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Haddingtonshire – A History of Endurance and Accomplishments


Though it might be confusing at first, Haddingtonshire is actually the town of Haddington, one of the many former royal burghs located in East Lothian, Scotland. In fact, it is East Lothian’s main cultural, geographical and administrative center.

And during many years in the past it was indeed known as Haddingtonshire until the name was revoked and changed to the current one on 1921. The town, located to the northeastern end of the Tyne River is quite close to Edinburgh (just 20 miles to the east of it in fact), which makes it a great place for tourists to stop by on their way to the renowned city.

Short History

The town’s history extends far back in time all the way to the year A.D. 1000 when the town was just a settlement. A few decades later, the town was made a royal burgh and was named the Haddingtonshire County, a name that it kept for centuries.

Two or three hundred years afterwards, around the year 1300, the town went through a grey period in which many tragedies seemed to befall it. First, Haddingtonshire suffered a constant wave of attacks from the English army at the beginning of the century. Almost right after that, on the year 1358 the Tyne River, which up to that period had meant nothing but a source of wealth and progress to the town, flooded and even washed away quite a part of it.

However, after this dark period, Haddingtonshire kept growing in influence and established important business links with many northern European cities. And that trend continued until around the year 1500, when another English army took control of the town. Decades later, after the occupation was over, the town went back to business and recovered its status of old.

In fact, Haddingtonshire’s growth (due in part to its productive mills) was such that it even came to be the fourth largest city in Scotland for a few years during the High Middle Ages. At the time, it was only surpassed by Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh itself. This placed the town at the center of the Agricultural Revolution that Scotland went through in the 18th century.

Also worth considering is that around this same century (in the year 1748 to be precise), the Town House was built. This is easily the most known building of old in the area, commanding a wide view of a great part of the town and being still in use at present times.

Nowadays, the former town of Haddingtonshire can still be enjoyed and, if anything, it is even a more beautiful and calm place to visit. Its streets are adorned by some of the most elegant colonial buildings in Scotland and even if it doesn’t hold the influence and power it had of old, that doesn’t mean that there is not a lot to enjoy from this little corner of Scotland, because there is.