- OLDHAMSTOCKS, a parish, partly in the county of Berwick, but chiefly in the county of Haddington; containing, with the villages of Birnieknows and Oldhamstocks in the latter county, 694 inhabitants, of whom 138 are in the village of Oldhamstocks, 7 miles (S. E. by S.) from Dunbar. This parish, the name of which, anciently Aldhamstocs, is derived from the village in which its church is situated, appears to have been formerly more populous than at present, a decrease having arisen from the abandonment of some collieries and salt-works that were carried on here in the last century. The parish is on the shore of the German Sea; is about six miles in length from north-east to south-west, and from two to three miles in breadth; and is bounded on the north by the parish of Innerwick, on the east by the sea, on the south by the parish of Cockburnspath, and on the west also by the parish of Innerwick. The surface ascends gradually from the shore, and is diversified with numerous hills of inconsiderable elevation, rising above each other in succession towards the higher portion of the parish; the grounds near the sea are level, and the coast is indented with small bays. A creek flows up to the village of Bilsdean; but there is no river. The scenery is rather deficient in wood and plantations, and has towards the Lammermoors a cold aspect; the natural wood has been suffered to decay, and the plantations, though thriving, are few.The soil is generally dry; towards the sea-shore, very fertile; but towards the higher parts of the parish, inferior and heathy. The state of agriculture is advanced, and the crops favourable; the farm-buildings are substantial and commodious; and on most of the farms, threshing-mills have been erected. The high lands afford tolerable pasture for sheep, of which a considerable number are reared; and much attention is paid to the improvement of the breed. The substrata are, limestone, ironstone, coal, and freestone: the coal has been worked, though now discontinued; and as the upper seam only has been taken, it is supposed that there is still an abundant supply, should it be requisite to renew the workings. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5775, of which amount £4690 are returned for the Haddingtonshire portion. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunbar and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; patrons, the Hunter family, of Thurston. The stipend of the incumbent is £297. 15. 6.; the manse is a comfortable residence, and the glebe comprises nine acres. The church, erected in 1701, is a neat and substantial edifice in good repair. The parochial school is well conducted; the master has a salary of £25. 15., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £20 per annum. There are two other schools, of which the masters are supported by the fees.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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