Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Volume I - Edinburgh
Parish of Liberton


PRESBYTERY OF EDINBURGH, SYNOD OF LOTHIAN AND TWEEDDALE.
THE REV. JAMES BEGG, M. A., MINISTER.

I.- TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY.

Name. - The real etymology of Liberton, formerly written Libertun, is some­what doubtful, although it is obviously of Saxon origin. Most probably, the name is a corruption of Leperton, and arose from the circumstance, that an hospital for the sick of Edinburgh was situated at or near it, although all traces of such an institution have long since vanished This supposition derives probability, both from the elevated, and very healthy nature of the whole district, quite near to, and overlooking the city of Edinburgh, and from the lands of Liberton being called in certain old writings the lands of Spital-town - Spital being synonymous with hospital in our old language.

Extent and Boundaries.- The figure of this parish is exceedingly irregular. It extends from nearly the eastern extremity of the Pentland hills to within a few yards of the sea, near Fisherrow, and from Edinburgh to within a mile of Dalkeith. It is thus nearly 7 miles long, and about 4 miles broad; In the centre, it is nearly square, but towards the east it becomes very narrow, and runs out to a sharp point for near­ly two miles, between the parishes of Newton and Inveresk on the one side, and Duddingstone on the other, in the form of a wedge. [This irregular shape arises from the circumstance, that this is, properly speaking, a united parish - the portion of it beyond Craigmillar Castle having, in former times, been connected with the chapel at Niddry.] It is bounded on the north and west, by the parish of St Cuthberts; on the north-east, by Duddingstone; on the east, by Inveresk; on the south-east, by Inveresk, Newton, and Dalkeith; on the south, by Lasswade; and on the south-west, by Colinton.

Topographical Appearances - Climate, &c. - The surface is very undulating, and beautifully diversified with plains and rising grounds, ascending occasionally to a considerable elevation, and, from their more elevated positions, commanding a magnificent view of the city of Edinburgh, the Pentland, Braid, and Blackford hills, Arthur's Seat, the Frith of Forth, the coasts of Fife and East Lothian, and, indeed, of the whole surrounding district, which is in many respects the most interesting in Scotland. It is the "Heart of Mid-Lothian," and there is not in Britain a more commanding view of rich and varied scenery, including wood, water, a fine city, and a richly cultivated country, than may be had from Craigmillar Castle, the high grounds above Mortonhall, the ridge of Gilmerton, or the neighbourhood of Liberton church. The land of the parish, too, being in the highest state of cultiva­tion, and almost all thoroughly drained, the climate is very dry and salubrious. The people are, in general, healthy, and many live to an old age. Epidemical diseases seldom exist; although in 1883, cholera was very fatal in Gilmerton and some of the neighbouring villages, no per-son being seized who was engaged in agriculture. The temperature of the parish varies in the different districts, the lower district towards the sea coast being much wanner, and the operations of husbandry being, in gener­al, nearly a fortnight earlier at Niddry and Brunstane than at Straiton and Morton. The parish is intersected by two rivulets, by which eight water mills are driven.

Geology. [The remarks under this head were written by William Rhynd, Esq.] - The parish of Liberton forms part of the great carboniferous deposit of Mid-Lothian. On the north and north-west side, the felspar and clinkstone of Braid and Blackford hills have elevated the sandstone deposits to a considerable height. These consist of the vari­ous layers of the carboniferous sandstones, which constitute the greater part of the surface of the valley of Mid-Lothian. On the northern declivity of the road leading from Liberton to Edinburgh, a coarse conglomerate makes its appearance, being here elevated to the surface, and which is probably one of the lowermost beds of the sandstone deposit. A line commencing from Burdiehouse, and extending in a slight­ly curved direction to Joppa, forms the northern boundary of the the coal-field of Mid-Lothian. Along this line there is an extensive slip and an abrupt elevation of the lowermost members of the coal basin. Burdiehouse quarry consists of a bed of limestone 27 feet thick, with several feet of bituminous shale, superimposed. It crops out abruptly to the surface in a westerly direction, and dips at an angle of 25° to the eastward. Two faults interrupt the continuity of this limestone bed, and are distinguishable from the limestone, by their composition, which is of a brecciated character.

The limestone is disposed in regular beds, and is of a light grayish colour below, and dark blue above. The shale, partly interposed between the limestone, and partly lying above, is of a laminar and highly bituminous nature. This limestone contains innumerable minute shells of the genus Cypris, a species of Unio, and sev­eral other fresh water Mollusca. It is also full of beautiful and most perfect impres­sions of cryptogamic plants, such as several species of Sphenopteris, Lepidodendrons, Lepidostrobus, &c. Entire impressions of small fishes, and numer­ous scales and fragments of bones, chiefly of the ganoid order of Agassiz, are also abundant, together with bones, scales, teeth, and faecal remains of Sauroid fishes of very large dimensions. This same limestone, characterized by its fresh water remains, is also seen cropping out at Moredun. The Gilmerton limestone appears from its position to lie above the Burdiehouse strata, and its organic remains, unlike the other, are exclusively marine. This bed is also about 27 feet thick. Below, is a hard compact limestone, with numerous remains of encrinites; above, are layers of a coarser limestone, called by the workmen blaes, alternating with layers of bitu­minous shale. In these layers Producti, Spiriferi and other shells are abundant. This limestone also dips to the east and south-east at an angle of about 25°, and lies below the great coal basin, which commences immediately to the south.

Both limestones are very pure, containing about 95 per cent carbonate of lime, and they have been extensively quarried and burnt for useful purposes.

At Niddry quarry, the same tilting up of the strata is visible, and here they consist of sandstone, shale, coal, and limestone. The same section extends onwards to Joppa, and terminates in the Frith.

At St Catherine's is a well which contains a quantity of mineral oil or petro­leum, obtained most probably from the spring flowing over some portion of the coal beds. This bituminous matter floats copiously on the surface of the water, and is also partially dissolved in it. The spring is reckoned medicinal by the country peo­ple, and may have some slight efficacy in cutaneous eruptions.

II.- CIVIL HISTORY.

Account of the Parish.- There is a very elaborate account of this parish, writ­ten by the Rev. Thomas Whyte, who was ordained minister of Liberton in 1752, and published amongst the Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. It will be found to contain an elaborate account of all the places and important fami­lies in the parish.

Land-Owners. - The principal land-owners of the parish are, Walter Little Gilmour, Esq. of Liberton and Craigmillar; Richard Trotter, Esq. of Mortonhall and Charterhall; Andrew Wauchope, Esq. of Niddry-Marshal; Sir David Baird of Newbyth; David Anderson, Esq. of Moredun; the Marquis of Abercom; Sir William Rae of St Catherine's; Miss Innes of Drum; Miss Sivright of Meggetland; James Johnston, Esq. of Straiton; Sir Robert Dick of Prestonfield; Lord Melville; Wardlaw Ramsay, Esq. of Whitehill; Mrs Gilchrist of Sunnyside; John Wauchope, Esq. of Edmonstone; John Tod, Esq. of Todhills; Robert Bruce, Esq. of Kennet; and William Tullis, Esq. of Mount Vernon.

Parochial Registers. - The parochial registers, which have been preserved, begin in 1639, and have been pretty regularly kept since. Those connected with the business of the kirk-session alone amount to twelve volumes. They were lately res­cued from the dust in which they lay, thoroughly inspected, the torn and decayed leaves repaired, and the whole handsomely bound, and deposited, with other valuable parochial documents, in a fire-proof charter-chest.

