Linlithgowshire, Scotland


LINLITHGOWSHIRE, a county, in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by the Firth of Forth; on the east and south-east, by the county of Edinburgh; on the south-west, by Lanarkshire; and on the west, by the county of Stirling. It lies between 55° 49' and 56° 1' (N. Lat.) and 3° 18' and 3° 51' (W. Long.), and is about twenty-one miles in length and twelve miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of 112 square miles, or 71,680 acres; 5675 houses, of which 5333 are inhabited; and containing a population of 26,872, of whom 13,797 are males and 13,075 females. This division of the country, sometimes called West Lothian from its forming the western district of the ancient and extensive province of Lothian, was at the time of the Roman invasion inhabited by the British tribe Gadeni. It afterwards became a portion of the province of Valentia, and the western boundary of the Roman conquests in this part. No district of the province abounded more with Roman works than this county. A Roman road from the village of Cramond extended along the shore of the Firth to Carriden; where, indeed, the wall of Antonine, of which a very considerable portion traversed the district, is supposed to have also terminated. Upon the departure of the Romans, great numbers of the emigrants from the Irish coast, who had established themselves in Cantyre, removed to these parts, and for a long period retained possession of their settlements, though much harassed by the Picts and others. After the union of the two kingdoms under Kenneth II., they became identified with the Scots: and in the reign of David I., this district of the Lothians was erected into a separate sheriffdom.

With respect to ecclesiastical matters, the county was included in the archdiocese of St. Andrew's, and subsequently in the diocese of Edinburgh, of which it constituted the archdeaconry of Linlithgow. It is now in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and comprises one presbytery and twelve parishes. The civil affairs are transacted at Linlithgow, which is the county-town and a royal burgh, where all the courts are held; the shire contains also the royal burgh of Queensferry, the burgh-of-barony of Bathgate, and the burgh-of-regality of Borrowstounness, with some smaller towns and populous villages. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., it returns one member to the imperial parliament. The surface is for the most part pleasingly diversified with gentle undulations, and is intersected nearly in the centre by a range of eminences of moderate elevation. In the east and south the land is generally level; but towards the west are some hills, though of inconsiderable height, which are clothed with verdure, and crowned with woods. The principal river is the Almond, which has its source among the hills of Lanarkshire, and, intersecting the county in a north-eastern direction, flows into the Firth of Forth at the village of Cramond: it is navigable for boats and small craft for a quarter of a mile from its mouth. The river Aven, or Avon, after forming for some distance a boundary between the county and Stirlingshire, falls into the Firth to the west of Borrowstounness. The only lake of any importance is Linlithgow loch, about a mile in length and a quarter of a mile wide, comprising an area of 154 acres. It is beautifully situated among rising grounds richly wooded, and embraces much picturesque and romantic scenery. On the south bank are seated the town and palace of Linlithgow, the gardens of which latter extend westward along its margin; and at the north-west extremity is a small rivulet called the Loch Burn, which, after a short course, flows into the Avon.

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