An Account of the Parish of Liberton (1792)

[I have numbered Whyte's footnotes and put them in a smaller font than the main text.]

An Account of the Parish Of Liberton in Mid-Lothian or County of Edinburgh.

By the Rev. Mr Thomas Whyte, Minister of that Parish.


There are two Parishes in Scotland which bear the name of Liberton; one in the upper ward of Clydsdale, now united to that of Quothquhan, and another in Mid-Lothian or county of Edinburgh. Of the latter, in compliance with what has been often recommended [1], and particularly by Lord Hailes, it is proposed to treat.

[1] Lord Hailes does not seem to applaud Mr Miln's description of Melrose as very correct, or as discovering any considerable merit; however, he wishes every minister of Scotland would do as much for the history of his parish. "The labour," says his Lordship, "in composition, deserves not to be mentioned, and the expence of printing would be defrayed by the sale of a very few copies. Every minister would thus, without expence, contribute to the foundation of a work, resembling that which Cambden improperly called Britannia." - Lord Hailes's Annals of Scotland, Vol. I. p. 305. It was this which made the author undertake the following tract.

The Ancient Name of the Parish.

There are three villages in this parish, viz. Nether Liberton, Kirk Liberton, and Upper or Over Liberton. The name seems to be a corruption of Leperton or Lepertown, and implies that there had been an Hospital at or near it; but of this, at present, we have no traces nor any tradition concerning it. On this account, however, the lands of Upper or Over Liberton, in certain old writings are called the lands of Spittleton [2]. For instance, Sir John Dalmahoy of that ilk, got a charter of the lands of Spittleton, "Terrarum de Spittleton," by which is understood Upper Liberton, "tam superioritatis, quam proprietatis," dated "in 1625 [3]."

[2] Hospital, in our old language, has the appellation of Spittle.
[3] Chart. in Publicis Archivis.

The Surname of Liberton.

Liberton, according to Hector Boecius, became a surname in the reign of Malcolm Canmore [4]. It is therefore to be presumed, that some of that surname possessed the lands of Liberton, and took their surname from them, though at this distance of time, we can give no distinct account of them. In the charters of St. David to the Abbey of Holy-rud-house, Thoraldus de Travernent, i.e. Tranent, and Macbet de Liberton, are mentioned as witnesses [5]. In a charter of the same King, by which he grants Clerchetune to the church of St. Mary de Hadintune, and the church of St. Andrew, Malbet de Liberton, probably the person just now named, is mentioned [6]. We find William de Liberton, a benefactor to the monastery of Newbottle, anno 1429 [7]. In the chartulary of Glasgow, we find Henry Liberton de eodem mentioned, anno 1476. In our old records of arms, the surname of Liberton bears, Vert. a Leopard's face, Or. Scarcely any of that surname are to be found at present. There were several of them in the parish in former times [8]. Mr Little of Liberton has for his crest, a Leopard's head, Or [9]. And this may be considered as an intimation that he now possesses the lands formerly possessed by the Libertons of that ilk, or that he was connected in some manner with that family.

[4] Boec. Hist. p. 206. l. 21.
[5] Dalrymple's Collections, p. 429.
[6] Anderson's Diplomata, P. XVI.
[7] Chartulary of Newbottle.
[8] Session Records.
[9] Nisbet's History, Vol. I. p. 143.

How Liberton is bounded.

Liberton is bounded by the West Kirk or St. Cuthbert's parish on the north and west; by Duddingston on the north east; by Musselburgh or Inveresk on the east; by Newton and Dalkeith on the south east; by Laswade on the south; and by Colinton on the south west.

The Village of Kirk Liberton.

The village of Kirk Liberton, is about two miles to the south of Edinburgh, the metropolis. It is situated on a rising sloping ground, and has a commanding and noble prospect. Here is the church, called anciently Capella de Liberton. It is nearly in the center of the parish. It is upwards of three miles distant from the boundary of Inveresk or Musselburgh, and rather more than two from the western extremity at Pentland Hills. The farm house at the greatest distance from the church, is Sommerside, which is less than a mile from Dalkeith. The main entry to the church is on the south, under a porch. The steeple, at the west end [10], makes a decent and venerable appearance. The spire or cupola was formerly of wood; in August 1744 it was struck with lightening; it is now of stone. The bell here, as the inscription bears, was made by Henderson and Ormiston, 1747. It is far superior to any in the neighbouring country parishes; but not at all like the former. The former was heard at Soutra-hill, no less than 16 miles distant.

[10] It is seventy feet high.

The Church of Liberton.

There are two ailes on the south side of the church; the Stainhouse aile, and Gavin's aile. The ground story of the former is allotted for accommodating those who belong to the barony of Stainhouse. Above this the coalliers of Gilmerton, in 1728, were allowed to erect a gallery, upon condition of paying each year a trifling acknowledgment to the session. Gavin's aile is so called from Mr Gavin Nisbet, proprietor of Muirhouse, who built it before the year 1631. Though it has a communication with the church, yet it was only used as a burying-place, Near the top of the gabel, is the armorial bearing of Nisbet of that ilk, with a mollet for a difference, and these initials around, M. G. N. The motto, "Veritas vincit." The date is 1632 [11].

[11] Below this is a large quadrangular window, and below the window the following inscription, cut out in a large oblong stone.

"Mr. Gavinus Nisbetus, sibi et suis posteris, per actum Sessionis hujus Ecclesiae sepulchrum hic posuit 6. Novembris 1631. Vixit annos 70. Obiit 22. die mensis Junii 1637.

"Adam, primus homo, damnavit secula pomo.
"Abstulit at damnum filius ipse Dei;
"Mors tua, Christe, mihi vita est, victoria regnum,
"Labe mea morior, sanguine vivo tuo.
"Unde superbit homo, cujus conceptio culpa
"Nasci poena, labor vita, necesse mori
"Nudus ut in mundum veni, sic nudus abibo,
"Peccatis Christus sit medicina meis.
"Vivus adhuc spero, moriturus forte sub horam;
"Mors etenim certa est, funeris hora latet.

"Pulvis et umbra sumus. Vivit post funera virtus." HOR.

At the east end of the church were what are called the Juggs, an instrument used for punishing those who committed offences either against church or state. The iron ring to which they were appended still remains.

There are three ailes on the north side of the church. The first towards the east belongs to Mr Baird of Newbyth, in which there is a very superb gallery jutting out towards the area, with an elegant apartment behind it. Below, is the burying place of the family, and seats for the tenants. This aile was built by Sir John Baird of Newbyth, in 1736, who caused the arms of the family to be finely cut out on the northern frontispiece.

The aile next to it, is that of Sir Alexander Gilmour of Craigmillar. It has an arched roof. It serves for the burying-place of the family, and to accommodate the tenants in their attendance on public worship. It has certainly been built in an early period; but at what time, I have not been informed.

And immediately adjoining to this, on the west, another aile was built, in 1724, upon the joint expences of Lord Somerville and Mr Thomas Rigg of Morton, Advocate. The upper story belongs to Lord Somerville, and the arms of the family are to be seen on the outside at the entrance on the stair-head. The lower part is the property of Mr Rigg of Morton.

Niddry Marshal has a gallery on the east end of the church, erected by his predecessor, Sir John Wauchope, in 1640 [12].

Opposite to this, on the west, is the gallery of Mortonhall. The date of its erection 1670 [13].

Besides Nether Liberton aile, Sir Alexander Gilmour has a large seat in the body of the church, long the property of the Prestons of Craigmillar, or of that ilk.

The burying-place of Lord Somerville is in the middle of the church, opposite to the pulpit. Above this, therefore, on the wall, are exhibited in stucco, the usual ensigns of mortality, and the armorial bearing of the family.

