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Parish of Saltoun

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: Salton
1834-45: Salton

Salton, a parish of W Haddingtonshire, whose church stands at East Salton village, in the centre of the parish, 6¼ miles SSW of Haddington, 5¾ SE of Tranent, and 25/8 ESE of the post-town, Pencaitland. Containing also West Salton village (1 mile WSW), with a post office, it is bounded N by Gladsmuir, NE by Haddington, E and SE by Bolton. S and SW by Humbie, and W and NW by Pencaitland. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 3½ miles; its utmost width is 2¾ miles; and its area is 3811¾ acres. The Tyne winds 25/8 miles north-eastward along or near to all the north-western and northern boundary; and its affluent, Salton or Birns Water, over the last 35/8 miles of its course, roughly traces all the southern, south-western, and western boundary. The surface has a general southward ascent-from a little below 200 feet at the northern border to a little over 500 at broadbased Skimmer Hill. On the SE and E this high ground is, in a certain degree, continued by low uplands; but on all other sides the surface falls gradually off to the boundaries, and becomes lost in levels of very humble altitude. A wood, which covers nearly 1 square mile, and is continuous with a forest of similar size in Humbie, occupies most of the hanging plain on the SW. The rocks are carboniferous; and limestone has been largely worked, whilst coal is believed to lie under the strata of limestone. The soil is very various, chiefly a deep rich clay, but also a clayey or friable loam and a light sand. Except the area under wood, and about 150 acres in permanent pasture, the entire parish is arable. Salton is noted for having been the first place in Scotland in which pot-barley was manufactured, and the first in Britain in which the weaving of hollands was established-both these industries having been introduced from the Netherlands by the lady of Henry Fletcher of Salton in or soon after 1710. It was also the first place in which a bleachfield of the British Linen Company was formed (in 1750), and one of the earliest in which a paper-mill and a starch-work were set up. It is further associated with the invention and improvement of some agricultural machines; but all its manufactures have long been things of the past. The parish is traversed by the road from Edinburgh, across the Lammermuirs, to Duns. In the 12th and the first half of the 13th century the manor of Salton belonged to the De Morvilles, lords high-constables of Scotland, and their successors the Lords of Galloway; but about 1260 the greater part of it seems to have been possessed by Sir William de Abernethy, whose descendant, Laurence, in 1445 was created Baron Saltoun (see Philorth). In 1643 the ninth Lord Saltoun sold the estate to Sir Andrew Fletcher, a judge-of-session, with the title of Lord Innerpeffer, among whose descendants have been Andrew Fletcher (1653-1716), the patriot and political writer, and Andrew Fletcher, Lord Milton (1692-1766), a distinguished judge. The present owner, John Fletcher, Esq. (b. 1827; suc. 1879), holds 3928 acres in the shire, valued at £6457 per annum. His seat, Salton Hall, on the right bank of Salton Water, 11/8 mile WNW of East Salton, was formerly a fortified place of some strength, but, as modernised and improved in recent years, is now a fine Elizabethan structure, with a great square tower, a valuable library (formed by the patriot, Andrew Fletcher), and a large and well-wooded park (Jn. Small's Castles and Mansions of the Lothians, 1883). Another mansion, noticed separately, is Herdmanston. Gilbert Burnet, D.D. (l643-1715), historian and Bishop of Salisbury, was minister from 1665 to 1669, and at his death bequeathed 20,000 merks for the benefit of the parish, to be applied in building a schoolhouse, clothing and educating 30 poor children, improving a library for the use of the minister, etc. Patrick Scougal, D.D. (1608-82), was minister from 1659 to 1664, when he was raised to the bishopric of Aberdeen; and his son Henry (1650-78), author of life of God in the Soul of Man, has been claimed-wrongly it would seem-as a native. Salton is in the presbytery of Haddington and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £414. The church, which was held by Dryburgh Abbey from its foundation till the dissolution, was annexed in 1633 to the short-lived see of Edinburgh. As almost rebuilt in 1805, it is a cruciform Gothic edifice, with 400 sittings, a tower and spire 90 feet high, and the family vault of the Fletchers. A Free church for Salton and Bolton is situated in the latter parish, 1¼ mile NNE of East Salton. Salton public school, with accommodation for 129 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 95, and a grant of £85, 16s. Valuation (1860) £5070, (1885) £6011, 9s. Pop. (1801) 786, (1831) 786, (1861) 712, (187l) 647, (1881) 575.—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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