New Statistical Account of Duddingston (1843)

[I have noted in square brackets two incorrect dates in the text below.]


* Drawn up during the incumbency of the Rev. John Thomson, by the Rev. J. Gardiner, and revised August 1843.


Name.- THE name of this parish was written in the charters of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Dodinestun, - being evidently derived from the settlement here of a person designed Dodin, whose (tun, Sax.) or town it was during the reigns of David I. and Malcolm IV. This fact is established by a charter of William de Vetere Ponte, granted to the canons of Holyrood, to which "Hugo Filius Dodini de Dodinestun" appears to have been a witness.

Extent and Boundaries.- This parish is bounded on the south by part of the parishes of Inveresk and Libberton; on the west and north, by St Cuthbert's, Canongate, and South Leith; and on the east, by the Frith of Forth. It contains 1450 Scotch acres, or 1812 1/2 imperial, or two square miles and a half; it extends from west to east three miles, and from north to south nearly one mile and a half. It is of an irregular figure, and resembles a wedge in shape, with the broad end towards Arthur's Seat.

Topographical Appearances.- The general appearance is level, with a gentle slope descending from the base of Arthur's Seat towards the Frith of Forth. The soil, in general, is rather poor, and consists of a brownish-coloured earth, seldom more than sixteen inches in depth, and frequently not so much. Towards the east, it rests on a strong clay, and along the sea-coast, it is of a light sandy nature. There is not a parish in Scotland more highly cultivated, nor one which resembles more the rich champaign of England in its general aspect. The whole, with the exception of a few acres, is arable.

Hydrography.- A small rivulet, which takes its rise in the northern side of the Pentland Hills, and passes through the centre of the pleasure-grounds of Duddingston House, where it is received in ponds to supply the flour-mills of Duddingston, empties itself into the Frith of Forth at the west end of Portobello. There is another small stream, called Brunstane-burn, which separates Duddingston parish from Inveresk and Libberton on the south, and flows into the Frith of Forth at the St Magdalene Foundry near Fisherrow.

There is an abundant supply of spring wells of the purest water near Wester Duddingston. The wells, from which the inhabitants of this village are supplied, have been found by chemical analysis, made by the late Dr Murray, lecturer on chemistry, to contain a less proportion of earthy matter than any springs in the immediate neighbourhood of Edinburgh. There is also a loch in this parish, lying at the south base of Arthur's Seat, and encompassed on the east by the grounds of the Marquis of Abercorn, - a fine sheet of water, covering a surface of twenty-five acres, and about half a mile in circumference. It has been considerably diminished of late years, by draining on the west side, and deepening the outlet; still it is nearly the third part of a mile in length. It is much frequented by the citizens of Edinburgh for the favourite amusements of curling and skating, when the season permits. It is supplied with water by a small stream from the west, and by springs from Arthur's Seat. There is one chalybeate spring lately discovered in the vicinity of the village of Joppa. During eight months in the year south or west winds constantly prevail, and during the other four months east or north winds, alternating with north-west and south-west winds. The annual mean temperature is 47 31', and the annual average fall of rain is twenty-three inches.

Geology.- This parish abounds in coal, and previous to the year 1790, 270 workmen were in constant employment. At that period, thirteen seams of coal had been discovered, and partly wrought upon the grounds of Duddingston, and several of these seams were of a first-rate quality. The inclinations and dips of the minerals were to the west, and nearly at an angle of 45 degrees from the horizon to the east, which always rendered the working of the coal an extremely difficult and dangerous process, and which, in the end, was the cause of these mines being given up, as they could not be kept clear of water. When the lands of Duddingston belonged to the Duchess of Argyle, a machine, named "chains and basket," was employed to raise the water from a great depth. At the time this property was purchased by the late Earl of Abercorn in the year 1745, the coal mines were let to a Mr Biggar of Woolmet, a man of very considerable enterprize, who opened a level from the sea, in the form of a large drain, more than three miles in extent, which he carried through the estates of Duddingston, Niddry, and part of Edmonstone, as far as Woolmet-bank. This extensive level proved of great advantage to the proprietors of the more elevated coal-works, but, in the end, completely ruined the collieries of Duddingston by an overflow of water. About the year 1763, the Earl of Abercorn, in order to clear the mines of this water, erected a powerful engine which extended its operations to the depth of fifty-two fathoms. This engine was rendered altogether useless in 1790, when, on the 20th of March, the whole seams were overflowed and choked, from the communication of the level with the higher grounds. It may be mentioned also, that, before this time, another engine of even greater power had been erected near the southern boundary of the parish, to work the coal of Brunstane. The shaft of this engine-pit reached to the depth of sixty fathoms, and intersected three seams of coal; the first was seven feet thick, the second nine, and the last fifteen. The other substances through which it descended, were deep strata of a coarse red sandstone; and nearest to the coal, a kind of pyrites schist, which the workmen called "bands of bleas." There is much unexhausted coal in the parish; and the Marquis of Abercorn has lately leased the mines to an English gentleman. A powerful steam-engine has recently been erected, and it is expected that a large supply of coal will shortly be obtained.

