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Borrowstounness and District
Chapter X. Carriden (See also Appendix)

1. Boundaries of Parish : the Lands and Barony of Carriden and their Owners—2. Carriden House and its Policies—3. The Old Church and Churchyard: First Manse and Glebe: First Excambion of Glebe Lands—4. New Church and Churchyard at Cuffabouts—5. Rioting at a Burial and Subsequent Prosecution—6. Details of the Evidence—7. More Evidence : an Unfortunate Sequel: Second Excambion of Glebe—8. Closing of the Old Church Road from Carris-gates—9. Suggested Improvements at Old Burial Ground Resented: Mr. James White and his Committee on the Alert: Lord President Hope as Peacemaker—10. His Lordship's Character and Career, Lowering of Wall, Erection of Iron Railing and Other Improvements Undertaken by the First Admiral's Trustees: Letter of Assurance from Trustees: the Heritors and Burials in Old Churchyard—11. Improvement of Part of Old Burial Road Resented : Mr. White and his Committee again Assert Themselves: a False Alarm—12. Captain Hope Petitions Justices to Close Old Burial Roads: Mr. James Duguid becomes People's Champion: Important Meeting in Church— 13. Details of the Meeting: Committee of Justices Inspect the Roads and Report: Petition Withdrawn—14. Another Misunderstanding with the Admiral: Proposal to Remove the Railing : Mr. Duguid and the Obligations of "Moral and Accountable Beings"—15. The Ministers of Carriden—16. Binn's House: General Dalyell and his Scots Greys.


About twenty years ago the Parishes of Borrowstounness and Carriden were for civil purposes combined. Ecclesiastically, however, they remain distinct, and it is around its ecclesiastical affairs that the real and abiding history of the Parish of Carriden clusters.

According to a survey in 1817 the parish is 424 miles square. It is bounded on the east by the Parish of Abercorn; on the west by the Parish of Borrowstounness; on the north by the Forth; and on the south by the Parish of Linlithgow. Altogether it presents the appearance of an irregular four-sided figure, the longest side stretching along the shores of the Forth. Its surface is very unequal, rising from the shore by a quick ascent with a varied undulating form for about a mile, and then declining to the south. The most elevated ground lies to the south-west, near the Irongath Hills. The highest point is 519 feet above the level of the sea. In the west end of the parish we have Thirlstane, Grangepans, Cowdenhill, Bridgeness, and Cuffabouts, and in this stretch of shore-ground is now to be found as busy a hive of modern industry as can be seen in Scotland. Coal mines, potteries, woodyards, sawmills, and other works occupy almost all the available industrial space in the neighbourhood—and a romantic touch is given by the quaint old harbour or haven of Bridgeness.

Long ago the estate of Carriden was smaller than it is now, the Stacks, Dyland, Walton, and ether farms being then separate holdings. Carriden lands, like those of Grange, were originally in part Church lands. We find more than one reference to the "Dominical lands of Carriden," and we know also that the coal there was worked in early times by the monks. The remainder of the lands of Carriden have a long history,1 in which we find references to Sir William de Yeteriponte or Vipont, proprietor of Langton, in Berwickshire; also to Sir Alexander de Cockburn, who married Sir William's daughter Mary. He succeeded to Langton in right of his wife, and obtained the Barony of Carriden from David the Second in 1358. With the Cockburns the estate remained until 1541, when Sir James Cockburn of Langton granted a feu charter to one Patrick Abercromby. In 1598 the property descended to Patrick Abercromby, junior, who, in 1601, disponed it to Sir John Hamilton of Letterick. Sir John afterwards became the first Lord Bargany, and in 1632 conveyed the subjects to John Hamilton, his son, and Jean Douglas, his son's spouse. Lord Bargany died soon after, and in the following year John, the second Lord Bargany, completed his title. In the Sea Box records it appears that his lordship had a loan over the estate from that society, and they for a time held the title -deeds in security for the advance. Of this laird the couplet was written—

"Kind Bargany, faithful to his word, Whom Heaven made good and social though a Lord."

Bargany, in 1667, disposed of Carriden to his neighbour. Sir Walter Seton of Abercorn and Northbank. He did not hold it very long, for in 1678 he sold the estate to Walter Cornwall, younger, of Bonhard, and James Cornwall, his father. But the Cornwalls no sooner got it than they sold it to Alexander Miln, designed as some time Provost of Linlithgow. Miln held the place for twenty years, but after that many varied transmissions took place until it came into the hands of the Dalhousie family, in whose possession it remained for long. The details of the transmissions are as follows:—Miln, in 1696, sold to Colonel John Erskine, who in six years' time sold to General George Ramsay. In 1705 Mrs. Jean Ramsay, his -daughter and heir, succeeded, and she in turn was in 1708 succeeded by her heir, William Earl of Dalhousie. Four years later his sister, Lady Elizabeth Ramsay, followed, and she again in two years' time was succeeded by her son, Francis, Master of Hawley, as heir of entail. Then in 1719 we find a decree of sale of the lands of Carriden Law, Dyland, Waltoun, Woolston, and Groughfoot, whereby these lands were vested in Colonel Francis Charteris of Amisfield. Two years later this gentleman entailed his estates, and in 1736 his son, the Honourable Francis Charteris, succeeded as heir of entail. A family dispute seems now to have arisen at the instance of Francis against his sister, the Countess of Wemyss and the Earl of Wemyss, in the course of which she was called on to -enter as heir in general of her father. This resulted in a decree by the Lords of Council and Session in 1744 decerning the Earl and Countess to make up titles to and denude themselves of the estate of the deceased colonel in favour of Francis. This was done, and the latter held the estate until 1764, when he disponed it to Colonel Campbell Dalrymple. This gentleman held for three years only, when he sold to William Maxwell primus. Maxwell was succeeded by William Maxwell secundus, and the trustees -of the latter in 1814 sold to Admiral Sir George Johnston Hope. The Admiral was succeeded about 1829 by his son James (first Captain and afterwards Admiral Sir James Hope). On his death Carriden was for a time liferented by his widow, and then held by his sister, Miss Helen Hope. On her death, in 1890, it passed to Colonel George Hope Lloyd Yerney, second son of Sir Harry Yerney of Claydon, Bucks, whose mother was a sister of the Admiral's. On the Colonel's death he was succeeded by his eldest son, James, who died three years ago. The estate then went to his brother, the present proprietor, Mr. Harry Lloyd Lloyd Verney.


The mansion-house of Carriden is the principal seat in the parish, and is built in the Scottish baronial style. It occupies a site on the high bank above the shore overlooking the Firth and Royal Dunfermline, the ancient capital of Scotland. The present house, in our view, is not the original building, although the site may be practically the same. It is probable that there was a "place" or keep of feudal times here, before and during the fifteenth century. As we have seen, the estate had several owners before it came into the hands of the first Lord Bargany in 1601. The year 1602 is given as the date when, the eastern part—that with the turrets—was built, so that it may be readily assumed that Bargany, or Hamilton of Lettericlc as he then was, at once set about enlarging, and, in fact, completely transforming the original structure. Carriden House then, as we know it, was erected about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and it is stated that the ceiling of'

Carriden House. (From a photograph by W. S. Andrew, Carriden.)

the study was executed by Italian workmen brought from Holyrood House. One of the owners was, as we have said, Alexander Miln. His family had for long been master builders to the King, and in his time we once more find evidences of alterations. In fact, it was during these that the discovery was made that the house actually stood on what had been a Roman station in connection with the Roman wall.