Celebrated Characters. - Amongst the celebrated characters connected with this parish may be mentioned Mr Clement Little of Upper Liberton, who founded the College Library of Edinburgh, (Arnot's History, p. 414.) John, Trotter, Esq. of Mortonhall, Merchant in Edinburgh, founder of the present branch of that family, born in 1558, seems to have been a distinguished man in his day. He left in charity to the town of Edinburgh 4000 merks; to St Paul's Hospital 2000 merks; and a con­siderable sum to Trinity Hospital. He also built two chambers in the College of Edinburgh, for two bursars of philosophy, and left 700 merks to the town of Lanark. Sir Symon De Preston of Craigmillar was Provost of Edinburgh, in 1565, immedi­ately after the Reformation, and, in his house in town, Queen Mary lodged on the fatal night she left the army at Caerberry hill, (Keith, p. 402, 409-410.) - Two of the Gilmours of Craigmillar were also distinguished for their ability as lawyers about the time of the Restoration of Charles, and one of them, Sir John Gilmour, was made Lord President of the Court of Session, (Nicolson's Historical Library, p. 369­70.) Gilbert Wauchope of Niddry, (a family of at least nearly 500 years standing in the parish, and perhaps now the oldest family in Mid-Lothian,) was a member of the Scottish Parliament in 1560, when Popery was abolished and the Protestant reli­gion set up; and we find another member of the same family, Sir John Wauchope of Niddry, a zealous Covenanter, (See Guthrie's Memoirs,) and a member of the General Assembly in 1648. The late proprietor was also for many years a represen­tative of the Presbytery of Edinburgh in the General Assembly. Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, who was Lord Advocate of Scotland, from 1692 till 1713, may be mentioned as one of the distinguished persons connected with this parish. The lady of Little of Liberton was one of the martyrs during the persecution. She was impris­oned in 1685 for harbouring conventicklers, and was only set at liberty in conse­quence of her husband agreeing to be confined as her substitute. (Fountainhall, i. 363.) - The Rev. Samuel Semple, chosen by the heritor and elders, under the Revolution settlement, ordained on the 31st of August 1697, and minister of Liberton for upwards of forty-four years, seems to have been a man of some note. From the records it appears that he conducted the business of the parish with much vigour, and the General Assembly appear to have looked to him for a History of the Church of Scotland, which, however, he did not live to finish. His monument, late­ly renewed, is placed on the tower of the church. The Rev. Thomas Whyte, who wrote the account, to which we have already referred, must have been a man of learning and research. And in more distant times the Rev. John Davidson, minister of this parish in 1582, a man of great zeal and talent, discharged, by appointment, the task of excommunicating Montgomery, minister of Stirling, who makes such a figure in the annals of our Presbyterian Church, as having endeavoured to thrust himself into the office of Archbishop of Glasgow, in defiance of the General Assembly.

Civil Antiquities, &c. - In the neighbourhood of Mortonhall there are several tumuli, which are supposed to have originated with the Romans. Right west, also, from Mortonhall, there is a hill, called Galachlaw, which became famous as the encampment of Oliver Cromwell in 1650, with no less than 16,000 men, before the battle of Dunbar, (Hume's Hist. Vol. ii. p. 24.)

At St Catherine's, there is the famous well, before alluded to, anciently called the Balm Well. Black oily substances constantly float on the surface of the water. However many you remove they still appear as numerous as before. In ancient times a sovereign virtue was supposed to reside in this well, and it was much fre­quented by persons afflicted with cutaneous complaints. The nuns of the Sheens made an annual procession to it in honour of St Catherine. King James VI. visited it in 1617, and ordered it to be properly enclosed and provided with a door and stair­case, but it was destroyed and filled up by the soldiers of Cromwell in 1650. It has again been opened and repaired, and is now in a good state of preservation.

The whole of the lands of Mortonhall and St Catherine's in ancient times formed part of the princely estate of the Sinclairs of Roslin,- the Trotters being orig­inally from Catchelraw, in Berwickshire, and a very old family there.

Burdiehouse is supposed to be a corruption of Bourdeaux-house, and to have been so called by some of Queen Mary's French attendants in 1561.

There is at Gilmerton a singular cave, dug out of the solid rock. It contains several apartments, and was finished in 1724 by an eccentric inhabitant of that place, after five years hard labour. The person by whom it was made lived with his family, and carried on his occupation as a smith, in this place till 1735. It is still visited by the curious.

In the lawn of Drum, the ancient residence of the Somerville family, right opposite the front of the house, stands the old market-cross of the city of Edinburgh. It was brought here in 1756. It is composed of several stones, 20 feet high, and 18 inches in diameter, and ornamented with thistles, the ancient badge of Scotland.

The Castle of Craigmillar is one of the most striking historical objects in this parish. The name is Gaelic, Craig-moil-ard, and signifies a rock, bare and high, running out into a plain. It is impossible to say how old this Castle is. The wall around it was built in 1427, as appears from the inscription on the gate, and the modern portion to the west was built in 1661 by Sir John Gilmour, then Lord President of the Court of Session, and was, for some time, the mansion-house of the family. The Castle belonged for 300 years to the Prestons of Gowrton of that ilk, and be-came the property of the Gilmours about 1601. John Earl of Marr, a younger brother of James III., was confined here in 1477. It was for some time the residence of James V. during his minority, when he left Edinburgh, because of the plague, (Leslie's History, p. 368.) It was taken, and partly burnt and demolished, according to Pitscottie, by the English in 1543. But what gives it its chief interest as connect­ed with Scottish history, is the fact, that Queen Mary chose to reside here as much as possible after her return from France in 1561. A room is still shown in the Castle as Queen Mary's bedroom, only 7 feet long by 5 broad, but it probably was not devoted to that purpose. At the foot of Craigmillar hill there is a small village, called Little France, which was no doubt the place where the French servants of the Queen resided. The tradition of the place points to a venerable sycamore tree as having been planted by Queen Mary. The ruins of the Castle are still strong and well-pre­served, and the situation is one of the most noble and princely that can be imagined. The grounds have lately been much ornamented by clumps of beautiful trees.

The only other fact connected with the civil history of the parish which I shall mention is, that on the Borough Muir, now partly fanned by Mr Dale, and the property of W. L. Gilmour, Esq. James IV. reviewed his troops before he set out for the fatal field of Flodden in 1513, (Maitland's Hist. of Edin. p. 178.)

Ecclesiastical Antiquities - Churches.- In ancient times there were three places of worship in this parish; namely, one at Liberton, one at St Catherine's, and one at Niddry. The remains of the chapel and burying-ground at St Catherine's have long since disappeared, although "some persons yet alive," says Mr Whyte, "remember to have seen the chapel;" but there are still some traces of the chapel at Niddry, and, in particular, there is still a burying-ground in which the people of the district continue to bury their dead. The chapel at Niddry was founded by Robert Wauchope of Niddry-Marshal in 1387, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The min­ister of it, who was connected with the Abbey of Holyrood, had, besides other priv­ileges and emoluments, a manse, an acre of ground, pasture for two cows, and twelve merks per annum from the lands of Pylmuir, in the parish of Currie, which belonged to the proprietor of Niddry. The old chapel and burying-ground were at the west end of the mansion-house, but, in 1685, the burying-ground was removed to the south-west side of the garden, where it still remains. The church of Liberton itself belonged to the parish of St Cuthbert's previous to 1124, (Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 5.) The patronage of Liberton, with an acre of land contiguous to the church, belonged afterwards to Sir John Maxwell, who bestowed them on the Monastery of Kilwinning in the year 1367, and this was ratified by David II. in 1370, (Appendix to Nisbet's History, p. 151.) How long this state of things contin­ued does not appear. But at length they became the property of the Abbey of Holyroodhouse, as appears from Keith's History of the Scots Bishops, (p. 28.) In 1607, Mr John Bothwell of Whitekirk, first Lord Holyroodhouse, received a grant of the patronage, rectorship, and tithes of Liberton, (Crawford's Peerage, p. 185-6.) But his son was forced to resign them when a bishopric was erected at Edinburgh. At the Revolution, the heritors and elders of course named the minister, but by the Act of Queen Anne the patronage became the property of the Crown, - Wauchope of Niddry claiming, and, it is supposed, exercising a conjunct right of patronage from his connexion with the ancient chapel of Niddry-Marshal. This right has late­ly, however, been disputed by the Crown.

