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Tranent

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

Tranent, a town and a parish of W Haddingtonshire. The town is 1 1/8 mile SE of Prestonpans station, 7½ miles W by S of Haddington, 3½ E of Musselburgh, 6½ NE of Dalkelth, and 9½ E of Edinburgh. It stands, 200 to 312 feet above sea level, on a ridge of rising ground; and its ancient name, Travernant, means 'the hamlet in the vale' from the Cyrnric tref 'a homestead or village,' and nant, 'a valley.' Its main street extends from E to W along the public road, and is fully ½ mile long. The buildings along this street consist partly of villas and partly of shops, and have a neat and elegant appearance. Built, it is said, by the Picts about the middle of the 11th century, and demolished in 1797, the old parish church is now represented by only a small ruin, which the late Mr Cadell converted into a mausoleum. This church about 1145 was confirmed by Thorald, the son of Swan, to the canons of Holyroodhouse. The present plain building, with a square tower, was opened in 1801, and contains 912 sittings. The churchyard commands a view of the Firth of Forth unsurpassed for beauty and variety. Other places of worship are a Free church (1843), a U.P. church (1826; 637 sittings), a Primitive Methodist chapel, and a Roman Catholic church, St Martin of Tours (1892; 300 sittings). The town hall, built in 1888, cost £1000. The great ornament of the town, however, is its public school, which cost £6500, and was opened on 8 March 1877. It is a stone Elizabethan edifice, with clock­tower and spire, and was designed by Mr Starforth of Glasgow. Stiell's Institution, 5 furlongs N of the town, was built in 1821 22 at a cost of £3000, from a plan by Mr Burn. Till 1884 it provided a free education to some 150 children, having been endowed by George Stiell, a smith and builder in Edinburgh, and a native of Tranent; but the funds are now expended in bursaries and scholarships for the district, in making special provision for secondary education in connection with the public school, and in the boarding and clothing of a few poor children. The town has besides a post office, with money order, savings bank, and telegraph departments, a gaswork, 2 inns, a volunteer corps, a branch of the Royal Bank (1874), omithological and horticultural societies, etc. Waterworks, costing £7000, and capable of supplying 300,000 gallons per diem, were opened on 10 May 1883. Additional supply works were commenced in 1897. There is a small iron foundry and agricultural implement works; but the inhabitants are principally tradesmen, coal miners, and day labourers. Queen Mary was once in Tranent, as noticed under SETON; and Colonel Gardiner was borne to the manse from the field of PRESTONPANS. He was buried at the W end of the old church, but no tombstone now marks his grave, which is included within the present church. In the 'No Militia' riot of August 1797 eleven persons or more were killed and twelve wounded. Under the Burgh Police Act of 1892, Tranent is governed by a provost, 2 bailies, and 6 commissioners. Pop. (1851) 2096, (1861) 2257, (1871) 2306, (1881) 2235, (1891) 2389, of whom 1161 were females. Houses (1891) inhabited 508, vacant 22.
The parish, containing also ELPHINSTONE village and the conjoint fishing village of COCKENZiE and Port Seton, is bounded N by the Firth of Forth, E by Gladsmuir and Pencaitland, S by Ormiston and by Cranston in Midlothian, W by Inveresk in Midlothian, and NW by Prestonpans. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 4 1/8 miles; its breadth varies between 1 3/8 and 3¼ miles; and its area is 6176¾ acres, of which 258¼ are foreshore. It is traversed in the north by the East Coast section of the North British railway, and in the extreme south by the Macmerry branch of the same system. The coastline, 2 1/8 miles in extent, is all quite flat, except for two greenstone dykes, at Cockenzie and E of Port Seton, and has a beautiful beach of fine sand. The interior looks, in some views, to be almost level, but really rises southward from the shore, with slow gradient and gentle undulations, attaining 475 feet at FALSIDE Hill and 492 near Elphinstone. The rocks belong to the Carboniferous Limestone series; and, owing to the seams cropping out at the surface, coal has been worked here for upwards of six centuries. Some time between 1210 an 1219, Seyr de Quinci granted a coal pit at Preston to the monks of Newbattle   the earliest notice of coal mining in Scotland; and in 1547 the inhabitants took refuge in the coalpits a few days before the battle of Pinkie. The chief existing mines are those of Tranent and Elphinstone, few coals being more prized in the markets of Scotland. Sandstone has been worked in several quarries; and trap is quarried for road metal. The soil is partly light and sandy, partly reclaimed morass, but chiefly a rich loam, inferior to none in Scotland. Excepting some 50 acres of sandy downs on the coast, and 100 or so of plantation the entire area is regularly or occasionally in tillage: and wears a finely cultivated aspect. The ancient parish comprehended all Prestonpans (till 1595), and considerable parts of Pencaitland and Gladsmuir; but did not comprise the barony or ancient parish of Seton, which was annexed to it in 1580. Bankton, Elphinstone Tower, Falside Castle, St Germains, and, the palace and church of Seton are all noticed separately. Giving off the quoad sacra parish of Cockenzie since 1885, Tranent is in the persbytery of Haddington and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £340. The three public schools of Tranent, Cockenzie, and Elphinstone, with respective accommodation for 608, 429, and 198 children, have an average attendance of about 535, 305, and 170, and grants amounting to nearly £555, £270,and £150. Valuation (1885) £24,631, (1893) £24,415. Pop. (1801) 3046, (1831) 3620, (1861) 4647, (1871) 4852, (1881) 5198, (1891) 5470, of whom 1716 were in Cockenzie quoad sacra parish. See P. M'Isleill's Tranent and its Surroundings (Edinb. 1883; 2d ed. 1884).

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