The mansion-house is now surrounded on the east, west, and south by well-laid-out grounds and fine trees. On the north the ground falls suddenly, and forms a richly wooded slope extending about a mile along the shore, recessing itself into picturesque glens intersected with many pretty walks. At one time the garden was east of the house, but it is now in a fine enclosure considerably to the west of it. The extent of the estate is 734 acres, divided thus—Home farm and policies, 150 arable acres; farms of Stacks and Walton, 480 arable acres; woods, lawn, and garden ground, 91 acres; buildings, yards, and roads, 13 acres. Burnfoot did not form part of the estate. It was always separately held until 1891. In 1647 it belonged to Florence or Laurance Gairdner, designed as bailie in Grangepans. Later he disponed to Patrick Gairdner, and afterwards it was possessed by James Kid, "Seaman and Mariner in Carriden Burnfoot." The latter was a gentleman of very independent character and bearing, as will be seen in his stormy interviews with Carriden Kirk Session. After this it was in the possession, first, of Andrew Cruickshanks, and then of John Cruickshanks. Burnfoot was bought by George Hope Lloyd Verney from R. R. Simpson, W.S., in 1885, and was included in the entail of the estate executed by G. H. L. Yerney and J. H. L. Yerney in 1891. It is held of and under H. M. Cadell of Grange.

No information is available to indicate the date of the erection of the first church of Carriden, the ruins of which are yet to be found to the south-west of the mansion-house. We have an impression that the first house and the church, with its adjacent burial-ground, would all originate about the same period. The church, like that of Kinneil, was a pre-Reformation chapel, and the old collection plate is impressed with the Bishop's mitre. In feudal days it was common to find— and Kinneil is an instance—the feudal mansion, the feudal village, and the feudal lord's chapel and burying-ground all within a stone's throw of each other. And at Carriden, when we glance at the ancient title deeds of the main estate and of the smaller holdings in the near neighbourhood, we can readily construct circumstances similar to those of Kinneil. We can imagine the old place or keep, the chapel and burying-ground to the west, and further west still the one-time populous but now long-demolished feudal village of Little Carriden.


The church is described elsewhere.2 As to the location of the first manse and glebe, the manse was situated on the flat shore land, in what is now the wood west of Burnfoot. Here were found the remains of an old well and indications of a garden and a walk leading up to the old church road. There are a number of interesting references4 to manse and glebe in the Presbytery records during the ministry of the Rev. Andrew Keir, who was presented to Carriden in 1621. On 16th July, 1628, he craved a visitation of his church, and presented a precept for designation of his manse and glebe from the Archbishop of St. Andrews direct to the Moderator. The Presbytery therefore fixed the visitation for 24th July, and appointed eight of their brethren for that purpose. Shortly after follows this quaint entry: —

Die 23 July 1628: The visitation of Carriden is remembered again to be keiped the morne and the visitouiris nominat ut supra."

The explanation of this anxious reminder lies in the fact that the Carriden minister was also clerk to the Presbytery. What is quoted here and elsewhere from the Presbytery and Heritors Records is from certified extracts.

When the important event took place "the sermon was maid be Mr. Thomas Spittall upon 2 Tim. 8-17, quherin was handled the dutie and dignity of ministeris. Efter the sermoun the holl gentilmen of the said parochin being present—to witt Sir John Hamiltoun off Lettrik, Sir Jhone Hammiltoun of Grange, Walter Cornwall of Ballinhard, Mr Alexander Hammiltoun of Kinglass, the Laird of Cleghorne, Alexander Bruce, David Carmichall, Constabil of Blacknes, with the holl elderis and deconis off that paroche—the brethren ordeined Mr Jhone Drysdall to be Clark to the said visitation becaus Mr Andrew Keir, Clerk to the Presbytery is Minister to this Kirk of Caridenn and is to be removed now that the visitouris may try off his doctrin, disciplin, and conversatioun."

The precept from the Archbishop was then " red publictly," and the brethren signified that they would again attend before the third Thursday in November, when they " wold tak a course for the designatioun off the said manse and gleib." On 4th March the following year a report was made to the Presbytery of the " designatioun of the gleib off Caridenn out off the landis off Grange neirest to the said kirk." This was in the time of the Hamiltons of Grange, and also when they were possessed of portions of ground near Carriden House. A year after it was pointed out to the Presbytery on behalf of Sir John Hamilton that he was prepared to give them in exchange for the parts of his lands designed the year before to be the manse and glebe of Carriden, other parts of his lands "far neirer and more ewous" to the kirk of Carriden. While making this offer he stipulated that "iff it were fund that these landis off Grange designed befoir wer better land than these his other lands wuhilk he now offeris that, upon the astimatioun and valuation of three or four honest skilled men off the paroche of Cariddenn, he suld gie so much mor land in quantatie as may mak out the equalitie of the ane land with the other, and offeris also to mak a disposition or resignatioun off these lands in the hands of the kirk to be ane manse and gleib in all tym coming." The brethren consulted with Mr. Keir. A fortnight later they agreed to the excambion, and instructed the manse and glebe to be designed. This was done on the afternoon of 30th March, 1630.


The documentary evidence concerning the removal of the church at Carriden House to Cuffabouts and the opening of a new burial-ground there is curiously meagre. At a meeting of the Presbytery held at Linlithgow on the 3rd of April, 1765, Colonel Campbell Dalrymple of Carriden represented that the church and churchyard dykes of Carriden were ruinous, and needed repair. The Presbytery therefore appointed Messrs. Hogg, Baillie (of Bo'ness), and Ritchie as a committee of their number to meet at Carriden with properly qualified tradesmen in order to make up estimates of the repairs wanted and to report. They also appointed edictal citation to be given and letters to be written to the non-residing heritors. On the 26th of the same month the committee gave in their report in writing bearing that they, with proper tradesmen, upon oath, had found the church and churchyard dykes in a ruinous-condition, and that the tradesmen had made up estimates for repairing the same, amounting to the sum of £174 8s. 8d. They also reported that there was a design to remove the church and churchyard near to the village of Bonhard-pans. This-place they had inspected, and were of opinion that it was very convenient. Further, a cast of the assessment among the several heritors according to their respective valuations had at. the same time been made. The Presbytery therefore having read this report and examined the cast of the assessment approved of the whole in all points, and decerned accordingly, humbly beseeching the Lords of Council to interpose their authority.

This is really all the authoritative information on the subject, for it seems a search was made in later years in the-minutes of the heritors and of the kirk session, but without anything being found on the subject. It was also about the-same time stated that there had been a process between Colonel Campbell Dalrymple and the other heritors of the parish over the expense of building the new church. Extensive searches were accordingly made in the Court of Session records, and amongst the printed papers in the Advocates and Writers to the Signet Libraries, but no trace could be got of any such proceedings. A search was also made amongst the papers at Hopetoun House, but without discovering any document relating to the process in question.

The change of church site has all along been laid at the door of the Colonel and his family, who were said to have wished the church and churchyard to be more distant from their mansion-house. For this reason, and with the view of quieting the minds of the parishioners, and so doing away with all opposition, the tenantry and other householders, it was said, were permitted to remove the seats or pews of the old church and place them in the new one as they thought proper. In this way, and without any other right or title whatever, the greater portion of the area, and even part of the lofts or galleries of the church, were possessed to the great inconvenience of the other heritors and their tenants.

This irregularity gave, in subsequent years, very considerable trouble. As a consequence, the heritors, consisting of his Grace the Duke of Hamilton, the Hon. the Earl of Hopetoun, Sir James Dalyell, Bart, of Binns; James John Cadell, Esq. of Grange; and James Johnston, Esq. of Straiton, submitted a memorial to Mr. John Connell, advocate, for his opinion.