On the beach at Joppa, immediately east of Portobello, successive layers of shale, sandstone, and coal, are distinctly visible. The stratum is here nearly vertical, and extends some hundreds of yards, yet it is only a small portion of the depth of the coal-field, and affords an instructive specimen of the partial elevations which take place through the whole country, and how difficult a matter it is to judge of the actual position of relative strata from such casual views. The quarry, at the same place, shows the northern portion of the coal-seams exposed to view. The different characters of the sandstone beds are easily seen, some layers being fine-grained and compact, others friable, and composed of large loosely-cemented quartzose particles. Strata of limestone and ironstone are found to pass through this parish, which dip into the sea, near to its eastern extremity. Freestone, of a good quality, is quarried to a considerable extent, on account of the increase of buildings both at Portobello and Joppa. In a portion of the glebe near the loch, beds of quartzy sandstone and of siliceous limestone crop out. The trap rock on which these strata rest afford grains of olivine, and of augite, along with crystals of basaltic hornblende. In the bed of Duddingston-burn, there is a stratum of black-coloured stone, soft, smooth, and unctuous in appearance and to the touch, which, as it admits of a fine polish, might be cut into beautiful jambs and mantel-pieces for chimneys. Petroleum and manganese have been found in small quantities in the crevices of the freestone quarries. On the sea-coast, many curious and rare specimens of petrified plants and trees have been found in the interstices of the rocks and stones. Some of these resembled the finest Marseilles quilting; others were evidently petrifactions of reeds, and of exotic plants now known to be indigenous in tropical regions. Pieces of chalcedony, porphyry, agate, and jasper have been frequently found along the shore of the Frith in this parish. Strata of clay have been found so pure, that crucibles and bricks formed of it are capable of resisting heat to a high degree. Marl of different kinds, and some of a rich quality, is found abundantly in Duddingston-loch, along the side of the property of Sir Robert Keith Dick. Formerly, large quantities of this substance were used as manure, but the abundant supply of that article from Edinburgh, of a more fertilizing nature, has put an end to its being now used in this manner.

Botany.- The plants found in this parish are very numerous, perhaps more so than in any parish of Scotland; and if we were to include the King's Park and Arthur's Seat, a more extensive field for the researches of the botanist, in so small a space, could not be found. As we are particularly desirous to pay the greatest attention to this branch of our subject, it is proposed to enumerate, first, the plants which are found in and around the loch, and then the plants which have been discovered in the other parts of this parish. In accordance with this plan, we mention, the following:

Hippuris vulgarisLemna minorGalium palustre
Chara vulgaris----- gibbaPotamogeton crispum
Callitriche aquaticaIris pseudacorus------------ pectinatum
Veronica scutellataScirpus palustrisMyosotis palustris
-------- anagallisPhalaris arundinacea-------- versicolor
-------- BeccabungaArundo phragmitesMenyanthes trifoliata
Lemna trisulcaAira aquaticaLysimachia thyrsiflora
Hydrocotyle vulgarisComarum palustreSenecio aquaticus
Sium latifoliumStratiotes aloidesOrchis latifolia
---- angustifoliumRanunculus aquatilis------ maculata
Alisma plantago----------- linguaSparganium ramosum
------ ranunculoides----------- Carex muricata
Epilobium palustreMentha hirsuta----- acuta
Polygonum amphibiumRhinanthus crista-GalliMyriophyllum spicatum
Butomus umbellatusPedicularis palustrisSalix Russelliana
Stellaria glaucaNasturtium amphibiumEquisetum limosum
Lychnis Flos-CuculiBidens cernua--------- palustre
Spergula nodosa

The plants which are found in other parts of this parish are:

Humulus LupulusGeranium dissectumScirpus lacustris
Antirrhinum cymbalariaCarduus acanthus

