Last updated

Dalkeith railway station site geograph-3398322-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
Midlothian UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Midlothian
Population12,342 (2011 census)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DALKEITH
Postcode district EH22
Dialling code 0131
Police Scotland
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°53′45″N3°03′30″W / 55.8958°N 3.0583°W / 55.8958; -3.0583 Coordinates: 55°53′45″N3°03′30″W / 55.8958°N 3.0583°W / 55.8958; -3.0583

Dalkeith ( /dælˈkθ/ dal-KEETH; Scottish Gaelic : Dail Cheith) is a town in Midlothian, Scotland, on the River Esk. It was granted a burgh of barony in 1401 and a burgh of regality in 1540. The settlement of Dalkeith grew southwestwards from its 12th-century castle (now Dalkeith Palace). Dalkeith has a population of 12,342 people according to the 2011 census. [1]


The town is divided into four distinct areas: Dalkeith proper with its town centre and historic core; Eskbank (considered to be the well-heeled neighbourhood of Dalkeith with many large Victorian and newer houses) to its west; Woodburn (primarily a working class council estate with pockets of new housing developments) to its east; and Newbattle (a semi-rural village with its abbey) to the south. [2] [3]

Dalkeith is the main administrative centre for Midlothian. It is twinned with Jarnac, France. In 2004, Midlothian Council re-paved Jarnac Court in honour of Dalkeith and Jarnac's long standing link.

On the north-eastern edge of Dalkeith at Woodburn is the Dalkeith Campus (completed 2003) - housing both Dalkeith High School and St David's Roman Catholic High School plus community leisure facilities. [4]


Dalkeith is understood to be a Cumbric name, cognate with Welsh ddôl 'meadow, plateau, valley' + coed 'wood'. [5]


Corn Exchange by David Cousin 1853 Corn Exchange, Dalkeith.jpg
Corn Exchange by David Cousin 1853

One of the earliest historical references to Dalkeith is found in the Chronicles of Jean Froissart who stayed at Dalkeith Castle for fifteen days. He writes of the Battle of Otterburn and the death of James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas:

"I, author of this book, in my youth had ridden nigh over all the realm of Scotland, and I was then fifteen days in the house of earl William Douglas, father to the same earl James, of whom I spake of now, in a castle of five leagues from Edinburgh which is called in the country Dalkeith. The same time I saw there this earl James, a fair young child, and a sister of his called the lady Blanche." [6]

In 1650, Oliver Cromwell's army came to Dalkeith. His officer General George Monck, was Commander in Scotland, and the government of the country was based out of Dalkeith castle. [7]

In the 17th century, Dalkeith had one of Scotland's largest markets in its exceptionally broad High Street.[ citation needed ]

In 1831, Dalkeith was linked to Edinburgh by a railway line that transported coal, minerals, and agricultural produce. Two decades later, in 1853, a Corn Exchange, at the time the largest indoor grain market in Scotland, was built. [8]

In 1879, Dalkeith was where William Ewart Gladstone started his campaign for British Prime Minister, which became known as the "Midlothian Campaign".[ citation needed ]

Notable buildings

St Nicholas Buccleuch Church Dalkeith Parish Kirk.jpg
St Nicholas Buccleuch Church
Tolbooth, Dalkeith Tolbooth, Dalkeith.jpg
Tolbooth, Dalkeith

The Collegiate Church of St Nicholas Buccleuch, formerly known as Dalkeith Parish Church, stands on High Street. Dedicated to St Nicholas, this medieval church became a collegiate establishment in 1406, founded by Sir James Douglas. The nave and transepts date from 1854, when the inside of the church was greatly altered. The chancel was abandoned in 1590, walled off from the rest of the church, and is now ruinous. Sir James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton, and his wife Joanna, daughter of James I, are buried in the choir and have stone effigies. St Nicholas Buccleuch Church remains one of the two Church of Scotland parish churches in Dalkeith, the other being St John's and King's Park Church. The Episcopal Church, St Mary's is on High Street, at the entrance to Dalkeith Country Park. [9] St David's Church, on Eskbank Road, is the only Roman Catholic church in the town, it is a category A listed building and was built in 1854. [10]

Dalkeith Palace which replaced the castle in the late 16th century and was rebuilt in the early 18th century, lies at the north-east edge of the town. It is a former seat of the Duke of Buccleuch, surrounded by parkland and follies.

The building on High Street now known as the Tolbooth began to be used as a tolbooth for the administration of the town in the early 18th century. The plaque above the door reads '1648' but this was taken from another building and does not denote when the Tolbooth was built. It served as a place for law and order and featured a prison in the west half, a court room on the east, and a dungeon known as the ‘black hole’ below ground. In front of the building there is a circle of stones to mark the spot where the last public hanging in Dalkeith occurred in 1827.

