Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Stenton

Stenton, a village and a parish of Haddingtonshire. The village stands near the right bank of Souchet Water, 5 ¼ miles SW of Dunbar, and 4 SE by S of East Linton or Prestonkirk, under which it has a post office.

The parish, containing also Pitcox village, 1 ½ mile ENE, consists of a main body and two detached sections. The main body is bounded N by Dunbar, E and SE by Spott, SW and W by Whittinghame, and NW by Prestonkirk. Its utmost length, from N by W to S by E, is 4 3/8 miles; its breadth varies between 3 ¼ furlongs and 4 1/8 miles; and its area is 4818 ¾ acres. The larger of the two detached sections, containing Millknowe farm, 8 ¼ miles SSE of Stenton village and 12 NW of Duns, is separated from the southern extremity of the main body by a strip of Spot, 2 ½ furlongs wide at the narrowest; and is bounded N and E by Spott, S by Cranshaws in Berwickshire, and SW, W, and NW by Whittinghame. Its utmost length, from NNW to SSE, is 5 ¾ miles; its breadth varies between ¼ and 1 ¾ mile; and its area is 2547 ¼ acres. The smaller or Friardykes section, 3 furlongs E of the Millknowe section, is bounded NE and SE by Innerwick, SW and NW by Spott; and, with an utmost length and breadth of 9 ½ and 6 furlongs, has an area of 340 ¼ acres. Thus, the area of the entire parish is 7706¼ acres. Whittinghame or Beil Water flows 2 ½ miles east-north-eastward along the Whittinghame boundary and across the northern interior, and, at the point where it first touches the parish, is joined by Souchet Water, running 2 5/8 miles north-by-eastward along the western border. Pressmennan Lake, lying in a deep ravine, ¾ mile SSE of the village, extends 1 ¼ mile north-eastward, but nowhere is wider than 70 yards. It was formed about 1819 by the construction of a strong breastwork between the hill-screens of the ravine near a point where they stoop gradually to the plain. The hill-screens here are undulating and richly wooded, and, coming down in steep high banks upon the margin of the lake, sweep along in sinuous parallels, so as to render its configuration serpentine; whilst they are cut by walks and gemmed with attractions, which render them, jointly with the lake, one of the most delightful pieces of close landscape in Scotland. Its waters, which are strictly preserved, abound in trout, originally brought from Loch Leven; and it sends off Bennets or Spott Burn north-eastward towards the German Ocean. The drainage of both the detached sections belongs to the basin of Whitadder Water, which, rising in Whittinghame, flows 4 miles south-south-eastward and eastward along all the south-western and southern boundary of the Millknowe portion. In the extreme N the surface declines to 97 feet above sea-level, in the extreme S (at St Agnes) to 700; and between these two points it rises to 900 feet at Deuchrie Dod, 1000 at Friardykes Dod, and 1250 at Bothwell or Spartleton Hill - summits these of the Lammermuir Hills. The rocks are variously Devonian, Silurian, and eruptive; and the soil of the arable lands is partly of a light quality suited to the turnip husbandry, but mainly of an argillaceous kind, varying from stiff to loamy. Little more than 2000 acres are in tillage; about 400 acres are under wood; as much or rather more is in permanent pasture; and the rest of the land is either hill-pasture or waste. Beil House, noticed separately, was a seat of Lady Mary Nisbet-Hamilton, who died in 1883, and who was much the largest proprietor, 1 other holding an annual value of more, and 2 of less, than £500. (See Dirleton.) Stenton is in the presbytery of Dunbar and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £400 (22 chalders). The parish church, at the village, is a handsome Gothic edifice of 1829, erected from designs by W. Burn at a cost of over £2000, and opened by Dr Chalmers, with 400 sittings and a fine tower. The parish was long called Pitcox, from the village of that name, where stood the original church; and it seems to have acquired the designation of Staneton, or Stonetown, from the stoniness of the ground in the district around the church. In ancient times it was first a chapelry and next a pretend of Dunbar and a rectory. The public school, with accommodation for 124 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 103, and a grant of £100, 0s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £6302, (1885) £6245, 15,s. Pop. (1801) 620, (1831) 686, (1861) 692, (1871) 612, (1881) 594.—Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 1863.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Stenton ScoP       East Lothian ScoCnty
Place: Stenton

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