The trees around the pleasure grounds of Duddingston House, and the mansion of Sir Robert Keith Dick, are, oak, ash, beech, hornbeam, cedar, English elm, thorn, birch, silver and balm of Gilead firs, holly, plane, lime, Spanish chestnut, and willow; but none of them is remarkable for its size. There was a hawthorn tree which grew very near the western gate, close by the road side, which leads from Portobello to the village of Wester Duddingston, of remarkable age and size, which had long been an object of particular attraction for its beauty when in blossom, as the largest hawthorn in Scotland; but this venerable tree was blown down by the storm in May 1840. There is also an ash growing in the centre of the manse garden, measuring 11 feet six inches in circumference; and several large willows on the property of Sir Robert Keith Dick, about 11 feet.


In the year 1674, the estate of Duddingston became the property of the Duke of Lauderdale, and passed with a daughter of his first Duchess, under the name of pin-money, to the family of Argyle, to whose first Duke she was married.

It is mentioned as a historical fact, that, when the greater portion of this parish was forest, particularly what was called the Figget Whins, it afforded shelter to the brave Sir William Wallace and his bold companions, when they were on their way to attack Berwick. It is also stated that the Scotch leaders, before the battle of Dunbar, demanded a conference with the Usurper, Cromwell, who consented to meet them, on the following day, half-way between Leith and Musselburgh rocks, at low water, upon the sands, each party to be accompanied by 100 men on horse back. Any question they might choose to propose, he agreed to answer, but declined admitting of any animadversion or reply. A part of this curious conference is said to have been in the following words: "Why did you put the King to death?" He answered, "Because he was a tyrant and deserved death." "Why did you dissolve the Parliament?" "Because they were greater tyrants than the King, and it required dissolution?" In 1745, the forces of the unfortunate Prince Charles Edward were encamped for more than a month to the east of the village of Wester Duddingston, on the level plain, by the burnside which now forms part of the present enclosures of the pleasure g[r]ounds of Duddingston House, both before and after he defeated General Cope at Preston. The house in the village, belonging, at that time, to a Mr Horn, a farmer, is still standing and inhabited, where the Prince slept the night previous to the battle.

On the 13th September 1744, a waterspout broke upon the top of Arthur's Seat, and dividing its force, one part was discharged upon the western side, and tore up a channel visible to this day, as a lasting monument of its violence; the other took its direction towards the village of Duddingston, carried away a gable of a cottage to the west, and flooded the loch to a great degree.

Eminent Men.- About the middle of the seventeenth century this parish had for its clergyman, a person of the name of Monteith, a man of more than ordinary attainments. Forgetful, however, of his character and the sacredness of his profession, he engaged in an illicit amour with a lady of quality in the neighbourhood, and found himself under the necessity "to flee" from the scene of his disgrace and degradation. He repaired to France, and immediately waited upon the celebrated Richelieu, and applied to him for employment. He told Richelieu, that he was of the Monteith family in Scotland. The Cardinal remarked that he was well acquainted with the Monteiths, and desired to know to what branch of the family he "pertained." The parson, whose father had been a plain fisherman in the salmon trade of the Forth, somewhere above Alloa, readily answered, that he was of the Monteiths of Salmonet. Richelieu acknowledged that he had never heard of that branch, but admitted, with becoming candour, notwithstanding his ignorance, that it might be a very illustrious family. He took Monteith under his patronage, and soon after advanced him to be his secretary, in which situation he wrote and published some essays, which were admired in that age, as specimens of the remarkable purity of style and facility of diction, which a foreigner could attain in the French language. His chief work was "La Histoire des Troubles de la Grande Bretagne depuis," &c.; par T. M. de Salmonet, A. Paris:" printed probably in the year 1672. An English translation of this work has also been published. Charles Lumsden was for a short time one of the regents in the University of Edinburgh; and, in 1586, was appointed minister of Duddingston. He published, in 1600, an English translation of Rolock's "Exposition of some of the Select Psalms." Mr David Malcolm was minister of Duddingston prior to the year 1741. He had devoted much of his time to the study of languages and antiquities, and was received a member of the London Antiquarian Society. He published some essays and letters in 1739, which display a very considerable knowledge of the Celtic and Hebrew languages, and were chiefly intended to form an introduction to his unfinished Celtic Dictionary. These essays are commended by Mr Pinkerton, and quoted by Gibelin in his "Monde Primitif, and Bullet," in his "Memoires Celtiques." His successor, Mr Pollock, soon after his admission, was appointed Professor of Divinity at Aberdeen. We think it proper to state also, that the celebrated John and Archibald, successive Dukes of Argyle, spent much of their time at Brunstane, in this parish; and, it is said, received a part of their education from the Duchess, their mother, who resided constantly here, prior to the year 1734. The late Sir Alexander Dick of Prestonfield, who died in 1785 at the venerable age of 83, was a gentleman well known and highly respected for his general attainments in literature, public spirit, and elegance of manners. Sir Alexander was the intimate friend of the celebrated Dr Samuel Johnson, who, while residing in Scotland with his friend Boswell, spent several days with him at Prestonfield. Being a younger son, he had studied medicine as a profession. He took the degree of M.D. at the University of Leyden; practised as a physician for many years in Pembrokeshire; and on his succeeding to the family title, and on his consequent residence at Prestonfield, he was seven times successively elected President of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. The Rev. Thomas Gillespie, who was the first Relief minister, and founder of the Synod of Relief, was born at Clearburn, in this parish, in the year 1708. He died on the 19th January 1774, at Dunfermline. The late minister of Duddingston, the Rev. John Thomson, was a member of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, and was admitted to be the most eminent landscape painter of his day in Scotland.

