas pass conformably below a limited thickness of sandstones, shales, and cementstones, filling the interval to the base of the Carboniferous Limestone. From the ashy character of the sandstones, it is evident that they were in a great measure formed from the trituration of the underlying volcanic materials, while the presence of thin sheets of tuff indicates faint volcanic outbursts after the main ejections had ceased. These sedimentary deposits stretch S by Aberlady, Bolton, and onwards to Fala, in all cases graduating upwards into the Carboniferous Limestone. They also cover a considerable tract of ground round Haddington, where they are associated with some thin seams of coal.

Within the volcanic area and in the immediate vicinity there are numerous examples of 'necks' from which the igneous materials were discharged. Some of these are filled with crystalline rocks, such as basalt, porphyrite, or felstone, others with tuff and volcanic agglomerate. Perhaps the two most conspicuous examples of the former group are North Berwick Law (612 feet) and Traprain Law (724). These eminences rise considerably above the level of the surrounding ground-a feature which is due to the unyielding nature of the compact felstone filling the vent. In the case of North Berwick Law the felstone penetrates the stratified ash at the base of the volcanic series, while the mass on Traprain Law pierces the underlying Calciferous Sandstones. On the shore to the E of Dunbar there is a remarkable example of a vent filled with volcanic agglomerate, and similar instances occur between North Berwick and Tantallon Castle.

The Carboniferous Limestone of Haddingtonshire presents the triple classification which is characteristic of this group of strata in other parts of Scotland, viz. (1.) an Upper Limestone series; (2.) a middle series with coals and ironstones; (3.) a Lower Limestone series. The members of the lowest subdivision occur in a small isolated area between Dunbar and Thorntonloch, where they are thrown into a small synclinal trough. As the basin is truncated by the sea, we have only a portion of the syncline represented, but the order of succession is admirably displayed on the coast section. This outlier comprises five separate limestones, of which the Skateraw bed is the most important. It is 12 feet thick, and is underlaid by a thin seam of coal. On the shore N of Thorntonloch the lowest bed rests conformably on the Calciferous Sandstones, but inland to the N of Innerwick the Limestone series is brought into conjunction with the Upper Old Red Sandstone by means of a fault.

Between Aberlady and the county boundary, near Musselburgh, the three subdivisions are represented in regular succession. At the former locality the members of the Lower Limestone series crop out on the shore with a gentle inclination to the W, graduating downwards into the Calciferous Sandstones. From this point they extend S by East Saltoun to the county boundary at Pathhead, preserving the same inclination to the W and NW, and passing below the members of the middle division. By means of an anticlinal arch the Lower Limestones are again brought to the surface on the Roman Camp Hill N of Gorebridge. The middle series includes the coals and ironstones of the East Lothian coal-field, which are evidently the equivalents of the Edge coals of Midlothian. The Haddingtonshire coal-field is upwards of 30 square miles in extent, and comprises no fewer than ten seams of coal of more or less importance. The beds are thrown into a great synclinal trough, the axis of which runs from the shore at Port Seton S by Tranent to Elphinstone Tower. Hence on the E side of the basin the coal seams dip to the W, only to reappear with an E dip along the anticlinal arch of the Roman Camp Hill. In the centre of this trough at Port Seton, there are two thin bands of limestone belonging to the highest division of the Carboniferous Limestone.

The Lower Limestone series in Gosford Bay is traversed by a sheet of intrusive dolomite, and similar sheets are met with to the N of Aberlady in the Calciferous Sandstones. A few basalt dykes, probably of Tertiary age, pierce the Haddingtonshire coal-field, of which the most important is that extending from Prestonpans E by Seton Mains to near Longniddry. The trend of the ice flow during the glacial period over the low-lying portion of Haddingtonshire was E and ENE, but a portion of the ice sheet surmounted the chain of the Lammermuirs, and moved in a SE direction towards the Berwickshire plain. That such was the course of the ice sheet is not only proved by the ice markings, but also by the transport of the materials in the boulder clay. This deposit varies considerably in character, according to the nature of the underlying rocks; in the Silurian area it is a stiff fawn-coloured stony clay, while in the Old Red and Calciferous Sandstone districts it is sandy and has a reddish tint. The sands and gravels are found partly flanking the hills in the form of more or less continuous sheets or ridged up in mounds, and partly in connection with the 100-feet terrace. The 25-feet beach is visible at various points on the coast, though its development is but limited. It occurs at North Berwick, where it is partly obscured by blown sand, and also near Seacliff Tower. Tracts of blown sand are met with at the mouth of the Tyne, near Tyninghame, and again between Gullane Hill and North Berwick.

