1902 Encyclopedia > Lothian


LOTHIAN, LOTHENE, LAODONTA, a name whose origin is unknown,1 now preserved in the three Scottish counties of East, West, and Mid Lothian - HADDINGTON, LINLITHGOW, and EDINBURGH (q.v.) - originally extended from the Forth to the Tweed. The Forth separated it from Celtic Alba, and the Tweed from the southern part of Bryneich (Bernicia). Its western boundaries appear to have been the Cheviots and the Lowthers. After the Anglo-Saxon migration it formed part of the Anglian kingdom of Northumberland, founded by Ida the Flame-bearer in 547, which in its widest extent, under the powerful Northumbrian kings of the 7th century, reached from the Humber to the Forth. A different but allied branch of the Angles settled along the tributaries of the Tweed, and the Cheviot, Lowther, Moorfoot, and Pentland (Pictish) hills separated the colonists of southern Scotland from the British kingdom of Strath Clyde or Cumbria. The victories of Catrieth (596) and Dregsastan (603) in the reign of Ethelfrith represent the close of the struggle which drove the British or Cumbrian Celts (Cymry) into the western hill country, afterwards known as Westmoreland and Cumberland, and the Picts to the north of the Forth and Clyde, so that Anglian Northumberland secured the former river as its northern boundary, and even for a time threatened to pass it. Edwin of Deira (617-33), the chief king of England in his time, probably founded Edinburgh, although its Celtic name Dun Eden has been thought by some to 'suggest a different derivation. Egfrid at the close of the 7th century established an Anglian bishop at Abereorn on the Forth, but was defeated and slain at Neehtansmere, or Dunnichen, in Forfarshire by the Pictish king Brude (685), and Trumwine the bishop at Abercorn was forced to retire to Whitby. In the 8th century the Northumbrian kings were engaged in a conflict with Mercia, and in 827 the supremacy of Egbert, the founder of the West Saxon monarchy, was acknowledged, although on the part of the Northumbrians the recognition must have been at first almost nominal, for it was not until more than a century later that Athelstan, by the victory of Brunanburg (937) over the allied Welsh, Scots, and Northumbrian Danes, really extended the boundaries of the Wessex kingdom over the greater part of Northumbria, which was reduced to an earldom by Edred in 954. Athelstan had in 934 ravaged Scotland north of the Forth, and must for a time have reduced Lothian, the northern district of Northumberland, but it does not appear that either he or any of his successors had real sovereignty over Lothian, which was left to the rule of Northumbrian earls, sometimes of Anglian and at other times of Danish race. Its population continued Anglian, as is proved by the fact that there are no Danish monuments and few Danish place names between the Tweed and the Forth. The Scottish Celts, like the English Anglo-Saxons, were during this period occupied with warding off the Danes and Norsemen, but about the middle of the 9th century Kenneth Macalpine united the Scottish and Pictish kingdoms, and fixed the capital at Scone. This monarch is said by the Pictish chronicle to have six times invaded Saxony (the name given by the Celts to the Anglo-Saxon territory), and to have burnt Dunbar and Melrose. The Anglians of Northumbria had been converted to Christianity by Paulinus in 627, and reconverted by a Celtic mission from Iona between 635 and 651 under Aldan, who planted a mission station - a southern Iona - on the Holy Island, and became first bishop of Lindisfarne. Cuthbert, one of his successors in this bishopric, which had become Anglian and conformed to the Roman ritual and discipline after the council of Whitby (664), has the credit of spreading the gospel in Lothian, where he had been first monk and then prior of the recently founded monastery of Melrose.