Other notable buildings include a Watch Tower at the cemetery (1827), [11] a water tower and early 19th-century iron mills.

Edinburgh College has its Midlothian Campus in Eskbank, close to the railway station. [12]

There is a modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormon) meeting house on Newbattle Road.

Midlothian Community Hospital is just outside Dalkeith, located off the A7 road on the eastern edge of the neighbouring town of Bonnyrigg.

Notable people


Until 2008, Dalkeith was on the A68, one of the main routes south from Edinburgh to Jedburgh and across the border to Darlington. A bypass to take traffic away from the town centre was completed in September, 2008; this then took the A68 number, and the old route of the A68 is now the A6106. [13]

Other main roads serving Dalkeith are:

  1. A6094 — leads SW towards Bonnyrigg and Peebles, and NE towards Musselburgh
  2. A768 — leads west from Eskbank to Lasswade and Loanhead
  3. B6373 — a road wholly within Dalkeith, leaving and rejoining the A6106
  4. B6414 — leaves the A6094 on the NE edge of Dalkeith (at Woodburn) and leads NE to Tranent
  5. B6392 — runs north–south through Eskbank, and used to be the route of the A7 which leads from Edinburgh to Galashiels and Hawick
  6. B703 — leads south from Eskbank, through Newbattle, to Newtongrange
  7. B6482 — leaves the A6106 on the SE edge of Dalkeith (at Woodburn) and leads into Easthouses and Mayfield.

The re-building of the northern section of the Waverley Railway Line re-connected Dalkeith to the national rail network after a gap of more than 40 years, with a station at Eskbank on the western edge of Dalkeith. Construction commenced in late 2012, and the line re-opened to passenger services on 6 September 2015.

Bus services in Dalkeith are mostly run by Lothian Buses; East Coast Buses and Borders Buses also serve the town.

For walkers, the Penicuik–Dalkeith Walkway passes close by.



The town is home to Dalkeith Thistle F.C., based at King's Park. [14] The club was formed in 1892 and now plays in the East of Scotland Football League, having spent most of its history in the Scottish Junior Football Association.

The established club is affiliated to Dalkeith Thistle Community Football Club, based at Cowden Park, Woodburn; [15] The club is 'SFA Quality Mark' accredited and run by volunteers.


Dalkeith RFC play in the Scottish Rugby Union East Leagues. The club was the first in Midlothian to open full membership to women and the first in the county to run a women's side. Notable former players include Sir David Murray, whose car crash on the way back from a match in North Berwick ended his rugby career and led to him focusing on his business empire. Adam Robson, who went on to become President of the Scottish Rugby Union, also played for the club.

Twin town

See also

Related Research Articles

Midlothian Council area of Scotland

Midlothian is a historic county, registration county, lieutenancy area and one of 32 council areas of Scotland used for local government. Midlothian lies in the east-central Lowlands, bordering the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.

Duke of Buccleuch Scottish title of nobility

The title Duke of Buccleuch, formerly also spelt Duke of Buccleugh, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland created twice on 20 April 1663, first for James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and second suo jure for his wife Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch. Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II was attainted after his 1685 rebellion, but his wife's title was unaffected and passed on to their descendants, who have successively borne the surnames Scott, Montagu-Scott, Montagu Douglas Scott and Scott again. In 1810, the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch inherited the Dukedom of Queensberry, also in the Peerage of Scotland, thus separating that title from the Marquessate of Queensberry.

Earl of Morton

The title Earl of Morton was created in the Peerage of Scotland in 1458 for James Douglas of Dalkeith. Along with it, the title Lord Aberdour was granted. This latter title is the courtesy title for the eldest son and heir to the Earl of Morton.

Dalkeith Palace historic house in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Dalkeith Palace in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland, is a historic house and the former seat of the Duke of Buccleuch. The present house was built in 1702 on the site of an earlier castle.

Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch Scottish politician and nobleman

Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch, 7th Duke of Queensberry,, styled The Honourable Charles Montagu-Scott between 1806 and 1808, Lord Eskdail between 1808 and 1812 and Earl of Dalkeith between 1812 and 1819, was a Scottish politician and nobleman. He was Lord Privy Seal 1842 to 1846.

John Scott, 9th Duke of Buccleuch British politician

Walter Francis John Montagu Douglas Scott, 9th Duke of Buccleuch and 11th Duke of Queensberry, was a Scottish peer, politician and landowner. He served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in the Second World War, and represented Edinburgh North in the House of Commons for 13 years.

James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton Scottish earl

James Douglas, the 4th Lord of Dalkeith, was created the 1st Earl of Morton in 1458.

