Lothian: Wikis


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Lothian (Lowden in Scots, Lodainn in Gaelic) forms a traditional region of Scotland, lying between the southern shore of the Firth of Forth and the Lammermuir Hills. In Lothian there is Edinburgh City, West Lothian, Mid Lothian and East Lothian. The principal settlement in Lothian is the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Towns include Livingston, Linlithgow, Bathgate and Dunbar.

Historically, the term Lothian is used for a province encompassing the present area plus the Scottish Borders region. The name is related to the legendary British King Loth or Lot. In the 7th century it became the northern part of the Angle Kingdom of Northumbria and in 1018 CE, was annexed by the Kingdom of Scotland.[1]

Subsequent Scottish history saw Lothian subdivided into the shires of West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian — leading to the phrase "the Lothians". These were also known by the names of "Linlithgowshire", "Edinburghshire" and "Haddingtonshire".


Anglo-Saxon Lothian

The name of Lothian is said to derive from the Brythonic name "Lleuddiniawn" (in modernised spelling), from the time of the Gododdin. However in the Anglo-Saxon settlements, Lothian was settled by ancestral English tribes. (Indeed the earliest surviving use of the name "Engla land" (England) is in a version of Bede, in reference to Abercorn in West Lothian.)

Lothian became part of the Kingdom of Bernicia. In due course this was united with Deira to form the Kingdom of Northumbria.

Little is recorded of Lothian's history specifically in this time. After the Norse settlements in what became Yorkshire, Northumberland was effectively cut in two. How much Norse influence spread to the English north of the Tees is uncertain. Their position must have been weakened, and by 1018 AD the King of Scots had annexed all Lothian. William of Malmesbury wrote though that Edgar King of the English ceded Lothian to Scotland in exchange for a renewed oath of fealty in the tenth century.

William the Conqueror invaded Lothian as far as the River Forth[2] but did not re-annex it. At this time Lothian appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Loðen or Loþen.

Henry of Huntingdon describes the southern boundary of Lothian as the River Tweed, describing a meeting on that river at Roxburgh.

Lothian Regional Council (1975–1996)

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 abolished the counties and burghs as local government units, replacing them with Regions and Districts. Lothian Regional Council formally took over responsibility in May 1975.

The Region was responsible for education, social work, water, sewerage, transport (including local buses within Edinburgh). Certain services provided by joint boards with neighbouring Borders Regional Council - notably for Lothian & Borders Police and the Lothian & Borders Fire Brigade. These joint authorities continue.

The two-tier system of local government was ended by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, resulting in the abolition of Lothian Regional Council, and its replacement by a unitary system of local government. The former District Council areas of West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian were used as the basis for the new Councils. The last convener of Lothian Regional Council was Eric Milligan, who later served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh. Lothian Regional Council also organised a series of lectures known as the Lothian Lectures, a notable speaker was Mikhail Gorbachev.

Lothian Joint Valuation Board handles valuation and electoral registration in the region. Lothian Health Board (NHS) was not a local government responsibility.

The name lived on in the LRT, or Lothian Regional Transport, bus company, known as Lothian Buses from 2000, and the NHS Lothian trust.


In the post-Roman period, Lothian was dominated by Brythonic speakers whose language was akin to Welsh and Cornish which came to be part of Hen Ogledd. Remnants can be found in placenames such as Lothian, Tranent, Linlithgow and Penicuik.[3]

Lothian and the Scottish Borders are notable in Scotland for being the only parts of the nation to have been Anglo-Saxon or Inglis throughout the history of the Kingdom of Scotland and was described by Adam of Dryburgh as "The land of the English in the Kingdom of the Scots".

Although one of the few areas of mainland Scotland where the Gaelic language did not achieve dominance — the presence of the language is attributed to the "temporary occupation…the presence of a landowning Gaelic-speaking aristocracy and their followers for something like 150-200 years"[4] — there are some placenames from the language,[3][5] e.g. Dalry, Dunbar, Currie, Balerno and Cockenzie.

Over time and due to various factors the language of the Lothians and the former Kingdom of Northumbria, a northern variety of Middle English, also known as Early Scots or Inglis, came to displace Gaelic as the language of all of lowland Scotland and, over time, adopted for itself the name "Scottis" ("Scots") which had previously been used to refer to Gaelic, which later became known as "Erse" ("Irish") — now considered derogatory. The dialects of the Lothians, are sometimes considered to be part of Central Scots.


  1. ^ "Ancient Lothian Timeline". cyberscotia.net. http://www.cyberscotia.com/ancient-lothian/leaves/features/lothian-timeline.html.  
  2. ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
  3. ^ a b "Ancient Lothian". cyberscotia.net. http://www.cyberscotia.com/ancient-lothian/index.html.  
  4. ^ W. F. H. Nicolaisen (2001). Scottish Place Names. John Donald Publishers. pp. 240 pp. ISBN 0-859-76556-3.  
  5. ^ Craig Cockburn (2005-11-02). "Gaelic roots need to be unearthed". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4396660.stm.  

