Haddingtonshire, Scotland

Description

HADDINGTONSHIRE, a maritime county in the south-east of Scotland, bounded on the north and east by the Firth of Forth, on the south by the county of Berwick, and on the west by Edinburghshire. It lies between 55° 46' 10" and 56° 4' (N. Lat.) and 2° 8' and 2° 49' (W. Long.), and is about twenty-five miles in length and sixteen in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 224 square miles, or 144,510 acres; 8752 houses, of which 8010 are inhabited; and containing a population of 35,886, of whom 17,279 are males and 18,607 females. This county, which is likewise called East Lothian, as being the eastern part of Lothian, an extensive district including also the shires of Linlithgow and Edinburgh, was before the time of the Romans inhabited by the Gadeni, and subsequently formed a portion of the Saxon kingdom of Northumbria till the year 1020, when it was ceded to Malcolm II., and annexed to Scotland. From that period, for nearly two centuries, it appears to have remained in almost undisturbed tranquillity, and to have made considerable progress in agriculture; but during the wars to which the disputed succession to the Scottish throne gave rise, it suffered materially, and in 1296 became the scene of the battle of Dunbar, in which Baliol was defeated by the English. Not to mention other events connected with the county, in 1650 it suffered from the English under Cromwell, on the same field; and in 1745 the battle of Prestonpans occurred, between the forces of the Pretender and the English under Sir John Cope, since which time it has enjoyed uninterrupted peace.

The county is in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and comprises the presbyteries of Dunbar and Haddington, with twenty-four parishes. In civil matters, the district, for a very long period, was merely a constabulary subject to the jurisdiction of the sheriff of Edinburgh; but in the reign of James II. of England and VII. of Scotland, it was erected into an independent county. It contains the three royal burghs of Haddington (the county town), Dunbar, and North Berwick; and the populous villages of Prestonpans, Tranent, Aberlady, Belhaven, Ormiston, Dirleton, Stenton, Tynninghame, Cockenzie, East Linton, Gifford, and Salton, with numerous smaller villages. Under the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., the county returns one member to the imperial parliament.

Transcribed from Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851
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