BATHGATE, West Lothian - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"BATHGATE, a parish and market town in the county of Linlithgow, Scotland, 19 miles to the W. of Edinburgh, and 24 miles to the E. of Glasgow. It is on the great road between these two towns, and is connected by branch lines with the Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Monkland railways. The parish includes the village of Armadale. The town stands in a pleasant situation at the south foot of a range of hills, and is a place of some antiquity. The church and land belonging to it were given by Malcolm IV. to the abbey of Holyrood and were subsequently transferred to Newbottle abbey.

The barony belonged to Robert Bruce, and was given by him to Walter Stewart, who married his daughter. It was this marriage which opened the path for the Stewarts to the throne of Scotland. In 1663 Bathgate was made a burgh of barony by Charles II., and in 1821 it became an independent burgh of barony, its government being vested in a provost, 3 bailies, and 12 councillors. The town consists of two parts: the old town, built on a steep hill, with narrow and irregular streets; and the new town, the streets of which, though unpaved, are regular, and lighted with gas.

The surrounding district is rich in mineral wealth, containing abundance of ironstone, freestone, limestone, and coal. The entire working population of the parish, with the exception of a few hand-loom weavers and the agricultural population, is employed in the coal, iron, and lime works, and in the chemical works of Edward Meldrum and county, where Young's patent parafine oil is manufactured in large quantities. These works employ from six to eight hundred men. Silver also is found, and extensive mines were formerly worked.

The living, value £132, is in the presbytery of Linlithgow, and in the patronage of the Earl of Hopetoun to whom the barony belongs. Besides the Established Church there are four places of public worship in the town, viz., Free Church, and United Presbyterian, Evangelical Union, and Roman Catholic chapels. In Armadale there is a Free church, an Episcopal chapel, and a mission in connection with the Established Church, for which a church is in process of erection. A good academy was founded and endowed by John Newlands, of Jamaica, a native of Bathgate, which serves as a free school for all the children of the parish. The market is held on Tuesday. Of the six annual fairs the most important are those held at Whitsuntide and at Martinmas."

"ARMADALE, a village in the parish of Bathgate, in the county of Linlithgow, Scotland 2½ miles from Bathgate. The principal residence is Armadale House, the seat of Sir W. Honeyman, Bart. The Linlithgow hounds meet here."

"COWDENHEAD, a village in the parish of Bathgate, in the county of Linlithgow, Scotland, 2 miles N.W. of Whitburn, and 20 from Edinburgh."

"LIMEFIELD, a village in the parish of Bathgate, county Linlithgow, Scotland, 2 miles from Bathgate, and 19 from Edinburgh."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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