In a parallel line with this, is a large piece of board, in which are recorded, in very conspicuous characters, the several donations made to the poor of the parish. The largest of these was that bequeathed by Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Lord Advocate, who died in 1713. This was allowed to run up, and by means of it, without any assistance almost, from those who have landed property, the poor of the parish were supported in that memorably severe year, 1783.

[12] Session Records.
[13] Ibid.

The Church, or Capella de Liberton, very antient.
William, Persona de Liberton.

At what time the Church, or Capella de Liberton, as it was antiently called, was founded, I know not. It is probable that it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, since there is a well in the neighbourhood which goes under her name, for it is called the Lady's well. Arnot, in his history of Edinburgh [14], takes notice, that the chapel of Liberton with that of Corstorphin, belonged to the parish of St. Cuthberts, previous to the year 1124; that the chapel of Liberton was instituted before the usurpation of Macbeth, which happened in 1040; and that the donations in its favour by him, were confirmed by a charter from David I. This is evident from the chartulary of Edinburgh [15]. The chapel of Liberton is mentioned in the foundation charter of Holy-rud-house, or Domus Sanctae Crucis, in 1128: The words are, "et illa Capella de Libertune cum duabus bovatis [16] terrae." And not only so, but the tithes and services due from the parish, are expressly recited, viz. "Triginta Carrate de Busche, (i.e. Brush-wood) de Libertune, et decima Molendini de Libertune [17]. In the chartulary of Kelso, in a charter granted "a Bernardo de Hauden," in which certain lands, in "Villa de Hauden," are bestowed on the church of Kelso, and the monks serving God there, we find William, who is stiled "Persona de Liberton," a witness along with the persons following, viz. "cum Symone Archidiacano; R. Abbate de Mailros; W. Priori de Carra; H. Capelano Clerico Regis; Johanne Decano; Johanne de Hunted." The charter, as the wont was in antient times, has no date; but from these words, "pro salute Dni mei Regis Willi," we may justly infer that it was granted in the reign of William surnamed the Lyon. At that time, or rather before, "W. Persona de Liberton" is mentioned as a witness in a final agreement betwixt the Abbot and Convent of Kelso, "et inter Bernardum de Hauden," along with these persons, viz. "cum Symone Archidiacano; Richardo (or rather Radulpho) Abbate de Mailross [18]; W. Prior de Carran; H. Capellano Regis; Johanne de Huntedun."

If there was a parson, there must have been a parsonage, and a church or chapel. Hence, I think, we may certainly conclude, that the church or chapel of Liberton existed in the reign of William the Lyon, who died in 1214, or rather two centuries almost, before that epocha.

[14] Arnot's Hist. of Edinb. p. 5.
[15] Chart. of Edinb. Vol. iv. Box 6.
[16] Oxgangs.
[17] Foundation Charter of Haly-rud-house.
[18] Radulph was Abbot of Melrose, anno 1194. - Miln's Description of Melrose. p. 17.

Sir Thomas Gray, Parson of Liberton.

Blind Harry tells us, that one Sir Thomas Gray was parson of Liberton, which is presumed to be Liberton in the county of Edinburgh, in the days of Sir William Wallace; that he, with Mr John Blair, was particularly assisting to that hero, upon a very critical emergency; and that afterwards both were engaged in compiling the history of his life in Latin [19]. This shews they were men of learning; and surely they could not be more honourably employed than in endeavouring so effectually to hand down to posterity the atchievements of our greatest patriot. This was highly worthy of the clerical character. We are likewise told, that such was the connection between Sir William Wallace and Sir Thomas Gray, that he accompanied him in his second expedition to France [20]. On this account he must always be reputed, if the author is to be credited, his particular friend; and his name and memory revered in every age, by the real lovers of their country.

[19] Blind Harry's Hist. of Wallace, latter part of the 1st chap. of the 5th book, Edinburgh edition, 1758.
[20] Ibidem, p. 341.

The Patronage of the Church of Liberton.

Sir John Maxwell, who was stiled "Dominus de eodem," procured the patronage of the church of Liberton, with an acre of land contiguous to the church, but at what time we are not informed. These he bestowed on the monastery of Kilwinning, "pro salute animae suae, et Agnetis, sponsae suae, anno 1367 [21]." And this donation was ratified by a charter under the great seal of David II. in the year 1370 [22]. How long the patronage of Liberton, with the piece of ground just now named, continued in the possession of the Abbey of Kilwinning, we know not: But at length they devolved to that of Haly-rud-house, as appears from the erection charter of the see of Edinburgh, dated at Whitehall, September 29. 1633 [23].

We find Mr John Bothwell of Alhammer or White-kirk, first Lord Haly-rud-house, had the patronage, rectorship, and tithes of Liberton, with those of several other parishes, granted him by patent and charter at Whitehall, Dec. 20. 1607 [24]. But his son was obliged to resign them, when a bishopric was erected at Edinburgh.

[21] Carta in Archivis Regni.
[22] Appendix to Nisbet's History, p. 151.
[23] Keith's Account of the Scots Bishops, p. 28, &c.
[24] Crawford's Peerage, p. 185. 186.

The Parson or Minister of Liberton one of the twelve Prebendaries.

From the Charter of Erection it appears, that the parson or minister of Liberton was constituted a member of the chapter, and one of the twelve prebendaries, without whose consent, together with that of the Dean, at least the greater part of them, nothing of any moment was to be determined with respect to the see. And it was ordained that this preferment should descend to his successors [25].

[25] Keith's Account of the Scots Bishops, p. 28, &c.

Niddry-Marshal Conjunct Patron with the Crown.

Upon the establishment of Presbytery at the Revolution, the King was considered as patron of the church of Liberton, and has acted in that capacity ever since patronages were restored. He is likewise titular of the tithes of the parish. Mr Wauchope of Niddry-Marshal is patron of the chapel at Niddry-Marshal, as is evident from a charter under the great seal, granted Feb. 2. 1502, to Archibald Wauchope of Niddry-Marshal [26]. It was erected and largely endowed by his predecessors; and this was an evidence of the piety of the family. About the time of the reformation it was united to the chapel or church of Liberton with all its emoluments and revenues. For these reasons, it would appear, that Niddry-Marshall is conjunct patron of Liberton with the Crown, and has a right to present in his turn.

[26] See Appendix, No. 1. Chart. 2.

Church Lands or Vicar Acres.

The lands which lie west and south west from the church, were Church Lands, and termed Vicar Acres, in which, to the left, is a rising ground, that has the name of Kirk-cross, where probably, in antient times, a cross stood. These are called Vicar Acres in Mr Little of Liberton's entail, and under that denomination were legally conveyed by Sir Adam Saunderson to John Carketill, and from him or his successors transferred to one of Mr Little's predecessors [27]. We find a charter of confirmation of Dame Janet Paterson, relict of the deceased Alexander Lauder of Blyth, Knight, and John Carketill her nephew, of the lands of Upper or Over Liberton, dated 16th February 1533 [28].

[27] Records of the Presbytery of Edinburgh.
[28] Records in the Laigh Parliament House, Edinburgh.

The Barony of Upper or Over Liberton.

Of all the several baronies in the parish, that of Upper or Over Liberton is next to the church, and encompasses it. On this barony is a good substantial house, situated at the side of a small rivulet, amidst planted trees and inclosures. Nigh this is the village, and what is called the Tower of Upper Liberton. It enjoys a most agreeable situation and commanding view. Its under story is arched. It has battlements quite round the roof. The entry to the principal appartment, was by a stair on the east, where there was a draw-bridge. The barony of Upper Liberton is very conveniently situated, and lies close together, without any other lands intervening. The mansion house is just in the center. This barony is bounded on the west by the hills of Braid, which are really wild and romantic, but agreeable, from whence there is a most extensive prospect; and on the north by the rivulet called Braid's-burn, near which there is a well which has the appellation, as already observed, of the Lady's or Virgin Mary's well, famous for its large current, and the salubrity and lightness of its waters. Above this, of old, there was a wood, and therefore it is still called the Bank. It has now been cultivated for many years, and at present produces as good grain as any in the country. Here there is plenty of marl, and on the skirts of Braid's hills plenty of the best materials for making roads.