East Lothian is not rich in coal, although the coal beds at Prestonpans are said to have been worked by the monks of Newbattle so early as the beginning of the 13th century. Limestone is abundant throughout the county. In 1866 a rich deposit of hematite of iron was discovered in the Garleton Hills, and for several years was worked successfully. Iron is found in Gladsmuir parish, where the Macmerry Iron-works are situated. As is to be expected, the soils in the various parts of the county differ much from each other. On the hills much of it is thin and mossy; but of late years crops of turnips and oats have been obtained on what was before untitled land, covered with whins or heather. Along the base of the hills stretches an extent of rich and valuable grain and pasture land, from which heavy crops are reaped that contribute no small amount towards enhancing the agricultural reputation of the county. To the N of this, and extending across the shire is a band of heavy tenacious yellow clay, resting on a basis of till or boulder clay, and presenting some of the worst agricultural land in Scotland. This soil, however, is not unfavourable to the growth of such timber as oak, beech, larch, and fir. The most fertile parts of the whole county are in the E, near Dunbar, where rich loam is abundant, and clay and light sand not rare. Wheat and beans, and the famous kind of potatoes known as 'Dunbar Reds,' are the heaviest crops of this district. The farms of W Haddingtonshire have lighter loam soils and mixtures of clay and sand that are annually made to yield very excellent harvests. The climate of Haddingtonshire is also well suited for an agricultural district. The proximity of the sea and the extent of coast-line prevents the extremes of either heat or cold being experienced in the shire, though a cold and searching E wind prevails in late spring and early summer. The rainfall is exceedingly small, and the county is more exposed to agricultural loss from too little than from too much rain, though the Lammermuirs are often covered with cold and wetting mists that are not taken into account in calculating the rainfall. According to observations at seven stations extending over several years the annual rainfall is 25.12 inches; at the town of Haddington it is 25 inches. The extremes were observed at Yester, in the SW, 420 feet above sea-level, where 32.72 inches were registered; and at Smeaton, in the NE of Midlothian, 100 feet above sea-level, where the return was 18.62. The temperature is on the whole equable. The annual mean observed at Yester for thirteen years ending in 1869 was 46.5°, and at Smeaton, 47.2°; whilst at East Linton, 90 feet above sea-level, it was 47 .4° during 1882, when the rainfall was 27.25. Snow, though not infrequent, seldom lies many days in the lowlands of Haddingtonshire. The spring is, in general, dry, with only occasional severe showers of hail and rain from the NE; in summer and autumn the only rainy points are the S and E.

