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Fala & Soutra

"The name 'Fala' is derived from the little hill upon which the parish church stands, and is a contraction for FAULAW, FAWLAW or FALLA. It is the same FAL or FAW which is found in Falkirk, Falkland and Fauside, and means 'speckled', hence Fala means 'speckled hill'.

Soutra, spelt SOLTE, SOLTER, SOWTRAY, SOUTRAY, means in Cambo-British, 'prospect town'. No doubt the name arose from the magnificent view which is got from the site of the ancient monastery, which was at the time surrounded by a considerable village.

Fala & Soutra forms the south-east corner of the county of Midlothian and 15 miles from Edinburgh. Fala is bounded on the east by the parish of Humbie; on the south by the parish of Soutra; on the west by Heriot and Stow; and on the north by the detached parts of Borthwick, Cranstoun and Humbie and by an attached part of Crichton parish. It is about 5 miles long from E to W and 1 mile broad N to S and contains about 3120 imperial acres.

Soutra, which is almost the same length and breadth, lies immediately to the south, in the county of East Lothian, having Channelkirk for its southern boundary, and containing about 2940 acres."

(By James Hunter FSA Scot. Minister of the Parish, 1891)


"Fala & Soutra, Past and Present" by Daniel and Jean Blades. Published by George Waterston & Sons Ltd, Edinburgh in 1988. The story of Fala & Soutra, one of the chapters describes life in the Parish at the end of the 17th century into the first half of the 18th century.


Monumental Inscriptions for Old Fala can be found at the Local Studies Centre in Loanhead.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Fala & Soutra area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church Records

The parish church has records for birth dating from 1673 and for marriages from 1675. These are held in the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh and copies on microfilm may be consulted in the Midlothian Studies Centre in Loanhead and also in LDS Family History Centres around the world.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Fala & Soutra which are provided by:


The transcription of the section for Fala from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.

Nearby places can be identified from the GENUKI Gazetteer.
Local photographs can be identified from various websites.

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Fala & Soutra has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT430610 (Lat/Lon: 55.838881, -2.911718), Fala & Soutra which are provided by:

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Following the Poor Law Act of 1843, the parish joined the Dalkeith Combination to provide poor relief in the Dalkeith Poorhouse.

Records of the Parochial Board, including minutes, are available from the National Records of Scotland, under reference CO2/84. These cover 1873 - 1929.


In 1891, the population was 285, of which 80 were in Soutra.

For a social and economic record of the parishes of Mid Lothian together with considerable statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, which was compiled in the 1790s. Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s; and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared since the Second World War.

Thanks to a joint venture between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh the First and Second Statistical Accounts can now be accessed on-line at The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1799 and 1845.

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