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 5 - Parochial Economy   [this part is not complete - see sections at foot of page]




Dalkeith is the nearest market-town which is distance about two miles, and Edinburgh five from centre of the parish.
Villages.—There are four principal and two smaller villages connected with the coal-works; and Edmonstone and Woolmet, which, from their contiguous position, may be considered as one, is the only village inhabited by the agricultural classes and tradesmen.


Means of Communication.—The means of communication enjoyed by the parish are most ample. The turnpike from Edinburgh to Lauder, &c. by Dalkeith passes along the west side of it, while it is intersected in its whole extent by that from Leith up to Dalkeith and, from the latter to Musselburgh—each of these for a distance of two miles and upwards. There are also cross roads which are turnpike, uniting these in different directions, besides parish roads, which in general are kept in good repair, and leave nothing to be desired in point of accommodation under this head.
Besides coaches between Dalkeith and Edinburgh several times a day, there are a number of others from Edinburgh to greater distances, such as a Laurder, Dunse, Newcastle, &c. which passed daily on the same turnpike; and the Dalkeith Railway, which affords much more accommodation to the inhabitants in their intercourse with the metropolis, passes diagonally through its, giving opportunities for going and returning at least eight times a day. The Post Office is in Dalkeith.


Ecclesiastical estate.—The Church is nearly in the centre of the parish, and very conveniently situated for the parishioners, there been none more than one mile and three-quarters distance; while the great body of inhabitants is within a circuit of a mile. It was built in 1742, ( the site having been changed as already mentioned,) was reseated in 1819, is in excellent repair, and rendered comfortable in winter by a stove. It is seated for 430, allowing 18 inches to a sitting. The sittings are allocated among the heritors according to their respective valued rents, but it ought to be mentioned, that when built, the then proprietor of Edmonstone added an isle solely at his expense, which besides a gallery for the family, and the retiring room immediately behind, afforded accommodation beneath for the servants and immediate dependants, as well as collier population on his property. A gallery was also erected by the then Duke of Buccleugh, with the consent of the heritors for the Sheriffhall colliery, in addition to the share of the sittings effeiring to his property. It deserves to be recorded to the honour of the collier population at that period, that they appear to have been at the expense of fitting up the part of the area allotted to them, and in evidence of their right to the sittings, had tablets affixed on the walls, with the motto of their craft and the names of the parties inscribed, which exists to this day. Probably they had a part of the area thus given them as a compensation for what they enjoyed in the old church of Newton, and which, on application, as the records bear, to the heritors and Kirk Session, (given in 4th April 1725) so, they obtained permission, (2nd May 1732) to erect a loft for themselves, "providing that the possessors and users of the said loft shall be obliged to keep the roof of the church above the said loft always in repair at their own charges," which hard, and, as it appears, unreasonable condition, was complied with, on their part.
The manse was built in 1803, has had its accommodations recently increased, and is in good repair. It stands on the glebe, and is about half-a-mile east from the church, the reason of which is, that when both were removed from their former situation, the proprietor of Edmonstone, whose lands surrounded the old glebe, had none nearer to give in exchange.
The Glebe, including the site of the manse, garden, and offices, extends to somewhat more than seven acres of good land, which lets at L.5 per acre. The great value of the glebe, however, arises from the coal under it, which after decision of the Court Of Session had been obtained,* establishing the minister's right to the minerals, was sold for the sum of L.2500. From this there was deducted, by the authority of the court, the expense of process, &c. amounting to L.193, 13s., and the balance of L.2306, 7s. is heritably secured on lands belonging to John Wauchope, Esq of Edmonstone, by whom the purchase was made in 1815, at five per cent. interest, for the benefit of the incumbent. It thus produces L.115, 6s. 4d. yearly.
The average amount of the above for the last seven years, at the fiars prices, is L.147, 16s. 5d. There is also held L.53, 6s.8d. Scots, L..4, 8s. 10 ½d. Sterling, for communion elements, and 100 merks, or L.5, 11s. 2d. of mortified money, making the average of the whole amount for these years to L.273, 2s.9 ½d.


List of incumbents — [I have omitted section giving detals of ministers].
According to return made to the Parliamentary Commissioners appointed to inquire as to the deficiency of church accommodation, &c., in December, 1834, and which was prepared with the greatest care, there were, out of a gross population of 1836, 1414 belonging to the establishment, and 422 dissenters of various denominations. In 1837, when the population had decreased to 1728, the respective numbers were 1365 established church, and 363 dissenters, distributed as follows:- Relief, Dalkeith, 222; Do., Musselburgh, nine; Do., Edinburgh, 10. Associate Synod, Dalkeith, Mr Brown's, 78; Do., Mr Buchanan's, 2; Do., Musselburgh, 2; Do., Leith, 3; Do., Edinburgh, 15. Independents, Dalkeith, 5; Do., Portobello, 6. Methodists, 7. Cameronians, 1. Associate Synod Original Seceders, three. In a note to the aforesaid document, it is stated, in explanation, that where the head of the family is a dissenter, all children have been reckoned as such, though many of them, above 12 years of age, are in the habit of attending the Established Church. This rule has been followed even in cases where the mother is in communion with the latter, the father being a dissenter, although the only religious institution and pastoral superintendence the families received are from the Establishment; and were these deducted, as perhaps, in fairness, they might and ought to be, the numbers above given would be considerably reduced. It will be seen, (it goes on to states,) that 129 sittings, at the utmost, are taken in dissenting places of worship, which corroborates this to the extent of showing that the families are not provided with accommodation, especially since of these 129 sittings, at least 41 are taken by individuals, leaving 88 for 381.
The attendance on divine service is in the Established church is generally good; but his whole pews are allocated to tenants who have not families to occupy them, and from which the population generally feel themselves to be excluded, the habit of church-going cannot exist with many, nor be formed by the young, since there is only 430 sittings in all for the 1365 at present ostensibly belonging to the Establishment, while there is a considerable proportion of them not available to the full extent, from their being particularly allocated, which, especially in reference to the young has long been felt as a grievance, since they cannot be encouraged to attend, less those more advanced should be thereby excluded.
The number of commumicants on the roll in 1835 was 363, and in 1837, 343. The average number that has communicated of late years is about 325. During the last five years, 122 have been admitted for the first time.


Education—there are one parochial, one endowed, and two female schools supported by individual subscription. The parish schoolmaster has the maximum salary, and all the legal accommodations, with the exception of the small deficiency in the size of his garden, which is compensated by a certain quantity of oatmeal, at the fiars prices annually according to the provisions of the act of Parliament. He also has an annuity of L.5 for the coal under his garden, or rather for leave to drive a mine through it for the working of the coal, payable by Sir John Hope, Bart. of Pinkie, and L.8 per annum for the education of four boys, according to the terms of the mortification afterwards to be noticed. In the Parliamentary return made in 1834, L.60 is given as the amount of fees, and L.37, as that of other emoluments, including, of course, the items before specified, and also the session clerk's salary and fees. In all, the master's income is L.31, 4s. 4 ½d.* with a dwelling house, which is commodious, and garden, surrounded by an excellent wall. Here may be mentioned, to the credit of the heritors, that the whole establishment of school and schoolhouse is on the most liberal scale, and in addition, a spacious play-ground provided, . . . [incomplete - see below]

[sections still to be added pages 577-89:
Education -
Literature -
Friendly Societies -
Poor and Parochial Funds -
Inns, Alehouses &c. -
Miscellaneous Observations.]


© 2012   A Russell