The natural advantages of soil and climate in East Lothian are of themselves almost enough to ensure its agricultural prosperity; but its present pre-eminence, as perhaps the richest grain-producing district of Scotland, is also due not a little to the industry, enterprise, and skill of its farmers and landowners. East Lothian has been an agricultural county for centuries, and the monks of the Middle Ages may perhaps be regarded as the founders of its agricultural greatness. A curious fact is that, along the coterminous line of the uplands and lowlands, the parishes were anciently, just as at present, so distributed that each, while stretching into the fertile plain, had attached to it a section of the Lammermuirs, as a necessary adjunct to its agricultural practice of summer pasturage. Mills were numerous, and their number and activity are proofs of the quantity of grain raised in the district. The Lammermuirs at all times fostered the pastoral calling. Hay also was raised in abundance, and so early as the 13th century was subjected to tithes; and in 1298 the English soldiers, who were besieging Dirleton Castle, found a means of sustenance in the pease that grew in the neighbouring fields. Although the troubles and wars of the succeeding centuries inflicted a check upon the arts of peace in Haddingtonshire as well as in the rest of Scotland, the shire recovered its former position; and, according to Whitelocke, the English soldiers who entered Scotland with Cromwell in 1650 were astonished to find in East Lothian 'the greatest plenty of corn they ever saw, not one of the fields being fallow.' The real beginning of the agricultural pre-eminence of Haddingtonshire dates from about the period of the Union of the parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707. Lord Belhaven contributed to improve the theory of agriculture by his Advice to the Farmers in East Lothian, published in 1723; while Thomas, sixth Earl of Haddington, improved its practice by introducing skilled labour from England. James Meikle, a mechanic who had been despatched to Holland in 1710 by Fletcher of Salton to acquire the art of making decorticated barley, introduced from that country the use of fanners in sifting grain; and in 1787 Andrew Meikle, his son, invented the thrashing-mill. Improvements came in thick and fast after the introduction of fanners; landowners vied with each in adopting new inventions and new machinery, and their farming tenants zealously co-operated. Lord Elibank, Sir Hew Dalrymple, the Marquis of Tweeddale, and Sir George Suttie deserve to be mentioned in the former class; and Wight, who introduced horse-hoeing in 1736, Cunningham, Hay, who first raised potatoes in the fields about 1754, John Walker of Prestonkirk, who was the first to adopt the English practice of fallowing, and George Rennie of Phantassie, are worthy representatives of the second class. John Cockburn of Ormiston, a politician who had in his later years turned his attention to 'agricultural improvements, the classic diversion of a statesman's care,' founded about 1743 perhaps the earliest farmers' club in Scotland. In 1804 General Fletcher of Salton organised another farmers, society, which in 1819-20 was amalgamated with a more extensive association, under the name of 'The United East Lothian Agricultural Society.' Under such auspices and supported by such enterprise, the agriculture of Haddingtonshire has made rapid and sure advances in every department. In 1811 steam power was first applied to threshing corn in East Lothian, and now steam power is used on almost every farm in the county. The social condition and physique of the hinds have both improved to a very marked degree. In the words of Mr Hope of Fentonbarns, speaking in 1835 of the close of last century, 'a married ploughman was paid in farm produce, but he received 24 bushels less oats than is now given; besides the grain was fully 10 per cent. inferior to the produce of the present time; and the cow, from want of sown grass, was often scarcely worth the milking, and, still more, potatoes were then hardly known. The consequences were, that the poor hind was miserably fed, poorly clad, feeble, and particularly liable to sickness. At that period, regularly in the spring in every hamlet and village, the ague made its appearance in almost every family, and there can hardly be a doubt of that sickness having often been the natural effects of poverty and filth more than anything else. 'Now the average wages of a farm-servant is £20 or £25 in money, and meal, potatoes, grass for a cow, together with a cottage and a little garden-ground, estimated together to be equivalent to £20 or £25 more. Within the present century the most powerful impetus to farming was derived from the high price of grain during the Crimean war. In 1853, 1854, and 1855 the fiar prices of wheat per quarter in East Lothian were £3, 15s. 10d., £3, 12s. 11d., and £3, 18s. 3d.; while in 1851 it was only £1, 18s. 8d.; and in 1864, again, £1, 15s. 10d., the lowest price this century. In 1881 the price was £1, 18s. 7¼frac14;d. The farms of East Lothian are larger than the average Scottish holdings. Most of them are from 200 to 500 acres; some range so high as 1200 acres. The rents, of course, vary according to the fertility of the soil; in the different parts of the county. The 19 or 21 years' lease is the most usual duration of holding. A six-course shift is the rule-(1) grass (pasture or hay), (2) oats, (3) potatoes, turnips, or beans, (4) wheat, (5) turnips, (6) barley; but the only principle is that of making a grain and green crop succeed each other, pulse being always reckoned a green crop in this succession.

In the whole of Scotland the percentage of cultivated area is only 24·2; in Haddingtonshire it rises as high as 64·4—a figure exceeded only by Fife (74·8), Linlithgowshire (73·1), and Berwickshire (65·4). The following table exhibits the acreage of land under the various crops in various years:—

