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Haddingtonshire

HADDINGTONSHIRE, or EAST LOTHIAN, a south-eastern county of Scotland, bounded N. by the Firth of Forth, N.E. by the North Sea, E., S.E. and S. by Berwickshire, and S.W. and W. by Edinburghshire. It covers an area of 171,011 acres, or 267 sq. m. Its sea-coast measures 41 m. The Bass Rock and Fidra Isle belong to the shire, and there are numerous rocks and reefs off the shore, especially between Dunbar and Gullane Bay. Broadly speaking, the northern half of the shire slopes gently to the coast, and the southern half is hilly. Several of the peaks of the Lammermuirs exceed 1500 ft., and the more level tract is broken by Traprain Law (724) in the parish of Prestonkirk, North Berwick Law (612), and Garleton Hill (590) to the north of the county town. The only important river is the Tyne, which rises to the south-east of Borthwick in Mid-Lothian, and, taking a generally north-easterly direction, reaches the sea just beyond the park of Tynninghame House, after a course of 28 m., for the first 7 m. of which it belongs to its parent shire. It is noted for a very fine variety of trout, and salmon are sometimes taken below the linn at East Linton. The Whiteadder rises in the parish of Whittingehame, but, flowing towards the south-east, leaves the shire and at last joins the Tweed near Berwick. There are no natural lakes, but in the parish of Stenton is found Pressmennan Loch, an artificial sheet of water of somewhat serpentine shape, about 2 m. in length, with a width of some 400 yds., which was constructed in 1819 by damming up the ravine in which it lies. The banks are wooded and picturesque, and the water abounds with trout.

Geology. The higher ground in the south, including the Lammermuir Hills, is formed by shales, greywackes and grits of Ordovician and Silurian age; a narrow belt of the former lying on the northwestern side of the latter, the strike being S.W. to N.E. The granitic mass of Priestlaw and other felsitic rocks have been intruded into these strata. The lower Old Red Sandstone has not been observed in this county, but the younger sandstones and conglomerates fill up ancient depressions in the Silurian and Ordovician, such as that running northward from Oldhamstocks towards Dunbar and the valley of Lauderdale. A faulted-in tract of the same formation, about I m. in breadth, runs westward from Dunbar to near Gifford. Carboniferous rocks form the remainder of the county. The Calciferous Sandstone series, shales, thin limestones and sandstones, is exposed on the south-eastern coast ; but between Gifford and North Berwick and from Aberlady to Dunbar it is represented by a great thickness of volcanic rocks consisting of tuffs and coarse breccias in the lower beds, and of porphyritic and andesitic lavas above. These rocks are well exposed on the coast, in the Garleton Hills and Traprain Law ; the latter and North Berwick Law are volcanic necks or vents. The Carboniferous Limestone series which succeeds the Calciferous Sandstone consists of a middle group of sandstones, shales, coals and ironstones, with a limestone group above and below. The coal-field is synclinal in structure, Port Seton being about the centre; it contains ten seams of coal, and the area covered by it is some 30 sq. m. Glacial boulder clay lies over much of the lower ground, and ridges of gravel and sand flank the hills and form extensive sheets. Traces of old raised sea-beaches are found at several points along the coast. At North Berwick, Tynninghame and elsewhere there are stretches of blown sand. Limestone is worked at many places, and hematite was formerly obtained from the Garleton Hills.

