Calder, West


Calder, West
   CALDER, WEST, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh, 16½ miles (W. S. W.) from Edinburgh; containing 1666 inhabitants, of whom 434 are in the village. This parish is of triangular form, in the south-western extremity of the county, and bounded on the north-west by Linlithgowshire, from which it is separated by the Breich water, a stream tributary to the river Almond; on the north-east, by the parish of Mid Calder; and on the south, by Lanarkshire. It is about ten miles in length, and five and a half in average breadth, comprising about 20,000 acres; the surface bordering on Lanark, is elevated and hilly, attaining a height of 700 feet above the sea, and, though greatly improved by recent plantations, has still a bleak and cold appearance. The soil is chiefly a black mossy earth, naturally moist, lying on a till bottom; and there are some extensive tracts of moor, interspersed with arable land of moderate fertility. The system of agriculture has, of late, been much improved, and the soil, which in many parts is very wet, has been rendered much more productive by draining. The crops raised here are, oats, wheat, barley, flax, peas, turnips, and potatoes. The hills afford good pasture for sheep and cattle, of which large numbers are reared; of late, great attention has been paid to the management of dairy-farms, and excellent butter and cheese are sent to the Edinburgh market. The farms are generally of moderate extent; and most of those which are chiefly arable, contain a considerable portion of moorland. The plantations, principally of fir, and which were formerly confined to the lands around the houses of the proprietors, have been much extended; indeed, a general improvement in the appearance of the district has recently taken place. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7090.
   The chief substrata are limestone and coal, of which the former is generally more adapted for building purposes than for manure; a seam for burning into lime is wrought on the estate of Handexwood, and is of a good kind. Coal is worked in various places within the limits of the parish; ironstone has, for many years, been wrought at Handexwood, by the Wilsontown Iron Company, and, for the last three or four years, on the estate of Muldren, by the Shotts Company, though not to any very great extent. The principal houses are, Hermand, erected by the late Lord Hermand, in 1797; Limefield and Harburn, in 1804; and Hartwood, in 1807. The high road from Edinburgh to Ayr passes through the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the jurisdiction of the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale and the presbytery of Linlithgow; patron, John Drysdale, Esq. The minister's stipend, by augmentation from government, is £158. 6. 8., of which above two-thirds are received from the exchequer; the manse, rebuilt in 1837, is a handsome residence, and the glebe comprises 24 acres, valued at £24 per annum. The church was built in 1643; in 1844 a place of worship in connexion with the Free Church was erected, and there is a meeting-house for the United Secession. The parochial school is attended by about 85 children; the master has a salary of £34, with an excellent house and a good garden, and the fees average about £16. On the lands of Harburn, at the south-eastern extremity of the parish, are vestiges of an ancient castle, said to have been fortified by Oliver Cromwell, to check the depredations committed by the moss-troopers; and on the summit of a hill colled Castle Craig, are the remains of a Roman camp of small extent, near which several Roman coins have been found.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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