In answer he held that the possession above described was illegal, and could be annulled by the patron and heritors. And had it not been for the long possession which the occupiers had had of their seats, a process of removing before the Sheriff would have been sufficient. In view of this possession, however, he thought it would be more advisable to bring an action of declarator before the Court of Session.

Although this opinion would have warranted what we might fitly term a "redistribution of seats," we have not found that any steps were taken, so that things apparently remained much as they were.


Considerable excitement was caused in Grangepans throughout most of the year 1767 over the circumstances attending the burial of a child in the old churchyard at Carriden. The direct result of this burial was the serving of a complaint at the instance of James Watsone, the procurator-fiscal for the county, against several local people in the month of February. The accused were John Sword, jun., mason in Grangepans; George Younger and James Gibb, indwellers there; Christian Crocket, spouse of George Thomson, sailor in Grangepans; Barbara Nicol, spouse of James Donaldson, Salter in Thirlestane; Katherine Drummond, spouse of Gilbert M'Naught on, salter; Euphaim Ritchie, spouse of John Drummond, salter; Magdalene Govan, spouse of Thomas Robertson, indweller in Cuffabouts; Robert Waldie, farmer in Muirhouses; James Kidd, indweller there; and James Anderson, sailor. They were each and all of them charged with breach of the peace, assault, and housebreaking. The circumstances, as set forth in the complaint, were these—A male child belonging to Robert Scott, salt watchman, in Grangepans, having died there on the 20th day of January, the father on the day following went in quest of the gravedigger, whom he found at Muirhouses, and desired him to dig a grave for his child in the new churchyard of Carriden. When Scott was upon this mission the accused were said to have assembled in a riotous and tumultuous manner along with a number of other persons, and attacked him when returning home from the Muirhouses at or near Coulthenhill, and gave him many blows with sticks, snowballs, and other offensive weapons, by which he was much hurt and severely wounded to the effusion of his blood. On the evening of the same day they also in a most outrageous and forcible manner went into Scott's house by breaking open the doors and insisting in carrying off the body of the dead child, using at the same time threatening expressions against Scott and his family, whereby they were put in terror of their lives. With great difficulty the accused were ultimately prevailed upon to desist from carrying off the body. Having gone out of the house, however, they did notwithstanding continue till about three o'clock next morning throwing stones at Scott's door, uttering the while many threatening expressions against him. Next day—22nd January—the accused once more came to Scott's house, and forcibly and without his consent carried off the body, which they interred in the old churchyard. It was craved that upon the charges being proven the defenders ought to be fined in the sum of £100 sterling, conjunctly and severally, and otherways punished in their persons and effects to the terror of others in time coming.

On 6th March all the accused appeared in Court, attended by Walter Forrester, their procurator. The fiscal craved for the apprehension and imprisonment of all the accused until they found caution to attend all the diets of the Court. The Sheriff granted this crave, and also allowed a full proof. Due caution seems to have been found. The proof was conducted in a very leisurely way, only the evidence of one or two witnesses being taken at a sitting. Even by the month of December the case does not appear to have been decided. Unfortunately we have not been able to discover what was the Sheriff's decision. The complaint may have ultimately been withdrawn, but, judging from the evidence we have read, we do not expect the complaint was proved. It is quite evident there was considerable feeling on the part of the lairholders in the old churchyard over the suggestion that they should abandon it and use the new burial place.


In the course of the proof, notes of which we subjoin, the statement in the complaint that Robert Scott ordered the gravedigger to dig a grave in the new churchyard was emphatically denied. Agnes Bell, spouse to Alexander Smith, sailor in Grangepans, and mentioned as being "aged twenty and upwards," said that the day after the child died she heard the bell go through the town of Grangepans in the forenoon, and intimation made to the people to come against three o'clock in the afternoon, and bury the child in the old churchyard of Carriden. She saw the bellman come to Scott's house with the hand-spokes about three o'clock, set them down, and go in. She also saw Sir Alexander Brown go up to the house, and go in, but by this time the bellman had left in order to again ring the bell for the people to come to the burying. But during Sir Alexander's presence in Scott's house he was called back, where he stayed but a short time. When he came out again he told Marion Blackater, in presence of the deponent, that he had got orders to go away, but he did not mention who gave them, and the child was not buried that afternoon. Scott was in a somewhat difficult position. Here on the one hand was his superior officer, Sir Alexander Brown, making a strong personal appeal to him; and it is evident that Sir Alexander was one of those who were most anxious to get the parishioners prevailed upon to abandon the old burial ground. It was reported, too, that Scott was even to get some money, presumably to induce him to bury the child in the new churchyard. On the other hand Scott and his wife distinctly wanted the child buried in the old churchyard "alongst with its brothers and sisters." Scott in his dilemma apparently played the part of diplomat. He, we fear, feigned illness the next day, and indicated to Charles Wood, weaver, Grangepans, that he wished he and some of the neighbours would attend the burying, saying at the same time that if it had not been for Sir Alexander Brown, who had stopped the bellman, the child would have been buried the day before in the old churchyard, as the grave had been digged there for that purpose. Agnes, we should have said, testified that Scott's wife joined with her husband in wishing that some honest neighbours would come and bury their child, that they both repeated it twice, and wished to God it were so. Scott, she mentioned, said he was indisposed and unable to go to the burial himself. She further .stated that on the afternoon of the burial Mrs. Scott came out to her stairhead along with the defender Barbara Nicol, who had the dead child in her arms, and that Mrs. Scott called to James Gibb to come and take her dear child or dear baby. There were, she said, very few persons at the burial except children.

Some further light on the subject is afforded by the evidence of Magdalene Mein, spouse to Adam Taylor, salter in Grangepans. She was standing at a neighbour's door the day of the burial. She saw the accused Barbara Nicol and one Margaret Young bring the corpse out of Scott's house. Mrs. Scott came to the stairhead after them, and Magdalene heard her desire the defender James Gibb, who was standing at the stairfoot, to receive the corpse and carry it away. Gibb refused at first, and asked where the father was that he might carry it. To this Mrs. Scott answered that he was not well, and was unable to go to the interment himself. She again desired Gibb to take the corpse and inter it, declaring it was perfectly agreeable to her inclination that he should do so, and desired the other people who were present to stand until they received a shilling from her to pay the bellman for digging the grave. Thereafter Mrs. Scott delivered the shilling to Walter Miller, who delivered it to Thomas Walker, to be given by him to the bellman. Mrs. Taylor did not see any mob or tumult at this time. Those assembled went off calmly with the corpse.


Margaret Young, an appropriately youthful witness of fourteen, daughter of William Young, flesher in Grangepans, deponed that she, with the accused Barbara Nicol and Catherine Drummond, went into Scott's house on the day the child was buried; that the two latter on entering wished Scott and his wife good-day, and asked if they intended to bury their child that day. To this Scott answered " Yes," adding that there was his child, coffined and mortclothed, and all in decency and desired them to carry it away and bury it in the old churchyard beside its three brothers, for he was not able to go to the burial himself. Upon the saying of which Scott went into his bed. After this Scott's wife lifted the coffin and gave it to Barbara Nicol and Catherine Drummond, who carried it out of the house and delivered it to James Gibb at the stairfoot. She further stated that Gibb asked Mrs. Scott, who came out to the stairhead, if she desired her child to be buried, to which she answered " 0 yes." Gibb then came off with the child, and was joined by several people at a small distance from the house. Margaret accompanied the corpse to the place of interment. She returned to Scott's house with Nicol and Drummond, and there told the Scotts that their child was decently buried in the old churchyard, and they thoroughly approved of what had been done.