Climate and Agriculture. Though the county is exposed to the full sweep of the east wind during March, April and May, the climate is on the whole mild and equable. The rainfall is far below the average of Great Britain, the mean for the year being 25 in., highest in midsummer and lowest in spring. The average temperature for the year is 47 -5 F., for January 38 and for July 59. Throughout nearly the whole of the 19th century East Lothian agriculture was held to be the best in Scotland, not so much in consequence of the natural fertility of the soil as because of the enterprise of the cultivators, several of whom, like George Hope of Fenton Barns (1811-1876), brought scientific farming almost to perfection. Mechanical appliances were adopted with exceptional alacrity, and indeed some that afterwards came into general use were first employed in Haddington. Drill sowing of turnips dates from 1734. The threshing machine was introduced by Andrew Meikle (1719- 1811) in 1787, the steam plough in 1862, and the reaping machine soon after its invention, while tile draining was first extensively used in the county. East Lothian is famous for the richness of its grain and green crops, the size of its holdings (average 200 acres) and the good housing of its labourers. The soils vary. Much of the Lammermuirs is necessarily unproductive, though the lower slopes are cultivated, a considerable tract of the land being very good. In the centre of the shire occurs a belt of tenacious yellow clay on a tilly subsoil which is not adapted for agriculture. Along the coast the soil is sandy, but farther inland it is composed of rich loam and is very fertile. The land about Dunbar is the most productive, yielding a potato the "Dunbar red " which is highly esteemed in the markets. Of the grain crops oats and barley are the principal, and their acreage is almost a constant, but wheat, after a prolonged decline, has experienced a revival. Turnips and potatoes are cultivated extensively, and with marked success, and constitute nearly all the green crops raised. Although pasture-land is below the average, live-stock are reared profitably. About one-sixteenth of the total area is under wood.

Other Industries. Fisheries are conducted from Dunbar, North Berwick, Port Seton and Prestonpans, the catch consisting chiefly of cod, haddock, whiting and shellfish. Fireclay as well as limestone is worked, and there are some stone quarries, but the manufactures are mainly agricultural implements, pottery, woollens, artificial manures, feeding-stuffs and salt, besides brewing. Coal of a very fair quality is extensively worked at Tranent, Ormiston, Macmerry and near Prestonpans, the coalfield having an area of about 30 sq. m. Limestone is found throughout the greater part of the shire. A vein of hematite of a peculiarly fine character was discovered in 1866 at Garleton Hill, and wrought for some years. Ironstone has been mined at Macmerry.

The North British Company possess the sole running powers in the county, through which is laid their main line to Berwick and the south. Branches are sent off at Drem to North Berwick, at Longniddry to Haddington and also to Gullane, at Smeaton (in Mid-Lothian) to Macmerry, and at Ormiston to Gifford.

Population and Government. The population was 37,377 in 1891, and 38,665 in 1901, when 459 persons spoke Gaelic and English, and 7 spoke Gaelic only. The chief towns are Dunbar (pop. in 1901, 3581), Haddington (3993), North Berwick (2899), Prestonpans (2614) and Tranent (2584). The county, which returns one member to Parliament, forms part of the sheriffdom of the Lothians and Peebles, and there is a resident sheriffsubstitute at Haddington, who sits also at Dunbar, Tranent and North Berwick. The shire is under school-board jurisdiction, and besides high schools at Haddington and North Berwick, some of the elementary schools earn grants for higher education. The county council spends a proportion of the " residue " grant in supporting short courses of instruction in technical subjects (chiefly agriculture), in experiments in the feeding of cattle and the growing of crops, and in defraying the travelling expenses of technical students.

History. Of the Celts, who were probably the earliest inhabitants, traces are found in a few place names and circular camps (in the parishes of Garvald and Whittinghame) and hill forts (in the parish of Bolton). After the Roman occupation, of which few traces remain, the district formed part of the Saxon kingdom of Northumbria until 1018, when it was joined to Scotland by Malcolm II. It was comparatively prosperous till the wars of Bruce and Baliol, but from that period down to the union of the kingdoms it suffered from its nearness to the Border and from civil strife. The last battles fought in the county were those of Dunbar (1650) and Prestonpans (1745).

See J. Miller, History of Haddington (1844); D. Croal, Sketches of East Lothian (Haddington, 1873) ; John Martine, Reminiscences of the County of Haddington (Haddington, 1890, 1894); Dr Wallace James, Writs and Charters of Haddington (Haddington, 1898).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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