External links

Coordinates: 55°54′33″N 3°05′04″W / 55.90917°N 3.08444°W / 55.90917; -3.08444

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LOTHIAN. This name was formerly applied td a considerably larger extent of country than the three counties of Linlithgow, Edinburgh and Haddington. Roxburghshire and Berwickshire at all events were included in it, probably also the upper part of Tweeddale (at least Selkirk). It would thus embrace the eastern part of the Lowlands from the Forth to the Cheviots, i.e. all the English part of Scotland in the 11th century. This region formed from the 7th century onward part of the kingdoms of B ernicia and Northumbria, though we have no definite inform ation as to the date or events by which it came into English hands. In Roman times, according to Ptolemy, it was occupied by a people called Otadini, whose name is thought to have been preserved in Manaw Gododin, the home of the British king Cunedda before he migrated to North Wales. There is no reason to doubt that the district remained in Welsh hands until towards the close of the 6th century; for in the Historia Brittonum the Bernician king Theodoric, whose traditional date is 572-579, is said to have been engaged in war with four Welsh kings. One of these was Rhydderch Hen who, as we know from Adamnan, reigned at Dumbarton, while another named Urien is said to have besieged Theodoric in Lindisfarne. If this statement is to be believed it is hardly likely that the English had by this time obtained a firm footing beyond the Tweed. At all events there can be little doubt that the whole region was conquered within the next fifty years. Most probably the greater part of it was conquered by the Northumbrian king IEthelfrith, who, according to Bede, ravaged the territory of the Britons more often than any other English king, in some places reducing the natives to dependence, in others exterminating them and replacing them by English settlers.

In the time of Oswic the English element became predominant in northern Britain. His supremacy was acknowledged both by the Welsh in the western Lowlands and by the Scots in Argyllshire. On the death of the Pictish king Talorgan, the son of his brother Eanfrith, he seems to have obtained the sovereignty over a considerable part of that nation also. Early in Ecgfrith's reign an attempt at revolt on the part of the Picts proved unsuccessful. We hear at this time also of the establishment of an English bishopric at Abercorn, which, however, only lasted for a few years. By the disastrous overthrow of Ecgfrith in 685 the Picts, Scots and some of the Britons also recovered their independence. Yet we find a succession of English bishops at Whithorn from 730 to the 9th century, from which it may be inferred that the south-west coast had already by this time become English. The Northumbrian dominions were again enlarged by Eadberht, who in 750 is said to have annexed Kyle, the central part of Ayrshire, with other districts. In conjunction with Ongus mac Fergus, king of the Picts, he also reduced the whole of the Britons to submission in 756. But this subjugation was not lasting, and the British kingdom, though now reduced to the basin of the Clyde, whence its inhabitants are known as Strathclyde Britons, continued to exist for nearly three centuries. After Eadberht's time we hear little of events in the northern part of Northumbria, and there is some reason for suspecting that English influence in the south-west began to decline before long, as our list of bishops of Whithorn ceases early in the 9th century; the evidence on this point, however, is not so decisive as is commonly stated. About 844 an important revolution took place among the Picts. The throne was acquired by Kenneth mac Alpin, a prince of Scottish family, who soon became formidable to the Northumbrians. He is said to have invaded "Saxonia" six times, and to have burnt Dunbar and Melrose. After the disastrous battle at York in 867 the Northumbrians were weakened by the loss of the southern part of their territories, and between 883 and 889 the whole country as far as Lindisfarne was ravaged by the Scots. In 919, however, we find their leader Aldred calling in Constantine II., king of the Scots, to help them. A few years later together with Constantine and the Britons they acknowledged the supremacy of Edward the Elder. After his death, however, both the Scots and the Britons were for a time in alliance with the Norwegians from Ireland, and consequently IEthelstan is said to have ravaged a large portion of the Scottish king's territories in 934. Brunanburh, where IEthelstan defeated the confederates in 937, is believed by many to have been in Dumfriesshire, but we have no information as to the effects of the battle on the northern populations. By this time, however, the influence of the Scottish kingdom certainly seems to have increased in the south, and in 945 the English king Edmund gave Cumberland, i.e. apparently the British kingdom of Strathclyde, to Malcolm I., king of the Scots, in consideration of his alliance with him. Malcolm's successor Indulph (954-962) succeeded in capturing Edinburgh, which thenceforth remained in possession of the Scots. His successors made repeated attempts to extend their territory southwards, and certain late chroniclers state that Kenneth II. in 971-975 obtained a grant of the whole of Lothian from Edgar. Whatever truth this story may contain, the cession of the province was finally effected by Malcolm II. by force of arms. At his first attempt in 1006 he seems to have suffered a great defeat from Uhtred, the son of earl Waltheof. Twelve years later, however, he succeeded in conjunction with Eugenius, king of Strathclyde, in annihilating the Northumbrian army at Carham on the Tweed, and Eadulf Cudel, the brother and successor of Uhtred, ceded all his territory to the north of that river as the price of peace. Henceforth in spite of an invasion by Aldred, the son of Uhtred, during the reign of Duncan, Lothian remained permanently in possession of the Scottish kings. In the reign of Malcolm III. and his son, the English element appears to have acquired considerable influence in the kingdom. Some three years before he obtained his father's throne Malcolm had by the help of earl Siward secured the government of Cumbria (Strathclyde) with which Lothian was probably united. Then in 1068 he received a large number of exiles from England, amongst them the lEtheling Eadgar, whose sister Margaret he married. Four other sons in succession occupied the throne, and in the time of the youngest, David, who held most of the south of Scotland as an earldom from1107-1124and the whole kingdom from 1124-1153, the court seems already to have been composed chiefly of English and Normans.

Authorities. - Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica (ed. C. Plummer, Oxford, 1896); Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ed. Earle and Plummer, Oxford, 1899); Simeon of Durham (Rolls Series, ed. T. Arnold, 1882); W. F. Skene, Chronicle of Picts and Scots (Edinburgh, 1867), and Celtic Scotland (Edinburgh, 1876-1880); and J. Rhys, Celtic Britain (London). (F. G. M. B.)

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Proper noun




  1. An area in Scotland, including Edinburgh.

Simple English

Lothian was a region on the east coast of Scotland.


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