Clan Scott Border clan

Clan Scott is a Scottish clan and is recognised as such by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Historically the clan was based in the Scottish Borders.

Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch 18th/19th-century Scottish noble

Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch and 5th Duke of Queensberry KG FRSE was a Scottish nobleman and long-time friend of Sir Walter Scott. He is the paternal 3rd great-grandfather of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and the maternal 4th great-grandfather of Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Charles Montagu-Scott, 4th Duke of Buccleuch English politician and cricketer

Charles William Henry Montagu-Scott, 4th Duke of Buccleuch and 6th Duke of Queensberry, KT, styled Earl of Dalkeith until 1812, was a British landowner, amateur cricketer and Tory politician.

William Montagu Douglas Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch Political pamphlet containing blank pages

William Henry Walter Montagu Douglas Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch and 8th Duke of Queensberry was a Scottish Member of Parliament and peer. He was the paternal grandfather of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and the maternal great-grandfather of Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. He was a paternal great-great-grandfather to Sarah, Duchess of York.

Francis Scott, 2nd Duke of Buccleuch 2nd Duke of Buccleuch

Francis Scott, 2nd Duke of Buccleuch, KT, FRS was a Scottish nobleman.

Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch Scottish nobleman, b. 1954

Richard Walter John Montagu Douglas Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry,, styled as Lord Eskdaill until 1973 and as Earl of Dalkeith from 1973 until 2007, is a Scottish landholder and peer. He is the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, as well as Chief of Clan Scott. He is the heir male of James, Duke of Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of King Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter.

James Smith (architect) Scottish architect

James Smith was a Scottish architect, who pioneered the Palladian style in Scotland. He was described by Colen Campbell, in his Vitruvius Britannicus (1715–1725), as "the most experienced architect of that kingdom".

Penicuik–Dalkeith Walkway Route in Midlothian in the east of Scotland

The Penicuik - Dalkeith Walkway, situated in the county of Midlothian in the east of Scotland, stretches for 9.5 miles along the former Edinburgh to Peebles railway. The route passes through many of Midlothian's historic towns and villages. The gentle gradient and nature of the route allows easy access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to explore and enjoy the spectacular landscapes and visitor attractions of the county.

Cockpen parish in Midlothian, Scotland

Cockpen is a parish in Midlothian, Scotland, containing at its north-west corner the town of Bonnyrigg, which lies two miles (3.2 km) south-west of Dalkeith. It is bounded on the west and north by the parish of Lasswade, on the east, by Newbattle and on the south by Carrington. It extends about three miles (4.8 km) from north to south and its greatest breadth is about ​2 12 miles (4.0 km).

Thomas Campbell (sculptor) Scottish sculptor

Thomas Campbell was a Scottish sculptor in the early 19th century. He has several important public works, most notably a statue of Sarah Siddons in Westminster Abbey. He also has several works in the National Gallery in London. He was heavily patronised by the British aristocracy, as evidenced by his works.

Cecil Chetwynd Kerr, Marchioness of Lothian British aristocrat and Catholic convert

Cecil Chetwynd Kerr, Marchioness of Lothian was a British noblewoman and philanthropist who founded the Anglican Saint John's Church in Jedburgh and the Roman Catholic Saint David's Church in Dalkeith. A follower of the Oxford Movement, she eventually converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism after she was widowed.


  1. "Dalkeith (Midlothian)" . Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  2. "Dalkeith and Woodburn - Neighbourhood Profile" (PDF). midlothian.gov.uk.
  3. "Eskbank and Newbattle - Neighbourhood Profile" (PDF). midlothian.gov.uk.
  4. [https://dalkeithcommunityleisure.com/ Dalkeith Community Campus Leisure
  5. Bethany Fox, 'The P-Celtic Place-Names of North-East England and South-East Scotland', The Heroic Age, 10 (2007), http://www.heroicage.org/issues/10/fox.html (appendix at http://www.heroicage.org/issues/10/fox-appendix.html).
  6. Froissart, Jean (1978). Chronicles of England France, Spain, etc. Penguin Classics. ISBN   0-14-044200-6.
  7. "The History of Dalkeith House and Estate" (PDF). Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  8. ".... Corn Exchange Dalkeith" . Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  9. "St Mary's, Dalkeith – – the church in the park".
  10. St David's Dalkeith from Scotland's Churches Trust retrieved 14 March 2014
  11. "Dalkeith, Old Edinburgh Road, New Burial Ground, Watch Tower" . Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  12. Our Campuses: Midlothian, Edinburgh College
  13. "All - Projects - Transport Scotland". Archived from the original on 11 April 2009.
  14. Home, Dalkeith Thistle FC]
  15. Community Section, Dalkeith Thistle Community FC