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"TRANENT, a parish on the north-west border of Haddingtonshire. It contains the post-town of Tranent, the seaport villages of Cockenzie and Port-seaton, and the landward villages of Elphinstone and Meadowmill. It is bounded by Edinburghshire, Prestonpans, the frith of Forth, Gladsmuir, Pencaitland, and Ormiston. Its length northward is 4 1/2 miles; and its greatest breadth is 3 miles ... Population in 1831, 3,620; in 1861, 4,647."A lengthier description is available.
"The TOWN of TRANENT stands on the road from Edinburgh to Haddington ... It stands along the brow of a rising ground, on the south side of a narrow vale, at the bottom of which is a brook; and had its ancient name of Travernent, abbreviated into Tranent, from three British words which signify 'the habitation or village at the ravine or vale'"
from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.
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The following quotation comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume II, page 803:
"The parish church was built in 1801, and contains 912 sittings. There is a chapel of ease at Cockenzie, which was built in 1838, and contains 452 sittings, and is under the patronage of its own male heads of families. There is a Free church of Tranent, with an attendance of 380 ... There is a United Presbyterian church at Tranent, which was built in 1826, and contains 637 sittings. The old parish of Tranent comprehended all Prestonpans, and considerable parts of Pencaitland and Gladsmuir; but did not comprehend the barony or ancient parish of Seaton, which was annexed to it only after the Reformation."
For a description of a burial register for Tranent from 1754-1781 see Rosalind Mitchison's Death in Tranent 1754-81 published in the Transactions of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists' Society, 16th volume (1979), pp.37-48. This 'Bill of Mortality' was kept by the Session Clerk and has survived with other records of the Kirk Session in the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh. The SRO reference for the Bill of Mortality is CH2/357/21.
In his entry for the Statistical Account of Scotland (compiled 1790s, see the Statistics section of the East Lothian page for more details) the Rev. Hugh Cunynghame made the following comment about deficiencies in the registration of births and deaths in this parish in the late 18th century:
"A very accurate register was kept of the births and burials of the parishioners until the year 1784, when the tax upon recording them was imposed, which many persons refused to pay, and therefore omitted making any entry. The record, consequently, became imperfect in this, as well as in many other parishes in Scotland."Registers for the Free Church at Tranent are available in LDS family history centres around the world and include christenings for the years 1843-1888.
Extracts for this parish from the 1868 National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland are available.Nearby places can be identified from the GENUKI Gazetteer.
For a social and economic record of the parishes of East Lothian together with considerable statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, which was compiled in the 1790s. Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s; and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared since the Second World War.
Thanks to a joint venture between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh the First and Second Statistical Accounts can now be accessed on-line at The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1799 and 1845.