Belhaven Parish Church
Belhaven shown within East Lothian
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||East Lothian|
|Lieutenancy area||East Lothian|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||East Lothian|
|Scottish Parliament||East Lothian|
Belhaven is a village in East Lothian, Scotland, and was originally the ancient port of Dunbar of which town the village has always been a part. Belhaven takes its name partially from the Biel Water. 'Biel' or 'beil' means "shelter", and other placenames include Belton, Bilsdean, and as in Robert Lauder of Beilmouth.
The non-burghal part of the lands of Belhaven and nearby West Barns belonged to a cadet branch of the famous Lauder of The Bass family, (see Bass Rock), who were often designated Lauder of Belhaven. Sir Robert Lauder of Beilmouth, Knt., (d. 24 June 1709), a Writer (solicitor), Justice of the Peace, and Clerk to the Exchequer, was the first to change his designation from 'of Belhaven & West Barns' to 'of Beilmouth', and had descendants with Jacobite sympathies, his third wife being an Ogilvie. Miller relates that Archibald the eldest son of the last laird, had been captured at Carlisle by the government army and that "a search was made for the laird also a Robert Lauder who, by means of a concealment in his house at Belhaven, evaded discovery till the heat of pursuit was over. He was buried at the foot of the pulpit-stair in Dunbar old church [in 1768]."
The estate of Winterfield north and east of Belhaven was, in 1830, the seat of Captain R. Anderson, Royal Navy.
In 1806 a spinning mill was erected at Belhaven but closed after a relatively short time of operations. In 1815 a factory for cotton goods was established in the former artillery barracks opposite Winterfield Park, which had been purchased from the government. It gave employment to 250 looms and 550 people, many of whom were Irish immigrants. This industry also closed following the collapse of the East Lothian Bank (1823).
- Miller, James, The History of Dunbar, Dunbar, 1830, pps: 261-2.
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