Hood Family and Coal Mining

Newton Parish - New Statistical Account

Newton:  1-Topography and Natural History  |  2-Civil History  |  3-Population  |  4-Industry  |  5-Parochial Economy


New Statistical Account for the Parish of Newton

Part 2 - Civil History




"The Church of Newton (says Chalmers), and its pertinent is were granted during the twelfth century to the monks of Dunfermline, to whom it was confirmed by Bishop Richard and Pope Gregory. Till the Reformation exploded such establishments, the monks enjoyed the Parsonage, and the cure was performed by a vicar." As to Woolmet or Wymet we were informed by the same authority that "it was granted by David I., with all its rights, to the same monks, which was confirmed by the dioceasan and the Popes. They enjoyed the Parsonage, whilst the cure was performed by a vicar. These two parishes were united at the Reformation, and the lands and churches were included in James VI.'s grants to Lord Thirlestane, from whose descendants patronage went by purchase into the family of Wauchope of Edmonstone, with whom it remains." After the Reformation, it was long in being planted, in consequence, it is believed, of the benifice being appropriated by the Crown; and the parish for many years had only the benefit of a reader, to whom the vicarage was assigned for his maintenance. Probably this circumstance may have given rise to the following somewhat singular entry in the presbytery records, (It commences with 1582,) 31st October 1583, (Quhilk day was asppointit to reasone in thay matters, and that with diligence, quhidder gif Newtone was ane paroche kirk or nocht, and also the Moorfet, qulilk things were referrit to the eldership of Dalkeith be ye synodal assemblie." Accordingly, of date 26th March 1584, the record bears that "it is found be tryall of honest men, quha hes knawledge, that Newtone kirk is ane paroche kirk."

It appears that Lawrence Watsone was reader at this period, and probably the first who held the office, for, on the 24th January 1582-3, he was "ordainit to gif the name of the schlanderous persons within his parochin of Newton that day aucht days."
The first volume of the presbytery records is very defective, there being several large blanks. After 1584, in which year the meetings of presbyteries were interdicted by royal authority, it is not resumed until October 1588. Then there is only one half-year wanting till July 1594, when there occurs a hiatus until 1612, after which it is complete.*
* [I have omitted the very large footnote which followed]


Chief Landowners.—The property of Edmonstone in former times belonged to a family of that name, the founder of which is said to have come with Queen Margaret to Scotland, and to have got from her husband King Malcolm III, some lands near Edinburgh which were called after him. The family was not only of great antiquity, and from which other families of distinction derive their origin, but distinguished also by a Royal Alliance, John Edmonstoun having been married to Isabel, Countess of Douglas, relict of James, Earl of Douglas, killed at the Battle of Otterburn (1388), and daughter of King Robert II., the first of the House of Stuart. This family disappeared about the beginning of the 17th century * and the property appears ultimately to have been disposed of to a gentleman of the name of Raith, a member of the Faculty of Advocates, who leaving no male issue, his daughter became heiress, who was married to the second son of Sir John Wauchope of Niddry Marishal, which has since been the family name. This gentleman was appointed (1682) one of the senators of the College of Justice, by the title of Lord Edmonstone, and he leaving no male issue was succeeded by his eldest daughter. She was married to Patrick, son of Sir Alexander Don, who thereupon assumed the name of Wauchope, and from then the present family is clearly descended. The late Colonel Wauchope, father of the present proprietor, was distinguished for philanthropy, and his benevolence, as well as readiness to do good on every occasion, endeared him to all when living, and embalmed his memory in the recollection of everyone who had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with his character.[cross symbol]
Mr Wauchope is the principal and only resident proprietor. The others are the Earl of Wemyss and Duke of Buccleugh.

