Records of Lawhead Farm and Traprain Farm, East Lothian

Scope and Content

The records are composed of: correspondence, papers and domestic and farm accounts of Andrew and William Howden, farmers of Lawhead and Traprain Farms, East Lothian. There are bills and accounts for clothing and agricultural implements, plans of buildings, deeds, materials relating to stock shows, and a price list from Peter Lawson & Son, Edinburgh, seed merchants, and a prospectus for the services of an agricultural chemist. The correspondence includes many letters, not least one from Andrew Howden to H. M. Davidson, Sheriff-Clerk, Haddington, listing prices of grain for the crop of 1823, and a letter to (probably) Lord Tweeddale on behalf of his son who is seeking employment, 1847. The material is both in manuscript and print form.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ordnance Survey maps show Lawhead and Traprain Farms to have been in the vicinity of Traprain Law and the village of East Linton in East Lothian. Traprain lies close to Traprain Law itself, slightly to the north east, and Lawhead just to the north east of East Linton.

East Linton was prosperous in the 18th and 19th centuries as a rural centre and grew to large village size (or small town) mainly because of the 16th century bridge crossing the Tyne. The name, Linton, is derived from the large deep linn (or pool) there in the Tyne. On the edge of the community is the 18th century Prestonkirk Parish Church with a 13th century chancel. Today East Linton is by-passed by both the rail and road systems.

Close to East Linton rises Traprain Law (ancient name, Dunpender), a hill of some 724 feet above sea-level and site of a prehistoric hill fort. There, in 1919, was found a 24 kilogramme hoard of Roman silver and silver-gilt vessels and fragments of other objects. The hoard had probably been buried around AD 25 -410. Other archaeological discoveries on the hill proved that, as a hill fort, Traprain Law had been occupied for more than 1000 years from the later-Bronze Age to the end of the Roman era. The Romans knew the local people as the Votadini.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

The material was acquired from Catherine Fisher, London, 1974, Accession no. E74.14.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Keay, John. and Keay, Julia (eds.). Collins encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: Harper and Collins Publishers, 1994. (2) Groome, Francis H. (ed.). Ordnance gazetteer of Scotland: a survey of Scottish topography, statistical, biographical, and historical. Vols.5 and 6. Edinburgh: Thomas C. Jack Publishing Works, 1884-1885.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.