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Pencaitland

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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Pencaitland (Cymric pen-caeth-llan, ` head of the narrow enclosure '), a village and a parish in the W of Haddingtonshire. The village, lying 271 feet above sea-level, is 3½ miles SE of Tranent, 5¼ SW of Haddington, and 1¾ mile SE of Winton station on the Macmerry branch of the North British, this being 13 miles E by S of Edinburgh. ` The Tyne,' wrote Sir Thomas Dick Lauder in 1847, ` divides it into two parts, called Easter and Wester Pencaitland. Wester Pencaitland contains an ancient market-cross; but the most interesting and picturesque feature of the village is the old church, with its small octagonal belfry, in Easter Pencaitland, embosomed in a grove of tall and stately trees. We have long been in the habit of considering the manse as a gem amongst clergymen's residences of the same kind. Situated on the sunny slope, amid shrubberies and garden stretching down the river, it seems to be the very nest of human content ' (Scottish Rivers, Edinb. 1874). Everard de Pencaithlan granted the church to Kelso Abbey for the salvation of his lord, King William the Lyon (1165-1214); but John de Maxwell in the first half of the 14th century conveyed the advowson to the monks of Dryburgh, and with them it continued till the Reformation. The Pencaitland aisle is of pre-Reformation date; but the body of the church was built towards the close of the 16th century, the tower in 1631. As restored in 1882, at a cost of £275, it contains 480 sittings. At the W end is a quaint epitaph ` to the memories of umqle Ka. Forbes, spouse to M. Io. Oswald, Anno dom. 1639; ' and in the churchyard is an Iona cross to James, sixth Lord Ruthven (1777-1853). David Calderwood (1575-1650), the historian, and Robert Douglas (c. 1600-73), were ministers here. Pencaitland has also a Free church and a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments. An elegant public hall has been lately built in Wester Pencaitland by Mrs Trevelyan of Tyneholm at a cost of over £1200, in memory of her husband, Arthur Trevelyan, Esq, who died in 1880.

The parish, containing also Newtown village, is bounded N by Gladsmuir, SE by Salton, S and W by Ormiston, and NW by Tranent. Its utmost length, from ENE to WSW, is 43/8 miles; its breadth varies between 41/3 furlongs and 4 miles; and its area is 5075¼ acres. The Tyne meanders 5 miles east-north-eastward-for 21/8 miles across the middle of the parish, and elsewhere along or close to the Ormiston and Salton boundaries; Birns, Keith, or Salton Water flows to it 1¾ mile northward along the boundary with Salton; and Kinchie Burn, a feeder of Birns Water, runs 25/8 miles east-bynorthward across the southern interior and along the southern boundary. Beside the Tyne the surface sinks to 200 feet above sea-level; and thence it rises gently northward to 400 feet at Winton Hill, and southward to 479 near Fountainhall. Thus while it offers no marked natural feature, this parish wears a pleasant English aspect, its well-enclosed, well-cultivated farm being prettily diversified with meadows and woods. The rocks belong mainly to the Carboniferous Limestone series. Coal, though lying on the outer margin of the Lothian coalfield, abounds, and is mined for the supply of the southern and south-eastern district of the county and of part of Lauderdale. Carboniferous limestone, enclosing numerous fossils of the kinds usual to this rock, is also found and worked to a small extent. Sandstone has been worked in several quarries; and that of the Jerusalem quarry has long been celebrated, being of laminated texture, of an uniform grayish-white hue, and yielding blocks of from 20 to 30 feet in length. The soil is naturally wet and clayey, but has been greatly improved. About one-thirteenth of the entire area is covered with wood, partly plantation and partly natural oak and birch; nearly 200 acres are laid out in artificial pasture; and all the rest are regularly tilled. Pencaitland House, now a ruin, in the immediate vicinity of Wester Pencaitland, was the seat of James Hamilton (1660-1729), who on his elevation to the bench assumed the title of Lord Pencaitland. The estate of Pencaitland belongs now to his descendant, the Dowager Lady Ruthven, whose seat, Winton Castle, is noticed separately, as also is a third mansion, Fountainhall. Her Ladyship is chief proprietor, 3 others holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500, and 2 of from £20 to £50. Pencaitland is in the presbytery of Haddington and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £350. Pencaitland public, Newtown, and New Winton schools, with respective accommodation for 135, 74, and 101 children, had (1883) an valleys average attendance of 46, 49, and 37, and grants of £35, £42, 14s. 6d., and £26, 2s. Valuation (1860) £8628, (1884) £7891, 13s. Pop. (1801) 925, (1831) 1166, (1861) 1187, (1871) 1320, (1881) 1107.—Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 1863.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available.

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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