The Dalmahoys of that ilk possessed Upper Liberton as early as the year 1453, and continued in possession of it, at least of a part of it, for almost two hundred years. Robert Dalmahoy, with consent of his wife Janet Robertson, granted a charter of certain lands in Upper Liberton to Thomas Liberton, burgess in Edinburgh, dated August 13th, 1455 [29]. Alexander Dalmahoy, by a charter dated December 15th, 1587, granted a part of this barony to William Little [30], burgess in Edinburgh [31]. The successors of this William Little, who were always much esteemed in the city, and had great influence, became at length proprietors of the whole barony of Upper Liberton. Mr Clement Little, Advocate, who was a son of this family, founded the College Library of Edinburgh [32]. The Winrams possessed a part of this barony before the Littles were proprietors of the whole [33]. It is called a Ten Pounds and One Merk Land, that is, Sixteen Merk Land [34], according to the old valuation, made in the reign of Alexander III. [35].

[29] Writings in the custody of Mr Little of Liberton.
[30] He was Provost, 1586 and 1591.- Arnot's History of Edinburgh.
[31] Records in the Laigh Parliament House, Edinburgh.
[32] Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 414.
[33] Register of Entails, Edinburgh.
[34] L.0:17:9 4/12 Sterling.
[35] Register of Entails, Edinburgh.

The Barony of Mortonhall

South west from the Barony of Upper Liberton is that of Mortonhall. Almost on the boundary betwixt them, are two small tumuli, called Caer-Duff Knows. Caer is generally given to such places where the Romans resided, or left any pieces of workmanship [36]. There are several other tumuli near the house of Mortonhall, which owe likewise, it may be presumed, their original to the Romans.

[36] Caers, in the old language, signifies Castles.

East from Mortonhall are the two Kaims, in which there have been various fortifications. And these are the origin of the name; for Kaims, in our old language, signifies Camps or Fortifications.

At Mortonhall is an elegant and very commodious house built by the present proprietor. It was finished in 1769. The sycamore, opposite to the principal entry and vestible, is most beautiful while in blossom, and a great ornament to the building. The house is surrounded with a variety of stately trees. The sycamores and elms are particularly distinguished. The new house is nearly on that side where the old house stood, which is a small eminence, or rising ground. Here, in more antient times, was a fort or strong hold, and, according to the then mode, was encompassed with water, and the entry to it was by a draw-bridge. The garden was formerly on the south side of the house, but now on the west, and, agreeable to the present fashion, at some distance from the house, with a circular pond in the middle. It is of an oblong form, well laid out, and the walls on all hands covered with fruit trees.

On the south side of the hills of Braid, which exhibits a most picturesque view, a variety of wild scenery, and many agreeable walks, is a hollow called Elve's or Elf's Kirk, denoting the place where the fairies assembled. The fairies were considered to be the same as the nymphs of the groves and hills, celebrated so much of old by the poets. It was a prevailing opinion among our ancestors, in the days of Paganism, that fairy women, or beautiful girls of a diminutive size clothed in green, with loose dishevelled hair, frequented certain sequestrated places, and at certain times conversed with men [37]. Here is a pretty natural pond; and here probably in antient times have been a great many deer. Hence the farm of Buck-staine has its appellation. At some distance below this, near Mortonhall, is a piece of ground called Kilmorton. This serves to inform us that on this spot was a Cella or religious house; but there is no tradition that I know concerning it, nor any remains of it to be seen.

Directly west of Mortonhall, and overtopping the house and plantations, is Galach-law [38]. From thence is a very extensive prospect, and for this reason affords a most noble situation for a Belvidere. Here, as the name imports, were held, of old, Courts of Justice. In 1650, before the battle of Dunbar, Galach-law became famous for the encampment of Oliver Cromwell's army, which consisted, as Mr Hume relates, of no less than 16,000 men [39]. The very places where the tents were pitched, are still visible. A little to the north or north west of this, is a small quadrangular rampart, in which Oliver and his principal officers encamped for a considerable time; and on this account it still goes under the name of Oliver's Camp. The rest of the troops were stationed in the fields adjoining.

[37] Shaw's History of Murray, p. 245, 246.
[38] Galach, in Gaelic, signifies valour, fortitude. Probably Galach-law had its appellation in the days of the Romans.
[39] Hume's History, Volume II. p. 24.

Mortonhall, from what has been observed already, must have been, a place of considerable note, even so early as the times of the Romans. It was possessed by Sir Oliver Sinclair of Roslin, November 1486, as appears from a charter granted to him by James III.; and, for a long time after, it continued in that family. It then belonged to the barony of Pentland. After the Sinclairs of Roslin, one Mr Alexander Ellis, for a short time, was proprietor of it [40]. John Trotter, male representative of Trotter of Catchel-raw and Charter- hall, purchased it befoe the year 1641, and became first Baron of Mortonhall. As he was a younger brother, he was bred a merchant, and in that line aquired a large fortune. He was extremely active and assiduous in business; and such was his modesty, that, though he had frequent opportunities, he would never accept of any public office either in town or country. He was good and pious, and his charity must have been most extensive, as appears from his donations to the college of Edinburgh, and other foundations. He lived to the age of eighty eight [41]. The present Laird of Mortonhall is his lineal male descendant, is the seventh Baron of Mortonhall, and of the tenth generation of the family of Trotter of Catchel-raw [42].

[40] Session Records.
[41] Douglas's Baronage, p. 206.
[42] ibid., p. 208.

The Lands of Morton

West from Mortonhall are the lands of Morton. The house of Morton is but indifferent, but the plantations around it are considerable, and the prospect most agreeable and extensive. The Belvidere here is mightily well situated. Morton is at a due distance from Pentland hills, which contribute much to form a charming landscape.

North west from Morton is a rampart of a circular or rather of an oval form, intersected by the turnpike road.

It is entire on the Morton side, but not so on the others. It has not been one of the Roman camps, for they were always quadrangular, but a Roman town. The Roman military way from Burns-work hill to the north, issued into two branches at the town of Biggar, the left hand branch went to Cear-stairs and Cambus-Nethan, to the famous wall, between the two friths of Forth and Clyde, and at length was carried as far as the Roman arms penetrated: The other branch proceeded by Linton to the Roman Town just now mentioned, and from thence was directed to Cramond, where the Romans had an important station, and where certain of their ships always attended for furnishing them with provisions. Another military road came from Tiviotdale, or perhaps from the celebrated wall which the Emperor Hadrian erected between Caer-Lyle and New-castle upon Tyne, and led to this town.

For these reasons, therefore, this town must have made an important figure before the Castle of Edinburgh, so greatly famed for antiquity, existed, and consequently long before there was any appearance of the adjoining city, which is now so flourishing and extensive, and which has been so much admired on account of the height and grandure of its buildings.

From this Roman town probably Morton or Moretown had its appellation; for more, in the Celtic or Gaelic language, signifies great or large, that is, the great or large city.

In the neighbourhood of this, but further south west, on the grounds of Comiston, were found, on forming the public road, under large heaps of stones, various sepulchral stone inclosures, in which were deposited urns with dead men's ashes, and divers warlike weapons used by the Romans. These large heaps of stones, of which some still remain, are called the Cat-stones, that is, the Battle-stones.