  1867. 1873. 1874. 1880. 1881. 1882.
Grain Crops—
Wheat, . . 11,702 10,793 11,545 9,453 8,748 9,989
Barley, . . 12,968 15,498 15,179 17,116 17,525 15,492
Oats,. . . 16,034 15,948 15,181 17,271 17,081 17,478
Beans, . . 2,311 2,921 2,651 1,375 2,003 2,438
Root Crops—
Potatoes, . 7,480 8,185 8,188 9,943 9,282 7,656
Turnips, . 15,510 15,385 15,529 15,157 15,447 15,827
Carrots, . . 236 186 156 211 186 167
Green Crops—
Grass under
Rotation, .
25,794 .. 23,639 27,088 27,970 ..
Heath), .
13,406 .. 18,677 16,242 16,083 ..
Live Stock—
Farm Horses .. .. 3,671 3,192 3,442 3,259
Cattle, . . 7,559 .. 8,008 8,237 9,062 8,279
Sheep, . . 108,148 .. 104,482 111,886 111,928 114,496
Pigs, . . . 4,744 .. .. 2,490 2,330 2,827

Less than one-twenty-third of the whole of Scotland is under woods; in Haddingtonshire the proportion is more than one-seventeenth, viz., 10,474 acres. Its woods, indeed, are tolerably extensive, and a good deal has been done in the way of artificial planting. The sixth Earl of Haddington was the first great planter, and the trees he planted in 1705 and subsequent years on his estate at Tyninghame now form one of the most beautiful forests in the south of Scotland. They suffered, however, enormous havoc from the gale of 14 Oct. 1881. The woods of Humbie and Salton, lying adjacent to each other, are also noteworthy. In Trans. Highl. and Ag. Soc. for 1879-81 are five tables giving the dimensions of 119 old and remarkable Spanish chestnuts, ash-trees, sycamores, beeches, and oaks in the county. About 148 acres are annually devoted to orchards, 410 to market gardens, and 6 to nursery gardens. The East Lothian farmers do not as a rule bestow much of their attention on breeding cattle, though here and there small herds are reared and fattened. Enormous numbers of sheep, on the other hand, are fed on the fine pastoral farms of the Lammermuirs and elsewhere, and there are several well-known breeders of sheep both among the proprietors and tenants. Border Leicesters are the most usual variety raised, though there are also several flocks of Southdowns; and in the Lammermuirs Cheviots and blackfaced flocks are maintained. Dairy farming is quite at a discount in the county, and pigs are fed only for domestic purposes. In 1882 there were 497 horses and mares in the county used for breeding purposes.

Notwithstanding the favourable position of the seaboard, the proximity of the metropolis, and the presence of coal, manufactures have never flourished in Haddingtonshire, though they have been introduced at various periods and in several districts. Repeated efforts to establish a woollen manufactory in the town of Haddington resulted in failure. A variegated woollen fabric, known as the Gilmerton livery, seemed for a time to have become a staple at Athelstaneford, but it has long ceased to be produced. In 1793 a flax-mill was erected at West Barns, and in 1815 a cotton factory was started at Belhaven, but both entailed loss on their proprietors; and their stoppage made paupers of many of the operatives. A paper-mill, a starch-work, the earliest factory in Britain for the manufacture of Hollands, the first bleachfield of the British Linen Company, and the earliest manufactory of decorticated or pot-barley were situated in Salton parish, but all have failed and have disappeared. The Macmerry Iron-works in Gladsmuir parish are also stopped; so that now the only noticeable existing manufactories in the county are a pottery at Prestonpans, two foundries in Dunbar parish, a manufactory of agricultural implements at Tranent, two or three extensive distilleries, about eight or ten breweries, of which the chief are at Prestonpaus, two or three tan-works, and one or two establishments for the preparation of bone-dust and rapecake. Fishing and fish-curing are carried on at Dunbar, Cockenzie, and other coast villages; and there are saltpans at Prestonpans and Cockenzie.