Land-owners.- The chief land-owners are, the Most Noble the Marquis of Abercorn; Sir Robert Keith Dick, Bart. of Prestonfield; Humphrey Graham, Esq. W.S.; and the heirs of Messrs Jameson and Baxter. Valued rental of the parish, L.14,191 Sterling.

Parochial Registers.- The date of the earliest parochial record of births is in the year 1631, which has been exceedingly well kept from 1640 to the present time. That of marriages was begun in 1813 [recte 1653].

Yearly average of registration of births for the last seven years, 79; do. of marriages, 30; do. of burials during the same time, 88, or 12 4/7 annually.

Antiquities.- Wester Duddingston was at one time a large and populous village. Nearly the whole of the tenants upon the barony resided in it, prior to the year 1751. Before the same period, it furnished 36 horses to carry coals in sacks or creels to Edinburgh. About eighty-two years ago, there were more than 30 weavers' looms. These were employed chiefly in manufacturing a very coarse flaxen stuff, then known by the name of Duddingston hardings, which sold from 3 1/2d. to 4d. per yard. No trade of the kind is carried on now, and there is not a weaver in the village. At the time alluded to, this village contained considerably more than 500 inhabitants; at present, the number is 225. Very little change has taken place in Easter Duddingston since 1796.

Froissart affirms that there were above 100 chateaux in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh in the time of Queen Mary; and though this parish is situated so near to the metropolis, it is rather a singular circumstance that no remains of the ruins of castle, camp, or tower can be traced within its bounds. Indeed, the greatest object of antiquity is the church. Though it has been modernized in outward appearance, some of its interior ornaments, and the structure of the arches, are of great antiquity. Dr Littleton, when Bishop of Carlisle, and upon a visit to the Lord of the manor, was of opinion that it must have been the work of the Saxons. There is no record, authority, or date, by which we can ascribe its origin to so remote a period. Under the belfry there appears a date beginning 51; but of which the remaining cyphers and the rest of the inscription are now obliterated. About sixty years ago, in dragging the marl from Duddingston Loch, the head and horns of a stag, some coins with the inscriptions completely effaced, the blade of a sword, and the heads of some spears and javelins, from their formation supposed to be Roman, were discovered. Some of these relics of ancient times were sent to the museum of the King, some were presented to the Antiquarian Society, and the remainder are preserved in Prestonfield House. In the meadow around the loch, on opening some drains under the first strata of moss and gravel, the remains of oak trees, hazel bushes, and nuts, and the almost consumed iron of horse shoes of different dimensions, have been found. At the mouth of Duddingston, on the Figget Burn, the trunks of large oak trees have been discovered in a deep stratum of clay, which, when cut or broken, have been found as black as ebony to the very heart. They may be, it is supposed, remnants of the King's forest to the east of Edinburgh, in which, it appears by the original charter of erection of the Monastery of the Holy Cross, the monks obtained a privilege to send their hogs to feed. At the north-east boundary of the parish, to the west of Portobello, there is a fragment of an old causeway, resembling the Roman roads, which, not very long ago, formed part of the great road from Edinburgh to London. Some suppose that it was part of the Roman road between the stations of Inveresk and Cramond, while others conjecture it to be a remnant of one of those regular roads which Queen Mary is said to have so attentively encouraged for the improvement of her kingdom. We may state in support of this opinion, that several roads of the same kind converged to the Palace of Holyrood. The burghs of Linlithgow and Peebles are said to have been bound to uphold this causeway; and it is known to have been a common practice of Queen Mary to allow to bodies corporate, and even to private individuals, grants of certain privileges, immunities, &c. on the condition of their making and upholding particular roads and paths. This road is entirely disused, except as a foot-path, and is called the "Fishwife's Causeway." From the north side of the outer gateway which leads into the churchyard, hangs an iron collar, an ancient symbol of the ecclesiastical discipline of former days. A century ago, Wester Duddingston was a place famed for the preparation of singed sheep's heads, which is supposed to have arisen from the practice of slaughtering the sheep fed on the neighbouring hill for the market, removing the carcases to town, and leaving the heads to be consumed in the place.