A little north west from this, is a stone obelisk, of above ten feet high, larger by a great deal than any in this country, erected probably in memory of some great Roman, who had fallen in battle; or else in memory of some remarkable victory, obtained by the Romans over the antient Britons, Picts, or Caledonians. It has the appellation of the Caiy-stone [43].

And let it be observed, that the road here for near a mile is exactly cut out in the very line of the old Roman military way; and this was done on purpose by the direction of the late Sir John Clerk of Pennycuick, one of his Majesty's Barons of Exchequer, that most learned Antiquary. In levelling this road of late, were discovered several stone coffins, with human bones.

Morton, therefore, in the days of the Romans, must have been of great account. Sir Oliver Sinclair of Roslin possessed it at the same time he possessed Mortonhall, and his successors for a long period were proprietors of both [44]. William Rigg, a Cadet of the family of Rigg of Caerberry, had the property of Morton in 1630 [45]. His son Thomas sold it to the Porterfields of Comiston. And from them his son Mr Thomas Rigg, Advocate, purchased it in the end of last or beginning of the present century. He was father of Mr Rigg late of Morton, who, on account of his succession to the estate of Gamelshiels, prefixed Home to his original surname. The present proprietor is Mr Peter Rigg of Downfield, the male representative of the family.

[43] Maitland's History of Edinburgh, p. 507.
[44] Chart. in Publicis Archivis.
[45] Records in the Tithe Office, Edinburgh.

The Barony of Brownhill.

South east from Morton are the ruins of the house of Brownhill, once a place of strength. It is situated in a morass; it was surrounded with water, and the access to it was only by a draw-bridge. There is a good deal of uncultivated ground around it; and no wonder, the expence of draining and putting it into order would far exceed any profits that might thence arise. However, the barony of Brownhill in former times was of considerable value. Straiton-hall, Straiton Mill, Bourdeaux, and Phantasy, belonged unto it.

In the mains of Bourdeaux there is abundance of lime-stone. Here, what is called a draw-kill, was erected some years ago, and goes on prosperously.

The barony of Brownhill was possessed by the ancestors of Sir John Henderson of Fordel, from the year 1508, until the civil wars in the reign of Charles I. as appears from a charter in the public records. But it is evident they were proprietors of it after this period; for the family of Newbyth purchased it from Sir John Henderson of Fordel, since the year 1709 [46], and they are still in possession of it.

[46] Register of Entails, Edinburgh.

The Lands of Straiton.

South east from the ruins of Brownhill, is the village of Straiton. Here is a well called the Ladie's Well, and therefore probably, in antient times, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Some remains of the mansion house still appear. And, on a rising ground to the north west of the village, one should think that there have been fortifications for some purpose or other.

There was a family of Straiton of that ilk in the north country, and they had a charter from David I. [47]. Probably there was a family here of the same appellation; and it is presumed, that a great many of that surname in the south country are descended from it. It is certain that the predecessors of William Straiton, late tenant in Straiton, were of old proprietors of at least a part of it [48]. The ancestors of Sir John Henderson of Fordel possessed Straiton as early, and for as long a time, as they did the barony of Brownhill [49]. In 1666, Robert Denham is mentioned under the title of Fiar [50] of Straiton, whose father John Denham was proprietor of Muirhouse [51]. In --- the predecessor of Mr Johnstone of Straiton purchased Straiton from Robert Denham just now mentioned. Mr Sivewright of South-house is superior of Straiton, and a certain sum is allowed him upon the accession of every new vassal [52]. North from Straiton is the village of Bourdeaux, so called, perhaps, by some of the French who attended Queen Mary in her return to Scotland in 1561, and who happened to take up their residence here. In this village are several feus [53] held of the family of Newbyth.

[47] Nisbet's Heraldry, Volume I. p. 63.
[48] Records in the Tithe Office, Edinburgh.
[49] Chart. in Publicis Archivis.
[50] He was called Fiar, who was to succeed to his Father's heritage, without being obliged to enter as heir.
[51] Session Records.
[52] Register of Entails, Edinburgh.
[53] Feus is a Scottish law term, which signifies Fees or Tenures, by which certain lands or tenements are held of a Superior.

The Barony of South-house.

North east from the village of Bourdeaux, is the barony of South-house. Here are the ruins of an old stately mansion house, a large garden, and very good ground around it. It is bounded all along on the south east by the rivulet which runs through Bourdeaux, and this makes it the more agreeable, and greatly enriches the pasture.

Who possessed South-house in more antient times, I have not learned. The Bowmans were proprietors of it from 1625 until 1638, and the Robertsons in 1645 and 1646 [54]. In 1671, as appears from the inscription on the gate, William Stodart, who had married Elizabeth Whyte, daughter of --- Whyte merchant in Edinburgh, had the property of it. They had an only daughter, who was married to Fullerton of Kinnader, who sold it to the grand uncle of the present Mr Sivewright of South-house. He had the title of Sivewright of Meggatland, and acquired a large fortune.

[54] Session Records.

The Lands of Muirhouse.

South east from South-house, and immediately adjoining to it, on the other side of the rivulet, is Muirhouse. It was possessed, as already observed, by the Nisbets. Afterwards, in 1655, it became the property of the Denhams. Next, a few years before the Revolution, it devolved to the Humes [55]; from whom the late Baron of Mortonhall purchased it. It has a valuable lime quarry [56]. The Gilmerton coal-seam runs through it. It is all in a manner inclosed. The grounds which lie northwest towards the rivulet are accounted rich and fertile.

[55] Session Records.
[56] See Appendix, No. 2.

The Barony of Gilmerton.

Almost directly east from Muirhouse, are the inclosures, the gardens, the mansion house, and the village of Gilmerton. The mansion house has a most excellent site, and is favoured with a most charming and delightful prospect on all hands. The like is hardly to be seen any where. What is called the Long Walk on the south side of the house, is peculiarly pleasant. At the east end of it there is a large arch, and above it a balcony, in order to enlarge and improve the view. It must be acknowledged that there are not so many plantations nor so much improvement as could be wished; and the reason is, because the family does not reside there, but at Newbyth in East Lothian.

The village is larger by far than any in the parish. It contains 755 souls [57]. In it are a great many feus, held of the family of Newbyth. It has a wide street running from west to east, and that street is intersected by another at right angles, at the eastern extremity.

[57] See Appendix No. III.

The Cave at Gilmerton.

Here is a famous cave dug out of a rock, by one George Paterson a smith. It was finished in 1724, after five years hard labour; as appears from the inscription on one of the chimney heads. In this cave are several appartments, several beds, a spacious table with a large punch bowl, all cut out of the rock in the nicest manner. Here there was a forge, with a well and washing-house. Here there were several windows which communicated light from above. The author of this extraordinary piece of workmanship, after he had finished it, lived in it for a long time with his family, and prosecuted his business as a smith. He died in it about the year 1735. He was a feuer or feodary, and consequently the cave he formed and embellished so much, and the garden above it, was his own property; and his posterity enjoyed it for some time after his decease. His cave for many years was deemed as a great curiosity, and visited by all the people of fashion [58].

[58] Pennycuick the poet, among his works, has left us an inscription on the cave, and it runs thus:

"Upon the earth, thrives villainy and woe,
"But happiness and I do dwell below;
"My hands hew'd out this rock into a cell,
"Wherein, from din of life, I safely dwell.
"On Jacob's pillow nightly lies my head,
"My house when living, and my grave when dead.
"Inscribe upon it, when I'm dead and gone,
"I liv'd and died within my mother's womb."

The Barony of Gilmerton.

The barony of Gilmerton is extensive, and contains much fertile ground, particularly towards the south, in that farm called the Grange, which is completely inclosed, properly divided, and well laid out.