In connexion with this subject it may be mentioned, that a Presbyterian chapel was erected at Craigmillar during the indulgence granted by James VII. which, at the termination of the persecution and the restoration of Presbyterian wor­ship, became unnecessary, and is now used as a stable or out-house. There is also at Bridge-end a chapel built by James V., near a place which he used as a hunting- lodge, but it also is now turned into a stable.

Church Lands.- The lands which lie west and south-west of the church of Liberton were church lands, and termed Vicar's Acres. They are so denominated in the entail of Mr Little of Liberton. To the east of St Catherine's there is a rising ground formerly called Priest Hill, now Grace Mount, which probably was con­nected with the chapel of St Catherine's, and occupied by the officiating minister. Near the Craigs is a piece of land, called the Kirk-lands, extending to about five acres, which formerly belonged to the church or chapel of Liberton. A part of Craigmillar hill belonged to the Abbey of Dunfermline, as appears from Haddington's Collections. It was mortified in pure and perpetual alms, as appears from a charter of mortification in the reign of Alexander II. in 1212. The lands of Inch belonged to the Abbey of Holyrood, as appears from a charter in the reign of James II. (see Register-Office.)

There was in ancient times a mill at Nether Liberton, the tithes of which were bestowed by King David on the Abbey of Holyroodhouse. The Black Friars of Edinburgh also received six merks annually from the proceeds of this mill.

The Burgh Muir, now in a high state of cultivation, formerly belonged to the nuns at the Sheens or Sciens, so called from Catherine of Sienna, an Italian. This appears from a charter of confirmation in 1516.

There belonged to the vicarage of Liberton a husband land in the manor of Gilmerton. (Inquis. Special. 1607, iv. 93.)

Ministers of Liberton since the Reformation.- 1. The first minister of Liberton after the Reformation was Mr Thomas Cranston, previously minister of Borthwick. He entered to his stipend here, which only amounted to 200 merks, or L.11, 2s. 2d., at Lammas 1569, and was translated to Peebles at Whitsunday 1570.

2.  The second minister was Mr John Davidson, a man of great zeal and tal­ent, who laboured here till 1584, [Spottiswoods History.] but was afterwards minister of Prestonpans, where we find him in 1596. [Calderwoodl He was greatly admired in both parishes, and eminently useful. Fleming, in his Treatise concerning the Fulfilling of the Scriptures, refers to him as a distinguished saint.

3.  The next was Mr John Adamson, who was minister of this parish in 1616, and a member of the Assembly which met that year in Aberdeen. He was afterwards translated to Edinburgh, and made Principal of the College, in which capacity he sat in the Glasgow Assembly 1638. He was reckoned a man of learning.

4.  Mr John Cranston was minister of Liberton in 1625, 1626, and 1627.

5.  Mr Andrew Learmonth was minister from 1629 until 1636.

6.  Mr Archibald Newton was translated to Liberton from Duddingston, May 19, 1639. During his ministry, the Covenant was renewed and subscribed by all ranks at Liberton with great solemnity. Records of the Kirk-session.] He died June 2, 1657.

7.  Mr Andrew Cant was admitted minister of Liberton, March 10, 1659. He was translated to the College Church, Edinburgh, July 13, 1673, and in 1683 was Principal of the Edinburgh University.

8.  Mr Ninian Paterson from Glasgow was ordained minister of Liberton, October 14, 1674, during the Restoration of Episcopacy. A violent resistance was made to his settlement, and the persons engaged in it were put into the pillory, [Wodrow.] both at Edinburgh and Liberton. He was distinguished by his taste for Latin poetry, but only continued minister here for five years.

9.    Mr Robert Farquhar, was translated from Cullen to Liberton, April 12, 1683, and died in March 1687. Records of the Kirk-session.]

10.     Mr Alexander Cuming succeeded him, and continued for a few months after the Revolution. He preached his farewell sermon, May 19, 1689. Records of the Kirk-session.]

11.    Mr James Webster, Presbyterian minister of the meeting-house at Craigmillar, was translated to the parish church of Liberton, in consequence of the Revolution, and preached his first sermon there, May 29, 1689. Records of the Kirk-ses­sion.] He was soon translated to Whitekirk, and afterwards to Edinburgh.

12. Mr Gideon Jaque from Ireland succeeded him, and was minister October 16, 1692. He soon went to England.

13.  Mr Samuel Semple was chosen by the heritors and elders, and ordained minister, August 31, 1697. After officiating upwards of forty-four years, he died universally regretted, January 7, 1742. Calamy mentions him in his Life and Times as a friend of his, and a person of eminence, and states that he resided at his manse, and preached for him to a full congregation during his sojourn in Scotland.

14.       Dr John Jardine was ordained assistant and successor to Mr Semple, July 30, 1741, and was translated to Lady Yester's Church, Edinburgh, December 6, 1750.

15.       Mr David Mowbray was translated from Currie to Liberton, May 28, 1751, but lived only four months and a few days.

16.            Mr Thomas Whyte was ordained minister of Liberton, August 20, 1752, and died January 13, 1789. For many of the facts above stated, and much curious antiquarian informa­tion, the reader is referred to his account of the parish.]

17.       Mr James Grant was ordained August 18, 1789, and died June 8, 1831. A very handsome monument was erected to his memory by subscription amongst the parishioners in 1838.

18.       Mr William Purdie was ordained minister of this parish, January 26, 1832, and after a short but zealous, esteemed, and useful ministry, died November 16, 1834. The parishioners also erected a handsome monument to his memory.

19.       Mr James Begg was translated from the Middle parish of Paisley to this parish June 25, 1835. He was presented by the Crown in consequence of a petition from the heritors, elders, and parishioners, and is the nineteenth minister since the Reformation, and the ninth since the Revolution.

Modern Buildings.- The church of Liberton is a very handsome Gothic struc­ture, with a fine tower in a commanding situation, erected in 1815 from a plan by James Gillespie Graham, Esq. Its interior arrangements, however, are not in keep­ing with the elegance of the external building. The gallery projects too far, and is besides flat, dark, and too near the roof, which gives the church an uncomfortable appearance, and prevents the people from seeing and hearing with advantage. A slight alteration would vastly improve it both in appearance and comfort. A very handsome chapel was erected at Gilmerton in 1837. Besides these public buildings, there are many very handsome houses in the parish, the residences of the several proprietors. Amongst these may be mentioned the Inch House, the oldest date to be found on which is 1617: Mortonhall, an admirable house, finished in 1769, and which the present proprietor has still farther improved: The House of Drum erect­ed by Lord Sommerville: Moredun, a delightful residence, erected by Sir James Stewart: Niddry, a very ancient baronial residence, with a large and handsome mod­ern addition; and the house of Brunstane, erected by Lord Lauderdale in 1639. The houses of Southfield, Sunnyside, St Catherine's, and Mount Vernon, are also excel­lent and beautifully situated.