Modern Buildings.- Duddingston House, the seat of the Most Noble the Marquis of Abercorn, is a handsome mansion, erected after a design by Sir William Chambers, the celebrated architect. The house and offices were finished in 1768, which, with the laying out and planting of the pleasure-grounds, (which are remarkably fine and planned with great taste,) cost the Noble proprietor L.30,000. Prestonfield, the seat of Sir Robert Keith Dick, Bart., is pleasantly situated near the south margin of the loch. Duddingston Cottage, the summer residence of T. Guthrie Wright, Esq. W.S., and Commissioner of the Marquis of Abercorn. Woodland Cottage, the residence of Morton Carr, Esq. Duddingston flour and barley-mills, erected a few years ago at an expense of L.6000, contain machinery of the very best and most improved kind, and are driven by water and steam, as circumstances allow; and Cauvin's Hospital. At Portobello there is an extensive manufactory of flint-glass, besides one for coarse earthenware, two for bricks and tiles, a chemical work, and a mill for manufacturing paper. Salt is made at Joppa, and the Maitland Pans, which derive their name from a member of the Lauderdale family, who first erected them. In the churchyard there is an elegant marble obelisk, erected to the memory of the late Patrick Haldane, Esq. The farm-houses and steadings in this parish cannot be surpassed in any part of Scotland for comfort, elegance, and accommodation.


The population of this parish, as returned to the late Dr Webster in 1755, amounted to 989.

In1794,910, of whom 428 were males, and 482 females.
1831,3862, of whom 1625 are males, and 2237 females.
Number of
residing in


the village of Joppa,389
the landward part,295
Wester Duddingston,225
Easter Duddingston,172

There are four insane persons in this parish, supported from the funds of the session, at L.20 each per annum.


Agriculture and Rural Economy.-

Number of acresin the parish,1450
under wood, water, meadows, feus, and pasture,650

Rent of Land.- All the land in this parish is arable, with the exception above stated. The average rental per acre is L.5, 10s.; and the grass parks belonging to Sir R. K. Dick, in the immediate neighbourhood of Edinburgh, let to cowfeeders at L.7, 10s. per acre. Grazing of a milch cow is charged during the summer season 1s. per day.

Live-stock.- Almost no stock is reared in this parish. The farmers merely keep a cow or two of Ayrshire or Teeswater breed for the use of their families.

Horses.- The horses used for farm labour are of a large size, and very powerful, in general of the Clydesdale breed, and will average in price from L.35 to L.40 Sterling each.

Husbandry.- There is no parish in Scotland where the land is better cultivated, or yields greater returns from the various crops sown or planted. The farmers are men of independence; on that account no obstacles to improvement arise from the want of capital or the liberality of the proprietors. The duration of leases extends from fifteen to nineteen years; and the farms vary in size from 130 to 250 acres. The state of farm-buildings and of enclosures is as good as can possibly be desired.

We may here state, that the lands of Prestonfield were the first in the parish that were improved, or, probably, in the county. The proprietor of that estate was Lord Provost of Edinburgh about the time or the Revolution in 1688. At that period, the manure from the streets was so little valued, that, instead or bringing any revenue to the city, a very considerable sum was paid to the farmers in the neighbourhood to carry it away. The Lord Provost availed himself of the general anxiety to have the filth removed, and undertook to clean the streets, which he did for a very considerable time, and had the whole carried off on horses' backs to his estate of Prestonfield. He, at the same time, laid down his fields in a high state or condition, and began to enclose, subdivide, and drain them; and, in the course of a few years, his estate became one of the best and richest in the county; and to this day, the grass parks of Prestonfield are deemed superior to any around the city, or even in Scotland, and, since that time, have never been ploughed.