A few weeks after this burial Thomas Brown, the beadle and gravedigger, was dismissed. From a minute of the Carriden session, of date 22nd February, 1767, we find a letter addressed to the Rev. Mr. Ellis, and signed by Galloway A. Hamilton, Willm. Muir, Arch. Stewart, and And. Stewart. It ran— "Reverend Sir, Whereas we are informed that Thomas Brown, Beadle and Gravedigger at Carriden, did lately refuse to do his duty by digging a grave to a child when ordered to do so, which delay in some measure occasioned the late riot, we therefore desire that you in concurrence with the Session and heritors would displace the said Thomas Brown and appoint another beadle in his place of whom we will approve, and are, Reverend Sir, Your most humble Servants."

The following concurrence is likewise recorded in the same minute: —

"I William Maxwell of Carriden do concur with the tutors of his Grace the Duke of Hamilton in depriving Thomas Brown of his office of Beadle, Gravedigger, and Session Officer of the parish of Carriden, and the said Thomas Brown is hereby from this day deprived of and is declared to have no right to any fees, perquisites, or dues that might arise in any manner of way from said office which is hereby declared vacant until it be supplied by the heritors of the parish or by the majority of the valued rent: and whoever shall presume to employ him or pay him as Beadle, &c., will be accountable to the heritors, and prosecute according to law.—(Signed) William Maxwell."

Then the minute proceeds—

"The Session hereby considered the same; they neither approve of riots nor any that will contribute to them, or do not pretend to employ any officer or beadle that the heritors or the majority of the valued rent think proper to turn out, and will concur with them in any fit person that they shall approve of for that office, and appoints the same to be inserted in their minutes. Adjourns till Sabbath next, and concludes with prayer."

One of the results of the removal of the church and churchyard to CufEabouts was the removal in course of time of the glebe also. This came about by the Presbytery giving up the old glebe lands which lay in the vicinity of Carriden House for a new glebe, which was designed by them out of Admiral Sir George Hope's lands at Cuffabouts. The process was effected by an excambion or exchange of the old glebe lands for new lands.


Towards the close of the life of the second William Maxwell of Carriden, application was made by him to the Commissioners of the roads for the Parish of Carriden under date 30th April, 1802, for authority to close one of the old church roads running through his estate. This was the road originally used by the Blackness people. It began, his petition said, to the east on the shore at Carrispans, then in ruins, passed to the east and south of Carriden House, and terminated at the village of Muirhouses to the west. Of so little importance was it and so little used that it had not been repaired by the Parish Commissioners for upwards of forty years before the application. In fact, it was said to be of no importance whatever to the inhabitants of the parish. Besides it had been long almost impassable, for during the spring tides the east end of it could not be approached from the east or west, the shore road being then, at high water, covered by the sea in several places. Moreover, it was explained, that within the period of forty years, before mentioned, a more convenient, and in every respect a better, road had been made in a new line from Blackness by Burnshot and "Waltoun to Bonhard and the Muirhouses, which were the only places to which this road could be considered to lead. Mr. Maxwell also alleged that the old road was a great inconvenience to him, as it enabled idle and disorderly people to pass at all times through the grounds and within a few yards of Carriden House. These people, besides leaving open the gates which he by immemorial practice had a right to have upon the road, frequently committed wanton mischief to his great detriment. He therefore craved the Commissioners to give their consent to the shutting up of the old road in all time coming, and that it be no longer considered as a public road nor any person suffered to pass the same. The Commissioners, who were James Dalyell and James John Cadell, gave their consent. The matter in course came before the justices for their confirmation, and they appointed a committee to examine the road. A quorum of this committee, consisting of James Dalyell, Alexander Marjoribanks, Dav. Falconer, and Patrick Baron Seton, reported, under date Carriden, 26th June, 1805, that having met and examined the road, they considered it of no use to the public, and that it ought to be shut up. The Quarter Sessions therefore, on 10th November, 1805—the sederunt consisting of Sir Alexander Seton of Preston, Dr. Patrick Baron Seton, Yr. of Preston, William Napier of Dales, and James Watson of Bridge Castle (Sir Alexr. Seton, preses)— having taken the petition and report into consideration, approved thereof, and condemned the road, finding it of no use or utility to the public, and authorising Mr. Maxwell to shut up the same. The petition and whole proceedings were at the same time ordained to be engrossed in the books of the Quarter Sessions.

In the light of what is related further on regarding the strenuous objections which were taken to proposals to shut up the other church roads throughout the estate it seems surprising that this road was closed without the slightest opposition. It may have been that the road was, in truth, of little or no public service, because of the opening of the newer road by Burnshot.

But the main reason would seem to lie in this, that the proposal came before the days of James White and James Duguid, who in turn were the leaders and champions of the parishioners in all such matters. We may be sure that, whether the road was used or not, they would have fought against its closing as an infringement of a long-recognised public right. As it was, though no objection was taken in Mr. Maxwell's time, the matter gave his successors considerable apprehension until it had been closed for forty years, for it came to be whispered that the procedure taken was not in order, inasmuch as it was closed by the wrong authority.


In the month of January, 1819, a meeting of proprietors of burying-ground in the old churchyard of Carriden was held in the house of Mr. James White, wright in Grangepans. Those at the meeting were under the impression that Lady Hope, the widow of Admiral Sir George Hope, intended to remove the walls of the burying-ground, which were then in a most dilapidated state. Such action, it was thought, would have the effect of doing away with the place as a burial-ground altogether, thus compelling those who had still a right of burial there to use the new churchyard at Cuffabouts. The meeting unanimously determined that the walls should be rebuilt, and they expressed the view that in taking them down a right was being exercised which was unjustifiable in law or in any other sense whatever. It was mentioned at the same meeting that an attempt had previously been made on two other occasions to remove the burial-ground, first by Colonel Dalrymple, and latterly by Mr. Maxwell, and that money had been transmitted from different parts of the Continent to resist it. Mr. White, as the preses of the meeting, was instructed to communicate the above resolution to Lord President Hope, who was one of the trustees of the late Admiral, which he accordingly did in very courteous and respectful terms.

The Lord President immediately acknowledged Mr. White's letter at considerable length, and expressed extreme regret at the evident misunderstanding which had arisen. He assured him that it never was the intention of Lady Hope or of Sir George's trustees to remove the burying-ground or to violate it in any way that might hurt the feelings of those whose relations were buried there. He stated that the old ruinous wall which surrounded it was not only a great deformity to the place of Carriden, but actually rendered the lower part of the south front of the house dark. It was therefore proposed merely to take down part of the wall and erect a handsome and substantial iron railing in its place, which should be sufficient not only to exclude man and cattle as effectually as the old wall, but even to exclude dogs. He explained that it had been his intention to have spoken to the principal persons concerned before operations were commenced, but that Lady Hope had misunderstood him, and wishing to employ the stones for some other purpose had begun to take down the wall before he had had an opportunity of conversing with the people concerned. He goes on to say, however, that he understood from Mr. Keir, Philpstoun, who on his behalf attended a recent meeting in the churchyard, that it had been explained there that there was no intention to remove or touch the burying-ground, and that the people then present had expressed themselves satisfied with the assurance he gave them that a substantial iron railing was to be immediately erected.