III - Population

The population of this parish seems always to have been considerable. From an old roll of communicants, without a date, amongst the session records, it appears that the number of persons in full communion with the church was then 700. In 1755 the population was 2793 souls. In 1786, when Mr Whyte's Account was made, the population amounted to 3457.

The population was in 1801, .

3565

1811, .

4033

1821, .

4276

1831, .

4063

The number of families in the parish in 1831,
chiefly employed in agriculture,
in trade, manufactures, or handicraft, .

922
145
201

 

 

 

The number of illegitimate births during the last three years has been about 22.

The population since 1831 has rather diminished. This has arisen chiefly from the suspension of the coal-work at Gilmerton, which has not only forced many of the colliers to seek work elsewhere, but dispersed some of the carters, who for­merly employed themselves in driving coals from Gilmerton to Edinburgh.

Resident Proprietors.- There are very few resident proprietors in this parish, which is a great disadvantage in every respect. Mrs Gilmour of Craigmillar; Richard Trotter, Esq. of Mortonhall; David Anderson, Esq. of Moredun; and Sir William Rae, are the only proprietors of any note who do reside, and some of these only occasionally. Their residence, however, and the efforts made, and contribu­tions given for the temporal and spiritual good of the people, are a source of great advantage to the parish.

Insane Persons.- There are several insane persons. The kirk-session lately maintained wholly or in part no fewer than five, one of whom had been supported in the same way for thirty years, and cost the parish about L. 600.

Peculiar Games.- The only peculiar games here are what are called "carter's plays." The carters have friendly societies for the purpose of supporting each other in old age or during ill-health, and with the view partly of securing a day's recre­ation, and partly of recruiting their numbers and funds, they have an annual pro­cession. Every man decorates his cart-horse with flowers and ribbons, and a regu­lar procession is made, accompanied by a band of music, through this and some of the neighbouring parishes. To crown all, there is an uncouth uproarious race with cart-horses on the public road, which draws forth a crowd of Edinburgh idlers, and all ends in a dinner, for which a fixed sum is paid. Much rioting and profligacy often take place in connexion with these amusements, and the whole scene is melancholy. There are other societies in the parish which have also annual parades with a simi­lar result. These societies have undoubtedly been in some respects useful, but the "plays" are fortunately rapidly declining; and it is to be hoped that savings' banks, in which there is neither risk nor temptation to drunkenness, will soon become the universal depositories for the surplus earnings of the people.

General Habits of the People.- Amongst so many people, there is of course a great variety of character. The fanners are a highly respectable class of men,- men of great skill and capital, some of whose ancestors have been here for 200 years, and their servants have in general clean comfortable houses, and are very sober and industrious. The colliers and carters, on the other hand, are, in many instances, improvident and careless, although amongst both classes there are many exceptions. Some of the people are excessively ignorant; a few grown up persons can neither read nor write. In the villages, generally, there is, I lament to say, a melancholy want of vital religion, and, in many instances, even of the appearance of it. There is also amongst some of the people a singular torpor and insensibility to moral and reli­gious obligations. This has arisen chiefly from the want of proper schools; the long want of a church in Gilmerton, and of sufficient moral and religious instruction for other portions of the floating population of this extensive parish; from the dreadful prevalence of whisky-shops; and the vicinity of Edinburgh, which throws out some of the refuse of its population upon us, and, in many ways, tends to lower the tone of our society. The prevalence of a practice amongst the higher classes in Edinburgh of hiring unmarried country girls to nurse their children is, in an obvious way, one of the most fruitful parents of vice in this parish. I can scarcely believe that the per­sons who employ these girls are sufficiently aware of this, although the minister and elders cannot shut their eyes to it. We are doing our utmost to remedy these evils, and with some success.

IV.- INDUSTRY.

Agriculture.- This is one of the most important agricultural parishes in Scotland, although the number of acres habitually under cultivation is only 3998. Besides these there is in grass about 370 acres, and under wood or in gardens and shrubberies perhaps 350 acres more, making in all 4718 acres. The cultivated land is divided into thirty-four farms, varying in size from 40 to 268 acres, the majority, however, being upwards of 100 acres, and six of them being upwards of 200 acres. In some instances, two or even more of these farms are cultivated by the same indi­vidual, making the quantity of land held to be more than 800 acres.

Soil, Rotation of Crops, &c.- The soil of the parish is various, 1. The greatest proportion of it, in the lower districts, is a rich loam, made so by manure and drain­ing, the soil being naturally bad. This portion is at present in the highest state of cul­tivation of which our climate will admit, the proof of which will be found in the amount of the rents paid, and the high price its grain bears in the market. The rota­tion of crops which formerly prevailed, was, 1. potatoes or turnips, 2. wheat or barley, 3. grass, 4. oats. But, owing to the failure of the grass crop, when so often repeated, a rotation of five crops was adopted, viz. 1. potatoes, 2. wheat, 3. barley, 4. grass, 5. oats. But there are so many variations, that no fixed rule can be given. 2. The next kind of soil is a thin clay, with a retentive subsoil, which prevails in the higher districts of the parish, but which is in a rapid course of improvement by means of draining. Mr Jamieson of Straiton, and Mr Allan of Broomhills, are at pre­sent draining extensively. The rotation of crops observed upon this soil is, 1. fallow or potatoes, 2. wheat, 3. grass, 4. oats. 3. In the immediate neighbourhood of the Pentland hills, on the farm of Morton for example, the soil is generally a dry grav­el, the rotation observed on which is, 1. turnips or potatoes, 2. barley or wheat, 3. grass, 4. oats.

Rent, Produce, Manure, Servants' Wages, &c.- The rent of land varies from L. 3 to L. 7 an acre. A common rent is L. 2, 2s. with a boll of wheat and a boll of barley an acre. Grass lets at about L.5 an acre, although some of Sir Robert Dick's parks, (which are supposed to have been enriched by the shrewdness of one of his ancestors, who, being Provost of Edinburgh, turned a large portion of the waste sweepings of the town upon his lands,) are let this year as high as L. 10 an acre. The valued rent of the parish is L. 13,685, 6s. 8d. Scotch; the real rent in 1828 was L. 27,944, 3s. 2d. This includes rents of farms, mines, houses, &c., the particulars of which I have in a statement beside me. It also includes the rents of seventy-eight houses under L. 2 a-year. This document was carefully drawn up by the late school­master after a strict investigation. Potatoes are the principal crop in this parish. They are raised for the Edinburgh market. The average number of acres bearing this crop annually is 685, producing 23,124 bolls, or 34 bolls an acre. These are sometimes sold on the ground at from L. 14 to L. 20 an acre. The manure applied varies from 30 to 50 cart-loads at 5s. a cart-load, the expense being about L. 12 an acre. The quality of the potatoes is very superior. The cultivation and produce of other crops is at an average as follows: 215 acres are devoted to turnips, the produce being 5345 tons, or 25 tons an acre; 19 acres to beans, the produce being 152 bolls, or 8 bolls an acre; 738 acres to wheat, the produce being 6416 bolls, or 81/2 bolls an acre; 490 acres to barley, the produce being 2990 bolls, or 6 bolls an acre; 850 acres to oats, the produce being 8063 bolls, or 91/2 bolls an acre; 1001 acres to grass, the produce being 132,340 stones of hay, or 200 stones an acre. [These are of course the averages of the whole parish. Instances have been known of single fields producing far larger crops. Potatoes have been known to grow at the rate of 80 bolls, and sometimes even more an acre, and one farmer assured me that from one acre he raised 19 bolls of oats or 132 bushels.] This is sometimes let as green crop at from L. 15 to L. 22 an acre. The manure applied to this parish at an average is nearly 40,000 tons per annum. All kinds of grain are of excellent quality, the weight of wheat being 62 lbs. a bushel; barley 55 lbs.; oats 42 lbs. These statements are not made at random, but are the result of a careful investigation made in regard to every farm in the parish, the answers being received from the farmers themselves. Very few cattle are reared or fed here, owing to the high price received for turnips, viz. from L. 15 to L. 20 an acre; but that immense cattle can be reared, will appear from the fact, that Mr Johnston of Niddry had last year a bullock of his own rearing, which, at three years old, weighed nearly 130 stones Dutch. The wages of married ploughmen are L. 16 in money, 61/2 bolls of meal, 3 bolls of potatoes, 1 month's meat in harvest, and a free house and garden. A few of a better class receive L. 2 more. Young unmarried men receive L. 5 and board. Women's wages are from 8d. to 9d. a day. Shearers in harvest receive 10d. or ls. 3d. a day, but have sometimes received as high as 2s. and food, which consists of admirable porridge and milk, at morning and night, the por­ridge made in a large boiler, into which half a boll of meal is often thrown, whilst the mess is stirred with an immense staff seized in the centre, and fastened at the top, which thus is made to work with a lever power. An Irish shearer has been known to eat 9 lbs. weight of these excellent porridge. At noon the shearers get bread and beer.

