• Midlothian
  • Midlowden
  • Meadhan Lodainn
Midlothian in Scotland.svg
Coat of arms of Midlothian Midlowden Meadhan Lodainn
Coordinates: 55°53′39″N 3°04′07″W / 55.89417°N 3.06861°W / 55.89417; -3.06861Coordinates: 55°53′39″N 3°04′07″W / 55.89417°N 3.06861°W / 55.89417; -3.06861
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Lieutenancy areaMidlothian
Admin HQDalkeith
 • BodyMidlothian Council
 • ControlSNP minority (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total136.6 sq mi (353.7 km2)
 • RankRanked 21st
 (mid-2019 est.)
 • Total91,340
 • RankRanked 25th
 • Density670/sq mi (260/km2)
ONS codeS12000019
ISO 3166 codeGB-MLN
Largest townPenicuik

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 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.


Rosslyn Chapel, in the grounds of Roslin Castle.
Rosslyn Chapel, in the grounds of Roslin Castle.
Lothian Chambers, the former headquarters of Midlothian County Council, now home to Edinburgh's French Consulate and the French Institute for Scotland
Lothian Chambers, the former headquarters of Midlothian County Council, now home to Edinburgh's French Consulate and the French Institute for Scotland

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 seventh 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 tenth century.

In the Middle Ages, Lothian was the scene of several historic conflicts between the kingdoms of Scotland and England. The Battle of Roslin took place in 1303 at Roslin 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 when 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.

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 established a uniform system of county councils in Scotland and realigned the boundaries of many of Scotland's counties. Subsequently, Midlothian County Council was created in 1890. Midlothian County Council was based at Lothian Chambers in Edinburgh.[3] 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, Rosslyn Chapel and Dalkeith Palace.

On 1 June 1978, Midlothian became Sister Cities with Midlothian, Illinois.

Boundaries and governance

Map contrasting the area comprising Midlothian council (dark blue) within the historic county of Midlothian (light blue).
Map contrasting the area comprising Midlothian council (dark blue) within the historic county of Midlothian (light blue).

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.[4]

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 Glencorse Reservoir in the Pentland Hills

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

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

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)[5][6]

Midlothian or Edinburghshire Civil Parish map c. 1854. Boundaries outlined in red
Midlothian or Edinburghshire Civil Parish map c. 1854. Boundaries outlined in red

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

Abolished 1902:[8]

Abolished 1920[9]

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.[10]


Midlothian has a modern road network as well as some rural single-track roads. The Borders Railway runs between Tweedbank to Edinburgh, with four stations in Midlothian – Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange and Gorebridge.

Notable people associated with Midlothian

Further information: Category:People from Midlothian

Schools in Midlothian

Primary schools

Secondary schools

Special schools

Twin towns and sister cities

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


  1. ^ "The History of Dalkeith House and Estate" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  2. ^ "The History of Dalkeith House and Estate" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  3. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "59-63 George IV Bridge, Lothian Chambers, including boundary balustrade (LB27674)". Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Land Mass Coverage Report" (PDF). Registers of Scotland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Partly in West Lothian. Article on Kirkliston in Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, by, Francis Groome, 2nd Edition, 1896
  8. ^ Order of the Secretary State for Scotland, effective from 15 May 1902, publ. in Edinburgh Gazette 1 April 1902, p. 350
  9. ^ Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways Act 1920
  10. ^ The Statistical Account of Edinburghshire, publ by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh, 1845;p.648
  11. ^ "Illinois Member List updated June 2015 »". www.illinoissistercities.org. Retrieved 29 March 2018.