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Carriden, Linlithgowshire

Historical Description

CARRIDEN, a parish, in the county of LINLITHGOW, 1½ mile (E.) from Borrowstounness, containing, with the villages of Blackness, Bridgeness, Cuffabouts, Grangepans, and Muirhouses, 1208 inhabitants, It derived its name either from the specific character of the locality, or from its being a military station in connexion with the wall of Antonine, which extended into this parish, nearly to Carriden House. There are now no remains of the wall, but several Roman antiquities have been discovered at different times, including a gold coin of the Emperor Vespasian, a Roman altar without inscription, a brass sword, several vases, and other relics. Few events of historical importance have occurred in connexion with the parish, except such as are closely identified with the castle of Blackness, which, with the village, is noticed in a separate article. The parish extends for three miles along the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, and is about two miles in breadth, comprising an area of 2719 acres, of which 2550 are arable, with some fine tracts of meadow and pasture; 113 woodland and plantations; and the remainder roads and waste. The surface is varied, rising from the shore for nearly a mile in bold undulations, which, as they approach the south-west, near Linlithgow and Borrowstounness, attain an elevation of 519 feet above the sea, and form part of the Irongath hills; towards the east they gradually subside into gentle acclivities. At high water the shore is a narrow margin of sand, gently sloping, and at low water expanding into a considerable tract of soft sleechy matter, a mixture of alluvial soil and sand; the sandy margin is gradually becoming firmer and more stony, from the encroachment of the sea.

The soil varies from a light sand to a rich and fertile loam, and, in some parts, to a heavy clay; the system of agriculture is in a highly improved state, and the crops are grain of all kinds, potatoes, and turnips. Some attention is paid to the rearing of live stock: the sheep, small numbers of which are pastured on the grass-lands, are generally of the black-faced kind; the cattle are the short-horned, occasionally intermixed with others from the north. The annual value of real property in the parish is £4510. The plantations consist of oak, ash, elm, beech, plane, lime, and larch, for all of which the soil is tolerably well adapted. There are several quarries of freestone for building, and whinstone for the roads, which are worked for use in the parish. Coal is every where abundant, and has been wrought from a very remote period: within the present century, not less than ten collieries have been opened, at a short distance from each other; but only four, of which two belong to the Duke of Hamilton and two to John Cadell, Esq., of Grange, are at present in operation. Ironstone, also, is wrought to some extent. Carriden House is an ancient mansion with modern additions, situated in grounds tastefully laid out, and embellished with the windings of the Carriden burn, the banks of which, though of small extent, are beautifully picturesque. At the village of Grangepans, the making of salt is carried on; there were formerly six pans, but only four are now in operation. Near Blackness is a valuable field of clay, twelve feet in depth, affording materials for the making of bricks and tiles; the produce amounted in 1834 to 150,000 bricks, 200,000 roofing-tiles, and the same number of draining-tiles, since which time the demand has much increased. At Bridgeness is a pier for the shipping of coal and salt, and the landing of lime and manure; it has been enlarged by the proprietor, and with it is connected a tramway, about a mile in length, from the collieries. Facility of communication is afforded by the road from Linlithgow to Queensferry, which passes through the south-eastern portion of the parish. On the lands of Capt. Hope, some stake-nets were laid down a few years since; and more recently similar nets have been laid down from the point of Blackness: the quantity of salmon taken has occasionally been considerable.

Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Linlithgow, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale: the minister's stipend is £249. 17., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £25 per annum; patron, the Duke of Hamilton. The church is a neat plain structure, erected in 1766, about half a mile from the old church, the burying-ground of which is still used; it contains 458 sittings. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, and an allowance in lieu of garden, and the fees average about £8 per annum. There is a good parochial library. Col. Gardiner, who was killed at the battle of Prestonpans in 1745, was a native of this parish; Dr. Roebuck, of Sheffield, the original founder of the Carron iron-works, and associated with the celebrated Watt in some of his improvements on the steam-engine, is buried in the churchyard; and the late Rear-Admiral Sir George J. Hope was proprietor of Carriden House.

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

Villages, Hamlets, &c