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Haddington is a town and former Royal Burgh in East Lothianmarker, Scotlandmarker. It is the main administrative, cultural and geographical centre for East Lothian, which was known officially as Haddingtonshire before 1921. It lies approximately east of Edinburghmarker. Linguistically the name Haddington is Anglo-Saxon, dating from the 6th or 7th century AD when the area was incorporated into the kingdom of Bernicia. The town was ceded from Northumbriamarker and became part of Scotlandmarker following the Battle of Carhammarker in c.1018. Haddington received burghal status during the reign of David I (1124-1153) , giving it trading rights which encouraged its growth into a market town.

Today Haddington is a small town with a population of less than 9,000, although at one time it was the fourth largest city in Scotland, after Aberdeenmarker, Dundeemarker and Edinburgh. At the centre of the town is the Town House, originally built in 1748 according to a plan by William Adam. When first built, it consisted of a council chamber, jail and sheriff court, to which assembly rooms were added in 1788, and a new clock in 1835. Nearby is the Corn Exchange (1854) and the County Courthouse (1833). Other notable sites include the Jane Welsh Carlyle House, and Mitchell's Close.


Haddington is located predominantly on the north-east bank of the River Tyne, and was once famous for its mills. It developed into the fourth largest town in Scotland during the High Middle Ages, and latterly was at the centre of the mid-18th century Scottish Agricultural Revolution.

In 1641 an Act was passed by the Parliament of Scotland to encourage the production of fine cloth, and in 1645 an amendment went through stating that the masters and workers of manufactories would be exempt from military service. As a result of this, more factories were established; these included the New Mills. This factory suffered during the Civil War with the loss of its cloth to General Monk. A new charter was drawn up in May 1681, and major capital invested in new machinery, but the New Mills had mixed fortunes, inevitably affected by the lack of protectionism for Scottish manufactured cloth. The Scots Courant reported in 1712 that New Mills was to be 'rouped' (auctioned). The property was sold on 16 February 1713 and the machinery and plant on March 20. The lands of New Mills were purchased by Colonel Francis Charteris and he changed their name to Amisfieldmarker.


Nungate Bridge, Haddington

Amisfield House was located east of Haddington, south of the River Tyne. Designed by architect Isaac Ware and built of Garvald red freestone, it was described in The Buildings of Scotland as "the most important building of the orthodox Palladian school in Scotland." John Henderson built the walled garden in 1783, and the castellated stable block in 1785. The park in front of the house, possibly landscaped by James Bowie, is today entirely ploughed. A victim of dry rot, the house was demolished in 1928.

All that remains of Amisfield today are the summer house, walled garden, ice house, chapel, and gates.

Lennoxlove Housemarker, a historic 13th century house and estate, lies half a mile south of Haddington. Built by the Giffards of Yestermarker, it was originally named Lethington. It was once home to the Maitland family, notably Sir Richard Maitland, and his son William Maitlin, Secretary of State to Mary Queen of Scots'. The Maitlands left Lennoxlove in the 17th century, and it is now the seat of the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon.

The world's earliest surviving records of a lodge of free gardeners come from Haddington, in 1676.

St Mary's Collegiate Church

The Parish Church of St Mary's is today part of the Church of Scotlandmarker, but includes an Episcopalian chapel, the Lauderdale Aisle, containing the mausoleum of the Earls of Lauderdale. It is the longest parish church in Scotland and is in regular use for worship and musical events. It is directly adjacent to the river Tyne, beside the 12th century Nungate bridge.

The present building (built with red sandstone from nearby Garvald) was started in 1375 (an earlier St Mary's Church having been destroyed by the English in 1356), and consecrated in 1410, despite building work not being finished until 1487. The church was partially destroyed during the 1548-49 Siege of Haddington that followed the Rough Wooing of Henry VIII, and on the advice of John Knox, it was restored "frae the tower to the West door". Thus the nave became the church and the choir and transepts were left ruined until the whole church was restored in the 1970s. The Lammermuir pipe organ was built in 1990.

A set of eight bells hung for full change ringing was installed for the Millennium.


Haddington is home to the junior football club Haddington Athletic.

Haddington is also home to Haddington RFC, currently playing in Scotland Premiership Division two.


sits on the A1marker dual-carriageway linking Edinburghmarker with Londonmarker. The town is currently served by the bus companies First, Perrymans, and Don Prentice. These buses allow travel to Edinburghmarker, Berwick-upon-Tweedmarker, and other towns and villages in East Lothianmarker. Haddington was served by a railway branch line which carried passengers from 1846 until 1949.

The Railway

The Haddington railway line was a branch from the East Coast Main Line at Longniddrymarker and terminated with a railway station and freight depot in the area between West Road and Hospital Road. The line was 4.8 miles in lengthand had stations at Coatyburn Siding and Laverocklaw Siding before terminating in Haddington. The line was opened on the 22nd of June 1846. The branch had only a single track, though bridges and embankments were built to allow for a double track. Passengers from Haddington were required to alight at Longniddry and change trains in order to travel to Edinburgh.

The Haddington branch line and station were damaged during the flood of 1948 and though both passenger and freight services were reinstated, British Rail opted to remove rail services to the public due to competition from bus services and dwindling passenger numbers. Passenger services ended on the 29th of December 1949. The use of the railway line for freight continued to March 1968.The larger Victorian station building was demolished, however a smaller older building, parts of the platform structure, and embankment walls remain. These are recognisable by their distinctive red-brick appearance, and can be seen from West Road, Somnerfield Court, and the industrial area south of Hospital Road.

