LINLITHGOW, West Lothian - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

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

"LINLITHGOW, a parish, containing the royal burgh of Linlithgow, and a portion of the village of Linlithgow-Bridge, county Linlithgow, Scotland. It is a station on the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway. It is 6 miles long, and about the same at its broadest part. It contains about 9,000 acres. The chief streams are the river Avon, the Main Burn, and the Nethermill Burn. There is a loch named after the burgh; also a mineral spring at Carrubber, and several copious springs in the neighbourhood.

The surface is hilly but fertile. The principal eminences are, the Riccarton hills, Cocklerue (500 feet high) and Binney Craig. Coal is found but not worked. There are limestone quarries, and silver was anciently worked here and smelted at a place not far from the town, and still bearing the name of Silvermill.

The parish is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, in the patronage of the crown. The minister's stipend is £362. The parish church is an ancient Gothic structure, repaired in 1813. There are two United Presbyterian, one Free Church, and an Independent place of worship. There is a burgh School, several private schools, and a charity school for girls.

On Boroughmore, a little E. of the town, Edward I. encamped previous to his defeating the Scots under Wallace at Falkirk. It was in this parish that the battle was fought between the Earl of Arran and the Earl of Lennox during the minority of James V. On Cocklerue Hill are vestiges of a military station; and on Boroughmore a large number of Roman coins have been discovered. The parish is intersected by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, the Slamannan railway, and the Union canal. The present parish comprehends the ancient parish of Binning."

"BINNY, (or Binning, East and West), villages in the parish and county of Linlithgow, Scotland, 2 miles from Uphall. They are seated at the foot of Binny Craig, 450 feet in height, on the banks of Binning Burn. The ancient parish of Binning, of which these villages were part, has been incorporated with Linlithgow. From that parish the Earl of Haddington takes the title of baron."

"LINLITHGOW, a post and market town, and royal burgh, in the parish and county of Linlithgow, Scotland, 18 miles W. of Edinburgh, and 3 S. of Borrowstounness. It is a railway station on the Edinburgh and Glasgow line. The town was an early seat of the Scottish kings from David II., who called it Linticlu. It was occupied in 1298, previous to the battle of Falkirk, by Edward I., who was here in 1301, and again in 1305, and whose castle being taken by Bruce (through stratagem) was demolished, but rebuilt by the English, who held it in 1334 from Baliol. It was burnt in 1411, and again in 1424, and was the dower of several Stuart queens. On the 7th December, 1542, Mary, afterwards Queen of Scots, was born at the castle here.

In 1545 a parliament and in 1552 a synod were held in the town, where, in 1570, the Regent Moray was shot by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh. In 1580 it was taken by the English, and a parliament was held here in 1585, and again in 1646, when the plague was at Edinburgh. It was garrisoned by Cromwell, and afterwards witnessed, in 1662, the burning of the "Solemn League and Covenant". The Duke of York visited it in 1679, and at the Union it declined. It was occupied in 1745 by the royalists, who burnt the palace.

Queen Victoria and the late Prince Consort visited it in 1842. The town is situated near Linlithgow Loch, and chiefly consists of a single street running E. and W., with lanes and alleys running off at right angles on both sides. The houses for the most part have an ancient and decayed, yet substantial appearance, and on the whole may be said yet to retain some marks of its ancient grandeur when it was the residence of kings. The ancient town house, erected in 1688, was destroyed by fire in 1847, but the present one was shortly after built, and contains a council chamber, justice of peace, and bailie court rooms, &c.

The county buildings, situated at the rear of the town house, has [have] a plain exterior, but the hall is a fine apartment, and contains portraits of General Earl of Hopetoun and Sir Alexander Hope. Immediately opposite the town house is a fountain of singular appearance, erected in 1807 in imitation of the cross-well constructed in 1620. There are several other public wells throughout the town, this being the only way the inhabitants are supplied with water.

The parish church, dedicated to St. Michael, is situated contiguous to the palace ruins. It is in the Gothic style of architecture, and has a tower and steeple. It is supposed to have been founded by David I., and was partly destroyed by fire in 1424. Its chancel roof was erected by Bishop Crichton, when vicar, and there are tombs of the Livingstones, earls of Linlithgow, in St. Catherine's aisle, where the supposed apparition of St. John appeared to James IV. to warn him of his approaching fate at Flodden Field, as related by Lindsay, the historian, and introduced by Scott into his poem of "Marmion". Besides the parish church, the town has two United Presbyterian churches, one Free church, and an Independent chapel.

The palace is situated on a point or terrace of Loch Linlithgow, on the site of a Roman station, and is a fair quadrangular four story pile with corner turrets, rebuilt by James IV. and VI. The court contains some good carvings, and the banqueting room is 94 feet by 30. There is also the room where Queen Mary was born, the parliament hall, and a ruined well. The soldiers of Cromwell are said to have introduced into this town the art of preparing leather, and tanning, currying, and shoemaking, which are to this day deemed the staples of the place. The Union canal passes near the town, where it has a basin; and an aqueduct here conducts its water over the river Avon.

The town was first chartered by David I., or Robert II., and under the late Act is governed by a provost, four bailies, a dean of guild, and twenty-seven councillors, with a revenue of £688. It unites with Falkirk, Airdrie, Hamilton, and Lanark, in sending one member to Parliament. It is well lighted with gas, and has offices of the Western and Commercial banks, insurance agencies, eight incorporated trades, public library, and several religious and provident societies. The ancient practice of riding marches is still observed here in the month of June. The population of the parliamentary burgh in 1851 was 4,213, and in 1861, 3,843. Friday is market day. Fairs are held on the Friday after the second Tuesday in January, on the 25th February, on the third Friday in April, on the second Thursday in June, on the 2nd August, and on the first Friday in November."

"LINLITHGOW BRIDGE, a village, partly in the parish and county of Linlithgow, and partly in the parish of Muiravonside, county Stirling, Scotland, 1 mile W. of Linlithgow, of which it is a suburb. It is situated on the river Avon, and is a meet for the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire hounds."

"LOCHEND, a village in the parish and county of Linlithgow, Scotland, 3 miles S.E. of Linlithgow; also a small place of the same name near New Abbey, county Kirkcudbright, and a loch about 1 mile N.E. of Edinburgh, forming part of the Leith water-works."

"MIDHOPE BURN, a small river in county Linlithgow, Scotland; runs in Linlithgow parish, and flows 7 miles N.E. to the Frith of Forth at Nethermill."

"RICCARTON, a hamlet in the parish and county of Linlithgow, Scotland, 2 miles S.E. of Linlithgow, near Riccarton water."

"SAUGHTREE, a station on the Border Counties railway, county Linlithgow, Scotland, 2½ miles from Riccarton."

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

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