Gilmerton has long been famous for lime and coal [59]. The coalwork was carried on here so early as the year 1627 [60]. A fire engine has within these few years been erected, and it is hoped that it will continue to answer expectation, and be a blessing to the neighbouring city, which has so great a demand for coal. At present 54 coalliers are employed, besides miners, and those who are called Reads-men.

William de Morville [61], Constable of Scotland, granted the lands of Gilmarstone in Mid Lothian, "Eudalpho filio Uthredi, &c. ante annum 1165." And in that year King Malcolm died [62].

Afterwards the Herrises possessed Gilmerton, and continued proprietors of it, at least a part of it, until April 2. 1503, as appreas [sic] from a charter of that date to Patrick Herris, "Super terris de Gilmourtoun [63]."

Sir Walter de Somerveile, "Dominus de Linton et Carnwath," by marrying Giles, only surviving daughter and heiress of Sir John Herris of Gilmerton, procured the half of the lands of Gilmerton. This happened in 1375 [64]. They continued for many years in the family of Somerveile.

[59] See Appendix, No. II.
[60] Session Records.
[61] He died Anno 1198. - Chronicle of Melrose.
[62] Chartulary of Glasgow.
[63] Records in the Laigh Parliament House, Edinburgh.
[64] Nisbet's Heraldry, Vol. I. p. 104.

Anecdote of Sir John Herris of Gilmerton.

There is a remarkable anecdote handed down to us concerning one of that family, Sir John Herris of Gilmerton. He understood, that a daughter of his had a criminal intrigue with a monk of Newbottle; and when he was assured that they had made an assignation to meet in a certain house at Grange, being a gentleman of impetuous passions, he caused immediately set fire to the house; and thus both his daughter and the monk perished miserably in the flames. This gave so much offence to the clergy, whose power at that time was mighty, that with the greatest difficulty, after all his interest and that of his friends, he obtained a pardon. And, when he did obtain it, it was upon condition of this very disagreeable pennance, that he should stand for a year, every Sunday and holy-day, in sack cloth and bare-footed, at the principal door of the chapel of St. Catherines. This event happened in the reign of Robert II. - M.S. Penes Lord Somerveile.

I find a charter to Archibald Wauchope de Niedry-Merchell, "Super duabus terris husbandiis jacen. in dominio de Gilmerton," dated "27th Mar. 1503 [65]." I find a charter, dated the same year, to James Ramsay of Quhithill, " Super dimedietate terrarum de Gylmortoun [66]." And also a charter of confirmation, "Gilberto Wauchop ville de Gilmerton," dated "Dec. 5. 1504 [67]."

Soon after this, the Chrightons of Cranston-Riddale came to the possession of Gilmerton, or obtained a part of it. David Crighton in 1622 possessed Gilmerton; and this appears from a sepulchral stone in the burying aile of the family at the church of Liberton.

In 1630, we find one Mungo Short possessing a small tenement in Gilmerton [68].

Sir John Baird of Newbyth, descended of a younger son of Baird of Auchmeddan [69], one of the Senators of the College of Justice, purchased Gilmerton about the year 1667 from the Crightons, who were likewise proprietors of Lugton. This we find from the parochial records.

According to the old valuation, the town and lands of Gilmerton are considered as a ten pound land [70], and the Mains or Messuage of Gilmerton as a ten merk land [71].

[65] Records in the Laigh Parliament House, Edinburgh.
[66] Ibidem.
[67] Ibidem.
[68] Records in the Tithe Office Edinburgh.
[69] Nisbet's Heraldry, Vol. I. p.314.
[70] L.0:16:8 Sterling.
[71] L.0:11:1 4/12 Sterling -- Register of Entails, Edinburgh.

The Barony of Drum.

East from Gilmerton is Drum, the seat of Lord Somerville, and for this reason called Somerville-House. Drum signifies a rising ground, the back or ridge of a hill, and the situation of the place sufficiently justifies the appellation. Here the forest of Drumselch, which denotes a large hill amidst other little hills, began, and reached almost to Haly-rud house. This forest was much frequented in antient times by our kings and great men for the sake of hunting [72]. At Drum, in a former period, was a venerable old house, built in 1585 by Hugh, seventh Lord Somerville, who married Eleanor third daughter of George, fifth Lord Seton. The initials of their names are cyphered in a stone above the gate you first meet with on the left hand. On another stone, in the western end of the western wing, are cut out the arms of Somerville impaled with those of Seton. Both these stones were taken from the old house and placed where we now see them.

[72] Maitland's History of Edinburgh, page 507.

The situation of the new house is a little east from that of the old. The front looks to the south, and presents a most agreeable landscape. It is all of ashler work, and makes a fine appearance. There is no such house in the parish. Here the armorial bearing of the late Lord Somerville, who built the house, is cut out in a splendid manner in the upper part, impaled with those of his first lady. Immediately above this, are three vases of an exquisite choice. Along the whole front, is an handsome balustrade. The main stair, of late erected, is noble, and consequently not unworthy of the edifice. The vestible is elegant, ornamented with a statue as big as the life, and other decorations. In the drawing-room, in the dining-room, and other appartments, which are most richly furnished, are a great many pictures done by the most eminent masters.

At the head of the stair leading to the dining-room, is exhibited in stucco a coat of arms, consisting of three leopard's heads, two and one; and for supporters, two hounds; and around all, the following inscription: "Sig. Gulielmi Somervil, Dom. de Kernewid, 1141." This was the armorial bearing of William de Kernewid, that is de Carnwath, predecessor of Lord Somerville. It was taken from the original in the college of Glasgow. Leopards were carried by William Duke of Normandy, conqueror of England [73]. And this verifies what is commonly reported, that the Somervilles, accompanied that prince in his English expedition, and came to Scotland in the reign of St. David, and became proprietors of Carnwath in Clydsdale, and Linton in Tiviotdale. Leopard's heads, two and one, constituted the armorial bearing of the Somervilles before the holy wars: But, after they engaged and returned, they assumed, as they justly might, the cross croslets, and they still retain them.

[73] Nisbet's Heraldry, Volume I. page 300.

The gardens are on the west side, at some distance from the house. There is a large piece of water stored with different kinds of fish. The pleasure grounds are extensive, the plantations flourishing. There are a great many stately oaks and sycamores. The beeches, however, are the most numerous, and make the best appearance. A variety of fine walks, a variety of vistos, and avenues, present themselves on all hands. One is always entertained with some new object. At the end of the great avenue leading to the house, is the old cross of Edinburgh. It was removed hither in 1756. It was unluckily broken in taking it down; but now we can scarcely observe that any damage had been done to it. It is of one stone above 20 feet high and 18 inches in diameter, of an octagonal form, and ornamented with thistles, the antient badge and ensign of Scotland. The avenue, parallel to the principal front of the house, is bounded by a dovecot of an antique figure, on the east, and by three Gothic arches, the one large, and the two other of a lesser size, on the west. The avenue opposite to the north front of the house is terminated by an antient-like structure, on the very summit of a hill, which is seen at a great distance, and adds great solemnity and grandeur to the whole. Danderhall, and what is done there, present a noble view to the drawing-room and the appartments on that hand.

The barony of Drum was at first possessed by the Herrises, but from them, with the half of Gilmerton, it came to the family of Lord Somerville, as already observed, by Sir Walter de Somerville, Dom. de Linton et Carnwath, his marrying Giles, only surviving daughter and heiress of Sir John Herris, anno 1375.

This barony is completely inclosed and properly divided. It contained of old a great many villages, Drum-town, Drum-holm, Drum-muir, Awalls, Norman-knows, and Tod-hills. It was famous for a coalliery, and no doubt much coal as well as lime stone may still be found, since the water which so much obstructed the work is now drained, by means of those levels which have been made of late on the north east side.