Produce.- The average amount of raw produce yearly raised in the parish may be stated as follows:

Grain of all kinds,L.5440 0 0
Green crop,1920 0 0
Hay,1280 0 0
Pasture,1162 0 0
Gardens and orchards,450 0 0
L.10,252 0 0

Manufactures.- Formerly, as stated above, a coarse kind of cloth, made from flax, and known by the name of Duddingston hardings, was manufactured to a considerable extent, but was given up many years ago. The several branches of manufacture carried on at present are, crystal and glass, earthen-ware, tiles and bricks, a small iron foundery, and a manufactory of hats; a chemical work, the making of paper, all of which are in active operation, and afford constant employment to a large portion of the working-classes in Portobello. Salt is still prepared at Joppa Pans. Clearburn was, till within the last sixty years, the site of a thriving village, celebrated for its breweries; but no vestige of its former state remains.


Market-Town, &c.- There are no regular markets held in this parish; but provisions of all kinds, and of good quality, can be purchased at Portobello, which is in the immediate neighbourhood of all the villages in the parish. The first house erected in Portobello was a small cottage, still standing, and pointed out as a curiosity, in the centre of the town, on the south side of the main street. It was built by a retired sailor, who had been with Admiral Vernon in his South American expedition, and therefore named it Portobello, in commemoration of the capture of that town in 1739. The increase of population was much accelerated by the establishment of brick and tile-works, and, soon after, by an earthenware manufactory, &c. Besides becoming the residence of the workmen employed at these manufactories, Portobello, from the salubrity of the air, and its delightful situation, very soon became a place of great resort for sea-bathing quarters, not only for families from Edinburgh, but also from the surrounding country, and thus increased in size every year. At this time, no regularity or uniformity was observed in building the houses, farther than suited the taste or fortune of the proprietor, so that we now find it a town of villas, large and small. Many of these were built of brick, and had small shrubberies in front, and were well adapted for the residences of single families. Of late years, much greater regularity has been observed in laying out the streets and in building the houses, in consequence of their being reared on speculation by builders; and in a short time Portobello will be one of the handsomest towns of its size in Britain. At present, it consists of a long principal street, extending from one end of it to the other, lining the London and Edinburgh road, with a number of streets diverging to the north and south. The houses are now built of freestone of a good quality, procured at a short distance, in the style of those in the New Town of Edinburgh. Hot and cold-baths were erected upon an improved plan in 1805, and, within the last few years, a neat and commodious suit of markets. On the sands of Portobello, in 1822, his late Majesty, George IV., reviewed several regiments and corps of cavalry and yeomanry; also the Highland clans, that had assembled on the grand occasion of his visit to Scotland. Since the passing of the Reform Bill, Portobello has been a burgh, and is governed by a provost, two bailies, and six councillors; and with Leith, Newhaven, Musselburgh, and Fisherrow, returns a member to Parliament. Betwixt Edinburgh and Portobello coaches ply every hour, which keep up a constant thoroughfare betwixt the two places. Besides Portobello, there are other three villages, viz. Joppa, Easter and Wester Duddingston.

Means of Communication.- The great road to London from Edinburgh runs for three miles through the parish. The roads in every direction are good, and kept in the best state of repair; and if a more direct line, as is proposed, were opened betwixt Wester Duddingston and Edinburgh, the means of communication would be excellent. A railroad for the purpose of conveying coals to the city passes through the parish, as well as a branch to Leith. The shareholders allow coaches to run for the conveyance of passengers to Dalkeith, Musselburgh, &c. which is an extremely agreeable mode of travelling, and very cheap, as 6d. only is charged for each individual. There are two penny post-offices, viz. one at Portobello and another at Wester Duddingston, the latter of which was instituted very lately.

