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Parish of Prestonkirk

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Prestonkirk
1834-45: Prestonkirk

Prestonkirk, a parish of Haddingtonshire, containing the town and station of East Linton, 5¾ miles WSW of Dunbar, and 23½ E by N of Edinburgh. Called the Halch, Hauch, or Haugh in the time of Gawin Douglas, since the Reformation it received the name, first of Prestonhaugh, then of Prestonkirk, and in legal documents is still designated `Prestonhaugh, otherwise called Prestonkirk;' whilst its popular name is often briefly Linton. It is bounded N by North Berwick, NE by Whitekirk, E by Whitekirk and Dunbar, SE by Stenton, S by Whittingham, SW by Morham and Haddington, and W by Athelstaneford. With a somewhat irregular outline, it has an utmost length from NNW to SSE of 4¾ miles, a varying breadth of 3 furlongs and 4¼ miles, and an area of 7088½ acres, of which 13½ are water. The Tyne has here an east-north-easterly course of 47/8 miles, for the first 7 furlongs along the Haddington boundary; and the East Peffer Burn flows cast-north-eastward across the northern interior and along the Athelstaneford and Whitekirk borders. In the E where the Tyne passes off from the parish, the surface declines to 75 feet above sea-level; and N of the river it nowhere exceeds 281 feet; but in the S is conical Traprain Law (700 feet), which figures conspicuously over a wide extent of landscape. The predominant rocks are claystone, clinkstone, and limestone, and the first is often porphyritic' abounds in crystals of felspar, and contains in places veins of yellow jasper, and of heavy spar. The soil near the Tyne is mostly sandy and gravelly; in the N is argillaceous, partly very stiff; and in the S is calcareous. But a small proportion of land is under wood; about 200 acres are pasture; and nearly all the rest of the parish is in tillage. The chief antiquities are noticed under Hailes Castle and Traiprain Law. Sever stone coffins have been turned up by the plough; a standing stone is said to mark the grave of a Saxon commander; the site is pointed out of the ancient parish church, dedicated to St Baldred, and mentioned in record of the 9th century; and ruins exist of an ancient monastery on Markle farm. St Balthere or Baldred, who died in 756, and who was the patron saint of the parish, is said to have dwelt here, and to have founded the earliest church. He is commemorated in the name of an excellent spring, St Baldred's Well, and in the name of an eddy in the Tyne, St Baldred's Whirl. Gawin Douglas (1474-1522), the translator of Virgil, was'parson of Hauch' (not Hawick), previous to becoming Bishop of Dunkeld in 1516. Mansions noticed separately are Smeaton House and Phantassie; and 8 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500. Prestonkirk is in the presbytery of Dunbar and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £395. The churches and the public school have been described under East Linton. That school, with accommodation for 464 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 231, and a grant of £212, 13s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £15, 550, (1885) £16,850, 0s. Pop. (1801) 1741, (1831) 1765, (1861) 1960, (1871) 1931, (1881) 1929.—Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 1863.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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