The Barony of Goodtrees, now Moredun.

North west from Drum is Goodtrees, now called Moredun. It was antiently possessed by the Herrises. Afterwards it came to the family of Lord Somerville, by the marriage before mentioned, together with Drum and the half of Gilmerton. Next it belonged to the Maccullochs [74]. It became at length the property of the Stewarts, by the marriage of Marrion, only daughter and heiress of David Macculloch, of Goodtrees, and widow of Sir John Elliot Advocate, with Sir James Stewart of Kirkfield and Coltness, Knight, a merchant in Edinburgh and Lord Provost of that city anno 1649, and again in 1659; but he was dismissed at the Restoration on account of his adherence to the Covenant. Sir James was second son of James Stewart Baron of Allanton, the eighth generation in descent from Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll, who was killed at the battle of Falkirk anno 1298, and was second son of Alexander, sixth Lord High Stewart of Scotland. Sir James Stewart of Coltness, Goodtrees, and Westsheil, Baronet, great-grand son of the above Sir James of Kirkfield, in 1755 sold it to Mr M'Kenzie of Delvin. And from him Baron Stewart Moncrief purchased it in 1769, who gave it the appellation of Moredun.

The house, which is neat and commodious, with the most part of the plantations around it, were, soon after the Revolution, reared up by Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, who was Lord Advocate from 1692 until 1713, one year excepted [75], and who had a principal hand in all the transactions of that very important period. The situation of the house resembles those in France. The gardens and plantations are to the south. It fronts and is open to the north, with a full view of Edinburgh, the adjacent country, and the Frith of Forth, and a large extent of the hills in Fife and Perthshire. The house is most neatly furnished and greatly ornamented by the present proprietor, Baron Stewart Moncrief.

[74] Session Records.
[75] Ibidem.

Almost opposite to the principal entry and vestible, is a very pretty yew tree. An avenue of limes runs parallel to the house on the north side, makes a very showy appearance in summer, and affords an agreeable covered walk.

In the garden next to the house, is a green-house newly erected. Around this garden is a large gravel walk, with a green terrace to the south, in which, from a certain station, there is a view of the Castle of Craig-Millar, of the Castle of Edinburgh, and of the Tower and Fortalice of Upper Liberton. On the west corner, parallel to the house, is a beautiful artificial mount, on which are two stately and majestic elms. In the garden south of this, are two hot-houses; the eastern one for pine apples, and that on the west for vines. On the south west corner, without the wall, is another hot-house for pine apples. In the garden east from this, adjoining to the north wall of the other garden, is a hot-house no less than two hundred and fifty six feet in length, for peaches and nectarines. And south east from this, in the same garden, is another hot-house, but much smaller, for early vines. -- Here peaches, and nectarines, and various other rich fruits appear earlier, and in greater perfection, than anywhere else. The fruit trees upon the walls are very exuberant and make a most splendid appearance in the season: Nothing can possibly exceed it. The greatest order is observed with respect to the gardens, and everything is directed and managed with the utmost exactness and propriety. Strangers greatly admire them, and so doth every person of taste who visits them.

Around the inclosure, which is considerably extensive on the north side of the avenue which runs parallel to the house, is a gravel walk, with various covered seats at proper distances. On each side is a shrubbery, which is very agreeable, and has a fine aspect. On the east side of this inclosure, upon the wall, are excellent wall fruits. The field likewise is diversified by two sunk fences, by various stately trees in different places, as if they had fallen accidentally from the hand of Nature; and, in the lower part, is intersected by a beautiful winding rivulet. Over it is a handsome timber bridge. On both sides of the rivulet, is a good deal of pleasure-ground, which contains a great many charming walks, and a variety of other embellishments. Here is a Chinese temple. Here are diverse statues, which are very elegant, and considered as master-pieces of the kind. -- In viewing even this spot at a distance, one must be agreeably entertained.

In the barony of Moredun there was formerly a noted coalliery. There were several small villages, such as Couch-a-brae-head, Burnside, and Parkend, of which at present there are no vestiges, and a great many inhabitants.

Dame Marion Macculloch, spouse of Sir James Stewart of Kirkfield, and step-mother of Lord Advocate, mortified 500 merks [76], for educating some poor scholars [77]. It is presumed these poor scholars should belong to the barony. The interest of the above sum is paid annually to the schoolmaster of the parish, from the lands of Goodtrees, formerly called Kirkfield, now Moredun.

[76] L.27:15:6 2/12 Sterling.
[77] Records of Kirk Session.

The Barony of Stainhouse.

Contiguous to the barony of Moredun, is that of Stainhouse. It was antiently possessed by the Melvills. We find John Melvill, who was of the family of Carnbie, resigns it in July 7. 1500, in favour of John first Lord Ross of Halkhead [78]. About the year 1740, George Lord Ross did parcel it out into several feodal tenures. What was due on these feodal tenures and the superiority, were purchased by the late Lord Somerville, before the year 1760, from the heirs of the last Lord Ross. The feodaries or feuers, like others who have landed property, are subjected to every parochial taxation.

The North Kaimes of old belonged to this barony, as did St. Katherines. The latter consists just of 40 acres, sufficiently inclosed, and divided into different fields. From 1711 until 1714, it was the property of one Alexander Brown [79]. Mr Crawford of Auchinames possessed it for many years. The late proprietor was Mr Stewart from Jamaica. The present, Mr Hume from East Florida. He is superior of North Kaimes and Burnhead, called Westfield. In both he has the property of coal and limestone.

[78] In Archivis Familiae de Ross.
[79] Session Records.

St. Katherines, Balm-Well, and Chapel.

At St. Katherines is a famous well. Oily substances of a black colour are continually floating on the surface. These are called Petroleum. Remove as many of them as you please, still the same quantity, it has been observed, remains. It is called the Balm-Well of St. Katherine. It was much frequented in antient times, and considered as a sovereign remedy for several cutaneous distempers. It owes its origin, it is said, to a miracle in this manner: St. Katherine had a commission from St. Margaret, consort of Malcolm Canmore, to bring a quantity of oil from Mount Sinai. In this very place, she happened by some accident or other, to lose a few drops of it, and, on her earnest supplication, the well appeared as just now described. When King James VI. was in Scotland, in 1617, he went to visit it; and ordered that it should be fenced in with stones from bottom to top, and that a door and stair case should be made for it, that people might have the more easy access unto the oily substances which floated always above, and which were deemed of so much importance. The Royal command being immediately obeyed, the well was greatly adorned, and continued so until the year 1650, when Cromwell's soldiers not only defaced it, but almost totally destroyed it. It was repaired, indeed, after the Restoration, but it did not appear to such advantage as before.

Hard by this well a chapel was erected, and dedicated to St. Margaret. St. Katherine was buried in the chapel, and the place where her bones lie is still pointed out unto strangers. Some persons yet alive remember to have seen the chapel; and it was observed, that he who pulled it down was ever afterwards unprosperous. The ground around it was consecrated for burying. It is considered as the most antient place of worship in the parish. After the nunnery at the Sheens was founded, the nuns there made an annual solemn procession to this chapel and well, in honour of St Katherine [80].

A little east from St. Katherines, is a rising ground called Priest-Hill, which, with some acres adjoining, formerly belonged to the barony of Goodtrees.

[80] The account which Boecius gives of the well and chapel of St. Katherine, is in the following words:

"Ab hoc oppido," Edinburgo, "plus minus duobus passuum millibus, fons cui olei guttae innatant, scatturit ea vi, ut si nihil inde collegeris, nihilo plus confluat; quamtumvis autem abstuleris nihilo minus remaneat. Natam esse aiunt effuso illic oleo Divae Catharinae, quod ad Divam Margaritam, ex Monte Sinai adferebatur. Fidem rei faciunt, Fonti nomen Divae Catharinae inditum, atque in ejusdem honorem sacellum juxta, Divae Margaritae jussu aedificatum. Valet hoc oleum contra varias cutis scabricies." - Boec. Hist. p. 6. lin. 42-48.