Ecclesiastical State.- During the reign of William the Lion, the monks of Kelso acquired the church and lands of Dodineston, but from whose bounty cannot be ascertained, since the chartulary is silent upon the subject. As the lands of Dodineston were situated at a considerable distance from Kelso, the abbots let them on the most advantageous terms. Abbot Henry, from 1208 to 1218, at the end of the long reign of William, granted to Reginald de Bosco, the lands of Easter Dodineston, with the half of the peatery of Camberun, rendering for the same ten merks yearly. Abbot Herbert confirmed to Thomas, the son of Reginald, the same lands and peatery for the same annual rent, he performing to the King "forinsecum servitium." Abbot Hugh granted to Emma, the widow of Thomas, the custody of her son and heir till he should arrive at lawful age, for which she paid twenty pounds of silver. During the reign of Robert I., Abbot William granted to Sir William de Tushielaw the half of the manor of Wester Dodineston, for which he was to pay twelve merks of yearly rent. In 1466, Abbot Allan granted to Cuthbert Knightson a part of the lands of Dodineston in fee, for the yearly rent of four merks. Within the barony of Dodineston, the abbots appointed baron-bailies to execute their jurisdiction within their proper limits. The church of Duddingston appears to have been of moderate value, as in the ancient "taxatio" it is rated at twenty-five merks. During the reign of Robert Bruce, the monks valued this rectory, according to established use, at L.20 per annum. The rectory continued to belong to the monks of Kelso till the Reformation, and the cure was served by a vicar. In August 1296, John Comhale, the Vicar of Dodineston, swore fealty to Edward I., and received in return a restitution of his services from the Sheriff of Edinburgh. In the register of assignations for the ministers' stipends in the year 1754, MS., presented by Bishop Keith to the Advocates' Library, Duddingston is said to have been a joint dependence with the Castle of Edinburgh upon the Abbey of Holyroodhouse. After the Reformation, the patronage of Duddingston church, with the manor, passed through successive proprietors to James Earl of Abercorn, who purchased it from the Duke of Argyle in 1475 [recte, 1745]. In the year 1630, the estate of Prestonfield was disjoined from the parish of St Cuthbert's, and annexed to Duddingston. In 1631, the Presbytery of Edinburgh ordained an aisle to be added to the church of Duddingston, for the use of the proprietor and his tenants.

The parish church, the original foundation of which cannot be traced, stands at Wester Duddingston, upon the south-east base of Arthur's Seat, and is a very ancient building, the arches and ornaments, when examined by an antiquary, appearing to be as antique as the days of "Dodin." A beautiful semicircular arch divides the choir from the chancel. The church was enlarged, repaired, and painted, about four years ago, and is in very good repair, and contains from 300 to 400 sitters. There are no free sittings since the collieries were given up about forty years ago.

The manse was built in 1805, and considerable additions were made to it twenty-two years ago. Both it and the office-houses are in excellent repair, and are most delightfully situated.

The glebe contains six acres of arable ground of the best quality.

The stipend is eighteen chalders, consisting of two of wheat, eight of barley, and eight of meal, payable according to the highest fiars of the county, with L.5, 12s. l1d. of money, and L.10 for communion elements. The stipend, when converted into money, may average, for the last five years, L.300. Glebe, manse, and garden, L.45; in whole, including money and the allowance for communion elements, L.360, 12s. 11d. Number of communicants at the parish church, about 100.

At Portobello, there is a chapel-of-ease, which was built in 1810. The members of the congregation have the appointment of the clergyman, who is paid from the seat-rents. The chapel holds 600 sitters. Number of communicants, nearly 300. There is also at Portobello a chapel of the United Associate Secession, one of the Relief, one of the Episcopalians, one of the Independents, and one of the Catholics. The numbers attending each of these chapels cannot be accurately ascertained.

Education.- In the parish there are two endowed schools, and 11 unendowed in Portobello, including the Sessional school for boys. The parochial schoolmaster has the legal accommodation and the maximum salary. The branches taught are, Latin at 6s. per quarter; English reading, 3s.; writing, 3s. 6d.; and arithmetic, 4s. Average number of scholars may be 95. He is also session-clerk, and clerk to the heritors. The other school is situated at Easter Duddingston. The teacher has a free house and school-house, with a salary of L.5, and L.2, 6s. 8d. from the kirk-session. His school-fees are the same as charged at the parochial school; but none of the higher branches is taught. Average number of scholars, 30.

Literature.- A library was begun at Wester Duddingston in the year 1821; and at present contains more than 200 volumes. It is supported by a subscription of 6d. per quarter.

Friendly Society.-A Friendly Society was established three years ago, and is supported by 5s. of entry money, and a quarterly contribution of 1s. 6d. Such members receive 5s. per week for the first five of their indisposition; and, after that period, if not able to work, 1s. per week during life.

