Pittendreich House, Lasswade by David Bryce
Lasswade shown within Midlothian
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|Scottish Parliament||Midlothian North and Musselburgh|
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Lasswade is a village in Midlothian, Scotland, on the River North Esk, nine miles (14.5 kilometres) south of Edinburgh city centre, between Dalkeith and Loanhead. Melville Castle lies to the north east.
Lasswade lies within the Edinburgh Green Belt. Most of the population are either retired, or commute into Edinburgh to work. There are, however, several local businesses, including horse riding stables (Edinburgh & Lasswade Riding Centre), a golf driving range and golf course (Melville Golf Centre), an alpine plant nursery (Kevock Garden Plants) and a pub (The Laird and Dog), and there is also an athletics club, Lasswade Athletics Club, which was formed in 1981.
Although the settlement may date back to the 8th century the first written record of "Leswade" dates to 1150. On William Roy's map of 1750 it appears as Laswaid. Up until the late 18th century all spelling was unfixed and was based upon the sound as perceived.
The old parish church was built in the 13th century, though little of it today survives. It was abandoned in 1793 and much of its ruins collapsed in 1866. The 17th century Scottish poet, William Drummond of Hawthornden was buried within its grounds.
Sir John Lauder, 1st Baronet of Fountainhall was born at Melville Mill, Lasswade, in 1595, and the present 18th-century Barony House was known as Lasswade Cottage when Sir Walter Scott rented it (1798-1804). He was visited here by the writer James Hogg (the 'Ettrick Shepherd') and the Wordsworths. Thomas de Quincey, author of Confessions of an English Opium Eater, also lived in nearby Polton for some years from 1843, in the cottage now known as de Quincey Cottage. The Scottish landscape artist William McTaggart moved to Lasswade in 1889, and many of his later works depict the Moorfoot Hills.
Former 19th century industries include paper mills, flour mills and a carpet factory. Created a police burgh in 1881, Lasswade merged with Bonnyrigg in 1929. It was a popular holiday resort in the 19th Century for wealthy Edinburgh residents, yet by the 1950s much of the village's population had left for modern houses in Bonnyrigg.
Groome (1885) noted as chief proprietors in the parish: Lieut.-Col. Gibsone of Pentland, Viscount Melville, Drummond of Hawthornden, Sir Geo. Clerk of Penicuik, and Mrs Durham of Polton. The estates along both banks of the Esk were:
- left bank: Mavisbank House, Dryden Bank, Dryden, and Rosebank
- right bank: Eldin (residence of John Clerk, F.R.S. (1736-1812), inventor of the naval tactic of breaking the enemy's line), Polton, Springfield, Glenesk, Hawthornden, Gorton, and Auchendinny (residence of Henry Mackenzie, the author of The Man of Feeling)
Other Notable Buildings
The current Lasswade Parish Church building was originally built in 1830 as a plain box chapel for the former United Presbyterian Church (later United Free Church), it was remodelled by Hardy & Wight in 1894 and became part of the Church of Scotland in 1929. The parish has used this building since 1956, because of a structural fault in the Old Parish Church (subsequently demolished, built in 1793 from plans by John Clerk, Lord Eldin) discovered in the late 1940s.
St Leonards Episcopal Church on Lower Broomieknowe dates from 1890 and is by Hippolyte Blanc.
The former board school of 1875 stands with commanding views over the village on the northern slopes next to the Old Kirkyard. It is now converted to flats.
- Richard Baird Smith, military hero (a huge memorial stands north of the old kirkyard)
- Pilkington Jackson, sculptor of the Robert the Bruce monument at Bannockburn
- Margaret Calderwood, diarist
- Prof Alexander Campbell Fraser, philosopher
Notable Persons Interred in Lasswade
- Seven Viscount Melvilles
- Charles Clough (geologist)
- Rev Walter Gregor
- Sir Robert Preston of Valleyfield
- Sir William Calderwood, Lord Polton
- William Drummond of Hawthornden, poet
- Undiscovered Scotland : Lasswade
- Buildings of Scotland: Lothian by Colin McWilliam
- Francis H. Groome (ed.), 'Lasswade' in: Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh (1882–1885).
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