East from this is Southfield, the property of Mr Miller of Dalswinton. It scarcely amounts to twenty acres. It is completely inclosed, and laid out with great taste. The house is neat, and rendered exceedingly commodious by the additions lately made.

The garden, the plantations, and pleasure grounds, merit the utmost applause. This every one must be sensible of who visits them.

All the fine improvements here have been accomplished in a very few years. Southfield was a mere piece of outfield ground, belonging to the barony of Stainhouse.


Adjoining to Southfield, is the village of Stainhouse, on both sides of the rivulet, consisting of a great number of inhabitants. On the north east side is a fine garden, where, a few years ago, there were only the marks and traces of a lime stone quarry.


North east from Stainhouse, is the village of Greenend, in which a decent house was lately built, overlooking the pleasure ground of Moredun. Contiguous to this is the house of Greenpark, which likewise enjoys a very agreeable site.


And hard by Greenend, on the north east, are the inclosures and plantations of Mr Peter Inglis, merchant in Edinburgh. The garden evidences much taste. It is in the form of a crescent, and all around abounds with fruit trees of the finest kinds. A handsome and elegant house is just now rearing up. It fronts to the south east. It has a very splendid portico, with a balcony above it. On each side of the portico is a large Venetian window. Here certainly is a fine situation for a house. The prospect of the castle and city of Edinburgh is most delightful, and so is that to the eastern coast. The ground to the south, which is bounded by an agreeable rivulet, is rich and fertile, and the several plantations appear in good order and very prosperous.

All the improvements here, as well as at Southfield, are but of a very late date. The most part of the ground, though all inclosed, was rocky and almost useless.


West from the Craigs, the place now described, is Nellfield. Here is a most agreeable, extensive, and variegated prospect. The house is good. The garden is properly laid out, produces the best sorts of fruits, and is always in good order. There are a good many trees, considering the small extent of the ground; for it consists only of ten acres. It is completely inclosed.


On the north east extremity of the Craigs, are what are called the Kirklands. These were certainly church lands, and belonged to the chapel or church of Liberton. Their extent is not much above five acres. Of late they constituted part of the barony of Goodtrees.

The Barony of Craig-Millar and Nether Liberton.

Contiguous to Kirklands, is the barony of Craig-Millar and Nether Liberton. The antient mansion house was at Craig-Millar, called by Lesly and Buchannan Crag-Millarium. Its etymology is from a Gaelic original, for Craig-moil-ard signifies "a rock, bare and high, running out into a plain." And with this the situation properly corresponds.

Castle of Craig-Millar.

This was of old a noted castle. It is of a square form, and consists of a variety of appartments. The great hall is large and splendid, and well lighted, considering the mode of antient times. Here, on the east end, are blazoned the arms of Cockburn of Ormiston, Congalton of that ilk, Moubray of Barnbougle, and Otterburn of Redford. With these antient families, the Prestons, who were so long proprietors of Craig-Millar, were nearly connected. On the south side of this hall, is what is called the drawing-room, which is a handsome enough appartment. It overlooks the orchard and adjacent fields.

Below this, in the orchard, was a well, which is now almost filled with rubbish; from thence the water was conveyed into the castle by means of a machine. The stair by which you ascend into the great hall, is large and commodious; and indeed none of the stairs can be said to be of difficult access, as is the case in many other old fabrics.

[To be continued]


No. II.

AT Gilmerton there are above twenty seams of coal, from 2 1/2 to 10 feet thick. They are now working four or five of these seams; and, considering the number of hands that are employed, the sale and output must amount to a great deal per annum.

The lime-stone quarries in the estate of Gilmerton, during the year 1787, must have yielded 70,000 bolls of lime; for 35 quarriers have been constantly employed; and each quarrier is supposed to furnish annually to his master 2000 bolls.

The lime-stone quarry at Muirhouse, in 1787, employed 13 quarriers; and consequently, we may infer, produced 26,000 bolls of lime per annum.

The lime-stone quarry in Moredun Mains, for some time past, has afforded, at a medium, 5000 bolls of lime per annum.

And let it be here observed, that all the coal, lime, and a good deal of the free stone in the parish, stand on edge, and that the upper edge fronts the north-west. And this is the case at Dysart, on the other side of the Frith; and the coal, in its progress from south-west to north-east, dips considerably; but in some seams more than others. This is also the case in Fife: And, for this reason, when the coal is to be wrought below the level which carries off the water, fire-engines become necessary for bringing up the water to the level.

No. III.

Account of the Number of Souls in the Parish of Liberton, taken Autumn 1786.

In the whole parish, - 3457.

Number of Inhabitants in the several Villages of any note.

In Kirk-Liberton159In the South East Craigs26
In Upper or Over Liberton155In the North Craigs, including Kirklands59
In Morton-Hall37
In Morton61In West Craigs20
In Straiton94In Bridgend26
In Bourdeaux128In Craig-Millar35
In Straiton Mill30In Park Neuk and Little Paisly35
In South Kaims22In Nether Liberton267
In North Kaims42In Dams of Liberton63
In Broken Bridge56In Camron and Common Myre31
In Muir-House Edge23
In West Edge28In Red-House33
In Lavrock-Hall16In Peffer-Mill21
In Cart-Hall96In Cairn or Kairntous25
In Gilmerton755
In Haivock Mill26In Mill-town of Niddry-Marshall125
In Stainhouse175In Klikhimin of ditto70
In Green End121In Hunter's-Hall of ditto63
In Guardwell19In the Barony of Niddry-Marshall there are, in whole,334
In Burnhead, including Robb's House47
In Houden's Hall26In Brunstaine, sometimes called Little Gilmerton31
In Little France42

No. IV.

["gif" = if; "ile" = aisle; "ma" = more; "moyr" = mother; "pmit" = permit; "quhilk" = which; "uyr" = other; "yat" = that; "ye" = the; "yr" = there; "zere" = year]

Charter, by the City of Edinburgh, to William of Prestoune of Gourton*.

* Dated 11th Junuary [sic] 1454, and registrate 14th of May 1779.

AT Edinburgh, the 14th day of May, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine years. In presence of John Wordie, Esq; bailie, compeared David Baillie, clerk to Mr John Dundas clerk to the signet, and gave in the charter under written, desiring the same might be registered in the borough court books of Edinburgh, conform to the act of parliament made anent the registration of probative writes; which desire the said bailie found reasonable, and ordained the same to be done, whereof the tenor follows:- Be it kend till all men be yir pnt lres, We the Pvost, Baillies, Counsile, and commnte of ye burgh of Edinburgh, to be bundyn and sikerly oblist to William of Prestoune of Gourton, son and aire to umquhile William of Prestoune of Gourton, and to ye freinds and surname of yaim, yat, forasmekleas William of Prestoune the fadir, quam God assoillie, made diligent labour and grete menis be a he and mighty Prince, the King of France, and mony uyr Lordis of France, for the gettyn of the arme bane of Saint Gele, (the quhilk bane he freely left to oure moyr kirk of Saint Gele of Edinburgh, withoutyn ony codition makyn), we, considrand ye grete labouris and costis yat he made for the gettyn yrof, we pmit, as said is, yat within six or seven zere, in all the possible and gudely haste we may, yat we sal big an ile, furth frae our Lady Ile, quhare ye said William lyes in the said ile, to be begunyn within a zere; in the quhilk ile yare sal be made a brase for his crest in bosit work, and abone the brase a plate of brase, with a writ, specifiand the bringing of yat relik be him in Scotland, with his armis; and his armis to be put, in hewyn marble, uyr thre parts of the ile, (alswa ane alter to be made in ye said ile, with buke and chalice of silver, and all uyr grath belongand yrto; alswa, that we sal assing ye Chapellane of quhilum William of Prestoune to sing at yat alter frae yat tyme furth), and gif ony uyr freinds lykys to feft any ma Chapellanis, yat sal be thankfully ressavit to sing at that alter. Item, yat alsaft as the said ryllik beis borne in ye zere, yat the surname and nerrest of blude to the said William sall bere the said ryllick before all uyrs; alswa, yat frae ye the [sic] dede of ye said William, fadir, yr sal be fundyn a Chapellane, for the terms of five zeres, to sing for him. Item, we pmit yat yare sal be ane obit zerely done for him, sic as afferis ye time of the zere of his decesse. In witness of the quhilk things, we have set to oure comon sile, at Edynburgh, ye xi day of the moneth of Januare, ye zere of oure Lorde a thousand four hundreth fifty fouryth zeres.

