Ratho has an area of 24.9 sq. km (9.6 sq. miles) and has 4 neighbouring parishes; namely Currie, Edinburgh,and East Calder/Kirknewton in the County of Midlothian, and Kirkliston in the County of West Lothian.
Ratho village is situated to the south of the M8 motorway and on the course of the Union Canal, a 2½ miles (4 km) south of Kirkliston and 8 miles (13 km) west of the city centre. The core of the village comprises distinctive black whinstone buildings, but Ratho has grown rapidly since the 1970s.
Originally constructed by the Knights Hospitaller in the Middle Ages, sections of the much altered Parish Church of St. Mary's date back to the 12th century.
Ratho Station is an industrial settlement located alongside the railway a mile (1.5 km) to the north.
The parish church has records for births dating from 1682, for marriages from 1741 and for deaths from 1682.
There are a number of old buildings in the area. The most prominent of these was Haltoun House or castle (pronounced, and sometimes spelt, Hatton), which was badly damaged by fire in the mid-1950s and subsequently taken down. This magnificent country house evolved from its central core, a Norman keep, or what Scots call a Pele Tower. In 1371 the manor and lands of Haltoun were resigned to the Crown by John de Haltoun, and were regranted to Alan de Lawedre [Lauder] of that Ilk who then resided mostly at Whitslaid Tower just outside Lauder. Haltoun Tower was damaged during the House of Douglas troubles of 1452, when a note in the Treasurers' Accounts show funds being provided for its repair. The Haltoun estates remained in the Lauder family until the latter half of the 17th century when they passed by marriage to Charles Maitland, 3rd Earl of Lauderdale, who enlarged and beautified Hatton House.
Parish Church (St Marys)
This is a medieval church of uncertain age but dating from at least the 12th century. The east aisle is dated 1683. West of the south aisle (1830) half of an ornmate 12thc doorway is still visible. Generally the church has never been grand, but it bears the hallmarks of centuries of evolutionary change, and is the more interesting for that. The interior was generally denuded in 1932 including loss of the 18th century gallery. A 13th century memorial lies in the south porch. One curious feature is the bell, which was rung by an external chain, the groove from which has carved itself into the stonework below the bell.
The churchyard is of equal antiquity and interest. Its greatest oddity is a hollowed out panelled "coffin stone" which bears witness to its occupant, William Mitchell (d.1809) having been killed "by the stroke of a threshing machine". Richard Lauder, the last Lauder laird of Haltoun, was interred in the graveyard on November 29, 1675. Other graves of note are Thomas Wilkie (d.1679) and William Anderson (d.1756).
A new cemetery of far less character now lies on the NE outskirts of the village, slightly out of sight from the churchyard.
Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses
Further Sources of Reference
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