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Aberlady

The following lengthy quotation about the parish of Aberlady comes from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by Francis Groome, published in London, 1903.

Aberlady (anc. Aberlefdi = Gael. abhir-liobh-aite, 'confluence of the smooth place'), a village and a coast
parish of NW Haddingtonshire. The village stands at the mouth of the sluggish Peffer Burn, 3 miles NE
of Longniddry station, and 5¼ NW of Haddington. Consisting chiefly of one long street of good
appearance, it is an occasional resort of sea-bathers from Haddington; has a post office under
Longniddry, with money order, savings bank, and telegraph departments, a hotel, and some good shops;
is lighted with gas; and in 1891 had a population of 505.

jaris is bounded N by Dirleton, E and SE by Haddington, S by Gladsmuir, and W by the Firth of Forth.
It has an equal extreme length and breadth of 3½ miles ; its area is 4928 acres., of which 211 are links,
681 foreshore, and 6 water. The surface rises very slowly from the shore, nowhere much exceeds 200
feet of elevation, and is mostly flat, yet has a pleasant aspect, abounding in artificial adornment, and
commanding views of the Firth and its shores away to the Lomond hills, the Edinburgh heights, the
Pentlands, and the Grampians. The coast is everywhere low, and has a great breadth of foreshore.
Vessels of 60 or 70 tons can ascend the channel of the Peffer, at spring tides, to within a few hundred
yards of the village, and lie tolerably secure; but they cannot easily go out during a westerly wind. The
harbour or anchorage-ground belongs to Haddington, in capacity of a port; but it is practically of little
or no value, as the trade is trivial. A belt of links, or low flat sandy downs, skirts much of the shore and
is tunnelled by rabbit-holes; the land thence inward, though now well cultivated and productive, appears
to have been, at no very distant period, swampy and worthless. The soil there is light and sandy; further
back is clay, not naturally fertile; and further inland to the eastern border, is of excellent quality. The
Peffer is the only stream of any size; and water for the use of the inhabitants is chiefly obtained from
wells, being good and abundant. The rocks are partly eruptive, but mainly of the Carboniferous for-
rnation. Limestone and sandstone abound, but are not worked; and coal, in connection with the great
coalfield of Midlothian is believed to extend under a considerable area, but not in conditions likely to
compensate mining. Kilspindley fortalice, built in 1585 between the village and the shore, has wholly
disappeared, as have two ancient hospitals at Ballencrieff and Gosford. The Red Friar Monastery of
Luffness, said to have been founded by Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, in 1286, is represented by the founder's
effigy, and by the N walls of its First Pointed church, which measured 94 feet 10 inches by 19 feet; and
Redhouse Castle, a large 16th-century mansion, near the Gladsmuir boundary, is now a complete ruin.
GOSFORD (Earl of Wemyss), BALLENCRIEFF (Lord Elibank), and LUFFNESS (H. W. Hope. Esq.)
are the principal seats; the property is divided among 3 landowners holding £500 and upwards, 1
between £100 and £500, 1 between £50 and £100, and 17 between £20 and £50. The Rev. Adam
Dickson (d. 1776), author of The Husbandry of the Ancients, was a native of this parish, which is in the
presbytery of Haddington and synod of Lothian. The parish church was rebuilt in 1887; the living is
worth £400. There is also a U. P. church; and a public school here, with accommodation for 170
children, had (1891) an average attendance of 149, and a grant Of £150, 7s l0d. Valuation (1892)
£9500. Pop (1831) 973, (1861) 1019, (1871) 1022, (1881) 1000, (1891) 1063.


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Last updated 5 March 2003