Improvements required.- Nothing of this nature stands so much in need of improvement as the farm-offices. Some of the cottages, too, are much in want of being renewed, and constructed with two apartments each. They are on some farms worse than the stables. A most important effort is being made at present by the Highland Society, to secure greater neatness and cleanliness in the cottages; and Mr Trotter of Mortonhall is powerfully seconding their efforts in this parish, by dou­bling the premiums offered, and adding two of his own. The result undoubtedly has already been highly beneficial. A good deal also requires to be done, and something is being done at present, in the way of enclosing, especially on the Liberton estate, and in the way of planting the tops of the hills towards the west, which will great­ly add to the beauty of the landscape, and break the force of the west wind, which is here by far the most violent,- the result of which is that the trees on the rising grounds are all bent towards the east.

Horses.- The horses are mostly of a superior kind, and are generally highly fed, which is a proof of the prosperity of agriculture. The horse which obtained the prize at the exhibition of the Highland Society at Glasgow, last year, was reared by Mr Law of Norton, one of the farmers of this parish. It is supposed to be one of the largest and most handsome horses in the world. Another splendid horse, which also received several premiums, was reared at the same time by Mr Jamieson of Straiton.

Modern Improvements.- One of the most important agricultural improvements introduced into this district has been the steam thrashing-mill. By its use time and labour are equally saved, and one of the farm-servants can soon be trained to act as engineer. One has been erected at Niddry, and another at Straiton, with engines of six horse-power, made by Douglas of Edinburgh. They thrash easily 60 bushels of grain an hour, requiring, however, the aid of nine women, six men, and two carts and horses, in feeding the mill, and clearing away the grain and straw. Thus 600 bushels can easily be thrashed in a day. There, are besides in the parish seven water thrashing-mills, and one windmill. The rest of the grain is thrashed by horse-power. Flails are unknown. The refuse of saltpetre has lately been applied to grass as a manure, with great success. It is sown upon the grass in February or March, the worth of L. 1 being applied to an acre. It acts as a powerful stimulant, and sends up a dark green luxuriant bulky crop. Soot produces nearly the same result. Amongst the most important improvements may be reckoned sowing machines, which are of two kinds, 1. the drilling-machine, by which oats and other grain can be sown with the utmost regularity and precision. The effect besides is to save seed, and to enable the farmer thoroughly to clear out weeds between the drills, by means of the Dutch hoe: 2. The broad-cast machine made by Scoular of Haddington is an immense improvement. It sows at once a breadth of 18 feet as fast as a horse can walk, or 4 acres an hour, holding as much seed at once as will sow an acre, and only requiring one man and one woman to manage it, but requiring eight horses to harrow in the seed. It costs L. 10, but is so profitable in the way of saving seed, and insuring good sowing, that, in the opinion of the most skilful farm­ers here, a fanner of any extent had better borrow the money required than be with­out one, as it will amply save the value of itself in one year. It is peculiarly valuable in sowing grass seeds, a most difficult operation, especially when they are mixed with clover seed, which being heavy, requires to be continually stirred up amongst the grass seeds, and thrown out with a considerable impulse. It is difficult to get a servant who will take the trouble; but the sowing machine secures this object most effectually, by stirring the seed continually, and sowing it with such power, that in the face of a tempest, (a sad enemy to the ordinary sower) its operations are unim­peded. In a word, there is all the difference here which exists between the powerful and steady action of a steam-vessel, and the feeble and irregular motion of a paddle boat. Besides, the use of this machine forces the farmer to straight his furrows, and square his fields, which will be found a mighty advantage in ploughing, harrowing, reaping, and every other operation of husbandry. There is an instrument in use here, which I have not seen in the west of Scotland, called a grubber, which is drawn by one horse, and is used with effect in clearing out the weeds between the drills of potatoes and turnips, thus making the operation of hoeing much easier, and more effectual. The horse rake also may be mentioned as a modem instrument, which is employed in raking over the whole ground, cut with the sickle after the grain is carried, and thus clearing off the entire crop. Carts here cost L. 12; a pair of harrows L. 3; an iron plough (wooden ploughs being discarded,) L. 3; and smiths receive L.3, 10s. for every plough kept on a farm, for which they are bound both to supply iron and keep the fanning implements in order.

Waste Lands reclaimed.- The upper part of the farm of Liberton Tower Mains, where it joins the Braid hills, containing from 12 to 20 acres, was formerly covered with furze and brushwood. Mr Brockie, the tenant, obtained a lease of it for 5s. an acre, and it is now entirely cleared, and converted into good land, bearing all kinds of crops. The land, too, in the barony of Broomhills, of which Mr Whyte says, that "the expense of draining and putting it into order, would far exceed any profits that might thence arise," was lately drained, and is in the rapid course of improve­ment, and will, it is believed, amply repay the expense incurred. It amounts to about 40 acres. There is scarcely, therefore, a rood of waste land in the parish.

Pigs and Poultry.- Most of the fanners keep poultry, some of them a large number. On some of the farms the ordinary stock of common fowls is sixty or sev­enty, besides turkeys, geese, and ducks, so that at Niddry Mains, for example, there may sometimes be about 200 of these creatures. The geese grow to a large size, weighing sometimes not less than 1 stone of 16 oz. Poultry are not reckoned prof­itable in any other sense, than that they are supported by grain gathered in the barn­yard, which otherwise would be lost. Pigs are also kept about all the farms. They also receive little food except what they pick up in the straw yard, and yet they become very large and fat, weighing often 16 or 17 stones Dutch. They thrive much better in consequence of being thus allowed to go at large; those with short heads and upright ears are reckoned best, and in the market the white are reckoned more valuable than the black.

Leases.- The general duration of leases is nineteen years.