In consequence of the consent then given, or at least certainly understood by Mr. Keir to be given, the trustees had concluded that Lady Hope might proceed to take down the wall; and the iron railing would have been finished and probably erected by that time if they had not been obliged to stop it in consequence of hearing that there was some opposition going forward. His lordship further pointed out that it was not intended to touch the west side of the wall, against which alone any monuments ever were erected; and no headstone or flat stone would be defaced or touched in any shape. He then says that while the old walls stood the inside of the burying-ground was not visible, and no attention had ever been paid to it. It was overgrown with nettles, thistles, and wild raspberries, and was as dirty and unpleasant a looking place as could well be imagined. If enclosed with an iron railing the greatest care would be taken to keep it clear of weeds and the turf clean and neat, but without touching it with a spade. There, therefore, seemed to him, when the matter was explained, nothing to go to law about, for the trustees had not the most distant intention of removing the burying-ground; and as the people concerned could have no interest but to have it properly secured and enclosed both parties would be just where they were, only Mr. White and the others would have a neat and creditable-looking burying-ground instead of a place full of weeds and dirt and rubbish not fit for a dog to lie in, and enclosed with a strong iron rail, which the trustees would keep in repair, instead of an old ruinous wall, which would soon have required repair at the public expense. His lordship then concludes his epistle in the following paragraphs: —

"Therefore as you, James, by your letter seem to be a man of sense and education, I trust you will explain all this to the people, who have thus misconceived our intentions. To rebuild the wall would cost us not one quarter of the price of an iron railing; and while it would not be so good and secure an enclosure to the burying-ground, it would be a great deformity to the place, which Lady Hope is very fond of, and where she hopes to live, doing as much good to her poor neighbours as she can.

"If you wish for any further explanation, and will yourself with one or two more of your friends, come to town I shall be glad to see you, and most willingly pay your expenses out and home. You will find me generally about one o'clock at my chambers in Hill Street, Edinburgh, every day except Monday, on which day you will be almost certain of finding me at my house at Granton, on the Banks of the Forth, about 2 miles from Crammond."


The writer of this very gracious and peace-making epistle was, as we have indicated, Lord President Hope, otherwise Charles Hope of Granton, son of John Hope and grandson of the first Earl of Hopetoun. He was born in 1763, admitted to the Bar at twenty-one years of age, appointed Lord Advocate in 1801, Lord Justice-Clerk in 1804, and Lord President in 1811. He retired in 1841, and died ten years after. Lord Cockburn5 has left us this description of his friend. "He was tall and well set up, and had a most admirable voice— full, deep, and distinct, its very whisper heard along a line of a thousand men (Hope being a most ardent Volunteer and Colonel of his regiment). Kind, friendly, and honourable, private life could neither enjoy nor desire a character more excellent. No breast, indeed," continues Cockburn, "could be more clear than Hope's of everything paltry or malevolent; and indirectness was so entirely foreign to his manly nature that even in his plainest error his adversaries had always whatever advantage was to be gained from an honest disclosure of his principles and objects."

To the letter of the Lord President Mr. White replied that he had submitted it to his committee, who had ordered a general meeting to be called to consider it on 3rd February. We have not seen any record of this meeting, but it appears that it had been resolved to meet his lordship on the ground. Accordingly we find from another document that he had met the committee at Carriden on 17th March, and had no difficulty in arranging everything to their mutual satisfaction. The enclosure was to consist of a wall of only 2 feet high, including the coping, which was to be 8 inches thick in the centre, sloping to 6 inches at the edges—the wall to be surmounted with an iron railing, double at the bottom; the railing to be 4½ feet high, including the arrowheads at the top. The committee most readily agreed that the north-east corner next the house, in which there were no graves, should be rounded off, and pins were accordingly fixed in. They mentioned at the meeting that the people were impatient till the work was begun, and his "Cockburu's Memorials of his Time."

His lordship had pledged himself that it should be gone about directly. The new wall was to be "founded" exactly on the old, except at the curve at the north-east. The committee also agreed to transfer the gate to the south-west corner furthest from the house, so that the old west wall was to be finished off with a substantial stone pillar for hanging one , check of the gate upon, and another was to be built for hanging the east check. The west wall, it was agreed by the representatives of the Hopes, should be pointed up with lime on the outside and the top; and there was to be a pillar at the north end of it to receive the bars of the railing. The committee, lastly, had agreed to give up the old burial road, and to use the back entry in front of the garden instead of it.

The railing was to be supplied and erected by Thompson, Lady Hope's smith, and one Gib was to be the mason. Weir, the gardener, was to superintend generally. These alterations were all carried out, and the place to-day is pretty much as' just described.

The vigilant Mr. White and his committee, however, thought it right and proper to get a letter from the Earl of Hopetoun and the Lord President, the late Admiral's trustees, on the subject of the removal of the gate to the south-west corner. As it was considered of great importance to the public, and might easily have been mislaid or lost, Mr. White, for himself and the others interested, petitioned the Kirk Session of Carriden on 5th August, 1820, to record it in the register of the Kirk Session. We do not expect that this request would be acceded to, as the matter was for the records of the heritors, not of the session. The letter was dated Edinburgh, 23rd June, 1819, and is addressed to Mr. White, as Preses of the Committee on the Old Churchyard of Carriden. It rims—" Some apprehensions having been expressed on the part of those having an interest in the old burial-ground at Carriden that the trustees of the Carriden estate, in removing the gate of the churchyard from the south-east to the south-west corner of said churchyard, in conformity

to what had been agreed on between the trustees and the committee, have in view to interrupt access to the burial-ground, now we, on the part of the trustees, have no hesitation in assuring you and all concerned that there does not exist any intention of such interruption, and that the access by the new gate shall be free as formerly by the old one, and that the trustees will be ready, if necessary, to enter into any written obligation to guarantee the old burial road or the one by the garden instead of it, and access to the burial-ground by the new gate as formerly enjoyed. (Signed) Hopetoun: C. Hope."

For a time, therefore, public anxiety with regard to the preservation of the rights of proprietors in the burial-ground was ended.

The following is an excerpt from minute of a general meeting of the heritors of the Parish of Carriden held upon the 19th day of June, 1801 :—

"The Meeting considering that some person has lately been interred in the old Churchyard near to Carriden House without its having been ascertained that the individual had any right of burial there, direct that henceforth the Beadle shall not be allowed to dig any grave or permit burial in the old Churchyard without the sanction of the Minister and Kirk Session, who shall make particular enquiry that the predecessors of the defunct have enjoyed the uninterrupted right of burial in that churchyard before they authorise the Beadle to break ground therein."


Lady Hope, about April, 1825, desiring to improve the old burial road (there being about the middle of it a bend or crooked part which occupied only a very short distance, but was extremely awkward both for the road and the adjoining lands), had the road made perfectly straight at that place. This improvement was completed without objection from any person whatever. Some time after this her ladyship gave orders for planting the piece of ground which had been taken from the old road to effect the above improvement. Thereupon as a document dealing with the subject has it, " Certain individuals in the village of Muirhouses and others actuated by troublesome dispositions or some other unreasonable motives began to complain of the alterations on the road, alleging that Lady Hope was not entitled to have made such alterations without their concurrence and consent previously obtained, and they then threatened to prevent the piece of the old road which was superseded from being planted."

