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Cramond, Edinburghshire

Historical Description

CRAMOND, a parish, chiefly in the county of EDINBURGH, and partly in that of LINLITHGOW; including the village of Davidson's-Mains, and containing 1981 inhabitants, of whom 167 are in the village of Cramond, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Edinburgh. This place derived its name, originally Caer Amon, from the erection of a fortress on the river Amon or Almond at its influx into the Firth of Forth; and from the discovery of coins and other relics of antiquity, it is supposed to have been a Roman station, and the port through which that people obtained supplies of grain for their army. Among the antiquities found here are, the remains of a bath and several altars, and the military road leading from the village to the south. About half way between Queensferry and Edinburgh is Cramond Brig, where, according to ancient tradition, one of the Scottish kings was rescued from a band of robbers by the ancestor of the Howisons of Braehead and Crawfordland. That family is said to hold these lands on condition of attending at Cramond Bridge with a basin of water and a towel, for the king to wash his hands, when passing here; and this ceremony was performed by Mr. Howison Crawford in 1822, at the banquet given to George IV. by the corporation of Edinburgh.

The PARISH is situated on the south shore of the Firth, and that part of it which is in the county of Linlithgow is separated from the other portion by the river Almond. The whole is from six to seven miles in length, and from one mile to two miles in breadth; and including the small islands of Cramond and Inch-Mickery, it comprises about 4900 acres. Its surface is beautifully diversified, containing part of the Corstorphine hill; and the surrounding district abounds with interesting features, and with every variety of picturesque and romantic scenery. The island of Cramond, which at low water is accessible on foot, contains about nineteen acres, affording excellent pasturage for sheep, and has two or three cottages for the accommodation of sea-bathers: towards the centre it rises to a considerable height, and on the east are some precipitous cliffs of granite. It anciently belonged to the bishops of Dunkeld, and subsequently to the Balmerino family. Between this island and Inch-Colm, nearly in the centre of the Firth, is the small rocky islet of Inch-Mickery, covered with mosses and sea-weed. The SOIL is fertile, and the lands are in a high state of cultivation, produring crops of every kind. There are several seams of coal in the parish, which have been occasionally wrought; but the quality is not such as to encourage the continuance of the mines. Excellent freestone is found on the lands of the Duke of Buccleuch, and from quarries here were raised the materials for the construction of the harbour and pier of Granton. The annual value of real property in the Edinburgh portion of the parish is £16,100. Among the numerous seats and mansions are, Barnton, Lauriston, Cramond House, Caroline Park, Muir House, New Saughton, Braehead, and Craigerook: the first mentioned was a hunting-seat of one of the kings of Scotland. The village of Cramond lies in a romantic valley on the east side of the Almond, and opposite to the pleasure-grounds of Dalmeny Park on the west bank of that river; it is neatly built, and is a favourite resort of the inhabitants of Edinburgh during the summer months. Near it are some iron and paper works, established in 1771, which are still carried on with spirit, and afford regular employment to a considerable number of the population.

For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Edinburgh, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The minister's stipend is £271, with an excellent manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patrons, the family of Ramsay, of Barnton, The church was erected in 1650, since which time it has been frequently enlarged and repaired. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church at Davidson's-Mains, the largest village in the parish. The parochial school is attended by a considerable number of children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £30. There are upwards of £3000 in charitable bequests, the interest of which, besides the legal assessment, is distributed amongst the poor; also funds for the distribution of coal and meal, and for education. Altogether the parish contains eight schools, three of which are conducted by female teachers. Cramond has given birth to several eminent and remarkable men. Of these, may be mentioned, John, Lord Balmerino, the opposer of Charles I. and friend of the Covenanters, Sir Thomas Hope, the celebrated lawyer of the Scottish bar; Sir George Mackenzie, first Earl of Cromarty, an able writer; Dr. Cleghorn, professor of anatomy in the university of Dublin, who may be considered as the founder of the school of medicine there; and John Law, of Lauriston. This last-named extraordinary character raised himself to the dignity of comptroller-general of the finances of France, upon the strength of a scheme for establishing a bank, an East India, and a Mississippi, company, by the profits of which the national debt of France was to be paid off. In 1718, his bank was declared a royal one, and the shares rose to upwards of twenty-fold the original value, so that, in 1719, they were worth more than eighty times the amount of all the current specie in France. But the following year this great fabric of false credit fell to the ground, almost overthrew the government, and ruined tens of thousands of families. Craigerouk, in the parish, was the residence of Lord Jeffrey, the distinguished critic: he was born at Edinburgh in 1773, and died here on the 26th January, 1850.-See GRANTON.

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

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