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Bolton, Haddingtonshire

Historical Description

BOLTON, a parish, in the county of Haddington, 2 miles (S. by W.) from Haddington; containing 341 inhabitants. This manor belonged to Hepburn of Bolton, who, as the associate of the Earl of Bothwell, was executed for the murder of the Earl of Darnley; and on its consequent forfeiture, it was granted to William Maitland, better known as Secretary Lethington. The grant was confirmed to his kinsman the Earl of Lauderdale, in whose family the property continued till the Revolution, when it was sold to Sir Thomas Livingstone. In 1702 it passed by purchase into the noble family of Blantyre, its present proprietors; as did also the adjoining property of Lethington, now called Lennoxlove. The parish, which is about six miles in length, and one mile and a quarter in average breadth, is bounded on the east and north-east by the Gifford or Bolton water, and comprises 3090 acres, of which 370 are woodland, 70 acres meadow and pasture, and the remainder arable. Its surface, though pleasingly undulated, possesses little other variety, seldom rising to any considerable elevation; the scenery is, however, enriched with woods, in which are some remarkably fine trees. The chief stream is the Bolton water, which is the boundary between this parish and that of Haddington, for nearly three miles; it rises in the Lammermoor hills, and, receiving various tributary streams in its descent, flows with a rapid current past the parish, and falls into the Tyne near Haddington. It adds greatly to the scenery, having banks crowned with thriving plantations, and abounds in trout of excellent quality. The Birns water, a small stream rising also in the Lammermoor hills, after forming a boundary between this parish and that of Humbie, falls into the Tyne at Salton. There are likewise various springs of good water, affording an abundant supply for domestic use.

The soil is generally a fertile clay, with the exception of a small portion of inferior quality. The principal crops are, wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, and turnips; the lands are well drained and inclosed, and all the modern improvements in husbandry, and in agricultural implements, have been adopted. Great attention is paid to sheep and cattle, and to the cultivation of green crops, on which they are fed throughout the winter season. The annual value of real property in the parish is £3072. The woods consist of the various kinds of forest-trees, many of which are of ancient and stately growth; and in the grounds of Eaglescarnie are some remarkably fine chesnut-trees. In this parish the principal substrata are, sandstone of coarse texture, and greenstone of very compact quality, but no quarries have been opened; limestone is supposed to exist, but none has hitherto been worked. The only mansion-house is Eaglescarnie, pleasantly situated near the bank of the Bolton water, which enlivens the demesne; the lands are embellished with thriving and extensive plantations. The ancient manor-house of Bolton has long since disappeared; and the only remaining memorial of it is the site on which it stood, still called the Orchard Park. Ecclesiastically, Bolton is in the presbytery of Haddington and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the minister's stipend is £153. 15. 5., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £18 per annum; patron, Lord Blantyre. The church, erected in 1809, is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and is well adapted for a congregation of 350 persons. The parochial school affords instruction to about eighty scholars; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £40 fees, and a house and garden. There are some remains of a Roman camp, of quadrilateral form, occupying an area of more than five acres.

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