Charitable Institutions.- An hospital was founded in this parish by Louis Cauvin, some time teacher of the French language in Edinburgh, and thereafter residing at Duddingston Farm, by trust-disposition and settlement dated the 26th day of May 1817; and by relative codicils, he assigned and conveyed to certain trustees his whole means and estate, amounting to nearly L.30,000, for special purposes therein enumerated, and mortified and appointed his house of Louisfield, and furniture, with its adjacent grounds, as "an hospital for the relief, maintenance, and education of the sons of respectable but poor teachers; the sons of poor but honest farmers; whom failing, the sons of respectable master-printers or booksellers, and the sons of respectable servants in the agricultural line." This settlement was explained and modified, and the governors were incorporated by a parliamentary statute in 1827.

The management is vested in certain individuals nominated by the founder, and in the Provost of the city, the Principal and Professor of Humanity in the University, the Rector of the High School, the ministers of Duddingston, Liberton, and Newton, and the factor of the Marquess of Abercorn. The institution, which is situated near the village of Wester Duddingston, was opened on the 30th of November I833. Twenty boys are maintained in it. They are required, when admitted, to be of the age of six, and under that of eight years, and are retained for six years. According to the trust-settlement, they are instructed in the ordinary branches of education, and also in Latin, Greek, French, and mathematics, and in the first principles of natural philosophy, chemistry, and botany.

The strictest care and attention are paid to the comfort and happiness of the boys; and their progress in the various branches of education has hitherto, in every respect, met with the approbation of the directors.

Saving Bank.- There is no saving bank in this parish; the nearest is in Edinburgh.

Poor and Parochial Funds.- The poor were supported by voluntary contributions till the year 1832, when poor rates were established, the heritors paying one-half, and the tenants the other. The number of poor at present upon the roll is about 76, who, according to their necessities, receive from 3s. to 6s. per month. There are two lunatics who are supported by the kirk-session at L.20 each per per annum. The collections at the church-door may average 10s. per week. The assessment last year was L.400. Mr Kay, an architect in Edinburgh, left a few years ago the sum of L.100 to the poor of this parish, under the management of the minister and kirk-session. Mortcloth dues 5s., and burying-ground charged L.10 go to the support of the poor. No public begging is allowed within the bounds of this parish. It cannot be doubted that the disposition among the poor to refrain from seeking parochial relief is fast dying away, and parochial support is not now considered so degrading to the feelings as it was forty years ago. The poor, however, of this parish evince no unnecessary anxiety to solicit parochial aid.

Inns and Alehouses.- In Portobello there are two inns, one tavern, and eight spirit-shops. In the village of Joppa and its neighbourhood, there are three spirit-shops, and in Wester Duddingston, there are four taverns. These last-mentioned taverns depend more upon the population of Edinburgh for their encouragement, than on the inhabitants of the village in which they are situated, and this accounts for their number.

Fuel.- Coal is universally used, and is procured in great abundance from the pits in the surrounding parishes. The price varies, according to quality, from 10s. to 12s. per ton.


It may be remarked, that the now highly cultivated estate of Duddingston was much later than Prestonfield in undergoing any real or substantial improvement. The tenants originally possessed their land in run-ridge, or run-dale, and resided in the villages of Easter and Wester Duddingston, and had access to a common, upon which they pastured their cattle that were kept by a common herd. Previous to the year 1746, there was not an instance of a lease ever having been granted upon the whole estate. In 1751, the late Earl of Abercorn began to subdivide his estate into commodious farms, to build suitable farm-steadings and offices, to enclose his fields with hedges, and to improve them by draining. Before 1746, the medium rent was 10s. per acre; at the time (1794) when the last Statistical Report was written, it averaged L.2, 2s.; at present it will average L.5, 10s. per acre.

In 1762 the Figget lands, containing 70 acres, upon which Portobello is now built, was a perfect waste covered with furze and whins, and let to one of the tenants of the Duddingston estate for 200 merks Scots, or L.11, 2s. 2 8/12d. Sterling. These lands were sold the following year for the sum of L.1500. The purchaser immediately began to improve his property, and in a few years after he divided it into separate lots for feus, which he granted, according to locality, from L.2, 2s. and upwards per acre, by which he obtained in a very short time L.7 per cent for his purchase money.

This parish, with the exception of a direct carriage-road from Wester Duddingston to Edinburgh, enjoys every facility and advantage which good roads, in all directions can afford. The people are now much better lodged, their mode of dressing and living is greatly improved, and much more attention is paid to domestic cleanliness and comfort.

Revised August 1843.

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