- UPHALL, a parish, in the county of Linlithgow; including the villages of Broxburn and Uphall, and containing 1267 inhabitants, of whom 500 are in the village of Broxburn, and 220 in the village of Uphall, the latter 12 miles (W. by S.) from Edinburgh. This place, originally called Strathbrock, signifying "the valley of brocks or badgers," appears to have derived its modern name from the erection of the present parish church at a spot designated Uphall. The manor of Strathbrock was once the property of the Sutherland family, from whom it went to the Douglases in the earlier part of the 15th century. After passing to various other families, it was purchased from the Oliphants by Sir Lewis Stewart, whose grand-daughter conveyed it by marriage to Henry, Lord Cardross, whose descendant, the Earl of Buchan, is the present proprietor. The parish is about four miles in length and three in breadth, comprising an area of 3920 acres, of which 3500 are arable and in cultivation, with a due proportion of meadow and pasture; 178 in plantations, and the remainder, one-half moorland, and one-half natural wood. The surface is diversified with hill and dale, though the hills attain no great elevation, the highest part not being more than 380 feet above the level of the sea. On the north-west, the grounds command a fine view towards the east, embracing Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, and the Pentland hills, with North Berwick Law and the Lammermoor hills in the distance. The only stream that intersects the parish is the Broxburn rivulet, on which is situated the village of that name.The soil consists generally of clay, alternated with clayey loam, and has been greatly benefited by the ample use of manure, of which large quantities are brought from Edinburgh by the Union Canal. The system of agriculture is advanced, and most of the lands are in a high state of cultivation: the rotation plan of husbandry is of course adopted. The crops are, oats, wheat, barley, and the usual green crops; and the pasturage is good: furrow-draining has made considerable progress, and the lands are well inclosed with ditches, and fences of thorn. Considerable attention is paid to the management of the dairy-farms, and to the improvement of live-stock. There are not many sheep, but some of the Leicester breed have been introduced, and thrive well; the cattle are chiefly the short-horned and Ayrshire, and the horses for agricultural uses are of the Clydesdale breed. The produce of the dairies is excellent, and large quantities of butter and milk are sent to the Edinburgh market. The substrata include coal, ironstone, and freestone. The coal has been wrought from a remote period, and there is still a mine in operation on the Houston estate, in which about twenty persons are employed. The freestone, which is of good quality, is extensively wrought; and since the formation of the Union Canal, much of it has been forwarded to Edinburgh, and used in the erection of buildings there. The ironstone has not yet been wrought. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6328.Kirkhill, the ancient seat of the earls of Buchan; Amondell House, the seat of the present earl; Houston House, the residence of Norman Shairp, Esq., an ancient mansion; and Middleton Hall, a handsome modern mansion, the residence of Robert W. Maxwell, Esq., are the principal seats. The village of Broxburn is pleasantly situated; and both there, and in the village of Uphall, is a post-office connected with that of Edinburgh: a fair for cattle is held annually at the former village, on the Friday after the second Tuesday in September. Facility of communication is afforded by the Edinburgh and Glasgow road by Bathgate, which passes through the parish; by the Union Canal; and by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, which runs near the east end of the parish, forming a curve of a mile and a half radius in its progress near the Almond valley, over which it is carried by a lofty viaduct. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The minister's stipend is £265, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patron, the Earl of Buchan. The church, part of which has the appearance of great antiquity, is a plain structure containing 500 sittings. The parochial school is situated in the village of Broxburn, and is usually attended by upwards of 100 children; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £40 per annum. There is also a female school in the village of Uphall, attended by about eighty children, and supported almost exclusively by the fees. The poor have £40 per annum, arising from property vested in the Kirk Session. The late Honourable Henry Erskine, lord advocate of Scotland in 1782 and in 1806, and his brother, the lord chancellor, were both natives of this parish; and their remains are deposited in the family vault of the earls of Buchan, adjoining the church.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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