- LIVINGSTONE, a parish, in the county of Linlithgow; containing, with part of the village of Blackburn, 1004 inhabitants, of whom 111 are in the village of Livingstone, 2½ miles (W. by S.) from Mid Calder. This place derives its name from an ancient castle called Livingstone Peel, which in the time of David I. was the baronial residence of the family of the Livingstones, whose descendants were elevated to the peerage by the title of Barons Livingstone, and of whom Alexander, the seventh baron, was by James VI., in 1600, created Earl of Linlithgow. This title, however, became extinct on the attainder of James, the fourth earl, for his participation in the rebellion of 1715. Of the ancient castle, there were some remains till the middle of the last century, consisting chiefly of the fosse and rampart; but they have entirely disappeared; and the more modern mansion of the Livingstone family was taken down by the present proprietor, the Earl of Rosebery, soon after he purchased the lands. About half a mile to the north-east of the castle, was once a building said to have been a hunting-lodge of the kings of Scotland during their residence in the palace of Linlithgow, and of which the fragment of a square tower was remaining within the last forty years.The parish was formerly of much greater extent than at present, as it included the parish of Whitburn, which was separated from it in 1730. It is now about seven miles in extreme length from east to west, and almost one mile and a half in breadth, comprising an area of 5800 acres, of which, with the exception of nearly 300 acres of woodland and plantations and 200 acres of moss, the whole is arable and pasture. The surface, though boldly undulating, scarcely rises into hills of any striking height, except in the north-eastern extremity, where the Dechmont-law, or Knightsridge hill, attains an elevation of 686 feet above the level of the sea, commanding an extensive and richly-diversified prospect. The lower grounds are watered by the river Almond, which in its course through the parish is but a moderate stream turning some mills, though, when flooded, it frequently bursts its banks, and expands into considerable breadth. The soil is generally clay, much improved by draining and manure; the crops are favourable, and the lands not under the plough afford good pasturage for cattle, which are of the Ayrshire and Teeswater breeds, with occasional crosses. The lands are well inclosed, and the more recent improvements in husbandry have been adopted. The plantations, which consist of spruce, larch, and Scotch fir, with an intermixture of the hard-woods, are well managed, especially those on the lands of the Earl of Rosebery, the yearly thinnings of which are considerable. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4556.Limestone, coal, and whinstone are the principal substrata; but they have not been wrought to advantage. Compact basalt is found near the base of Dechmontlaw, of which the summit is greenstone; and still nearer the base, on the eastern side, is fine blue shale. There are several quarries of whinstone and sandstone; and near the village of Blackburn is a quarry of lakestone, which was wrought for many years, producing excellent stone for laying ovens, and the working of which, lately discontinued as an encroachment on the road, is now completely resumed. Blackburn House is a handsome mansion, pleasantly situated in grounds embellished with thriving plantations. The village of Livingstone has a public library containing about 300 volumes, supported by subscription: at the village of Blackburn, which is described under its own head, the cotton manufacture is carried on to a considerable extent. Facility of intercourse with Mid Calder and the adjacent district is maintained by good roads. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The minister's stipend is £188. 12., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £18 per annum; patron, the Earl of Rosebery. The church, rebuilt in 1732, and recently repaired, is a neat structure containing 263 sittings. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church and Independents. The parochial school is attended by about seventy children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees are considerable. There is also a school at Blackburn, supported by subscription.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.