Gardens, &c.- Gardening is carried on in this parish with great skill and success. The soil is peculiarly adapted to the growth of vegetables of all kinds. I have seen even in the manse garden an early cabbage weighing 16 oz. The earliest straw­berries in the Edinburgh market are sometimes raised at Stenhouse. In 1832, they were ripe as early as the 5th of June. There are admirable and most productive gar­dens, with forcing houses, at Mortonhall, St Catherine's, Inch, Moredun, Drum, Sunnyside, Southfield, and an excellent garden at Niddry. The Moredun gardens are still as famous as when Mr Whyte's account was written, and no expense is spared in improving them by the present excellent proprietor. Besides moveable glass frames, there is exposed to the light in the vineries, peach-houses, and pine-pits, at Moredun, upwards of 8223 square feet of glass. Hollies thrive admirably in this soil, and there are not only many splendid specimens, but whole hedges of this beautiful plant. At Moredun there is a holly hedge, very tall, and reaching the whole breadth of the garden, and at Niddry a very splendid one, 30 feet high, which, when annu­ally cut, are of course scaled by ladders. These hedges are like solid evergreen walls. There are several very large trees in this parish. A sycamore tree at Niddry measures 19 feet in circumference, and another at Mortonhall, said to have been planted in 1700, measures 14 feet. At Moredun, Drum, and Inch, there are also many fine trees.

Mines and Quarries.- 1. Coalwork at Gilmerton.- At Gilmerton there are about 20 seams of coal from 2 1/2 to 10 feet thick. The working of the coal, which is of excellent quality, is supposed to have commenced at a very early period; proba­bly 300 years ago. It was in vigorous operation in 1627, and in Mr Whyte's time, fifty-four colliers were employed. This number was, however, greatly augmented afterwards, about eighty families being constantly employed, the quantity of coals annually raised being from 20,000 to 24,000 tons, and the amount of wages paid being L.180 a fortnight to colliers alone. In addition to colliers, a number of carters were employed, and employed themselves in driving these coals to Edinburgh, making the population of the village of Gilmerton to be upwards of 800 souls. The seam of coal lately worked is 4 feet 4 inches thick, with 8 inches of parrot coal above. Of late, however, these operations have been suspended, partly owing to the expiry of the lease of the late tenant, but chiefly owing to the quantity of coal brought to the Edinburgh market by means of the Dalkeith Railway, from mines which can be worked at less expense. The mines at Gilmerton may remain dormant for a time, till some of the neighbouring collieries are exhausted to the same depth, but there is at Gilmerton an immense supply of coal unworked.

Iron.- Blackband ironstone of the best quality, and 14 inches thick, has late­ly been discovered at Gilmerton, which may immediately cause a great increase of population.

Lime-works at Gilmerton.- The Gilmerton lime-work was perhaps the oldest in Scotland, and had also been in operation from time immemorial. It was at first worked by tirring, afterwards by mining, according to the plan at present in use. Its present waste, stretching from Moredun Mains along by Hyvot's Mill, to Muirhouse, presents abundant evidence of former operations, there being a vast series of pillars with open areas, the rock being 9 feet thick, and resting on a decliv­ity of 45.° The stones from the mine or quarry were formerly carried to the bank- head by women with creels fastened on their backs, and when the works were in full operation, probably fifty women were thus employed. At length asses were with more propriety employed in this occupation; a change suggested by a man of the name of Pidie, who had been at the siege of Gibraltar, and had seen asses employed there in carrying up sand to fortify the trenches. The east part of the quarry was afterwards worked by means of a steam-engine, but this was found unprofitable, and was consequently abandoned. The working was, however, renewed, and carried on with great vigour during the years 1825, 1826, and 1827, when the rock was laid dry by the draining and working of the North Green coal, which lies regularly above it. At this time there were upwards of twenty quarrymen employed, and the quanti­ty produced was about 15,000 bolls of six imperial bushels per annum. Nearly the same quantity of small coals was consumed, and the rock was forced out by means of blasting with gunpowder; a very difficult operation.

This limestone extends from the adjoining parish of Lasswade, nearly across the entire breadth of this parish. It begins near Loanhead on the west, and runs near­ly in a north-eastern direction to Moredun, passing through Muirhouse, the property of Mr Trotter of Mortonhall, entering a corner of the Moredun grounds, turning to the west by Hyvot's Mill, entering the grounds of Southfield, running through the village of Stenhouse, Moredun Mill, and Moredun Mains, where it again takes a turn almost due south, and enters the property of Sir David Baird, and continues nearly in the same direction till it enters the parish of Newton, near Edmonstone. I understand that in all these places, except at Muirhouse, it is of excellent quality; but its working on Sir David Baird's property can only be resumed by employing a steam-engine to remove the water, or in consequence of the working of the North Green coal.

Lime-works at Burdiehouse.- The limestone at Burdiehouse, which is entire­ly distinct from that at Gilmerton, was discovered about eighty or ninety years ago. It was worked by tirring till about thirty or forty years ago, when a successful attempt was made to work it by means of a mine. A level was at first made to the burn near Burdiehouse Mains, for the purpose of carrying off the water, but after­wards a steam-engine was procured for this purpose. The rock is about 30 feet thick, lies at an angle of 45,° and is of excellent quality. It runs from Burdiehouse Mains to Straiton, and rock precisely the same kind is not found in any other part of the parish. Its organic remains have attracted much attention, and many valuable spec­imens of them are to be seen in the Museum of the Royal Society, Edinburgh, col­lected with great care by Sir John Robison.

The limestone was formerly carried to the surface by means of asses, as at Gilmerton, but, in 1822, two gins, with inclined planes, were erected for this pur­pose. From that period till 1827, this quarry was worked very extensively, produc­ing in 1825 and 1826, when the mania for building raged in Edinburgh, from 800 to 1000 bolls of six bushels each per week during the summer, and employing from forty to fifty men during the year. In 1829, the rock being worked out to the level at which the steam-engine carried off the water, a new discovery of rock was made to the west, a quarry opened, and a level run to the old quarry, in consequence of which the work is now carried on. The stones are brought to the surface by means of a gin and inclined plane, and conveyed from thence to the kilns by a railroad. There are at present employed about twenty-five or thirty men during the year. The produce is about 300 bolls a-week, or between 15,000 and 16,000 bolls per annum. The consumpt of small coals is about 12,000 bolls a-year, formerly obtained from Gilmerton; but since the coal-work there was discontinued, from Sir George Clerk's works at Loanhead.

Sandstone Quarries.- There is an excellent and valuable quarry at Niddry, but the working of it is at present suspended, except for purposes connected with the estate. There is also abundance of excellent freestone at Craigmillar, but lately the quarry was shut up. It was worked very extensively whilst the building mania raged in Edinburgh; and George's Square, the Regent's Bridge, and the greater proportion of the south districts of Edinburgh were built from it, as were also the barracks at Jock's Lodge.

The quarry at Straiton is in operation. The stone is good, and the annual pro­duce is stated to be L. 40. A beautiful yellow sand, of considerable value, is also excavated at Gilmerton.

Produce.- The average gross raw produce of the parish, and its value, as near­ly as these can be ascertained, are as follows:

Wheat. 6416 bolls, at L. 1, 7s. per boll, - L. 8661 12 0
Barley. 2990 bolls at L. 1, ls. per boll - 3139 10 0
Oats, 8063 bolls at 17s. per boll - 6853 11 0
Hay, 132,340 stones at 10d. per stone - 5514 3 4
Beans, 152 bolls at L. 1, per boll, - 152 0 0
potatoes, 23,124 bolls at 9s. 6d. per boll - 10,984 18 0
Turnips, 5345 tons, at 15s. per ton, - 4008 15 0
Grass parks, 370 acres, - 1680 0 0
Coals at present discontinued] 22,500 tons, at 10s. per ton - 11,250 0 0
Lime, 15,500 bolls, - 1937 1 0
Gardens and orchards, . - 1200 0 0
Annual thinnings of wood, - 250 0 0
Wool, - 310 0 0
Stones at Straiton quarry, - 40 0 0
Sand at Gilmerton, - 200 0 0
L.56,181 10 4

V. - Parochial Economy

Market Town &C. - There is no market town in the parish. Edinburgh and Dalkeith are the two market places, the former distant rather more than two miles from the church, the latter nearly four.

