Innerwick Parish,East Lothian
Posted on Monday, 4 Mar 2013 by Chris
Every Scottish parish reflects some aspect of the country's historical and social development,from prehistory to the present day. Innerwick, a parish in East Lothian admirably does that. To the south of Dunbar,the parish rises from the coast on the North Sea and rich agricultural land, to the sheep and grouse moors of the Lammermuir Hills.East coast lines of communication by road and rail from Edinburgh to London straddle the parish,though 'the great road' has now been downgraded to the plain A1.
Immediately post World War II,Innerwick had no mains water,no mains electricity and no gas.By around 1950 electricity had arrived in the village,where before this the village had depended on 12 oil lamps.
Fast forward forty years and Innerwick entered the nuclear age with the commissioning in 1988 of Torness power station.The scene of widespread public opposition during the 1970s and 80s,it is now one of the largest employers in East Lothian.
The coastal path of the John Muir Way follows the perimeter fence around the power station to Torness Point and the harbour of Skateraw. Information boards along the path illustrate the history and wildlife of the area. Skateraw had an industrial past of limestone quarrying and lime production for agriculture. The coalfields of East Lothian providing the fuel for the process.An enormous lime kiln stands in the shadow of the power station.
Leaving the John Muir Way,a couple of miles inland and well hidden from the roadside stand the ruins of Innerwick castle.Perched on a sandstone outcrop,it overlooks Thornton Glen managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.Built by the Stewart family,the castle held a strategic position against repeated English invasion until 1548, when it was captured and destroyed by the Duke of Somerset.
A mile further on is Innerwick,a straggling and irregular village built along a stream,between a ridge and a slight eminence,the site of the parish church.
A plain structure dating from 1784,there is little of interest apart from some old gravestones depicting symbols of trade.In the First Statistical Account of the 1790's,the local minister remarked on the decreasing population and emigration.A symptom that was increasingly widespread throughout Scotland. Hereabouts this was a consequence of enclosing farm land and the introduction of the more efficient Scots plough,which required only two horses and one man.
Beyond the village the parish is less arable as it rises into the expanse of the Lammermuirs. Standing sentinel on the skyline as if from 'War of the Worlds', are row upon row of the latest controversial form of energy production,the wind turbine. Crystal Rig wind farm began generating electricity in 2004 and then was the largest in Scotland. With further expansion it became the second largest in the UK.The public opposition to nuclear power is repeated now with green energy and the proposal to construct more turbines. Both share common factors:the people and the environment. The historical and future energy requirements of Scotland are encapsulated in barely ten miles of this single parish.
Ordnance Survey map Dunbar & North Berwick 1:25000 Sheet 351
The First Statistical Account Innerwick
The Second Statistical Account Innerwick
The Fourth Statistical Account Innerwick
The Parishes of Dunbar, Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Spott, Stenton Edited by Sonia Baker
Published by East Lothian Library Services for The East Lothian Fourth Statistical Account Society, 2008
"East Lothian" by Charles Green Published Edinburgh, 1907. "Reminiscences and Notices of the Fourteen Parishes of the County ... incl Innerwick
Minute book of Innerwick Parish Council 1895-1930
Scroll minute of Innerwick Parish Council 1895-1920
Minute book of Innerwick Parochial Board 1867-1895
Record of Application for Parochial Relief 1895-1928
General Register of Poor 1902-1932
Minute Book Old Age Pension sub committee 1908-1930
(available in John Gray Centre,Haddington)
Innerwick Parish Links
Family Search Innerwick
Gazetteer of Scotland Innerwick
Innerwick Village web site
The Scottish War Memorials Project Innerwick
Skateraw Limekiln and Harbour
Wikipedia Innerwick Castle