Kirknewton and East Calder

   KIRKNEWTON and EAST CALDER, a paris, in the county of Edinburgh, 10½ miles (W. S. W.) from Edinburgh; containing 1441 inhabitants, of whom 289 are in the village of Kirknewton, and 419 in that of East Calder. These two ancient parishes, which were united about the year 1750, on the erection of the present church, are bounded on the north by the river Almond, and on the south by the Water of Leith; and the whole district is about six miles in length and four miles in breadth. The surface is comparatively level towards the north, but rises towards the south to a very considerable elevation, by a succession of three terraces, of which the lowest is traversed by the road to Glasgow, the highest by the road to Lanark, and the central forms the site of the church and village of Kirknewton. The lands are watered by numerous streamlets, which intersect the parish in various directions; and there are several springs of excellent water, but none of them possessing any mineral qualities. About two-third of the land are arable and in good cultivation, about 600 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow and permanent pasture. The soil of the arable land, which lies chiefly in the northern portion of the parish, is generally a light free mould, with alternations of clay; and the hills, chiefly in the southern portion, afford excellent pasture for sheep and cattle. The crops are, wheat, oats, barley, peas, beans, potatoes, and turnips. The system of husbandry is greatly advanced; the lands have been partly drained and inclosed, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements have been adopted. Considerable attention is paid to the management of the dairy-farms, and great quantities of cheese and butter are sent to Edinburgh, where a ready market is obtained. The cattle are chiefly of the Teeswater and Ayrshire breeds, of which latter are the cows on the dairy-farms; the sheep are of the black-faced, Leicestershire and Cheviot breeds. The plantations, which are extensive, and generally in a thriving state, consist of Scotch, spruce, and silver firs, with elm, beech, sycamore, and chesnut: there are some fine specimens in Hatton Park, an estate partly within the parish. The principal substrata are sandstone and limestone, both of which are quarried to a considerable extent. On the islands of Ormiston, a seam of coal has been discovered by boring, but no mine opened; and on the lands of the Earl of Morton is a seam twenty inches in thickness, though not of quality sufficient to encourage the working of it. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5485.
   The seats are, Linnburn, Hillhouse, Meadowbank, Ormiston Hill, and Calderhall. The village of Kirknewton, situated to the east of the church, consists chiefly of numerous detached cottages with gardens: the village of East Calder, on the road from Edinburgh to Glasgow, to the north-east of Kirknewton, forms a considerable range of houses on both sides of the road, with gardens in the rear. Both villages are neatly built; they contain shops amply supplied with the various articles of merchandize requisite for general use, and are inhabited by persons exercising the usual handicraft trades. On the north side of the Glasgow road, about two miles to the west, is the hamlet of Wilkieston, containing eighty-one inhabitants. A post-office in the village of Kirknewton has two deliveries daily; and facility of intercourse is maintained by the turnpikeroads from Edinburgh to Glasgow and to Lanark, by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union canal, and the railway between those cities. The canal passes three, and the railway five, miles to the north of the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The minister's stipend is £282. 16. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; alternate patrons, the Duke of Buccleuch and the Earl of Morton. The church is a plain substantial structure, containing 430 sittings, and conveniently situated nearly in the centre of the parish. There are some remains of the ancient churches of East Calder and Kirknewton, of which the churchyards are still used as places of interment. The United Secession have a meeting-house. The parochial school affords instruction to about eighty children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £40 per annum. At East Calder is a private school, built originally by subscription; and in the parish are schools for females, who have instruction in the branches peculiar to their sex. Among the distinguished persons connected with the parish have been, the eminent physician, Dr. Cullen, proprietor of Ormiston Hill, and his son, Robert Cullen, Esq., a senator of the college of justice, both whose remains are interred in the churchyard of Kirknewton; and Allan Maconochie, Esq., proprietor of Meadowbank, from which he took his title of Lord Meadowbank when appointed lord commissioner of justiciary. The lands of Morton, in the parish, give the title of Earl to the family of Douglas.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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