The roads of Haddingtonshire are numerous and good; though before 1751 the county was sadly deficient in means of communication. The county road board consists of a number of the commissioners of supply for the county, and a number of elected trustees. One good line of turnpike runs along the whole coast of the Firth of Forth eastward to North Berwick; another runs southward from Dirleton to Haddington; another-the great quondam mail line between Edinburgh and London- runs along the whole breadth of the county eastward through Haddington to Dunbar, and then along the coast till it enters Berwickshire; a fourth leaves the former at Tranent, and passes through Salton and Gif'ford, and over the Lammermuir Hills to Duns; and a fifth, the post-road between Edinburgh and Lauder, intersects the SW wing of the county at Soutra. The North British railway affords to the greater part of the lowlands of the county exceedingly valuable facilities of communication; entering from Edinburghshire a little N of Falside, passing between Prestonpans and Tranent, proceeding north-eastward to Drem, sending off two branches respectively from Longniddry eastward to Haddington, and from Drem northward to Dirleton and North Berwick, and curving from Drem through all the north-eastern districts, by way of East Fortune, East Linton, Dunbar, and Innerwick, to Dunglass. The harbours of the county are all, in point of commerce, very inconsiderable, and even in point of commodiousness are very inferior. Their extent and other particulars will be found noticed under Port Seton, Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Bierwick (North), and Dunbar.

The royal burghs in Haddingtonshire are Haddington, the county town, Dunbar, and North Berwick. The only other towns are Tranent and Prestonpans, which, as well as part of East Linton, are police burghs. The other villages and principal hamlets are Aberlady, Athelstaneford, Belhaven, Bolton, Cockenzie, Dirleton, Drem, East Barns, West Barns, Garvald, Gifford, Gladsmuir, Gullane, Humbie, Innerwick, Kingston, Oldhamstocks, Ormiston, Pencaitland, Penston, Port Seton, Prestonkirk, Salton, Samuelston, Spott, Stenton, Tynninghame, and Whitekirk. The chief seats are Broxmouth Park (Duke of Roxburghe), Yester House (Marquis of Tweeddale), Coalstoun House (Hon. R. Bourke, M. P-), Gosford and Amisfield House (Earl of Wemyss), Tyninghame House (Earl of Haddington), Biel and Archerfield House (Lady Mary Nisbet Hamilton), Ormiston Hall (Earl of Hopetoun), Humbie (Lord Polwarth), Ballencrieff House, Lennoxlove House, Prestongrange, Dunglass House, Seton House, Fountainhall, Gilmerton House, Lochend, Newbyth House, Nunraw House, Phantassie, Salton Hall, Whittinghame House, Herdmanston House, Winton House, Pencaitland House, Woodcot House, Balgone, Letham House, Stevenson House, Clerkington House, Eaglescairnie House, Alderston House, Bower House, Cockenzie House, Drummore House, Elphinstone Tower, Gifford Bank, Gullane Lodge, Nolyn Bank, Hopes House, Huntington House, Leaston House, Luffness House, Monkrigg House, Morham Bank, Newton Hall, Pilmore, Pogbie House, Redcolpl House, Rockville House, Ruchlaw House, Skedobush House, Spott House, St Germain's, Thurston House, and Tynholm House. According to Miscellaneous Statistics of the United Kingdom (1879) 171,739 acres, with a total gross estimated rental of £349,210, were divided among 1509 landowners, 1 holding 20,486 acres (rental £11, 485), 3 from 10,000 to 20,000 acres, 5 from 5000 to 10,000, 26 from 1000 to 5000, 95 from 10 to 1000, 188 from 1 to 10, and 1191 under 1 acre.

The county contains 24 quoad civilia parishes and 2 chapels of ease. The parishes of Aberlady, Athelstaneford, Bolton, Dirleton, Garvald, Gladsmuir, Haddington, Humbie, Morham, North Berwick, Pencaitland, Prestonpans, Salton, Tranent, and Yester form the presbytery of Haddington; and those of Cockburnspath (Berwickshire), Dunbar, Belhaven, Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Prestonkirk, Spott, Stenton, Whitekirk, Tynninghame, and Whittinghame form the presbytery of Dunbarl while Ormiston parish belongs to the presbytery of Dalkeith. All are in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The Free Church of Scotland also has a presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar, with congregations at Dirleton, Garvald, Yester, Haddington, Humbie, North Berwick, Pencaitland, Salton and Bolton, Tranent, Prestonpans, Dunbar, Prestonkirk, Innerwick, and Cockburnspath; besides churches at Cockenzie and Ormiston in connection with its Dalkeith presbytery. Other congregations in the county are 8 U.P.—2 at Haddington, 2 at Dunbar, and 1 each at East Linton, Tranent, North Berwick, and Aberlady; 3 Scottish Episcopal-1 in each of the royal burghs; 2 Roman Catholic-1 at Haddington and 1 at Dunbarl and 1 Methodist at Dunbar. In the year ending 30 Sept. 1881, the county had 53 schools (44 of them public), which, with accommodation for 7665 children, had 6134 on the registers, and 4512 in average attendance. The certificated, assistant, and pupil teachers numbered respectively 73, 8, and 34. Among the benevolent institutions of the county are Stiell's Hospital in the parish of Tranent, and Gilbert Burnet's Fund in Salton parish. In 1882 Schaw's Hospital in Prestonpans was rented as an institution for training girls or domestic servants, under the will of Miss Murray.

