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Parish of Kirknewton

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: Kirknewton
1834-45: Kirknewton

Kirknewton, a village and a parish of W Edinburghshire. The village stands 5 furlongs E by S of Midcalder or Kirknewton Junction on the Caledonian railway, this being 36 ¼ miles E of Glasgow, and 11 WSW of Edinburgh. It has a post office, an inn, and a police station. Pop. (1861) 318, (1871) 383, (188l) 368.

The parish, containing also the villages of East Calder, Oakbank, and Wilkieston, comprises the ancient parishes of Kirknewton and East Calder. It is bounded NW by Uphall in Linlithgowshire, N by Kirkliston and Ratho, E by Ratho and Currie, and S and W by Midcalder. Its utmost length, from NNE to WSW, is 6¾ miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 3 3/8 miles; and its area is 9491½ acres, of which 14½ are water. The river Almond winds 9 furlongs north-eastward along all the Linlithgowshire border; Linhouse Water, in a run of 5½ miles, traces all the western boundary to the Almond; the Water of Leith for 3 miles traces the southern part of the eastern boundary; and three head-streams of Gogar Burn rise in the interior, and drain the north-eastern district, one of them, over a distance of 2 miles, tracing the northern part of the eastern boundary. In the extreme N the surface declines to close on 200 feet above sea-level, and thence it rises gradually southward to 500 feet near Kirknewton village, 700 near Lyden, and 1000 at Corston Hill; the southern district, which comprises nearly one-half of the entire area, lying near the Pentlands, but being neither mountainous nor rocky, and consisting largely of excellent sheep pasturage. The northern district is gently diversified champaign, and exhibits a highly cultivated surface, gemmed with mansions, and embellished with parks and woods. Multitudes of stand-points, not only on the hills but likewise throughout the plain, command magnificent views over the Lothians and across the Firth of Forth, to the Lammermuirs, the Ochils, and the Grampians. The rocks belong to the Calciferons Sandstone series, with porphyrite at Corston Hill, and patches elsewhere of intrusive basalt; the soil is a mixture of clay and sand on the northern border, a fertile loam in the central and southern parts of the northern district, and on the hills a vegetable mould. About two-thirds of the land are under tillage; about 550 acres are under wood; and most of the remainder is in permanent pasture. Employment is given by limestone quarries and the Oakbank shale oil-work. Alexander Bryce (1713-86), geometrician, was minister from 1745 till his death, as also from 1786 was William Cameron (1751-1811), a minor poet. William Cullen, M.D. (1710-90), the celebrated physician, was proprietor of Ormiston, and is buried in the churchyard, along with his son Robert (1764-1810), an eminent judge. Two other eminent Lords of Session were also connected with this parish- Alexander Maconochie of Meadowbank (1748-1816) and his son, Alexander (1776-1861), who successively on their elevation to the bench assumed the title of Lord Meadowbank. Mansions, noticed separately, are Linburn, Hillhouse, Meadowbank, Ormiston, and Calderhall; and 7 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 12 of between £100 and £500, 3 of from £50 to £100, and 11 of from £20 to £50. Kirknewton is in the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £448. The parish church, near the Junction, was built in 1750, and, as enlarged and restored in 1872, now presents a handsome appearance in the Gothic style, and contains 588 sittings. There are also a Free church for Kirknewton and Ratho, and a U.P. church at East Calder. Five public schools-East Calder, Kirknewton, Oakbank, Sunnyside, and Wilkieston-with respective accommodation for 200, 135, 122, 25, and 130 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 211, 96, 88, 16, and 88, and grants of £194, 16s. 6d., £88, 16s., £69, 6s., £13, 2s., and £62, 18s. Valuation (1860) £10,130, (1883) £17,508, plus £4026 for railways and waterworks. Pop. (1801) 1071, (1831) 1445, (1861) 1539, (1871) 2198, (0881) 2742.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1857.

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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