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Scottish Gaelic: Eaglais Mhachain
Cottages in Ecclesmachan
Ecclesmachan is located in West Lothian
 Ecclesmachan shown within West Lothian
OS grid reference NT057736
Civil parish Ecclesmachan
Council area West Lothian
Lieutenancy area West Lothian
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BROXBURN
Postcode district EH52
Dialling code 01506
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Livingston
Scottish Parliament Linlithgow
List of places

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Ecclesmachan (Gaelic: Eaglais Mhachain) (Cumbric: Eglwys Machan) (NT058736) is a village in West Lothian. It lies just north of Uphall on the B8046 road. As at 2001, the population of the civil parish of Ecclesmachan was 529 and was 811 in 1991.


The name means 'church of Saint Machan', and is its form is thought to show that a church was present in the area in Sub-Roman times. However, it is not clear whether the name was coined in Gaelic or in the earlier Celtic language Cumbric.[1]

The church was once under the care of the Templars via Torphichen receptory and in fact the graveyard contains several examples of Templar symbology.

The medieval church is almost entirely rebuilt but two arched doorways dating from c. 1200 survive. A date of 1710 is inscribed on one lintel.[2] The most recent major remodelling dates from 1908 and was undertaken by John Honeyman. Stained glass in the interior is by Ballantine & Son[3]

The new cemetery lies in a hollow at the foot of a fairly steep lane opposite the Church. It contains a large number of war graves given the small size of the village and many of the unmarked graves (566) contain the unclaimed bodies of patients who died at the nearby Bangour Village Hospital.

In Ecclesmachan there is a village hall, the hall is usually used at Christmas and Galaday times. The hall is also used for OAP and Toddler clubs. Inside the hall there is a plaque that is dedicated to the war heroes that fought in World War I. There is a cemetery near the hall where some of the war heroes are buried.

Ecclesmachan is best known for its countryside views, one being the Binny Craig. One of Ecclesmachans attractions is the bomb hole, it is near the Binny Craig. The bomb was meant to hit the Forth Bridge. This was during World War II.

The village is home to Oatridge Agricultural College (built in 1972). It is also home to the Scottish National Equestrian Centre (SNEC)

Binny Stone

At least six quarries encircled the village at one time, producing stone of exceptional quality and particularly suited to carving. It has a high bitumen content, further attracting dirt, making it well-suited to Gothic structures where a darkening of the material is appropriate. Its most noteworthy use is on the Scott Monument on Princes Street in Edinburgh.[4]

Notable residents

Notable natives include surgeon Robert Liston and Jacobite poet William Hamilton.


Ecclesmachan had some improvements made in 2009; there was a refurbishment made to the garages after they were found to contain asbestos; West Lothian council paid to get the garages redone, and after 2–3 months the garages were finished. Other improvements included getting a Basketball net put in the local park and getting a Rugby field put up; the field it is in is closer to Oatridge College than to the village itself, but was made for the villagers to use.

Scottish National Equestrian Centre

Ever since the arrival of the SNEC in 2007, Ecclesmachan has started to become a well known area. There are regular Horse riding contests every weekend, and even through the week.

The Old school

Around the 19th and 20th century, there was a school in Ecclesmachan. It was a highly populated school, as it was the only one in the Threemiletown area. Not much is known about the school, but a report by the H.M. Inspector on the Public School in Ecclesmachan stated; 'It has been long celebrated as one of the best schools for many miles around, and the large number of children attending it from other parishes, speaks for itself'. The report went on to describe the Schoolmaster (Mr Cunningham), as 'totally devoted to his work and makes his school his first work'. The school was closed in July 1951 by the local authority due to the roll being only 6 pupils. The ‘Old school’ is now used as the village hall. The village hall was refurbished in 2011, improvements were made in the toilet facilities, the lighting and the hall itself.


  1. Bethany Fox, 'The P-Celtic Place-Names of North-East England and South-East Scotland', The Heroic Age, 10 (2007), (appendix at
  2. Buildings of Scotland;Lothian, by Colin Mcwilliam
  3. Buildings of Scotland: Lothian by Colin McWilliam

External links