The county is governed (1883) by a lord-lieutenant, a vice-lieutenant, 25 deputy-lieutenants, a sheriff, a sheriff-substitute, and between 60 and 70 justices of the peace, besides the chief magistrates of the royal burghs and East Linton. Ordinary sheriff courts are held at Haddington every Thursday during session; and courts under the Debts Recovery and Small Delit Act every alternate Thursday. Debts recovery and small debt circuit courts are held at Dunbar on the third Tuesdays of February, March, May, October, and December, and the first Tuesday of July; at Tranent on the fourth Tuesdays of January, March, May, and November. and second Tuesdays of July and October; and at North Berwick on the third Wednesday of January, and second Wednesdays of May, July, and October. General quarter-sessions of justices of the peace are held at Haddington on the first Tuesday of March, third Tuesday of April, first Tuesday of August, and last Tuesday of October, and adjourned sessions of the peace on the second Thursday of January. Meetings of justices are also held at Dunbar on the first Wednesday of October, fourth Wednesday of February, and third Wednesday of June; and at North Berwick in March and July. The annual general meeting of the commissioners of supply is held in the county town on the first Tuesday of May. The police force in 1882 comprised 36 men, whose Superintendent's salary was £220. The county prison is at Haddington; and at the census of 1881 it contained 6 prisoners, Dunbar police station 1, and Tranent police station 2. In 1881 the number of vagrants in the county was 73, of whom 17 were females. The annual value of real property was (1811) £2 0,126, (1843) £258,743, (1879) £363,137, (1882) £348,658, of which £18,322 was for railways, and £39,325 was within the 3 royal burghs, leaving for the county £291,010, as against £279,861 for 1882-83. This decrease is due to the fall in the rents of farms. Haddingtoushire returns one member to parliament, having been represented by a Conservative, Lord Elcho, of volunteer celebrity, from July 1847 till Jan. 1883, when he succeeded his father as ninth Earl of Wemyss. The county constituency in 1883 is 1071. Between 1871 and 1881 the population of Haddingtonshire was increased by 731, or 1.94 per cent-, chiefly in the burghs. Between 1861 and 1871 the increase was only 137, and since 1801 it is 9526. The slight increase in the rural population is accounted for by the steady concentration of trade in the towns, and the general adoption of the 'gang' system in farming operations-the 'gangs' living for the most part in towns. In 1881 294 persons, or .76 per cent. spoke Gaelic in Haddingtonsire, as compared with the percentage of 6 20 for all Scotland. The proportion of females to males in the county in 1881 was 104 73 to 100, Haddingtonshire being twentieth among the Scottish counties in this respect. The average of the whole country was 107.59 to 100. Pop. (1801) 29,986, (1811) 31,050, (1821) 35,127, (1831) 36,145, (1841) 35,886, (1851) 36, 386, (1861) 37, 634, (1871), 37,771, and (1881) 38,502, of whom 19,696 were females, whilst 12,204 were in the four towns, 7374 in the ten villages, and 18,924 rural, the three last corresponding figures in the 1871 census being 11,423, 6623, and 19,725. Houses (188l) 8122 inhabited, 948 vacant, 44 building.

The registration county takes in part of Oldhamstocks parish from Berwickshire, and gives off part of Fala and Soutra parish to Edinburghshire. Pop. (1881) 38,510. All the parishes are assessed for the poor; eleven of them, with one in Berwickshire, form East Lothian combination, with a poorhouse at Prestonkirk; and eight, with two in Edinburghshire, form Inveresk combination. The Haddington old parochial hospital had 10 patients in April 1881; and the Haddington County Asylum contained 92 lunatics.

