Why did your Ancestors settle in Linlithgow

Old Linlithgow

Old Parish Records

OPR's began in Linlithgow in 1613. Linlithgow is Parish no 668 in the County of Linlithgow.

The Name

Linlithgow means 'loch in a damp hollow' from llyn (loch), laith (damp) and cau (a hollow).

The Early Years

It is likely that the town grew up around the royal residence. By the beginning of the 12th Century King David 1st's Charter reveals it already well established as a burgh with a mansion and a church, given by King David to the newly founded Augustinian Priory of St Andrews.

In 1650 Cromwell defeated the Scots at Dunbar and entered Linlithgow in October, installing himself in the Palace, which he fortified. After the restoration there was much redevelopment and the Town House was rebuilt by Robert Mylne.

In 1691 there were 2,500 inhabitants and the town was engaged in the manufacture of linen cloth but foreign trade had declined and Blackness, Linlithgow's port, lost out to Bo'ness.

Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) passed through the town with his Highland army on the way to Edinburgh. In 1746 the Duke of Cumberland and 10,000 troops were in the town and they failed to put out their fires, accidentally destroying the Palace by fire. Robert Burns visited in 1787 but was not much impressed by the town.

The 1700 and 1800s

Linlithgow had a thriving leather trade, involving the manufacture of leather and shoe making, with almost 300 people involved in that trade.

Paper making was once an important local industry and there was a whisky distillery at the eastern end of the town. In 1822 the Union Canal was completed, linking Edinburgh to Glasgow via the Forth & Clyde Canal. It was highly successful for a short time until the Glasgow & Edinburgh Railway was opened in 1842.

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