Parish of Mid Calder

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: Calder Mid
1834-45: Calder Mid

Calder, Mid, a village and a parish on the W border of Edinburghshire. The village stands on a rising ground, near the left bank of the Almond, which here receives the confluent Murieston and Linhouse Waters, 2 miles W by N of Midcalder or Kirknewton Junction, on the Caledonian, this being 11 miles WSW of Edinburgh, and 36¼ W of Glasgow. Backed by the fine policies of Calder House, it has been greatly improved within the past few years, all the old thatched and most of the tiled houses having given place to others of a more modern style, several fine villas having been built to the E, and a plentiful supply of water having been introduced. At it are a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments, a branch of the Clydesdale Bank, gas-works, an hotel, the ancient parish church, a U.P. church (1765), and 2 public schools; whilst fairs are held here on the second Tuesday of March and the Friday after the second Tuesday of October. The parish church, a good Second Pointed building, with oblong tower, was founded early in the 13th century by Duncan, Earl of Fife, was partly rebuilt by Peter Sandilands in 1541, and has been lately enlarged and restored at a cost of over £3000; at its E end is the burying-place of the Torphichen family. Pop. of village (1861) 525, (1871) 579, (1881) 657. The parish, containing also the village of Bellsquarry, is bounded N and NE by Uphall in Linlithgowshire; E by Kirknewton, Currie, and an outlying portion of Kirkliston; SE by Linton in Peeblesshire; S and W by West Calder; and NW by Livingston in Linlithgowshire. Its greatest length from N to S is 77/8 miles; its breadth from E to W varies between ¼ and 51/8 miles; and its area is 12,324¾ acres, of which 30½ are water. The Almond for 2¾ miles traces the Livingston and Kirknewton borders, for 2 flows through the northern interior, and here from the S receives the West Calder, Harwood, Murieston, Linhouse, and two or three lesser burns; while in the furthest S of the parish rise the head-streams of the Water of Leith. The northern district is comparatively level, and with a light, dry, fertile soil, presents an embellished aspect; the southern is occupied with the slopes of the Pentlands; and from between 300 and 400 feet above sea-level along the Almoud's banks the surface rises southward to East and West Cairn Hills, 1839 and 1844 feet, on the Peeblesshire boundary. About one-third of the entire area is arable; upwards of 200 acres are under wood; and a large aggregate is upland pasture. At Pumpherston, since 1877, a field of 10 acres has formed an experimental station of the Highland and Agricultural Society. The rocks are partly carboniferous and in large measure eruptive. Coal and rich lead ore have been found; excellent sandstone, limestone, and trap rock have been worked; and other useful minerals occur. Employment is also furnished by oil and paper works. Springs of very fine water are everywhere numerous, whilst slightly chalybeate springs are plentiful; and a powerful sulphureous spring is on the estate at Letham. Four tumuli on the banks of the Almond have been regarded by tradition as memorials of some great ancient battle in their vicinity. A tolerably well-preserved Roman Camp is on Castle-Gregg Hill, on the SW border, 1¾ mile SE of Harburn station; a castle stood at Pumpherston; an ancient double tower is at Cairns; and portions of old baronial fortalices are retained in Calder House and Murieston House; the former of which is the prominent feature of the parish. John Spottiswood (1565-1639), Archbishop of St Andrews, was a native. Eight proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 9 of between £100 and £500,4 of from £50 to to £100, and 12 of from £20 to £50. Midcalder is in the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £258. Four public schools-Bellsquarry, Causewayend, and boys' and girls' schools at the village-with respective accommodation for 116,48,129, and 90 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 82,16,57, and 96, and grants of £74,17s., £31,2s., £46,12s. 6d., and £87,3s. Valuation (1881) £17,431, including £3908 for railways. Pop. (1801) 1014, (1831) 1489, (1861) 1389, (1871) 1634, (1881) 1698.- Ord. Sur., sh. 32,1857.-See J. Sommers' Account of the Parish of Midcalder (Edinb. 1838).

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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