The history of what is now known as Haddingtonshire will be found under the articles Lothians and Dubar; for its fate has always been closely connected with that of the Earls o Dunbar. It is enough to say here that Haddingtonshire shows traces of Roman occupation, and that, after for a time forming part of the Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, it passed under the sceptre of Malcolm II. of Scotland in 1020. It enjoyed undisturbed repose during the reigns of David I., Malcolm IV, and William the Lyon; but in the struggles of Scotland with the English in the 13th and following centuries it had its full share of troubles and fightings. The numerous ruined towers and castles in every part of the lowlands of the county bear ample testimony to the troublous times of that and the succeeding periods of history. Within the limits of the shire are the battlefields of Dunbar, where Cromwell defeated the Scottish army in 1650, and of Prestonpans where Prince Charles Edward met the English forces under General Cope in 1745. In connection with its more private history, some of its famous families and celebrated men should be mentioned. Among the former are the Fletchers of Salton, the Setons of Seton, the Hamiltons of Preston, the Maitlands of Lethington (now Lennoxlove), and the Dalrymples of Hailes. Walter Bower or Bowmaker, the continuer of Fordun's Scotichronicon; Andrew de Wyntoun, the metrical chronicler; and John Mair or Major, also a chronicler,- are all claimed as East Lothian men. Sir R. Maitland, who lived at Lethington, was a court poet in the days of Queen Mary; and James VI-'s Chancellor Maitland was born within the walls of the same old castle. Garmylton (now Garleton) Castle disputes with Fifeshire the honour of being the birthplace of Sir David Lindsay: and the poet's latest editor (D. Laing's Works of Sir David Lindsay, 3 vols-, 1879) rather inclines to favour the claim of Garleton. William Dunbar, the poet, is claimed as a native by Salton parish, and George Heriot by Gladsmuir. John Knox is undoubtedly the most famous of East Lothian men; and others arc noted in the local articles on the different towns and villages. Among the famous clergymen who have held charges in Haddingtonshire there may be mentioned Bishop Gilbert Burnet, who was parish minister of Salton from 1665 till 1669, and who left a bequest to the parish; Blair, author of the Grave, and Home, author of -Doug as, were successive ministers at Athelstaneford; David Calderwood, author of the History of the Church of Scotland, was minister of Pencaitland; and William Robertson, the historian, and afterwards principal of Edinburgh University, filled the pulpit at Gladsmuir. George Wishart, the martyr, was seized by Bothwell at Ormiston.

The antiquities of the county are both numerous and interesting, though some, as for example, a Caledonian stone circle in Tranent parish, and the traces of a Roman road from Lauderdale to the Forth, have been destroyed or removed. There are still extant tumuli, probably Caledonian, in Garvald and Innerwick parishes, and traces of ancient camps in Whittinghame, Garvald, Innerwick, Spott, Salton, and Ormiston parishes. Ruins and vestiges of mediæval towers and castles are peculiarly numerous in this shire. The chief are those at Dunbar, Tantallon, Innerwick, and Dirleton; and there are others at Prestonkirk, Whittinahame, Garvald, Herdmanston, Redhouse, Fentoe., Falside, Elphinstone, Hailes, and Stoneypath. The `Goblin Hall, mentioned in Scott's Marmion, is identified in an old tronghold of Sir Hugo de Gifford, near Yester House. The fortress on the Bass Rock attained a celebrity as the prison of some of the most noted Covenanters. The ecclesiastical remains in the county are deeply interesting. They include the abbey at Haddington, of which the present Nunraw House was an appanage, a Cistercian convent at North Berwick, and several very ancient chapels and parish churches, that at Pencaitland, for example, being said to date from about 1213, while the Collegiate church of Seton in Tranent was built before 1390, and the old disused church at Gullane was abandoned in 1612 for a newer one at Dirleton. The topographical nomenclature itself in Haddingtonshire affords interesting matter of study to the archæologist and philologer.

See D. Croal's Sketches of East Lothian (Hadding. 1873); R. Scot-Skirving's essay on `The Agriculture of East Lothian,' in vol. v. of the fourth series of Trans. Highl. and Ag. Soc. (1873); and works cited under Bass, Berwick (North), Dunbar, Haddington, Prestonpans, Tranent, and Tyne.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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