The planting, however, proceeded, and was finished without any interruption. The objectors apparently were James White, wright at Grangepans, Bo'ness; John Aitken, residing at Muirhouses; James Duguid, residing there; William Moodie, smith, there; and Alexander Findlay, residing there. The innocent and well-meant action of her ladyship had once more raised their suspicions, and made them again become exceedingly zealous in the public interest. It was said that these persons in name of themselves and others addressed letters to some of the curators of James Hope, son of Sir George, threatening in a very alarming tone to restore the road to its former situation by their own operations and horses and carts. It was expected that if they did so they would destroy the fences which were erected at both ends of the bend, and would root up the young trees planted. It was also anticipated that they would create a great disturbance in the vicinity of Carriden House, and perhaps under the influence of violent dispositions do a great deal of other mischief and injury which could not be calculated. Therefore young James Hope, with the advice and consent of the Honourable Dames Georgiana Mary Ann Hope, relict of Vice-Admiral Sir George Hope of Carriden, K.C.B.; Miss Margaret Hope, residing at Hastings; the Right Honourable Charles Hope, Lord President; and the Honourable Sir Alexander Hope of Waughton, G.C.B., accepting and surviving curators and guardians appointed to the said James Hope by his deceased father, applied to the Court of Session to suspend and interdict James White and the others from proceeding with their threatened operations. On 10th June interim interdict was pronounced, and the respondents ordered to see and answer the complaint within fourteen days. The matter apparently ended here, for we have no further trace of it. The parties with the "troublesome dispositions" no doubt, on taking legal advice, were assured that Lady Hope had acted in perfectly good faith, and that their legal rights were not being jeopardised in the slightest degree by the improvement which had been carried out.


In 1838 Captain James Hope, as he then was, desiring to more efficiently protect his pleasure grounds, but without any intention of prejudicing the rights of the proprietors of lairs in the old burial-ground, petitioned the county justices for authority to shut up the old church road running from the manse entry at Cuffabouts up through the glebe lands to the old church and churchyard at Carriden, and also the road running from there on to the Muirhouses. In lieu of these he offered a public access to the churchyard by the road leading along the south side of Carriden garden (from the west lodge eastwards). This new access he held, being shorter and more direct than the old one, would be much more convenient for all concerned. A sketch of the old lines of road and also the proposed new access was lodged with his application. The petition was brought before the justices, because they were vested with certain powers relating to the county roads, and especially the power to alter the direction and course of improper and inconvenient roads and to shut up superfluous and useless ones. It was first considered on 4th October, when there were present Sir James Dalyell, Bart, of Binns, preses; Sir William Baillie, Bart, of Polkemet; John Stewart, Esq. of Binny; Major Norman Sharp of Houston; William Baillie, Esq., younger of Polkemet; James John Cadell, Esq. of Grange; John Ferrier Hamilton, Esq. of Westport; and William Wilson, Esq. of Dechmont. A remit was then made to a committee, consisting of Sir James Dalyell, Bart, of Binns; James Dundas,

The Old Kirk Roads, Carriden.
(Sketched by permission of Mr. Lloyd Verney, by Matt. Steele, Bo'ness, from an old plan.)

Esq. of Dundas; James John Cadell, Esq. of Grange; John Stewart, Esq. of Binny; Gabriel Hamilton Dundas, Esq. of Duddingstone; and Major Norman Shairp of Houston, any three a quorum, and Sir James Dalyell, convener. They also ordered the public intimation required by the Act.

As a result of this remit there assembled within the church of Carriden at one o'clock, on the 21st day of November, 1838, the following members of committee: —Sir James Dalyell, Gabriel Hamilton Dundas, and John Stewart. The petition, with the deliverance thereon, the plan of the roads, the Act of Parliament, and also an execution by William Hendrie, constable, bearing that he had made public intimation of the petition on Sundays, the 7th and 14th days of October, at the principal door of the parish church, and a further execution by him that he, on 11th November, had given notice at same place of the intention of the committee to meet at this place and hour when all parties would be heard for their interest, were all produced, read, and particularly examined by the committee. A number of the inhabitants of the parish also assembled that day in the church, and produced answers, and requested that these be publicly read, which was done. They thereafter desired that the same be entered in the minutes of the committee, which was also done.

The answers bear that they were for James Duguid, shoemaker, Muirhouses; John M'Gregor, labourer, there; John Black, cooper, Grangepans; James Stanners, sailor there; and Thomas Christie, labourer, Gladhill, the committee appointed by a meeting of the inhabitants of the Parish of Carriden having right to the old churchyard as a place of sepulchre held on 20th October, 1838. They then go on to argue in some detail that the roads were neither useless nor superfluous, and, moreover, that the Merrilees Turnpike Act did not apply to the present case. With respect to the new road proposed, it was pointed out that were it accepted the respondents would be deprived of a vested right to the roads in question, which they at present held by prescription. They also felt if they agreed to the new proposal that they would then be compelled to accept of a sufferance from the petitioner, which might afterwards be a source of vexatious litigation. It was further stated by the respondents that by the granting of the petition (which, however, they could not for a moment suppose would be the result) the petitioner would be enabled to improve his estate, and would also acquire several acres of excellent land and £40 or £50 worth of full-grown timber, to which, they alleged, he had "no more right than the man in the moon, if there was such a personage." Several cases in point are quoted, and then the respondents close by remarking that they had no doubt their honours would dismiss the application and find them entitled to expenses. The answers are signed by all the respondents themselves, not by an agent.


Turning again to the official narrative of the proceedings in the church we find that the petitioner and various other persons, having been heard verbally, and the committee having thereafter in their presence perambulated, examined, and inspected the road, reported that the road desired to be closed was awkward, ill-formed, in a bad state of repair, and would not in their opinion admit of a funeral procession passing along it; that the road proposed to be substituted was not only in an excellent state of repair, but also on the whole formed a more direct approach to the old churchyard. They were further of opinion that the proposed alteration would be of no disadvantage to those interested. On the contrary, they deemed it would be a distinct advantage, and they proposed that warrant should be given petitioner for shutting up the old line of road and substituting the other line by the south side of the garden in all time coming.

On the 4th December, same year, the justices assembled at Linlithgow in adjourned Quarter Sessions. Having again considered the petition, productions, and the report of their committtee, and also heard John Hardy, procurator of Court, on behalf of James Duguid and others who had lodged answers, they ordained that before further answer the respondents should see the whole process for ten days; that they then lodge objections to the report of committee as craved, the petitioners to lodge answers to such objections within other ten days thereafter.

The respondents, in obedience to this order, lodged further answers, in which they proceeded to largely incorporate their original answers. They again strongly and at considerable length argued that it was not competent for their honours to entertain the petition at all. In particular, they held that this road was not one of those public roads which did fall within their jurisdiction, but, on the contrary, was just that description of road from which their jurisdiction was altogether excluded. Cases in point were quoted very extensively, especially those going to show that no foot or horse or cart road to kirk or mill could be closed. Coming to the report of the committee, the objectors held, with great deference, that it by no means came up to the point necessary to be reached in order to justify the change proposed. The most substantial conclusion of the committee only said the road was an awkward and ill-formed one, in a very bad state of repair. But this in the objectors' view was no sort of reason for shutting it up. In fact, so very ridiculous was the argument for shutting it that they thought they would be trifling with the subject to pursue the topic, because the mere fact of a road being out of repair could never for a single instant be sustained as a reason for shutting it up and opening another one. There must be, they argued, something in the character of the road itself independent of its mere state of repair to justify the proceeding. The old road must be proved in the clearest and most indisputable manner to be disadvantageous to those using it before their honours could be warranted in interfering. In closing they pressed that it would not suffice to merely say the road on the whole was as good as the others, or even that on a critical balancing of their merits somebody might be led to pronounce the new one rather the better of the two. It must, they held, be made out in a strong and unequivocal manner that under the words of the A.ct the road proposed to he shut up was positively "improper and inconvenient" for those who used it. With all deference they submitted there was nothing of the kind established. The objections were drawn by William Penney, advocate, and signed by John Hardy, writer, Linlithgow.

