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Parish of Glencorse


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: Glencorse
1834-45: Glencorse

Glencorse, a parish towards the middle of Edinburghshire, containing, near its eastern border, AuchinDinny village and the Glencorse terminus of the Roslin branch of the North British, 14 ¼ miles S of Edinburgh, from which by road the parish is only 6 to 8 miles distant. Its post office is Milton Bridge, and Penicuik is the nearest town, - within 5 furlongs of its southern extremity. Bounded NW by Colinton, N and E by Lasswade, and S and W by Penicuik, it has an utmost length from WNW to ESE of 3 ¼ miles, an utmost breadth from NNE to SSW of 2 7/8 miles, and an area of 4292 ¾ acres, of which 17 are water. Near Auchindinny the river North Esk winds 1 ¾ mile east-north-eastward along the Lasswade border, and here is joined by Glencorse Burn, which, rising in Penicuik as Logan Burn at an altitude of l400 feet, in Penicuik has an east-northeasterly course of 3 1/8 miles, through a false 'Habbie's Howe' and Loganlee Reservoir (½ mile x ½ furl.). In Glencorse it first runs 5 ½ furlongs along the Penicuik border to crescent-shaped Glencorse Reservoir or the Compensation Pond ( ¾ mile x by 1 ¼ furl.), and then winds 3 ¼ miles east-south-eastward across the interior. From source to mouth it is a pretty little stream; and its expansion, Glencorse Reservoir, has much of the beauty of a natural lake, with its wooded islet and its girdle of big green rounded hills. It was formed in 1819-28, at a cost of nearly £200, 000, by damming the burn's glen with a huge embankment, 128 yards long, l40 yards broad at the base, and 130 feet high. Along the North Esk the surface sinks to a trifle less than 600 feet above sea-level, thence rising west-north-westward to the Pentlands, of which Castlelaw (1595 feet) and Turnhouse Hill (1500) stand N and S of Glencorse Reservoir, whilst Carnethy Hill (1890) falls just within Penicuik parish. The rocks of the hills are mainly eruptive, including clinkstone, greenstone, claystone, and porphyry; those of the lower grounds are carboniferous - sandstone, limestone, coal, and shale. Ironstone of fine quality is worked by the Shotts Iron Co. at Greenlaw; and Dalmore paper-mill at Auchindinny employs a large number of families. The soil ranges from moss to stiff clay, from gravel to the finest loam; and much that formerly was barren moor is now either arable or under wood. Submerged beneath the waters of the reservoir is the site of St Catherine's chapel, said falsely to have been founded by Sir William St Clair, who fell in battle with the Moors of Andalusia, along with the Good Sir James Douglas (1330). He had wagered - .so runs the story - with the Bruce that Help and Hold, his hounds, would pull down a fleet white deer before it crossed the burn. His life was the forfeit, and the scene of the chase the prize ; but, with St Catherine's help, he won the wager, so dedicated this chapel to her honour. Logan House or Tower, although in Penicuik parish, may from its close proximity be noticed here. Supposed, on no good evidence, to have been a royal hunting-seat, it consisted originally of a single tower, built in 1230 or thereby, to which another was added on the N side early in the 15th century by William St Clair, third Earl of Orkney. By the St Clairs of Roslin it was occasionally occupied down to the middle of the 17th century. About ½ mile higher up the glen are remains of what was probably a chapel. Rullion Green, the scene of the Covenanters' overthrow (1666) and House of Muir, where formerly great sheepmarkets were held, are both in the S of the parish, and both are treated of in separate articles. Greenlaw or Glencorse Barracks, the depôt of the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), stand 1 ¾ mile NNE of Penicuik and 7 ½ miles S of Edinburgh. An old mansion here was converted, in 1804, into a depôt for French prisoners of war; and in 1813 a suite of buildings, to accommodate 6000 prisoners and their guard, was erected at a total cost of £100, 000. The conclusion of peace next year sent all the French prisoners home, and Greenlaw thereafter was little utilised, till in 1875-77 it was altered and extended, at a fresh outlay of £30,000, to serve as the central brigade depôt of the army of the south-east of Scotland. On 17 Jan. 1881 the new Douglas Barrack, a wooden two-story pile, which measured 140 by 108 feet, was wholly destroyed by fire; but the damage was repaired by the end of April 1882, stone in the restoration taking the place of wood. Glencorse House, near the right bank of Glencorse Burn, 2 ¼ miles NNE of Penicuik, is the property of the Right Hon. John Inglis (b. 1810), Lord President of the Court of Session, who owns 857 acres in the shire valued at £1603 per annum, and whose father, the Rev. John Inglis, D.D. (1763.1834), an eminent divine, was resident here. Other mansions, noticed separately, are Beeslack, Belwood, Bush, Loganbank, Mauricewood; and Woodhouselee; and, in all, 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 and £500, 4 of from £50 to £100, and 7 of from £20 to £50. Formed, in 1616, out of the ancient parishes of Pentland and Penicuik, Glencorse is in the presbytery of Dalkeith and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £260. The church, built in 1665, contains 200 sittings; and a public school, with accommodation for 180 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 166, and a grant of £124, 18s. Valuation (1860) £6011, (1883) £10, 602, plus £4736 for railway and waterworks. Pop. (1801) 390, (1831) 652, (1861) 1217, (1871) 1153, (1881) 1500, of whom 144 were soldiers in the barracks and 48 in the military prison.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1857. See an article by Andrew Keer on 'Glencorse and its Old Buildings' in Procs. Soc. Ants. Scotl. (1879).

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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