Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Calder, West

Calder, West, a town and a parish in the extreme W of Edinburghshire. The town stands, at 550 feet above sea-level, on the right bank of the West Calder Burn, and has a station on the Edinburgh and Glasgow direct section of the Caledonian, 57/8 miles WSW of Midcalder Junction, 16 WSW of Edinburgh, and 31¼ W of Glasgow. Since 1861 it has undergone great and rapid extension, chiefly in connection with neighbouring mineral works; at it are a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a branch of the Commercial Bank, a reading-room, a new parish church (1880), a new Free church (1880), a new U.P. church (1872), and the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady and St Bridget (1877). A public and a Roman Catholic school, with respective accommodation for 516 and 204 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 481 and 131, and grants of £438,18s. 6d. and £99,17s. Pop. (1851) 434, (1861) 476, (1871) 2432, (1881) 2291. The parish, containing also the villages of Addiewell and Mossend, has a rudely triangular outline, and is bounded NE and E by Midcalder; SE by Linton, in Peeblesshire; S and SW by Dunsyre, Carluke, and Carnwath, in Lanarkshire; NW by Cambusnethan in Lanarkshire, and Whitburn in Linlithgowshire. Its greatest length from NE to SW is 10 miles; its width in an opposite direction varies between 1½ and 57/8 miles; and its area is 21,392¼ acres, of which 303¼ are water. Breich Water traces most of the Linlithgowshire border, and through the interior the West Calder, Harwood, Murieston, Linhouse, and two or three lesser burns flow northward or north-eastward to the Almond; whilst in the S, on the Carnwath boundary, lies Cobinshaw reservoir (1½ mile x 31/3 furlongs). The northern district is mainly low country, well cultivated and highly embellished; the southern consists of high, bleak moorland, incapable of cultivation. From less than 500 feet above sea-level along Breich Water, the surface rises south-eastward to the Pentlands, attaining 987 feet in Pearie Law, and 1700 in Craigengar on the boundary with Linton. The rocks to a great extent, especially in the N, belong to the Carboniferous formation, and include abundance of coal, ironstone, bituminous shale, and limestone. Mansions are Hermand, Harburn, Hartwood House, and Limefield; and 14 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 16 of between £100 and £500,15 of from £50 to £100, and 21 of from £20 to £50. West Calder is in the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the value of the living is £220. The original church, a chapel of ease to Midcalder, stood at Chapelton, ¾ mile NE of the town; the next was built in 1646. Seven schools-the two at the town, Addiewell, Cobinshaw, Gavieside, Leavenseat, and Muldron-with total accommodation for 1654 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 1287, and grants amounting to £1135,10s. Valuation (1881) £43,846, including £10,200 for railways and waterworks. Pop. (1801) 1185, (1831) 1617, (1861) 1927, (1871) 7865, (1881) 7682.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32,1857.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Midlothian ScoCnty
Place: West Calder

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