Extracted by (Signed) JNo. DUNDAS.

No. V.

An Account of the Stipend of Liberton, as allocated on the several Lands.

B.P.B.P.B.P.L. sh. d.L. sh. d.
Niddry-marshall pays yearly16 024 00 010-00-0000-16-08
Craig-Millar and Nether Liberton0 06 1512 011-13-0500-19-05 5/12
Drum1 1½15 01 016-06-0801-07-02 8/12
Stainhouse4 00 022 008-00-0000-13-04
Gilmerton0 132 028 0146-13-0412-04-05 4/12
Goodtrees and Moredun0 01 00 013-06-0801-02-02 8/12
Cairn or Kairntous0 01 10 001-15-0300-02-11 3/12
Morton-Hall and Muirhouse0 00 00 033-00-0002-15-00
Morton0 00 00 020-00-0001-01-04
Upper, or Over Liberton0 00 00 010-00-0000-16-08
Straiton0 00 00 006-00-0000-10-00
Camron and Common Myre0 00 00 003-00-0000-05-00
South-House0 00 00 003-00-0000-05-00
Total of the stipend21 14½50 063 0282-15-0423-11-03 4/12

N.B.- Mr Baird of Newbyth pays L. 120 Scots, or L. 10 Sterling, of the above money stipend, out of his estate of Newbyth. The rest of the money stipend he pays is due, as vicarage, on the estate of Gilmerton.

What was paid formerly from the lands and barony of Stainhouse, is now allocated on the lands of Burnhead, called Westfield.

No. VI.

The Tithes of Liberton.
(According to the Valuation that was made in 1630.*)

* Records in the Tithe Office, Edinburgh.

WHAT Mr William Little possessed of Upper, or Over Liberton, are 30 bolls of victual; of which, 12 bolls barley, 12 bolls oats, 4 bolls wheat, and 2 bolls pease.

What Mr George Winram possessed in the same barony, are also 30 bolls of victual; of which 12 bolls barley, 12 bolls oats, 4 bolls wheat, and 2 bolls pease.

Morton-Hall, at that time possessed by Alexander Ellis, are 40 bolls of victual; of which 26 bolls oats, 10 bolls barley, and 4 bolls wheat.

Muirhouse, or Murres, are 8 bolls of oats.

Morton, with a piece of ground adjoining to it, called Camron*, as given up by William Rigg of Morton, at that time proprietor of these lands, are 8 chalders of victual; of which, 2 chalders wheat, 2 chalders barley, and 4 chalders oats.

* Camron is described as lying in the parish of Hales, or Colinton.

Straiton-Hall, at that time belonging to John Henderson of Fordell, are 2 chalders of victual; of which 24 bolls oats, 6 bolls barley, 1 boll wheat, and 1 boll pease.

Town and lands of Straiton, pertaining at that time to Archibald and James Straitons, with 2 acres which, at the same period, belonged to William Straiton, are 12 bolls of victual; of which, 9 bolls oats, 2 bolls barley, 1/2 boll wheat, and 1/2 boll pease.

South-House, at that time belonging to David Bouman, are 10 bolls of victual; of which, 4 bolls barley, 5 bolls oats, 1/2 boll wheat, and 1/2 boll pease.

That part of Gilmerton possessed by Hugh Somerveile of Drum, are 30 bolls of victual; of which 12 bolls barley, 15 bolls oats, and 3 bolls pease.

That part of Gilmerton possessed by Mungo Short, are 4 bolls of barley, and 1 boll of oats.

That part of Gilmerton which was then the property of David Crighton of Lugton, are 40 bolls of oats, and 18 bolls of barley.

Drum, are 20 bolls of victual; of which, 6 bolls barley, 11 bolls oats, 2 bolls wheat, and 1 boll pease.

Todhills, which at that time belonged to George Borthwick, and was included in the barony of Drum, are 14 bolls of victual; of which, 1 boll wheat, 5 bolls barley, and 8 bolls oats.

Goodtrees, or Gutters, now called Moredun, which at that time belonged to David Macculloch, are 20 bolls of victual; of which, 3 bolls wheat, 6 bolls barley, 9 bolls oats, and 2 bolls pease.

Priesthill, the property, also, of the aforesaid David Macculloch, are 16 bolls of victual; of which, 4 bolls barley, and 12 bolls oats.

Stainhouse, and St Katharines, will appear from what follows: 'Quilk day (November 26, 1730.) Alexander Clerk, provost of Edinburgh, agreed to pay the fifth of 4 chalders of victual for the space contained in the valuation; and the Commissioners ordain him to find caution for the payment of this duty. The Commissioners likewise find, that the mill lands of Stainhouse are worth yearly, of teind, 6 firlots of victual; of which, 3 firlots barley, and 3 firlots oats; and that the lands of St Katharine's are worth yearly, of teind, 2 1/2 bolls of victual, half barley, and half oats.'

Camron, Mains of Craig-Millar, Bridgend, Cairn, or Kairntous, and Little France, so much thereof as is within the barony of Craig-Millar, are 60 bolls of victual; of which, 30 bolls oats, 15 bolls wheat, and 15 bolls barley, without any defalcation. Soon after, these tithes were set in tack, or lease, to the laird of Craig-Millar, by Mr Andrew Learmonth, minister of Liberton, for L.10 Scots, or 16sh. 8d. Sterling.

Nether Liberton, possessed then by James Winram, father of Mr George Winram, before mentioned, are 4 chalders barley, 56 bolls, or 3 chalders 8 bolls of oats, 8 bolls pease, and 24 bolls wheat.

Common Myre, a part of the lands of Camron, which at that time pertained to Sir James Hamilton of Priestfield, now Prestonfield, a second son of the family of Haddington, are 2 chalders of victual; of which, 8 bolls barley, 8 bolls wheat, and 16 bolls oats.

Peffer-Mill, and King's Meadow, are a chalder of victual; of which, 3 bolls wheat, 5 bolls barley, 6 bolls oats, and 2 bolls pease.

Niddry-Marshall, are 6 chalders of barley.

Brunstaine, called Little Gilmerton, belonging at that time to the Earl of Lauderdale, are 1 firlot of victual; of which, two parts are pease, and the third part barley.

No. IX.

MORE than three-fourths of the valuation of Liberton, of which there is a particular account in the preceding number, are entailed; for, the lands of Upper or Over Liberton, Morton-Hall, Muir-House, and North Kaims, Straiton, South-House, Gilmerton, Craig-Millar and Nether Liberton, Camron and Common Myre, Niddry-Marshal, and Brunstane, or Little Gilmerton, are subjected to a strict entail*.

* Register of Entails, Edinburgh.

[To be continued]

This page updated 11 Mar 2011