UK Genealogy Archives logo

Ecclesmachan, Linlithgowshire

Historical Description

ECCLESMACHAN, a parish, in the county of Linlithgow; containing, with the villages of Three-Mile-town and Waterston, 303 inhabitants, of whom 97 are in the village of Ecclesmachan, 1 mile (N.) from Uphall. This place derives its name from the dedication of its ancient church to St. Machan, who flourished in the ninth century. It is separated into two detached portions by the intervention of a part of the parish of Linlithgow, and comprises altogether an area of 2458 acres; about 2300 acres are arable and pasture, 130 woodland and plantations, and the remainder roads and waste. The surface rises into two ridges, of which that in the western portion of the parish attains an elevation of 600 feet, and is intersected by several shallow ravines; the eastern ridge, of less height, is precipitously steep, rising on the south into an abrupt eminence called Tar or Tor Hill. The lower grounds are watered by several small streams that flow into the river Almond; and the prevailing scenery is softened by the thriving plantations that have been formed on the lands of Blackcraig. In general the soil is fertile; the lands, which are divided into farms of moderate extent, are under good cultivation, and the best system of husbandry has been adopted. The crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, and turnips. The grounds are well inclosed with hedges of thorn and ditches, and draining has been practised to some extent, but there is still great room for improvement. The rearing of live stock is confined chiefly to the Ayrshire breed of cattle, with a cross of the short-horned; oxen of the Angus or the Highland breed, and black-faced sheep, are fattened on the pastures. Coal is plentiful, and was formerly wrought in several parts: sandstone is found on most of the lands; and in the vicinity of the most prominent rocks, which are of trap, are found large beds of indurated clay, interspersed occasionally with seams of ironstone. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2718. The village consists of a few houses near the church, and facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in excellent repair by statute labour, and by the road from Edinburgh to Falkirk, which passes through the northern extremity of the parish. Ecclesmachan is within the bounds of the presbytery of Linlithgow, synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; patron, the Earl of Hopetoun: the minister's stipend is £256. 12., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum. The church, which was nearly rebuilt in the beginning of the last century, and thoroughly repaired in 1822, is a plain structure containing 153 sittings. The parochial school is attended by about fifty children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £20 per annum. A school was erected on the border of the parish by the late Robert Warden, Esq.; the master is solely dependent on the fees, having only the house rent free, which in summer is used as a preaching-station on the Sabbath evenings. On the Tar hill is a spring called the Bullion Well, the water of which is slightly impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen. William Hamilton, a poet of eminence in the early part of the 18th century, was either born, or resided in the parish.

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