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Roads in the 1600's: The Maps of Timothy Pont

Lothians and Linlithgow


 Click for larger image (3Mb). Roads dotted where course uncertain.

Maps based on half-inch OS map of Edinburgh and Lanark, published 1913.
With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

This is an important map as it is one of the very few in the Blaeu Atlas to show roads. It allows us to follow the Berwick road, a road to Lauder or perhaps Kelso, and another that may be heading to Innerleithen and so Peebles. There is a road shown running close to the present A701 and another running through West Linton, presumably to Biggar. Another road on the north side of the Pentlands is very suggestive of a route to Carnwath and so Lanark.

There are three routes running to the west. One is shown west of Harthill and may have continued to Glasgow and perhaps Hamilton. Another runs beyond Armadale and another leads to Avonbridge and presumably Falkirk. There is also a road running through Linlithgow, one to Leith and another to Queensferry.

Fortunately, this sheet was first printed, not by Blaeu in 1654, but by Hondius in 1630 and he is thought to have engraved it before 1612, which means that the roads existed at that time.

Edinburgh - Berwick
Click maps for larger images

Edinburgh - Musselburgh
The route is shown skirting the north of Holyroodhouse and making for the Magdalene Bridge which was situated about 1Ĺ miles west of Musselburgh. The map is indeterminate enough to make the precise route uncertain although it would certainly have been close to present day routes.

Musselburgh to Haddington
From Musselburgh it is shown running past Grange, Preston and S Germains somewhat inland from the coast. This suggests it was close to the line of road on the Military Survey that ran to St Germains, basically the A198. It then passed Whiteridge, Erristoun, Nepridge, Letons and Gladsmoor Loch. Here the road is shown as branching for perhaps a mile before rejoining near Lethan. The best fit for the section beyond St Germains would appear to be past Chesterhall and Hoprig to run between Elvingston and Gladsmuir towards Lethan House, prior to which it would have branched and rejoined at this point. This section, as far as Elvingston/Gladsmuir, is different from Adairís map of the 1680ís and the Military Survey, c. 1750.

Haddington to Lintyn Brigghs (East Linton)
The road seems to have run on the old A1 line just north of Haddington with a branch from near Letham House and Harperden into the town. The bridge is shown but with no road on the other side of the river. The A1 line is confirmed by Pencraigh Hill and the range of high ground shown north of the road.

Lintyn Brigghs (East Linton ) to Dunbar
The river and the place name Kirktonhill and Hedderwick confirm the route was that of the A1 prior to the recent improvements. At Beltonford it ran through West Barns to Dunbar on the A1087 line.

Dunbar to Dunglass Burn
Oddly enough, the Blaeu Lothian sheet does not show the road continuing beyond Dunbar. However, the Merce sheet shows a couple of miles of road north of Dunglass so it is safe to assume this was an omission. The line taken on this stretch is probably that of the A1, and as shown on the Military Survey.

For further information on this road see Angus Graham, Archaeology on a Great Post Road, PSAS, Vol. 96 (1962-63), pps 318-47.

For continuation see Berwickshire.

Edinburgh - Dalkeith - Lauder

Although the road is shown running to just south of Soutra it is reasonable to assume that it ran at least as far as Lauder. Carfrae (NT501551) and Farrylees (NT498568) are both shown, with the road running to the west of Headshaw Burn, which suggests it had the same course as the road shown on the Military Survey running from Soutra to Oxton and then Lauder.

The first part of the route is to Dalkeith, passing Kameron (presumably near Cameron Toll) and Craigmillar on the way. This suggests it was on the line of the A68. Beyond Dalkeith, the fit with place names is not immediately obvious but the straightness of the road and the fact that it crossed the Tyne Water near Pathhead suggest that it went on the minor road by Whitehill and Edgehead to Pathead to take up the A68 line beyond that point.

It may have ran a little to the west of Fala as Fala Hall and Fala Kirk are shown as off the line of the road. However, it ran past Soutra which allows us to identify it with the road shown on the Military Survey as running down to Lauder although there is a possibility that it ran to Kelso, leaving the putative Lauder road at Oxton and running through Legerwood and Smailholm to Kelso.

Edinburgh - Dalhousie towards Ladieshaw
Place names and rivers suggest this road left the above road near Newington about one mile south of the High Street. It followed the line of present roads as far as Arniston Engine, Gorebridge and Temple. It is clearly shown running past Howburn and then heading into the Moorfoot Hills towards a place called Ladieshaw which may be the present Ladyside (NT363503). Assuming it continued south of here (it is shown doing so) it would reach Innerleithen in about 6 miles.

Edinburgh - Penicuik - Whitfield
The first part of this road is shared with the Biggar Road to a point two miles north of Penicuik. The route followed is the A702.

At Easter Howgate it appears to have run to Auchendinny Mains and then to Fallhills less than a mile east of Howgate. Beyond this point there are so few clues on the Blaeu map that it difficult to say exactly where it ran.