Villages.- There are about twenty hamlets in the parish, but the only village worth naming is Gilmerton, which contained lately 800 souls, and with the immediate neighbourhood no less than 1100.

Means of Communication.- There is here a penny post-office connected with the establishment in Edinburgh. We have many excellent roads. The London, Dumfries, Musselburgh, and Dalkeith roads all intersect the parish, besides the railway to Dalkeith, which passes through a corner of it. The parish roads are, besides, most admirably kept. The length of the turnpike roads is fully twelve miles, and besides the Dumfries and London mails, coaches to Lasswade, Dalkeith, Jedburgh, Carlisle, and Peebles pass through the parish daily, and some of them more fre­quently.

Ecclesiastical State.- The situation of the parish church is, perhaps, upon the whole, as good as any that could be found, although for some parts of the parish it is very inconvenient. Its distance from the northern and western extremities of the parish is only about a mile, whilst from the eastern extremity it is nearly five miles, and from the southern extremity three miles. The remedy for this, however, is obviously to strike off these districts from the parish altogether, as it is by far too exten­sive, and this has now been done with Gilmerton, and is in progress, as it seems to have been contemplated in regard to the eastern district as far back nearly as 200 years ago, as will appear from the following extract from the records of the Synod, 1650: "The whole meeting" of a joint committee of the Synod and Presbytery of Dalkeith, "unanimously voiced that Brunstane, and the lands and milns thereto belonging, should be recommended to be annexed to the kirk to be erected at Fisherrow." The parish church of Liberton was erected in 1815, and has not been altered since. It is a very handsome building, with a beautiful tower, and forms a fine object in the landscape. A vast improvement might be made by forming a new approach to it from the Dumfries road on the west, and ornamenting it with trees. It is melancholy to see so little taste displayed by our Scottish heritors, generally, in regard to the exterior and even interior of our places of worship. The churches in England are generally models in this respect. The church here contains 1430 sit­tings, and is therefore much larger than any church should be. Seat-letting prevailed to some extent for 100 years, but was lately discontinued as an illegal practice, and now the sittings are entirely free. It appears from the records, that the control of the seats of the church anciently belonged to the kirk-session. The manse was built in 1821, and is a substantial and comfortable building. The glebe contains only about four acres of land in two detached portions, besides the garden and site of the manse. Its value is about L. 20 a-year. The stipend amounts to 20 chalders of grain, with L. 10 for communion elements, and L. 10, called Prebend's fees, from the tithes of Sir David Baird. The value of the whole stipend, on an average of seven years, ending in 1835, was, L. 326, 14s. 7d.; but it was only augmented to its pre­sent amount in 1830.

New Churches - There is a new church in the parish, erected in connexion with the General Assembly's Church Extension Scheme, for which the people are in a great measure indebted to the zeal of Mr Anderson of Moredun. Several of the other heritors have contributed handsomely towards its erection and support. It is erected in Gilmerton, and was opened on the 20th April 1837. It is seated for 300 people. It cost, including the expense of the gate and walls, L. 600, raised, partly by subscription, and partly by a grant from the Assembly's Committee. It is quite free from debt. The ground on which it is erected, and which extends to 1 rood, 20 poles, and 20 yards imperial measure, is feued by the Liberton kirk-session from Sir David Baird for L. 2 a-year. A constitution for this church was granted by the Assembly in 1838, and the first minister, the Rev. Walter Fairlie from Whitehaven, was inducted on the 16th of August of the same year. The new parish contains a population of nearly 1100 persons, the greatest distance of any of the people from church being scarcely more than one mile. It is bounded by Lasswade, Dalkeith, Newton, and Liberton. The minister of the new church receives L. 80 a-year, raised by a sub­scription of L. 5 a-year each, from a number of gentlemen, chiefly connected with Liberton, and by annual collections here and at Gilmerton. But we are earnestly expecting a more secure and competent endowment from Government, The seats are all free, and the collections, amounting to from L. 32 to L. 35 annually, after defraying the necessary expenses, are given to the poor. At the first dispensation of the Lord's Supper in the new church the number of communicants was 130, but this number is slightly diminished, owing to the breaking up of the colliery. A subscrip­tion has been commenced for the building of a manse to the minister of Gilmerton, which amounts already to L. 180. Great and obvious good has already resulted from the erection of this church.

Missionaries.- There was a catechist employed in this parish last year under the management of the kirk-session, and supported by a subscription, which amounted to about L. 34. His place has not been supplied. A missionary is at pre­sent employed in the eastern district of the parish, and in parts of the parishes of Inveresk, Duddingston, and Portobello, where it would be most desirable to have a new church erected. The missionary is a licentiate of the Established Church, and is supported very inadequately by subscription. There is also a preaching station at Niddry, conducted by this missionary and the parish minister, attended by nearly 100 persons.

Dissenters.- There is no dissenting place of worship in the parish, and the great mass of the people profess to belong to the Established Church. In 1836, 2873 persons professed to belong to the Established Church, and 689 to be Dissenters of all denominations. But the number of Dissenters has diminished since then, and, although some of them are most excellent persons, a few who call themselves Dissenters are in fact heathens, as is also the case with some who say they belong to the Established Church; nor will it be otherwise until the parish is considerably subdivided. There are no Papists in the parish.

Attendance at the Parish Church.- Divine service at the parish church is well attended, especially in summer and when the weather is good, and the number of worshippers is increasing. A good many of the people, however, have long been destitute of regular habits of church-going. Mr Whyte states, that at his time "a great many were lukewarm and indifferent, or rather seemed to have no religion." Still it is a melancholy fact that, in this respect, we are not worse than others, for if the pop­ulation be considered and the number of seats (about 1800 between Liberton and Gilmerton), it will be found that the average of attendance on public worship here is above that of a good many of the parishes of Scotland. It is only meant, that it is still very far short of what it should be. The average number of communicants is about 600, of whom about 100 were admitted in 1835, and 80 in 1836. There are besides 130 at Gilmerton.

Contributions for Religious Purposes.- The average amount of extraordinary collections in 1835 was L. 70, 9s. 6d. Since then, however, it has been greater, near­ly L. 100 a-year being raised for the support of Gilmerton church; L. 17 for our Sabbath schools; upwards of L. 20, for our new day schools; a small sum for a Bible Society; and, in 1838, L. 34 for a catechist, and about L.10 for the missionary at Easter Duddingston.

Education.- There are ten schools of all kinds in the parish. Only one of these is a parochial school. The maximum salary is attached to this school, and the teacher has the legal accommodations; It is attended by nearly 80 children. The usual branches of instruction are well taught. Four of the other schools are endowed to a small extent. The teacher at Gilmerton has a free house, school-house, and garden, with L. 15 a-year contributed by Sir David Baird, Miss Innes, and David Anderson, Esq. The school-house is not in good repair. The teacher at Niddry has a free house, garden, and school-house, with L, 10 a-year from the family at Niddry. The school­house was rebuilt in 1837 by means of a sum of money left under the charge of the parish minister, and it is also used as a preaching station. The school at Cameron, with the houses attached to it, belongs to the kirk-session. It was purchased in 1838 for L. 200, although it cost only the year before more than twice that sum; but, when bought, it was part of a bankrupt estate. The teacher there, besides a free house and garden, receives L. 15 a-year from the Assembly's Committee; but the district in which he labours is very poor, and the people careless about the education of their children. His fees are therefore very small. The school at Burdiehouse was com­menced in 1837. It is attended by nearly 80 children in winter, and the teacher is endowed by Mrs Trotter of Mortonhall, who has also very generously established a school for girls, which is succeeding admirably. A free school was in former times supported by the Craigmillar family at Nether Liberton, when the population of that village was greater. The other schools are at Niddry, Liberton Dams, Echobank, Cameron, and Gilmerton, and are chiefly for girls and smaller children. About 450 children only attend all the schools in the parish, and perhaps 30 more are at schools in the neighbouring parishes. The school fees are from 1 s. to ls. 6d. a-month. The teachers are nearly all members of the Established Church.

