Street Names - An Historical Pot Pourri 

Article in the Konect DIrectory, Calders edition, December 2009

by Helen-Jane Shearer

The name of the streets we live in and use everyday is something we don’t normally think about at all.  

Most of them can be explained by history, and it’s interesting to browse this list of names and learn a little about what is behind them.  Some have been named after significant local people, some got their names from what they were used for, and the origins of some are lost in the mists of time.  This is a very incomplete list and I’m sure there are many locals who could supply further information.  We’d be delighted to hear from you!


Bank Street - in Mid Calder, Bank Street is dominated by the large Victorian bank building
Causewayend : refers to a paved or ‘causewayed’ road, and may mark the end of a paved road built by the Romans.  They had a camp on Kaimes Hill.
Churchill Way - RAF Kirknewton was US Airforce base from 1952, accomodation for the personnel was built here and two of the roads were named after British and American leaders Churchill and Roosevelt.
Cunnigar Gardens - Cunnigar is the name of the hill in Mid Calder.  Believed to be topped by a bronze-age tumulus or burial barrow, its name derives from all the rabbit warrens that peppered its steep sides. Cunnigar is a Scots word meaning rabbit warren.
Gasworks Brae - Mid Calder had its own gasworks

Harperrig - lies on higher ground above an  ancient road, and means ‘‘ridge of the army road’’, referring to the causewayed road on the neighbouring farm.

Kennedie Park -  A Mid Calder minister, the Rev Hew Kennedie, led an investigation in 1644 which resulted in several Mid Calder women being arrested, tried and charged with witchcraft. At least one was burned on Cunnigar Hill.
Langton - Langton House, originally Lantoun House, was the residence of Count John de Lantoun.
Limekilns Grove - there were lime quarries and large lime kilns at the Camps from around 1865 to 1913.

Harperrig Reservoir

Harperrig Reservoir

Market Street - the broad street in Mid Calder where markets and fairs were held.
Milrig -  Refers to the medieval ‘‘run rig’’ system where tennant farmers cultivated alternate ridges in the land. ‘‘Mile Rig’’ could refer to the length of the ridges cultivated here.  Likewise Stoneyrig, referring to the stoney nature of the land.

Powies Path.  A ‘‘Pow’’ is a small stream or burn. So Powies Path means a foot road near a small river.
Roosevelt Road - RAF Kirknewton was US Airforce base from 1952, accomodation for the personnel was built here and two of the roads were named after British and American leaders Churchill and Roosevelt.
Sandilands Drive - The Sandilands family has long association with Mid Calder - James de Sandilands married the sister of the 1st Earl of Douglas, who received the Barony of Calder in 1349. The name Sandilands derives from lands they originally owned in Clydesdale.

Smithy Brae, Kirknewton, early 20th Century.  The  blacksmith’s is on the left hand side behind the white house

Smithy Brae - in Kirknewton, where the forge was located.
Sommers Park.  John Sommers, Minister of Parish of Mid Calder from 1794 to 1842.
Spottiswoode Gardens.  John Spottiswoode Jnr was born in Mid Calder in 1565, was minister here, and more significantly was made Archbishop of St Andrews in 1615, primate of Scotland.  He crowned Charles 1 at Holyrood in 1633.
St Cuthberts - a church at the west end of East Calder was dedicated to St Cuthbert.

Tennent Park -William Tennent was born in Mid Calder in 1673, emigrated to America in 1798, and was a prominent religious leader and educator.  He set up school in a log cabin, the ‘‘Log College’’ which is considered to be predecessor to Princeton University.
The Pend - This is a Scottish architectural term for a passageway that passes through a building, often from a street through to a courtyard.  There were stables through the Pend opposite Torphichen Arms in Mid Calder, used by the Inn’s customers for many years.
Torphichen.  Head of Sandilands family took the title Lord Torphichen after the Reformation.  The village of Torphichen lies 15 miles north in the Bathgate Hills, where the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem had their Scottish HQ until the reformation.  James Sandilands was the preceptor of the order.
Wallace Mill - originally West Mill. There was a mill here, producing flour and oatmeal.
Wilkieston - named after Captain Wilkie of Ormiston, it is a relatively young settlement.    

Ormiston, Bonnington and Humbie are names of Scandanavian origin, or Scandanavian/English compounds.  Their grouping in this area, along with Ingliston and Cobbinshaw, suggests a small Scandanavian settlement in the area. The Esk, Water of Leith and Almond were the possible lines of infiltration from the coast.
 

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