1902 Encyclopedia > Haddington (or East Lothian) - county, Scotland

Haddington (county)
(East Lothian)

HADDINGTON, or EAST LOTHIAN, a maritime county of Scotland, lies between 55° 46' 10" and 56° 4' N. lat. and between 2° 8' and 2° 49' W. long. It is bounded on the N. by the Firth of Forth, on the E. by the North Sea, on the S. by Berwickshire, on the W. by Edinburghshire. Its seaboard is 31f miles. Its greatest length from east to west is 25 miles, its breadth from north to south about 16 miles. Its area covers 179,142 acres (280 square miles), of which 189J are under water, 5505 foreshore, and 142J in " links." The general outline of the county is that of an irregular quadrilateral figure with its northern angle pro-jecting into the sea. Along a south-and-north line through the county town, the land slopes gradually up from the coast to the Garleton Hills, thence down to the Tyne valley, and then up again to the Lammermuir Hills, which occupy the southern district of the county. On the east and west the ground slopes from the Lammermuirs to the sea, but near the sea the fall is so gentle that the land has the appearance of a plain. Two almost isolated hills break the level,—North Berwick Law (612 feet) on the coast, and Traprain Law ("724) in the eastern part of the Tyne valley. The chief summits of the Lammermuir Hills are Spartleton (1534), Lammerlaw (1500), and Soutra Hill (1230). The only stream of any importance is the Tyne, which, after a course of 7 miles in Midlothian, flows through the county with a gentle current north-east past the town of Haddington, and falls into the sea at Tyne-mouth. A very fine variety of trout is found in it; and below the rocks of the linn at East Linton salmon are occasionally caught. The Whiteadder rises in the county, and flows south-east into Berwick,
Geology and Mineralogy.—The Lammermuirs are com-posed chiefly of Lower Silurian strata, overlaid in part by Old Red Sandstone and conglomerate—one great mass of the latter extending south-east from Spott, with a breadth of 3 or 4 miles, across the hills into Berwickshire. Another belt of Old Red Sandstone rather more than 1 mile in breadth begins at the sea a little to the south of Dunbar, and stretches along the base of the Lammermuirs. Patches of Old Red Conglomerate occur also here and there in the Lammermuirs further to the west, and are seen in the upper tributaries of Gifford and Humbie waters. The ground to the north of the Lammermuirs is occupied chiefly by rocks belonging to the Calciferous Sandstone and Carboniferous Limestone series of the Carboniferous formation. The Cal-ciferous Sandstones cover a wide area west and east of Haddington, extending south to the Lammermuirs, along the base of which they trend south-west beyond the county boundary. They also appear in the lower reaches of the Tyne valley, covering a considerable area between Tynning-hame Links and Biel Water. Again they are seen on the shore between Torness Point and Dunglass Burn, whence they strike inland. The hilly tract between Haddington and North Berwick is made up of various volcanic rocks of Lower Carboniferous age, such as porphyrite, dolerite, and tuff. In the western part of the county the Carboniferous Limestone series occupies an extensive area and is rich in limestones and coal-seams. This area forms the eastern margin of the Midlothian coal-field. A patch of the Lime-stone series also appears upon the coast about a mile south of Dunbar. Besides these bedded aqueous and volcanic rocks, there are numerous intruded masses, dykes, and veins of felstone and basalt, and some pipes of tuff and agglomerate which mark the sites of ancient volcanoes of Lower Carboniferous age. Granite is found at Priestlaw. Deposits of glacial origiu are met with more or less abundantly, especially in the low-lying tracts. These con-sist of till or boulder-clay and mounds and sheets of sand and gravel, underneath which the older rocks are often concealed over wide areas. Alluvial deposits occur along the course of many streams, but the only considerable alluvial flats are those of the Tyne.

Coal of a very fair quality is extensively worked in the west. So long ago as 1200 the monks of Newbattle obtained this mineral from Prestongrange. Limestone is: found throughout the greater part of the shire. A vein of hematite of a peculiarly fine character was discovered in 1866 at the Garleton Hills, and wrought for some years ; but from a variety of causes the works have been mean-while suspended.

Climate.—The climate is on the whole mild and equable. East winds, however, prevail in the months of March, April, and May, and from the lie of the county it is exposed to their full sweep. The amount of rainfall is far below the average of Great Britain. During the period 1835-64 the average annual rainfall was 24'85 inches,— the greatest fall being 327 in 1836, the least 17'3 in 1842. The average monthly fall is lowest in April (1 '16) and highest in August (2'57). In 1872 the rainfall reached the exceptional amount of 41'51 inches.