The people in general may be said to be alive to the advantages of education, although to this rule there are a great many exceptions. Many efforts have been made lately by addresses from the pulpit, and otherwise, to stir them up to send their children to school, and with some success. A good many have, lately, been sent to school by the kirk-session and by benevolent individuals, but in three districts of the parish around our district schools I counted lately 70 children, between five and fourteen years of age, who are attending no school, and in the other districts the same evil prevails.

Schools required.- It would be a most important thing, were a proper female school established and endowed, as part of the regular parochial machinery of every parish, and were the number of schools always to bear a proportion to the popula­tion. One parish school can never instruct one-sixth of the children in a parish like this. There should be a well endowed school for every 500 of the population. For this purpose, all our district schools should be raised to the rank of parish schools and suitably endowed. The status and character of all teachers, even those at pre­sent called parochial, should as much as possible be raised, by a liberal provision for their maintenance (which at present is often not so great as that of a collier or mason), and the fees should be as much as possible lowered A most marked improvement has already followed even the imperfect efforts made in this parish for the improvement of education.

Literature.- There have been for several years libraries in Liberton and Gilmerton. The one in Gilmerton was chiefly established by the late Rev. Mr Grant and Dr Stevenson, and is now valuable, containing a great many excellent books. The Liberton library is also good, and is managed by a committee of the subscribers. A new library was lately established at Liberton Church in connexion with the Sabbath School, which meets in the church before public worship. It contains already 150 volumes, which are eagerly read by the children, who amount to about 100, under eight or nine teachers. A similar library has been established in connex­ion with the Sabbath school at Gilmerton.

Poor and Parochial Funds.- The average number of persons receiving aid from the kirk-session was, in 1835, 129; in 1836, 120; in 1837, 110; so that the number is gradually diminishing The sum given to each varies from L. 7, 16s. to L. 1, 6s. per annum. The sum expended on ordinary paupers was, in 1837, L. 309, 9s, 1d.; in 1836, L. 348, 1s.; in 1835, L. 391, 18s. 10d. Besides this, other sums were expended, amongst which from L. 3 to L, 5 were given each year in the form of occasional relief to persons not upon the poor's roll; L. 7, 18s. ld. was applied to the education of seventeen poor children; and in 1836, L. 29, 4s.; in 1837, L. 36, 19s. 4d. raised by voluntary contribution, was devoted to the purchase of coals for the poor during the unusual severity of winter. The poor of this parish are partly sup­ported by voluntary contributions, partly by assessments. The first assessment was made in 1779. Before that the average collections at the church doors was L. 42, 10s. 9 1/4d. At present the average is greater, being L. 55, 0s. 8d. The amount of assessment was in 1835, L. 399, 3s. 4 1/2d.; in 1836, L. 497, 5s. 9 1/2d.; in 1837, L.350, 0s. 11d. For the same years the collections were, 1835, L. 53, 9s. 1d.; 1836, L. 61, 11s. 11 1/2d.; 1837, L. 50, 0s. 11 3/4d.; of which two last sums, if the extraordinary col­lections above-mentioned be added, the amount of collection will be, for 1836, L. 90, 15, 11 1/2d.; and for 1837, L.87, 0s. 3 3/4d. The mortcloth and other dues were, in 1835, L. 37, 6s. 6d.; 1836, L. 35, 14s. 5d.; 1837, L. 25, 11s. To this may be added the collections at the new church of Gilmerton, amounting to from L. 32 to L. 35 a- year, part of which are given to the poor. There is also distributed the interest of L.1000, left by Captain Home in the hands of the Magistrates of Edinburgh, for the benefit of decayed labourers in this parish, and the rents of other property belong­ing to the kirk-session.

The assessment has the effect of drying up the sources of charity, and emboldening paupers to cast themselves and their children on the poor's funds. The old Scottish plan of voluntary contributions was certainly the best for supporting the poor. But it is only practicable in small parishes, with an efficient minister and staff of elders. Nothing can remove the evil of assessments now, (which would be ten times greater, but for the efforts of the kirk-session,) but the subdivision of parish­es, the diffusion of sound instruction and Christian principle amongst the people, and the removal of whisky-shops. Crime, drunkenness, and poverty, are always

found together, and expending money upon the poor, except for the purpose of mak­ing them better, will as soon cure the evil as pouring oil upon a flame will quench it. It would be well if the attention of the proprietors of Scotland were called to this mighty evil in our overgrown parishes, for unless something is done to break them up, and to apply a moral remedy, which is the only effectual one, and by far the cheapest, the clergy and kirk-sessions must, as in large towns, throw away the reins which at present they hold with difficulty. There is no part of our duty in large parishes so laborious and thankless as the management of the poor.

Ale-houses.- There are 32 shops for the sale of spirits in this parish, which is just thirty too many, and the effect is as pernicious as possible. It is just so many persons scattered over the parish with their families and relations, whose living depends on the success with which they can prevail upon their neighbours to drink. One man is paid for teaching sobriety, but thirty-two have an interest in defeating his efforts, and human nature is on their side. At the same time some of these pub­licans are very respectable people, and the blame chiefly rests with those who let and license so many houses of that description. No ale-houses are allowed to exist by the proprietors or tenants on the estates of Niddry, Mortonhall, Moredun, or Brunstane.

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS.

A vast improvement has taken place in the physical state of is parish since the last Statistical Account was written. Then the real rental was L. 10,000 a-year; late­ly it was nearly L. 28,000, or almost three times as much. It is in fact one of the rich­est parishes in Scotland. But other improvements have not kept pace. Little has been done towards improving the cottages in which the great mass of the people reside, for of the whole inhabitants, amounting to nearly 4000, only 207 are above the poor and working classes, and even amongst this number are included teachers, fanners, and sometimes publicans and shop-keepers. Some of the houses of the others are very wretched, although something is likely to be done now for the purpose of improving them. The means of religious instruction also were till lately precisely in the same state, notwithstanding the immense increase of wealth and population; and, as might have been expected, vice has increased; and whereas formerly there was no assessment, now there is one of L. 400 a-year, which till lately was rapidly increasing. The assessment for the first half year after the induction of the present minister was L. 300; for last half year it was only L. 150, and for the whole year L.350. We have no precise means of ascertaining, but the number of public-houses has probably increased fourfold or perhaps tenfold since the last Account was writ­ten, thus still further increasing the evil, and filling the land with crime. Some important changes have, however, lately been made. The church, manse, and school-house have all been renewed since the last Account was written; a new church has been erected in Gilmerton; new and improved schools set up at Cameron and Burdiehouse; a good many Sabbath schools opened; two new religious libraries established; additional elders ordained; a preaching station begun at Niddry; and a missionary established in the eastern district of the parish.

Written March 1839.
Revised August 1839.


Return to our Edinburgh Index Page

Search