About the middle of the 10th century (954-62) Edinburgh was abandoned by the Northumbrian Angles and occupied by Indulph, son of Constantine, king of the Scots. According to John of Wallingford and Roger of Wendover, Edgar the West Saxon king ceded in 966 Lothian to Kenneth III., son of Malcolm L, on condition that he should do homage for it and give pledges not to deprive the people of that region of their ancient customs, and that they should still retain the name and language of the Angles. This cession, which is nut in the older chronicles, has been matter of controversy between Freeman (Norman Conquest, i., note B, p. 610), rho accepts the statement, and E. W. Robertson (Scotland under leer Early Kings, i. 390) and Skene (Celtic Scotland, i. 370), who reject it upon what appear better grounds. But the dispute is of small importance, as it is admitted on the authority of Simeon of Durham that, whether or not it was then ceded on condition of homage, it was annexed to Scotland by conquest in 1018 in consequence of the victory at Carham by Malcolm the son of Kenneth over the Northumbrian earl Eadulf Ciudel, - " Hoc mode," says Simeon writing before 1129, " Lodoniurn adjectum est regno Scotia?." Canute and William the Conqueror made temporary conquests of Scotland including Lothian, and homage of various kinds was rendered to them and other Norman monarchs, but there is no trace of any special homage for Lothian except in two dubious charters by Edgar to William Rufus, so that it seems certain that from the beginning of the 11th century it was an integral part of Scotland. Freeman, in his Historical Geography, styles it an English earldom, but it is never so called in any authentic record. While it was an integral part of Scotland its population was recognized as a distinct branch of the Scottish nation, and the men of Lothian are frequently separately named, as in the contemporary account of the Battle of the Standard (1138). It also retained its language, customs, and laws, which were those of the Angles of Northumbria. Although united in civil government to Scotland, Lothian, or at least many places in it, continued ecclesiastically subject to the see of Durham, which had succeeded that of Lindisfarne, until the beginning of the 12th century (Stubbs and Haddan, Concilia, ii. p. 161), hut it then came under the bishop of St Andrews, and was divided into three rural deaneries, the Merse, Haddington, and Linlithgow, with an archdeacon of Lothian, who first distinctly appears under that name at the commencement of the 13th century.

The division of Scotland into shires was probably made by David I., and Lothian included the shires of Berwick or the Merse (the march or borderland, as English Mercia and Spanish Murcia), Roxburgh, and Edinburgh, which included the constabularies of Haddington and Linlithgow, afterwards erected into separate counties. Its principal burghs - Berwick, Roxburgh, and Edinburgh - formed along with Stirling the court of the four burghs, whose laws were collected by David I. (" Leges Quatuor Burgorum," Act. Earl. Scot., i. 327), and whose meeting-place was Haddington, but the frequent occupation of Berwick and Roxburgh by the English caused Lanark and Linlithgow to be substituted, and the place of meeting to be changed to Stirling in 1368. The convention of royal burghs may be traced back to this court.

The independence of Scotland, including Lothian, though frequently disputed by the English sovereigns, was always maintained by the Scotch, except when surrendered by William the Lion as a prisoner by the treaty of Falaise 1174, cancelled by Richard 1. in 1189. It was finally acknowledged by Edward I. in the treaty of Brigham, but after the death of the Maid of Norway this acknowledgment was repudiated, and it was only finally established by the war of independence, and definitely recognized in the treaty of Northampton in 1328.

By a singular but fortunate series of events, of which the first was the marriage of Malcolm Canmore with the Saxon princess Margaret, Lothian, the Anglian part of the Scottish kingdom, though its borderland, became its centre. Edinburgh, its chief town, was from that time a favourite residence of the court, and under the Stuart kings became the capital of the kingdom. Its language, the dialect of northern England, became the basis of the Lowland Scots, at first called Inglys or English, but afterwards Scotch, when Celtic, Erse, or Gaelic had ceased to be spoken in the lowland districts, in distinction from southern English. Its customary law, with additions prior to the war of independence of Norman feudal institutions from England, is the basis of those parts of the common law of Scotland which are not taken from Roman jurisprudence. And it was from Lothian that Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman civilization radiated to the remotest parts of the Highlands and Islands. M.)

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