[ foot notes]
* It would appear to have been between 1627 and 1630, for in a report of the state of the parish preserved in the Register House, dated 1627, after stating the proportion of the stipend paid by his Majesty, it is added "the rest is paid to be Sir Jhone[sic] Edmonstoune of that Ilk; whereas, in the valuation of teinds 1630, James Raith is proprietor of Edmonston.
† In a tribute to his memory inserted in the records of Session, of which he was an exemplary member, it is stated that "two school-houses for female education were built by him on the most approved plan, and partly endowed by an annual grant for their support, besides commodious dwelling-houses for the mistresses, also built at his expense, the one in the village of Edmonstone, the other in the Edmonstone colliery; that when, in consequence of the increased number of communicants, the heritors had agreed to make an alteration in the seating of the Church, so as to afford an additional communion table, he presented the session with a pair of communion cups, and the salver for the bread, all of silver, which are inscribed with his name, and will go down to posterity as memorials of his piety in connection with one of the most sacred ordinances of our holy religion." [end of foot notes]


Parochial Registers.—As already noticed, they were begun in 1628 during the incumbency of Mr John Melville. All the registers then commenced are in one small volume, which is in bad preservation, and contains meagre details of the proceedings of session, a register of baptisms and one of marriages, together with accounts of collections and disbursements. It ends about 1640, and there is a hiatus till 1651, when separate volumes for baptisms and marriages respectively are begun and continued, in the case of the former without interruption to the present time, and in the latter with only a few blanks from 20th December 1678 to 29th June 1679; from 18th November 1688 to 18th May 1692; and from 26th November 1695 to 1st June 1697, from which date they are complete. There is only one volume entitled "the defuncts in the parish of Newton since the 11th July 1731." It ends with 1761 and there is no other till 1823, when a more perfect register of deaths and burials was begun. All these volumes are in good preservation.
A volumes that the minutes of session was also begun in 1651 and ends with 1671 at the one side, and recommences with the 29th June 1679 at the other, on which day it is said, "Ninian Miln, formerly reader, precentor, and schoolmaster at Bolton, was received reader, precentor, and schoolmaster in the parish of an Neatone." It ends with January 1694. The next volume commences with 21st November 1697, from which date the minutes are complete, and contain a full record of the strict discipline that, for a long period was exercised for the reformation of manners, and the other ecclesiastical proceedings.


Antiquities.—An ancient edifice adjoining the village of Edmonstone, which has been used for divine worship before the Reformation for the parish of Wymet, was afterwards converted into a chapel, where the laird of Edmonstone received permission from the presbytery (1641), to have "reading of prayers morning and evening, providing it were not prejudicial to the public exercises in the Church," and where, by the same authority, children were permitted to be baptised, "providing always the people should be there present at public worship." In process of time, it came to be exclusively converted a burial-place, and having gone into decay was renewed in the form of an elegant mausoleum by the late proprietor. The tower of the ancient church of Newton, which was situated quite at the extremity of the parish, is still entire, and has been preserved to form a feature in the landscape seen from the grounds and Dalkeith Park. The churchyard around it where parties have long since ceased to bury has been sadly desecrated by the encroachment of husbandmen, and many of the monuments removed to make way for the plough. It is hoped that, to preserve what yet remains of the olden time, it may still be surrounded with a fence.
In the former Statistical Account, it is said, "The only antiquity here that deserves to be taken notice of, is a very high ridge, of a circular form, and of considerable extent, which evidently appears to be altogether artificial. The people of the country have always called it 'the Kaim,' a corruption it is supposed of the word camp." Now this is a twofold mistake, since the word Kaim has a well-known meaning attached to it, viz. that of a ridge somewhat zig-zag in the form of a cock's comb, which is quite characteristic of the local appearances; and as coal pits have been sunk in some parts of it. Indeed, being in the form of the letter S reversed, and somewhat elongated, it is strange how it could have been supposed to have been formed a camp or enclosure of any kind, since the extremities, instead of approaching each other, actually received in opposite directions. It is true that the supposition is countenanced by a farm steading situated at one extremity being now called Campend; but, in former times, it is uniformly written Kaimend., and was descriptive both of its locality and of the idea then attached to the appearance presented by the ridge in question. How to account for it having seen so singular a form is quite a different matter, as to which we shall not hazard a conjecture.


Modern Buildings.—Woolmet House has somewhat of a baronial appearance, and must, at the time of its erection, a splendid residence for the property, though now it has come to be let with the farm by it's present proprietor, the Earl of Wemyss, into whose family it came by purchase at a comparatively recent period. Edmonstone House, the residents of John Wauchope, Esq., is large and commodious, though without any great pretensions to architectural display.



© 2012   A Russell