Agriculture, &c.—The soils are various. The Lammermuirs are of course unproductive, but the slopes to a considerable height are cultivated ; and for a considerable way down the land is very good. In the centre of the county there is " a tenacious yellow clay resting upon a tilly subsoil," and this land is not well suited for agricultural purposes. Along the margin of the Firth the soil is naturally of a sandy nature, but farther inland it is composed of rich loam and is very fertile. The most productive region is the land about Dunbar. The potatoes there are very good, anil under the name of " Dunbar reds " are highly esteemed in the London market, selling at times for as much as £45 an acre. From the beginning of the present cen-tury till within the past few years East Lothian agriculture has on the whole been held to be the best in Scotland. This is not so much due to the natural fertility of the soil as to the enlightened enter-prise of its cultivators. Andrew Meikle here first introduced the threshing mill (1787). Tile draining was first extensively used here, and the reaping machine (now universally employed) and the steam plough were introduced at a comparatively early period of their his-tory . The high price of grain at the time of the Crimean War gave a great impetus to farming, and in consequence rents rose as much as from 15s. to £1 per acre ; this, with the increased cost of labour, which has risen 35 or 40 per cent, (about 10s. per acre) within the last seven or eight years, has sadly diminished the profits of the farmer. The size of the farms is above the average of Great Britain. The majority are from 200 to 500 acres—a very few from 600 to 1200 acres. They are usually let on leases of nineteen years' duration. The rotation of crops is generally the six-course shift, viz., (1) grass (pasture or hay), (2) oats, (3) potatoes, turnips, or beans, (4) wheat, (5) turnips, (6) barley.

According to the agricultural returns of 1879, of the total area of 179,142 acres 115,364 acres were under cultivation, distributed ias follows:—corn crops, 44,719 (wheat, 7910; barley, 19,536 ; oats, 15,746) ; green crops, 25,656 (potatoes, 9835 ; turnips and swedes, 14,796) ; clover and grass, 27,194 ; permanent pasture, 16,000; bare fallow, 1075. Of live stock the numbers were— horses, 3818, or 3-3 for every 100 imperial acres as against a general average for Scotland of 4'2 ; cattle, 8205, or 7'1 as against 23-0 ; sheep, 108,672, or 94-2 as against 1451 ; pigs, 2485, or2'2 as against 2'7. These comparatively small averages are of course explained by the fact that the county is not a pastoral one. It deserves to be noted, however, that its flocks of Leicester sheep have for years been justly celebrated, and shorthorns of a very high class have been successfully bred.
Game is no great hindrance to agriculture. A source of greater an-noyance is the immense number of wood pigeons which, in defiance of all efforts to hold them in check, commit great havoc yearly.

The wages of farm servants average about 18s. weekly, the "grieve" or farm overseer receiving a little more ; but of this only from £20 to £25 per annum is given in money. The rest is paid in kind, and consists of meal, potatoes, a cow's keep, a cottage, and piece of ground. These cottages have been greatly improved of late years, and are now very fair dwellings indeed. The " bothy system " is practically a thing of the past. Extra field labour is supplied by gangs of Irish or Highland workers, who dwell in the towns, but go out during the day to work in the country. The regular employes are hired for the most part at "feeing-markets," though advertisement and private arrangement are also often employed.

According to the return for 1873-74, there were 1509 proprietors in the county owning a total 171,739 of acres, of the annual value of £349,209. The average rental was £2, 0s. 8d. per acre,-—that of all Scotland being £1. There were 1191 proprietors (79 per cent, of the whole) who owned less than 1 acre ; from 1 to 188 owned 10 acres, and 47 from 10 to 100 ; and 9 owned between 5000 and 21,000, the largest proprietors being—Marquis of Tweeddale, Yester House, 20,486 acres; Lady Mary Hamilton, Biel, 14,345; Balfour of Whittinghame, 10,564; Earl of Wemyss, Gosford, 10,136; Sir G. Grant Suttie, Balgone, 8788 ; Earl of Haddington, Tynninghame, 8302 ; Earl of Hopetoun, 7967 ; Hunter of Thurston, 6492 ; and Houston of Clerkington, 5148.

Communication. —The county is well supplied with roads. The chief line of railway, however, runs along the coast, and this, not-withstanding the aid of branch lines, places a considerable district at a serious disadvantage.

