Gala day in the Lothians
Midlothian Villages

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Midlothian has many attractive towns and villages. Below a few of them are mentioned with a brief history and links to other sites to enlarge on that history and other details. They have been chosen for no other reason that in my view they have some thing to offer the tourist or the visitor who is in the area. It is purely academic. At the bottom of the page a complete list of the remainder of the villages and a link to further information has been inserted.


The Burgh of Dalkeith is situated some six miles to the south of Edinburgh on the A68 main trunk road. It has been a Burgh from around about 1400 in the days of the Earl of Morton and the land was passed to the Buccleughs in the mid 17th century. It became a centre for the coal industry in Midlothian. The railway line between Dalkeith and Edinburgh was opened in 1831. At this time it was horse drawn and was used mainly for the transportation of goods. Passengers were not thought of until the line was mechanised in 1846. The Corn Market was built in 1853. The Church of St Nicholas in the High Street dates from the 13th Century. It contains the tomb of James Douglas the Earl of Morton and his wife. Dalkeith House sits overlooking the River Esk and it dates back to the 12th century. Cardinal Beaton was held at Dalkeith House in 1543. It is now leased to the University of Wisconsin in the United States as their Scottish Base. The photograph on the left is St Nicholas Church which can be found on the Main Street. There has been a place of worship on this site since the 11th Century.


Penicuik leisure centreThe town of Penicuik is situated to the south of Edinburgh. It sits on the River North Esk and the main industry in days gone by was paper making. The lands around Penicuik were acquired by John Clerk about 1650. His son Sir John Clerk became Scotland's leader of patron of the arts and was the builder of Mavisbank House. On the 5th September 1889 one of Scotland's worse mining disasters occurred at the Mauricewood Pit in which 63 men were killed as the result of an underground fire. A memorial now stands on the site. The last paper mill in Penicuik closed down in 1975 and the towns association with paper was consigned to history. Just recently opened by the local authority is the Penicuik Centre complete with 25 meter swimming pool and state of the art gym. A photograph of the new premises is shown on the left.


Original Hotel, RoslinThe village of Roslin is situated around six or so miles to the south of Edinburgh and about 12 miles from Edinburgh International Airport. It is one of the most historic places in Midlothian. The name Roslin is a derivative from the Celtic name Ross. It is considered that Roslin was founded by the Picts around 200AD. It is also suggested that the name is derived from the name Roseline which runs directly through the Rosslyn Chapel and predates the Paris Meridian, and of course made famous by the film the Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks. The village is also the home and birth place of Dolly the Sheep who was cloned at the nearby Roslin Institute now made famous by this scientific achievement. The village is the home to the Sinclairs Earl of Orkney since they fortified the site in the 14th century. The photograph on the left is of the Origianl Hotel whih is sited a few hundreds yards from Roslin Chapel and Castle. For information about Roslin Castle see the Midlothian Castles Page.

Stone markig the site of the battle of Roslin GlenOn the 24th February 1303 a Scottish Army of around 8000 men faced an English Army of around 30,000 at what is now known as The Battle of Roslin. By the end of the battle the annihilation of the English army was almost total. So total was the destruction of the English army that the Scottish Commander, Sir Symon Fraser who was appointed on the recommendation of Sir William Wallace, shouted to his men to show quarter. A quality sadly lacking in English Commanders. One of the participants of that battle was Sir Henry Sinclair the 8th Baron of Rosslyn, and a signatory to the Declaration of Arbroath. A monument now stands on the site of the battle. The photograph above on the right shows this monument. It stands a few hundred yards from where Dolly the Sheep was born. There is a magnificent country park known as Roslin Glen which is home to many species of wild life and sports a country walk in this very historic area.


Trumpet in centre of LoanheadThe small village of Loanhead is situated just on the boundary line of the City of Edinburgh. The main industry in the past was coal and Loanhead was the home to three pits, namely the Ramsay Colliery, the Burghlee Colliery and the Bilston Glen. The latter was the last deep mine to be sunk in Scotland and was the show piece of the National Coal Board. It had an average output of 1,000,000 tons per annum and employed 2300 men. All mining came to an end after the miners shrike in 1985. The area in which the Bilston Glen colliery stood, is now a industrial park. One of the main employers in Loanhead today is the marine engineering firm of MacTaggart Scott the factory being just of the village centre, and the firms brass band is well known in the area and brass band circles UK wide. The trumpet and the the wheel on the photograph are a tribute to this.

Loanhead has the oldest Childrens gala day in Scotland. It is thought to have first been held in 1770, when miners from the then Dryden Colliery were invited to feast with their children to celebrate the birthday of the landowner, The gala day Queen is the dux from one of the primary schools picked on a rotating basis. A photograph of this event is on the left. Alec Young and Gary Naysmith both of whom played for Scotland at football come from Loanhead. Charles Forte worked in a small cafe in Loanhead when he arrived in Scotland from Italy. Loanhead is twinned with Harnes in France, and has an excellent leisure centre. Since the war, so much renovation and building has been carried out in Loanhead. It will not be long before the village is joined to the south of the City of Edinburgh.

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