1902 Encyclopedia > Haddington (burgh, town), Scotland

Haddington (burgh, town)

HADDINGTON, a royal and parliamentary burgh, and the chief town of the above county [HADDINGTON (COUNTY)], is situated on the banks of the Tyne, about 17 miles east of Edinburgh. It occupies almost the centre of the shire to which it has given the name. It consists of two main streets, which are wide and well built,—High Street to the south and Market Street to the north; both run towards the Tyne, here crossed by three bridges, two of which connect the town with its suburb of Nungate. This suburb consists of old and ruin-ous houses, and is inhabited for the most part by Irish agricultural labourers. The systems of drainage and water supply are excellent, but the want of manufactures and the inconvenience of its railway branch line have prevented the growth of the burgh.

The chief edifices are the county buildings, the corn ex-change, which next to that of Edinburgh is the largest in Scotland, the town-house adorned with a very elegant spire 150 feet high, and the district asylum for the insane. There is a monument of some pretensions to Robert Fer-gusson of Raith, and a somewhat trifling one to the memory of Home the author of Douglas. The chief structure, how-ever, is the church, an edifice probably dating from the 13th century It is 210 feet long, and is surmounted by a square tower 90 feet high. One part is used as the parish church ; the remainder, though ruinous, is now preserved with a care that makes some amends for centuries of neglect. To this church the name of Lucerna Laudonice has long been applied, but it seems probable that the edifice to which Fordun and Major applied that name was the church of the Franciscan Friars close to the Tyne, of which not a fragment now remains. The Nungate possesses the ruin of an old chapel of St Martin. The grammar school of Had-dington was established at a very early period, and carefully fostered by the burghal authorities. At one time it at-tained considerable eminence, but latterly fell into complete disuse. Under the name of the Knox Memorial Institute, a very handsome school building has been erected (1879), and with this the ancient burgh school is incorporated. The population of the burgh in 1861 was 3874and in 1871 4004.

Haddington is said to have been erected into a burgh by David I. It must have been a place of considerable importance, for when the "Curia Quatuor Burgorum" subsisted there was an appeal from the sentences of burgh courts to that of the chamberlain at Haddington. There are also extant charters in its favour from Robert the Bruce and Robert II. Exposed as it was to the English attack it was frequently ravaged and burned. In 1548 it was fortified by Lord Grey of Wilton, the English commander, but was I besieged in the following year by the Scotch and their French | auxiliaries, who forced the garrison to abandon the town. As one result of all this struggle and suffering, it is impossible to dig far in any direction without coming on human remains. Haddington has also suffered frequently from floods. An inscrip-tion in the centre of the town commemorates one of the most notable of these (October 4, 1775), marking the point to which the water rose. John Knox was born (1505) at the Giffordgate in the Nungate ; John Brown, a celebrated dissenting divine, several of whose descendants have been eminent in science and literature, had a charge in Haddington for many years ; and Edward Irving was for some years mathematical master in the burgh school.

For the general history of the county see Chalmers's Caledonia, vol. ii.; also \ Dr Barclay's paper on " Haddington," in the 1st vol. of the Transactions of the \ Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol i. (1792); Hepburn's View of the Agricul- | ture of East Lothian (1*794); Somerville's Survey of East Lothian (1805); New Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ti. (1845); History of Haddington, by James Miller (1844). The siege of the town is fully narrated in Histoire de la Guerre d'Escosse, by Jean de Beaugue". For an account of the burgh records, see Thomas Thomson's paper in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. ii. pt. iii. The question as to the birthplaces of Knox, Lyndsay, and Dunbar is fully discussed in David Laing's editions of those writers. (F. WA.)

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