The land occupied by Haddington's railway line is owned by East Lothian Councilmarker and is used by walkers, cyclists and horse-riders in the section of the line between Longniddry station and the St Lawrence area of Haddington. The eastern terminus of the line is occupied by industrial units and scrub vegetation. A campaign to reopen Haddington’s railway service is led by the group RAGES (Rail Action Group East of Scotland). Since the closure of the station in the 1940s (isolated as it then was at the western extremity of Haddington), the town has expanded significantly. Between 1951 and 1981 the population of the town grew by 54 per cent. It remains to be seen whether further expansion of the town will lead to a reinstatement of Haddington's rail service, since there are congestion issues on both the East Coast Main Line and at Edinburgh Waverleymarker railway station.

Twin town

Notable people

  • Ada de Warenne, Countess of Northumbria and Huntingdon (1120-1178), Mother of Malcolm IV and William the Lion, Kings of Scots. Founded the Nunnery for which the Nungate is named.
  • Alexander II - (1198 – 1249), King of Scotland from 1214 until 1249.
  • John Brown, known as John Brown of Haddington - (1722 – 1787), theologian and author of The Self-interpreting Bible (known as 'Brown's Bible') and A Dictionary of the Holy Bible. Became minister in Haddington in 1751 and is buried in the churchyard of St Mary's.
  • Samuel Morison Brown - (1817-1856), chemist and writer, grandson of John Brown, born in Haddington.
  • Finlay Calder (1957- ) - Scottish rugby player born in Haddington.
  • Jim Calder (1957- ) - Scottish rugby player born in Haddington.
  • Jane Welsh Carlyle - (1801-1866), wife of the writer Thomas Carlyle, daughter of a local doctor. She was buried next to her father in the choir of St Mary's Church, at that time still ruined.
  • William George Gillies (1898-1973) - painter born in the High Street. Student and later principal of the Edinburgh College of Artmarker, several of his works are in the Talbot Rice Gallerymarker in the University of Edinburgh.
  • John Gray (1646-1717) - preacher, scholar and book collector, was born and died in Haddington. He assembled an important library of early printed books which was sold to the National Library of Scotlandmarker in 1961.
  • John Knox (1505, 1513 or 1514 – 1572) - great Protestant reformer born (probably in Nungate on the east bank of the River Tyne, opposite St Mary's) and educated in the town.
  • James Lauder (d.1696), M.A., Sheriff-Clerk, Provost, Commissioner to Parliament, and Commissioner to the Convention of Burghs, and M.P., for Haddington. On 7 March 1678 a Supplication (application) was made to the Privy Council by James Lauder, Sheriff-Clerk of Haddington, and two colleagues, to establish a stage-coach service between Haddington and Edinburgh, with two coaches, for seven years. In August 1690 he was said to be responsible for the celebrated escape from his house by two prisoners, of the Seton family, because as a Baillie he was required to attend Church.
  • John Mair (also known as Haddingtonus Scotus) (1467-1550) - Scottish philosopher, friend of Erasmus and teacher of Calvin, Ignatius Loyola, John Knox, and other Scottish Reformers including the Protestant martyr Patrick Hamilton and the humanist and Latin stylist George Buchanan. He held many University and government positions.
  • Adam Skirving (1719-1803) - song writer, author of the famous Jacobite song Hey, Johnnie Cope, Are Ye Waking Yet?, was born in Haddington, farmed at Garleton, and was buried at Athelstanefordmarker.
  • Samuel Smiles (1812-1904) - social reformer and author of Self Help (1859), lived in the High Street.
  • Millie Wood MBE (1938- ) - bowls player who took part in a record seven Commonwealth Games and won two gold medals was born in Haddington and grew up in nearby Giffordmarker.



  1. Book
  2. Book
  3. The Country Houses, Castles and Mansions of East Lothian, by Sonia Baker ISBN 9781840334579
  4. Article Origins of Gardener Societies at (accessed 18 March 2007)
  5. Book
  6. Book
  7. Book
  8. Book


  • The Records of a Scottish Cloth Manufactory at New Mills, Haddingtonshire edited by W.R.Scott, M.A., Scottish History Society, Edinburgh, 1905.
  • The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, Third Series, edited by P.Hume Brown, M.A.,LL.D., volume V, Edinburgh, 1912, p.381.
  • Lost Houses of Scotland, by M.Binney, J.Harris, & E.Winnington, for 'Save Britain's Heritage', London, July 1980. ISBN 0-905978-05-6
  • Haddington: Royal Burgh - A History and a Guide, The Haddington History Society, published 1997 by Tuckwell Press Ltd., ISBN 1-86232-000-4
  • The Haddington, Macmerry and Gifford Branch Lines, by Andrew M. Hajducki, Oakwood Press, Oxford, 1994. ISBN 0-85361-456-3
  • A Short History of Haddington, by W. Forbes Gray & James H. Jamieson, East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalist’s Society, first published 1944, published in a newer edition in 1986 by SPA books, Stevenage. ISBN 0-90759-054-3
  • The Country Houses and Mansions of East Lothian by Sonia Baker (2009) ISBN 9781840334579

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