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Parish of Whittingehame

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: Whittinghame
1834-45: Whittinghame

Whittinghame, a parish of Haddingtonshire, whose church stands within 1½ mile of the northern border of the parish, 3 miles SSE of East Linton station, 6 E of Haddington, and 7½ WSW of Dunbar. At Luggateburn village, still nearer the N end of the parish, are the public school and a post office under Prestonkirk. The baronial courts of the Earls of March formerly had their seat in Whittinghame.

The parish, comprehending the ancient chapelries of Whittinghame and Penshiel, long subordinate to Dunbar, is bounded N by Prestonkirk and the main body of Stenton, E by the main body of Stenton, by Spott, Longformacus in Berwickshire, and W by Garvald and Morham. Its utmost length, from NNW to SSE, is 11 miles; its breadth varies between 11/8 mile and 5¼ miles; and its area is 15, 595 acres. Whittinghame or the Papana Burn, formed by the confluence of two head-streams near Garvald church, runs 47/8 miles north-north-eastward on its way to the sea at Belhaven-for 3 miles across the northern interior, and elsewhere along the western and northern boundaries. It winds here through a beautiful sylvan dell; and, at the point where it quits the parish, is joined by Souchet Water, running 25/8 miles north-by-eastward along the eastern boundary. Whitadder Water, rising near the middle of the parish at an altitude of 1100 feet, runs 47/8 miles south-south-eastward, for 21/8 through the southern interior, and then along the boundary with the detached section of Stenton; and, together with Kingside, Kell, Faseny, and other tributary burns, drains all the southern portion of the parish. In the extreme NE the surface declines to 190, in the extreme SE to 700, feet above the sea; and chief elevations, from N to S, are Whitelaw Hill (584 feet), Clints Dod (1307), and Redstone Rig (1382). The northern district is gently undulating, and presents that richness of aspect which so eminently characterises the Haddingtonshire lowlands; the middle district, up to a line a little N of the source of Whitadder Water, rises slowly and gradually, with alternating elevations and depressions, and commands from its higher grounds a magnificent view of much of the Lothians, the Firth of Forth, the German Ocean, and the East Neuk of Fife; and the southern district consists entirely of a portion of the Lammermuir Hills. Greywacke and red sandstone are the predominant rocks, and the latter has been largely quarried. The soil of the arable lands on the left side of Whittinghame Water is generally of superior quality-some of it a deep rich loam, equal to the best in any other parts of the county; that of the arable lands on the right side of the stream is partly a poor clay, partly a good light loam, and mostly light and sandy. About 200 acres are under wood, and little more than one-fifth of the entire area is in tillage, nearly all the remainder being hill-pasture. The massive, square, battlemented keep of Whittinghame Castle, where the Earl of Morton and Bothwell are said to have plotted the murder of Darnley, beneath a yew tree (probably 600 years old, and now 11 feet in girth), is still in good repair, though showing marks of great antiquity. It stands on elevated ground overlooking Whittinghame Water, surrounded by many natural beauties, improved by the embellishments of art. Ruins of the baronial strongholds of Stoneypath and Penshiel still exist; and an oval camp, in a state of tolerable preservation, is on Priest's Law, one of the Lammermuir Hills. It is strongly and regularly fortified, having four ditches on the N side and three on each of the other sides, measuring about 2000 feet in circumference. A preReformation chapel stood below Penshiel Tower, in a glen still called from it Chapelhaugh; and an ancient religious house has left some traces on the estate of Papple. Perhaps the most interesting antiquity is an ancient burying-ground, traceable only as a black mark in a field, where a few years ago 200 stone cists were accidentally turned up. The field is called Kirklands, and probably contained a kirk of the Celtic Church 1000 years ago. Whittinghame House, on the right bank of Whittinghame Water, 3¼ miles SSE of East Linton, is a large Grecian edifice of light coloured sandstone, erected after the purchase of the estate by James Balfour, Esq., in 1817. It has a broad W terrace (1871), three magnificent approaches, fine views, and beautifully wooded grounds, which contain the castle and yew mentioned above. A blue gum from Australia, planted in 1846, is 53 feet high, and 81/3 in girth at 1 foot from the ground. The present owner, Arthur James Balfour, Esq., M.P., LL.D. (b. 1848; suc. 1856), holds 10,564 acres in the shire, valued at £10,611 per annum (Jn. Small's Castles and Mansions of the Lothians, 1883). of East Linton, is the seat of Thomas Buchan Sydserff, Esq. (b. 1822; suc. 1839), owner of 2200 acres of £1701 value per annum. In all, 5 proprietors hold each an annual value of more, and 2 of less, than £500. Whittinghame is in the presbytery of Dunbar and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living consists of 21 chalders of grain, with a manse and glebe valued at £51. The parish church, near the village, was built in 1722, and, as greatly improved in 1822, and again (internally) in 1876, contains 260 sittings. The public school, with accommodation for 93 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 49, and a grant of £51, 0s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £7491, (1885) £8252, 4s. Pop. (1801) 658, (1831) 715, (1861) 710, (1871) 657, (1881) 639.—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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