DALKEITH - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"DALKEITH, a parish in the E. district of the county of Edinburgh, Scotland. It contains a post town of its own name, and also the villages of Lugton and Whitehill. It extends 3½ miles in length, with a breadth of 2½ miles, and is bounded by Lasswade, Newbottle, Inveresk, Cranston, Newton, and Liberton. It is traversed by the North Esk and South Esk in a north-easterly direction. The soil is fertile, and laid out in cornfields, gardens, and orchards. The greater part of the parish belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch. There is a station at Eskbank on the Hawick branch of the North British railway, now the main line, called Waverley Route, to Carlisle and London, besides the branch leading to the town of Dalkeith.

Dalkeith Park, containing the palace of the Duke of Buccleuch, is situated in the north-eastern part of the parish. The park contains about 1,000 acres, which are laid out in woods, walks, and carriage-drives. Here the two Esks meet, and their windings and wooded banks add greatly to the attractiveness of the locality. The palace stands in the upper part of the park, near the North Esk. It was built towards the beginning of the last century.

The old castle of Dalkeith, on the site of which the palace stands, was anciently a place of considerable strength, being erected on a lofty rock, accessible only on the E. side. The noble family of Morton lived in it for some centuries, and in 1547, after the battle of Pinkie, it surrendered to the English, not having sufficient provisions for the large number of men who had fled to it. On that occasion the Earl of Morton, afterwards Regent of Scotland, and Sir David Hume, of Wedderburn, were made prisoners.

In 1642 the Buccleuch family purchased the estate of Dalkeith from the Earl of Morton. Charles I. visited Dalkeith Castle in 1633 and General Monk resided in it when in Scotland. George IV. honoured the palace with his presence in 1822, and Queen Victoria held a brilliant levee here in 1842. The parish of Dalkeith is the seat of a presbytery in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and is in the patronage of the Duke of Buccleuch. Originally the parsonage was part of the deanery of Restalrig, and seems to have been constituted a distinct parish in 1592. The barony of Lugton was annexed to it in 1633. The minister has a stipend of £370, including glebe.

The parish church was renewed in 1853 after its old Gothic model at a cost of nearly £6,000, and is now a commodious building and fine specimen of its kind. A new church, built in 1840 by the Duke of Buccleuch, was constituted a quoad sacra parish in 1853 under the name of the West Church. The latter church is in the form of a cross, surmounted by a spire. There are also an Episcopal chapel, a Free church, three United Presbyterian churches, an Independent chapel, and a Roman Catholic chapel. The parish school, otherwise known as the grammar school, has long borne a high character among Scottish seminaries; beside the usual branches of a classical education, French, German, Italian, and mathematics are taught.

The town of Dalkeith stands between the two Esks, 4 miles S. of Musselburgh, and 6 S.E. of Edinburgh. The ground slopes rapidly to the North Esk, and more gradually to the South Esk. The neighbourhood is beautiful in the extreme, including the parks of Dalkeith Palace, Woodburn House, and Newbottle Abbey; while the town is surrounded with gardens and orchards. The town is well built, the principal streets being the High-street and the Back-street, the former extending about two thirds of a mile in length.

The largest corn market for oats in the kingdom is held here every Thursday. There are about 1,000 carts of grain exposed on a full market day in winter. A spacious covered market-place, with a hall, has recently been erected at a cost of £3,000. The shopkeepers of Dalkeith contend successfully with those of Edinburgh in supplying the wants of the inhabitants of the S. and W. of the county. During the summer Dalkeith is a favourite resort of parties of pleasure from Edinburgh.

The town is a burgh of barony, and is governed by a baron-bailie under the Duke of Buccleuch, whose family acquired the baronial right in 1642. Before that the baronial right belonged to the family of Graham, and subsequently to that of Douglas. The jurisdiction of the baron-bailie is limited to the imposition of small fines, imprisonment for one night, and to granting warrants at the instance of landlords for the recovery of rent by the sale of their tenants' furniture. The sheriff of the county attends to the more serious matters, and since 1759 certain self-elected statutory trustees, holding office for life, attend to all local police matters, such as paving, lighting, and cleaning the streets, and the supply of water, raising a revenue of about £1,000 for these purposes.

Among the distinguished natives or inhabitants of the town may be mentioned Dr. Pitcairn, Principal Robertson, Lord Melville, Lord Loughborough, and Dr. Hope. Population of the town in 1851, 5,086; in 1861, 5,396. Houses in 1851, 462; in 1861, 624. Fairs for cattle and horses are held on the first Thursday of May after Rutherglen, and on the third Tuesday of October; and hiring fairs are held on the first Thursday of April and the second Thursday of October. Eskbank, situated about half a mile W. of Dalkeith, a place formerly but little known, is now thickly studded over with comfortable villas."

"BRIDGEND, a village in the parish of Dalkeith, in the county of Edinburgh, Scotland, not far from Dalkeith."

"LUGTON, a village in the parish of Dalkeith, county Edinburgh, Scotland, 3 miles from Dalkeith."

"THORNYBANK, a village in the parish of Dalkeith, county Edinburgh, Scotland. It is chiefly inhabited by colliers."

"WHITEHILL, a village in the parish of Dalkeith, county Edinburgh, Scotland. It consists of several cottages, inhabited chiefly by colliers."

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

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