The strenuous and unflinching opposition thus put forward, and very particularly the strong legal argument that the justices had really no jurisdiction to deal with his petition, caused Captain Hope considerable perturbation, and made him take the opinion of counsel. This was Mr. John Hope, Dean of Faculty, son of the Lord President, and latterly also a judge. Following upon a long memorial of the whole facts and circumstances, counsel, upon what he terms a full and calm consideration of the whole matter, was clearly of opinion that the justices had no jurisdiction. He therefore advised that the proceedings be withdrawn as the object of the petition was beyond the power of the justices. This was in January, 1839, and, so far as we can make out. all proceedings were then dropped. Nevertheless, Captain Hope, though disappointed that he had gone to the wrong tribunal, remained firmly convinced that his plan was really in the end the best for all parties concerned. He took further legal advice, and was advised to repeat his application in the Court of Session. Owing, however, to his many enforced absences and a keen desire not to be misunderstood or misrepresented by his people, he never sought to press the matter further. So the burial roads remain to this day as they were in old times.


In the year 1853 yet another misunderstanding arose over the old churchyard. The cause was the blowing down of a portion of the iron railing erected in 1819. Admiral Sir James Hope was abroad at the time, and Mr. George Davidson, his land steward, not having any instructions one way or the other, and apparently not knowing of the terms of the arrangement in 1819, would neither have the railing re-erected on behalf of the Admiral nor allow those interested on behalf of the public to do so. Mr. White was by this time dead, and his mantle had descended on the shoulders of Mr. James Duguid. The latter made diligent search among the writings connected with the churchyard, and came upon the letter of the Lord President, of 22nd January, 1819, wherein he had, on behalf of the Admiral's trustees, pledged himself to put up the railing and to keep it always in repair. Satisfied with this, Mr. Duguid, on 4th July, wrote the Admiral explaining the situation, and on behalf of the committee respectfully requested him to have the broken-down railing put in proper repair as speedily as possible. The Admiral replied on the 5th that the request would be complied with, although until he examined the papers on the subject that day the existence of the obligation of the Lord President was unknown to him. He added that he should have felt mortified if the committee had gone to any expense on the subject themselves, and he should have supposed they were too well acquainted with him ever to have seriously entertained such an intention.

Sir James now conceived the idea of coming to some clear understanding for all time coming regarding the old burial-ground, and wrote Mr. Duguid to call a meeting of the parties interested at which his proposals might be submitted. He mentioned that the only papers he had in his possession relative to the kirkyard were the protest by R. Campbell and others, dated 7th January, 1819; Mr. White's letter to the Lord President, of 19th January; the Lord President's letter, of 22nd January; Mr. White's reply, of 27th January; and the joint letter of Lord Hopetoun and the Lord President, dated 23rd June. If there were any other letters or papers which the parties interested considered of importance he would be happy to have a complete copy made of those just named and such others as might be furnished, and have them all placed in the Kirk Session records for future reference. He also desired that the parties interested should elect two trustees, one resident in the Muirhouses and the other at Grangepans, who should be authorised by them to communicate with him as to the mode in which the kirkyard was kept or any other subject connected with it on which they desired their wishes to be made known. He explained that he rented the grass in the kirkyard merely for the purpose of keeping it in a decent state, and not for any profit, and he should at all times be glad to meet their views on this subject.. But now came the vital part of his communication. He was, in pursuance of his letter of 5th July, in the course of having the damaged coping replaced and the railing re-erected, but before giving the final directions he made them this proposal. Their right to have the railing put up being clear and undoubted, would they be disposed to waive that right in his favour and permit the entire railing to be taken down, leaving only the dwarf wall as a boundary? Those parties, he said, who wished to do so could use the railing to fence their own particular burying-places, which they could keep locked, as was usual in such cases. The dwarf wall would remain as a clear and sufficient boundary of the kirkyard, which might be visited and reported on once a year on a regular day by the trustees, while the views of those parties would be met who would like their burying-places more strictly enclosed. His lawns were never pastured, and no accident had ever happened to the numerous evergreens about them. He therefore considered that the kirkyard would be effectually secured in the future from all intrusion as it was then. The improvement to the cheerfulness and amenity of Carriden House was obvious, and he could not help thinking that even those who did not at first like the idea would in a very short time consider the kirkyard much improved by what he proposed. He would be obliged by their taking a month to consider. In a second letter sent the next day he made particular reference to this last proposal, and observed that while on the one hand he considered both he and his family were entitled to, and did enjoy, the goodwill of their neighbours to a very considerable extent (and that this was most undoubtedly an occasion on which that goodwill should be exercised), still, on the other hand, he both respected and fully under stood the feelings which prevailed relative to the old kirkyard amongst those who had friends interred there and who intended to be buried there themselves. Whatever decision, therefore, they might come to on the subject they might rest assured that it would make no difference to those feelings of cordiality which he desired to entertain for his neighbours of all classes.

Mr. Duguid and his committee did not, as the Admiral suggested, take a month to consider. A meeting was called immediately, and their decision was communicated by letter dated 26th July, signed by Mr. Duguid as preses. It was pointed out in that letter that the Admiral was already possessed of all the letters of any importance which the committee had, and no reference was made to the suggestion to appoint two trustees. With regard to the chief proposal, they were all decidedly of opinion that the iron rail should be repaired and kept up round about the churchyard, as formerly agreed upon. The letter closed with this somewhat stern, blunt, and no doubt characteristic paragraph—

"As you appear to wish to keep up friendly feelings with us, the committee desire me to say that those feelings are likeliest to last longest when each party shall fulfil all those duties and obligations which as moral and accountable beings rest upon us; therefore, we trust that you will go on with the necessary repair without delay."

So the public rights in the old churchyard were once more vindicated, and the "necessary repair" carried through.


Scott3 in his references to the ministers of Carriden makes a note, that after the Reformation the charge was joined with Linlithgow and afterwards with Kinneil.

The first minister he refers to is Andrew Keir, A.M. As already mentioned, he was presented to Carriden—the old church beside Carriden House—in July, 1621, and remained there until his death in November, 1653, in the fifty-fifth year of his age and the twenty-third of his ministry. Mr. Keir was clerk to the Presbytery in 1629 and for many years thereafter. He was a member of the General Assembly in 1638. Apparently he was translated to Linlithgow. The Assembly confirmed the translation, but the Presbytery declared it null, and he refused, on 31st December, 1641, to transport himself. For preaching for the Engagement in 1648 he was suspended. When he died a few years after, his executor raised a question regarding the stipend alleged as due; and in 1661 the Lords found that the suspension of the minister did not make the stipend vacant, and that the annat or ann needed no confirmation. His wife was Euffame Primrose, and they had three sons and three daughters.

Mr. Keir's successor was Robert Steedman, A.M., of Edinburgh University. He seems to have been made Mr. Keir's colleague and helper in July, 1646, probably at the time of his suspension. He was one of the protesting ministers of the Presbytery, and had to escape after the English entered the Lothians in 1651; he officiated for some time at Cleish; was loosed and deposed in August, 1661. Mr. Steedman then seems to have taken to field-preaching, for we find him denounced by the Privy Council in August, 1676, for keeping conventicles. After the toleration was granted he returned to Carriden, and once more became its minister, as we shall see.

The church evidently was without a minister for a time, for the next name is that of Mr. James Hamilton, A.M., of Edinburgh University. He was first of all schoolmaster at Colinton; was presented to Carriden in March, and ordained in April, 1663. A year after he was translated to Bedrule.