If we take Mosshouses and Kingside (presumably Kingís Seat) as correct, the road would have run between them and then about one mile east of the A701 perhaps to Kelly Heads (NT190490) or even to Whiteside (NT165465). The Tweedale map is of little help as the geography is so distorted. This route does not appear on any other early map including the Military Survey, although there is a logic to it as it would have run on top of a ridge for several miles (see NLS for early maps).

One other possibility is that the Whytfield of the map is in fact Whitfield (NT169530) which would fit well with Adair's map of Mid Lothian although this would be an awkward route and would lose the connection with Kelly Hills.

The final possibility is that the road is the line of the A701 which would suggest a main route to Moffat and the south-west of Scotland, rather than appearing to terminate at a remote hill farm. Without other evidence it is hard to say which of these is correct.

Edinburgh - Penicuik - West Linton - Biggar
This follows the A702 out of Edinburgh past Penicuik and in fact appears to be a close fit as far as Walston. Beyond this point the geography is rather confused but there is every likelihood going by later maps and one or two place names like Stonypath that it kept the A702 line to Carlops and then followed the old Roman road past Stonypath and West Linton. If it did continue to Biggar (there is plenty of evidence that there was a mediaeval route to Biggar) it would probably have had the same line as the Military Survey route that ran on the south-east slopes of Mendick Hill and rejoined the A702 line just north of Dolphinton.

Edinburgh - Dalmahoy - Carnwath
This leaves Edinburgh at Merchiston and seems to have a line about one mile north of the A70 past Currie. It is aligned on some stretches with roads shown on the Military Survey, especially nearer Edinburgh.

The place names suggest that it veered towards the A70 near to Causewayend where it took up this line again, passing Crosswoodhill near the county boundary and running another five miles to the edge of the map (note Fala). This would take it to less than three miles from Carnwath.

Map shows routes of the following four roads
Edinburgh - Livingston - Blackburn - Paxton etc
There is every likelihood that this ran on the A8 line to Corstorphine and then on the A89 line out to Newbridge. It is then shown south of Muirend heading for Livingstone - the Military Survey shows a road on this line.

From Livingstone it took the line of the A705, also shown on the Military Survey, through Blackburn and is shown leaving the map just over the Lanarkshire border. It probably ran on to Glasgow through Kirk of Shotts, Newhouse and Bellshill.

Edinburgh - Bathgate - Armadale
This left the above road at Newbridge and headed towards Uphall, with a branch going south of the village and another appearing to run through the village.

Somewhere before Drumcross (NT004700), the road forked with the northerly branch running to Avonbridge and presumably Falkirk. The other branch took a line towards Armadale; Bathgate is not shown but Easton (NS962695) is on the line of the road.

It ran beyond Armadale (see Barbauchlaw), perhaps as far as Bedlormie as shown on Adairís map of 1684. Although Adair does not show it going beyond this point he does mark the road as the Middle Way to Glasgow. The Military Survey and Taylor and Skinner (1776) show it continuing north of Hillend Reservoir and running down through Airdrie and Coatbridge to Glasgow.

The road is represented today by a line of farm tracks west of Armadale.

Edinburgh - Avonbridge
This leaves the above road near Drumcross and runs over towards Couston. From here the best fit appears to be a crossing at Bridgehouse and then running over to Avonbridge. Dalwharn is shown on the Military Survey as perhaps 300 metres west of Avonbridge with the road appearing to run through it and beyond to the river but a crossing at Avonbridge is more likely than a point west of this. The crossing would give ready access to Falkirk, seven miles north of here.

Edinburgh - Linlithgow
This left the Livingston - Blackburn road near Corstorphine and appears to have had the line of the A9 (see Briggs, Winchburgh, Waterston, Kingsfield) to Linlithgow.

It continued over the River Avon at Linlithgow Bridge, leaving the sheet a couple of miles further on. See Stirlingshire for possible continuation to Kilsyth.

Edinburgh - Leith
Of the three possible routes that seem to have existed at this time: Bonnington Road, Leith Walk and Easter Road (Old & New Edinburgh, James Grant), the best fit is with the Leith Walk route.






Edinburgh - Queensferry
There is a good fit with Adairís Mid Lothian map of 1682 (see Dean, Dryly, Burntoun, Over Cramond and loch) which suggests that the road left Edinburgh by Dean Bridge and had the line of the A90 to Cramond Bridge. Adairís West Lothian map of 1684 continues the road and again it is a good fit with the A90 and B924. The only drawback is Blaeu (and Hondius) having the road run through Byres which Adair shows near the coast but Adairís positioning of Cockleburn in relation to Byres suggests that Blaeu and Hondius placed Byres too far to the west.

Interestingly Cramond Bridge (image) was in ruins in 1607 and this had led to people taking a route along the shore from Nether Cramond (Cramond) past Barnbougle to Queensferry. Although the bridge was repaired they kept using this route to the annoyance of the Earl of Haddington who obtained an act in 1662 requiring them to use Cramond Bridge and not the coast route. The road shown on Blaeu goes by Cramond Bridge. See The Antient and modern state of the parish of Cramond, John Philip Wood, 1794 on the Googlebooks site for more details.