Midlothian (/mɪdˈlðiən/; Scottish Gaelic: Meadhan Lodainn) 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.

  • Midlothian
  • Midlowden
  • Meadhan Lodainn
Coordinates: 55°53′39″N 3°04′07″W
Admin HQDalkeith
  BodyMidlothian Council
  ControlLabour minority (council NOC)
  Total136.6 sq mi (353.7 km2)
Area rankRanked 21st
 (mid-2018 est.)
  RankRanked 25th
  Density670/sq mi (260/km2)
ONS codeS12000019
ISO 3166 codeGB-MLN

Midlothian emerged as a county in the Middle Ages under larger boundaries than the modern council area, including Edinburgh itself – and also known as Edinburghshire until 1921. It bordered West Lothian to the west, Lanarkshire, Peeblesshire and Selkirkshire to the south, and East Lothian, Berwickshire and Roxburghshire to the east. Traditional industries included mining, agriculture and fishing – although the modern council area is now landlocked.

Under local government reforms in 1975, Midlothian became a district council within the Lothian region and in 1996 the current unitary council area was created. It contains the towns of Dalkeith, Bonnyrigg and Penicuik, as well as a portion of the Pentland Hills Regional Park, Roslin Chapel and Dalkeith Palace.


Following the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, Lothian was populated by Brythonic-speaking ancient Britons and formed part of Gododdin, within the Hen Ogledd or Old North. In the 7th century, Gododdin fell to the Angles, with Lothian becoming part of the kingdom of Bernicia. Bernicia united into the Kingdom of Northumbria which itself became part of the early Kingdom of England. Lothian came under the control of the Scottish monarchy in the 10th century.

In the Middle Ages, the Lothian region was the scene of several historic conflicts between the kingdoms of Scotland and England. The Battle of Roslin took place in 1303 in at Roslin, Midlothian as part of the First War of Scottish Independence. A Scottish army led by Simon Fraser and John Comyn defeated an army led by English commander John Segrave.

Along with other parts of the Lothians, the county was involved in the Rough Wooing where Roslin Castle, seat of the Earl of Caithness, was destroyed in 1544 by forces of Henry VIII of England.

In the 17th century, the county featured in the War of the Three Kingdoms, where General George Monck had his base at Dalkeith Castle as the Commonwealth's Commander in Scotland.[1]. Following the Restoration of the monarchy, the "Pentland Rising" in the region culminated with the Battle of Rullion Green in 1666, a decisive victory for the Government forces against Covenanter rebels.

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.[2]

The 1878-80 Midlothian campaign by British Liberal politician William Ewart Gladstone entered history as an early example of modern political campaigning, resulting in Gladstone taking the Midlothian constituency from the long-time Conservative Member of Parliament William Montagu Douglas Scott and going on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Boundaries and governance

The historic county of Midlothian remains a lieutenancy area, excluding the city of Edinburgh where lieutenancy functions are held by the Lord Provost and a registration county for which purposes Edinburgh is included.[3]

Midlothian County Council ceased to exist in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 with Midlothian becoming a district and then a unitary council area in 1996. Consequent boundary changes removed the burgh of Musselburgh and the parish of Inveresk (which included the villages of Inveresk, Wallyford and Whitecraig) to East Lothian; the Calders (East Calder, Midcalder and West Calder) and the Midlothian part of Livingston to West Lothian; Heriot and Stow parishes to the Ettrick and Lauderdale district of the Scottish Borders, and Currie, Balerno, Ratho and Newbridge to Edinburgh.

Central government

There is a Midlothian constituency of the House of Commons.

There was a Midlothian constituency of the Scottish Parliament up to the 2011 elections when it was divided between Midlothian North and Musselburgh and Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale.


The traditional county has a roughly trapezoidal shape; it consists of a fairly flat area along the Firth of Forth, which is heavily urbanised and dominated by the Edinburgh conurbation. Off the coast lie the small islands of Inchmickery and Cramond Island. The land gradually rises to the south, with the Pentland Hills in the south-west, Moorfoot Hills in the centre-south and the Lammermuir Hills in the far south-east. Blackhope Scar on the border with Peeblesshire is the highest point in the county at 651 m (2,136 ft). The county contains no lochs of any size, though there are many reservoirs, most notably Gladhouse Reservoir, Rosebery Reservoir, Edgelaw Reservoir, Loganlea Reservoir, Glencorse Reservoir, Threipmuir Reservoir, Harlaw Reservoir, Harperrig Reservoir, Crosswood Reservoir, Morton Reservoir and Cobbinshaw Reservoir.


Settlements within both historic and modern Midlothian

Settlements historically in Midlothian but since transferred elsewhere

Transferred to the City of Edinburgh

Transferred to East Lothian

Transferred to Scottish Borders

Transferred to West Lothian

Places of interest

Civil parishes in the County of Midlothian

(Unitary authority indicated where not Midlothian. Boundaries defined by Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973)[4][5]

Former civil parishes outside Edinburgh now merged in the City of Edinburgh

Abolished 1902:[7]

Abolished 1920 [8]

The above list does not include parishes which have been within the City of Edinburgh for county purposes since 19th century, namely within the "County of the City" of which the Lord Provost was and is Lord Lieutenant. [9]


Being home to the Scottish capital, Midlothian is well served by roads and rail lines, though more rural areas are less easily accessible. The county is also the location of Edinburgh Airport, providing flights to a range of national and international destinations.[10]

Notable people associated with Midlothian

Schools in Midlothian

Primary schools

Secondary schools

Special schools

Twin towns and sister cities

Midlothian is twinned with Komárom-Esztergom in Hungary and Kreis Heinsberg in Germany. It is a sister city with Midlothian, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.[11]


  1. "The History of Dalkeith House and Estate" (PDF). Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  2. "The History of Dalkeith House and Estate" (PDF). Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  3. "Land Mass Coverage Report" (PDF). Registers of Scotland. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  4. List from Contents page of the Statistical Account of Edinburghshire, published by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh, 1845, including only those parishes appearing in the 2011 Census
  5. Census of Scotland 2011, Table KS101SC – Usually Resident Population, published by National Records of Scotland. Website http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/ retrieved March 2016. See "Standard Outputs", Table KS101SC, Area type: Civil Parish 1930
  6. Partly in West Lothian. Article on Kirkliston in Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, by, Francis Groome, 2nd Edition, 1896
  7. Order of the Secretary State for Scotland, effective from 15 May 1902, publ. in Edinburgh Gazette 1 April 1902, p. 350
  8. Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways Act 1920
  9. The Statistical Account of Edinburghshire, publ by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh, 1845;p.648
  10. "Flight timetables - Edinburgh Airport". www.edinburghairport.com. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  11. "Illinois Member List updated June 2015 »". www.illinoissistercities.org. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
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