Mr. Hamilton's successor was Mr. John Pairk, an Episcopalian curate, already alluded to in our Covenanting chapter as the discoverer of Donald Cargill and others. He was licensed by the Bishop of Edinburgh, and ordained here on 9th June, 1665. For his behaviour towards the local Covenanters and their leaders he was much disliked. At the Revolution he held to his old opinions and doctrines, and was, in September, 1689, accused before the Privy Council of not reading the Proclamation of the Estates and not praying for William and Mary; he was further accused of baptising the children of scandalous persons without demanding satisfaction; and of praying that the walls of the Castle of Edinburgh might be as brass about George Duke of Gordon. He was acquitted by the Council, but having fallen into drunken and other evil habits he was deposed on 28th August, 1690. When he left, he -carried off the parochial registers.

As we have said, Mr. Steedman returned here after the Declaration of Indulgence in 1687, and was chosen moderator of the Presbytery when it was constituted at Bo'ness on 30th November of that year. He was one of those restored by Act of Parliament in April, 1690. His death occurred in September, 1710, in his seventy-sixth year and the fifty-second of a very chequered ministerial career. Mrs. Steedman was a daughter of Sir Alexander Inglis, of Ingliston, and she survived her husband by ten years. Their son became one of the ministers of Edinburgh.

The next ordination at Carriden was that of Mr. John Tod, a Glasgow student, on 19th January, 1704, so that he appears to have been minister some years prior to Mr. Steedman's death. We know nothing further of Mr. Tod except that he died in January, 1720, and was survived by his widow. His marriage took place a few months after his settlement at Carriden, his bride being the relict of George Dundas, skipper, At Queensferry.

The parish seems to have been without a minister for the next five years, when Mr. Alexander Pyott, sometime schoolmaster of Benholme, and afterwards chaplain to the Marquis of Tweeddale, was settled here on 29th October, 1725. Eight years after he was translated to Dunbar. Things were not done hurriedly at Carriden, for another interval without a minister followed. However, in 1734 Mr. James Gair, who two years before had been licensed by the Presbytery of Zetland, was presented to the parish by James Duke of Hamilton. Mr. Gair was not ordained until September of the following year, and he was translated to Campvere in April, 1739.

The names to follow are not unfamiliar to Carriden people. The first is Mr. George Ellis, who in April, 1740, commenced his long ministry of fifty-five years. It was during his incumbency that the church and churchyard were removed from Carriden House and established at the village of Cuffabouts. He died in March, 1795, in his eighty-third year. Four years before, he had contributed the account of the parish which stands under his name in Sinclair's Statistical Account. It is very short. That, however, is not to be wondered at considering his great age, and it is much to the point. One of his brief observations is to the effect, that the living would have supported a family fifty years ago better than £120 sterling could do at the time he wrote. His wife, who was a Miss Alice Drummond, died in 1790; they had a daughter, Katherine.

On the death of Mr. Ellis the Duke presented Mr. John Bell, who was licensed by the Presbytery of Lanark in 1786, and who, it would appear, had not entered the ministry until he was middle-aged. He was ordained here on 21st January, 1796, and died unmarried on 14th December, 1815, in the seventieth year of his age and the twentieth of his ministry. It is recorded of him that he possessed the dispositions to charity and benevolence without ostentation, and that, though worn out by weakness and infirmity, he persevered without intermission in discharging his ministerial duties to the end. His tombstone in Carriden Churchyard bears the following words:—"Good and just in action, charitable in speaking of the character of others, and void of envy and detraction. Erected out of grateful remembrance of his worth by his nephews."

The last of the Carriden ministers in the period we are treating of was Mr. David Fleming, A.M., who was licensed by the Presbytery of Hamilton in June, 1813. He was presented here by Alexander Marquis of Douglas, and ordained on 22nd August, 1816. Mr. Fleming ministered at Carriden for forty-four years, dying there on 19th January, 1860.

James Duguid. b. Little Carriden, 1796; d. Muirhouses, 1887. 
(From a photograph in possession of Mr. Wm. Duguid, Bo'ness.)


The parish includes other landowners than the proprietor of Carriden estate. Among them is Lord Linlithgow, who owns the farm of Burnshott. Fully three hundred of the acres of Binns estate also lie within it, including the farms of Cham-pany and Cauldcots and parts of Mannerston. And on the east side of the Castlehill, Blackness, there is a strip of land known as Binns Beach.

Binns House itself lies in the parish of Abercorn. An irregular mass of building garnished with turrets and embrasures, it is beautifully placed on the western slope of Binns Hill. Built in 1623, it has been enlarged from time to time. The park around is highly picturesque, the graBsy acclivities of the hill being interspersed with scattered trees-and groups of evergreens. The policies are further adorned by two avenues and fine gardens. On the summit of the hill is a high, round tower forming a conspicuous landmark, and affording excellent views. It is said to have been erected to surmount the difficulty of seeing past the belt of trees to the eastward. The land in this part originally belonged to the Binns, but was sold to one of the Earls of Hopetoun.

Binns has been the residence of the family of Dalyell for upwards of three centuries. The famous general, Sir Thomas Dalyell, son of Thomas Dalyell, of Binns, was born in Abercorn Parish, but not, we think, in the present house.

In the dining-room of Binns House appears a portrait with the following inscription:—"Lieutenant-General Thomas Dalyell of Binns, a general in the Russian Service; Commander of the Forces in Scotland 1666 to 1685; raised a regiment of infantry 1666, and the Scots Greys in 1681."

The name of the foot regiment is apparently not known, nor can its place in the military lists be traced.

In the blue room is another portrait, and below is given the year of Dalyell's birth, 1599, and that of his death, 1685, together with the following note:—"After he had procured himself a lasting name "in the wars, here it was" (evidently referring to Binns) "that he rested his old age, and pleased himself with the culture of curious flowers and plants."

There stands in the front hall an inlaid table of ivory, measuring five feet by three feet, at which Dalyell, so legend says, played cards with the devil. Another version is that the House of Binns was ransacked by Dalyell's enemies—and he must have had many—and all suitable furniture was carried off. The heavier furniture was said to have been consigned to the sergeant's pond, situated close to the house, from which the table was recovered many years later.

In one of the bedrooms the Royal arms appear over the fireplace, the King4 having, it is said, passed one night at least at Binns. The ceiling of this room is very artistic, and bears, among others, the heads in plaster of King David and King Alexander. There is also a very handsome frieze. Other bedrooms also have richly decorated ceilings. This work is stated to have been executed by the Italian workmen engaged at the embellishment of Linlithgow Palace during the residence of Queen Mary.

Downstairs, in the south-east part of the building, is a dungeon-like apartment known as the oven where Dalyell baked the bread for the regiment of Scots Greys which he raised here. Not far from the oven is to be found the entrance to the underground passage which is said to have existed at one time between Binns House and Blackness.

The family vault erected in 1623 is attached to the Abercorn Church. The general died in Edinburgh, but there is no record of his place of sepulture so far as we have seen.

It has been written5 of him that his private eccentricities furnished scope for the sarcastic pen of Swift in the memoirs of Captain Creighton, while his public history forms an important element in the narratives of the troubles of the Kirk of Scotland. Undaunted courage and blind, devoted fidelity to his Sovereign were conspicuous traits in his character. He was so much attached to Charles I. that, when the King was beheaded, Dalyell, to show his grief, never afterwards shaved his beard. At the battle of Worcester he was taken prisoner, committed to the Tower, and his estates forfeited. After the Restoration Charles II. restored his estates, appointed him Commander-in-chief of the Forces, and a Privy Councillor. On the accession of James VII. he received a new and enlarged commission, but died soon afterwards.

The comb with which Dalyell used to dress his wonderful beard is still preserved at Binns.

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