Population, &c.—The population of the county, which is divided into 25 parishes, was 37,676 in 1871, showing an increase of 78 over the number for 1861. It thus appears that the growth of the county town, of North Berwick, a thriving watering-place, and of the mining parishes does little more than counterbalance the decrease in purely agricultural parishes, which in some cases amounts to as much as from 7 to 18 per cent. The chief towns and villages are—Haddington, the county town, 4004; Dunbar, 3422; North Berwick, 1418; Tranent, 2306; East Linton, Prestonpans, Aberlady, Gullane, and Dirleton. The county returns one mem-ber to parliament, and the burghs of Haddington, Dunbar, and North Berwick unite with Lauder (Berwickshire) and Jedburgh (Roxburghshire) in returning another.

Educational Endowments. —The provision for education outside of the public school system is inconsiderable. Schaw's and Stiell's Hospitals in the parishes of Prestonpans and Tranent are charitable educational institutions. In Salton parish there is a fund for educational purposes, left by Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury. According to the Endowed Schools' Report of 1875, the annual in-comes of these were £864, £812, and £97 respectively. School and college bursaries are given annually by the East Lothian Association.

History and Antiquities.—The early Celtic inhabitants of the district have left as memorials of their possession a few local names, and some traces of circular camps (Garvald and Whittinghame parishes) and hill forts (Bolton parish). The Romans built here no enduriug edifices, and there are no certain remains of their camps, but they brought the ground to a high degree of cultivation. The county afterwards formed part of the Saxon kingdom of Northumber-land, but it was joined to Scotland by Malcolm II. in 1020. It was fairly prosperous till the wars of Bruce and Balliol; but from that time till the union of the kingdoms it suffered from its proximity to the English border, and from civil wars. In more modern times it was the scene of two great battles—that of Dunbar (1650) gained by Cromwell over Leslie and the Covenanters, and that of Prestonpans (1745) in which Prince Charles defeated Sir John Cope. The prosperity of the county, like that of many other parts of Scotland, is the growth of the present century.

The chief ruins are—Hailes Castle, where Queen Mary of Scots resided for a brief period after her abduction by Both well ; Dunbar Castle, defended in 1337 by Black Agnes against the earl of Salisbury ; Dirleton Castle, a venerable ruin of the 12th century,— taken in 1298 by Edward I. and again in 1650 by Cromwell''? forces ; Innerwick Castle, near Dunbar ; the collegiate church of Seton in the parish of Tranent, built before 1390 ; North Berwick Abbey, founded about the middle of the 12th century; and Tantallon Castle, opposite the Bass Rock, formerly the chief seat in the east of the Douglas family. The genius of Scott has given to Tantallon a name in English literature greater even than its name in Scottish history ; and readers of Marmion will also remember the name of Hobgoblin Hall, romantically situated near the village of Gifford (about six miles south of the county town), a place connected by name and legend with all manner of popular superstitions. Of modern mansions the chief are Broxmouth Park (Duke of Rox-burghe), Yester House (Marquis of Tweeddale), Tynninghame House (Earl of Haddington), Gosford and Amisfield House (Earl of Wemyss)—Gosford containing a fine collection of pictures, Lennoxlove House (Lord Blantyre), Biel and Archerfield (Lady M. Hamilton), Winton House (Lady Ruthven), and Salton Hall (Fletcher). A lofty column on one of the Garleton hills, erected to the memory of the fourth earl of Hopetoun, is seen from nearly every part of the county.

Of the eminent men born in or connected with the county the following may be mentioned ;—Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount was born 1490 at Garleton Castle, an old keep now utterly ruinous ; William Dunbar was born at Biel about 1460 ; Blair, author of the Grave, and Home, author of Douglas, were successively ministers of Athelstanef ord; David Calderwood, the historian of the Kirk of Scot land, was minister at Pencaitland, and Principal William Robertson at Gladsmuir ; George Heriot, the famous goldsmith of James VI., is said to have been born in Gladsmuir. The historic families of Fletcher of Salton, Dalrymple of Hailes, Maitland of Lethington, and Hamilton of Preston belong to the county. (F. WA.)


See the Geology of East Lothian, by Howell, Geikie, and Young, with Appendix on Fossils, by G. W. Salter. Other works are enumerated on p. 69 of this treatise.

The statistics of the live preceding years do not show any very great variation from these figures.
In 1878-79 the lands valuation of the county amounted to £363,173, 10s.
For further particulars as to the agriculture, see Scott Skirving's prize essay printed in vol. v. (4th series, 1873) of the Highland and Agricultural Society's Transactions.

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