History

There has been a settlement at Winchburgh for over one thousand years.

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Timeline

The first reference to the settlement at “Wincelburgh” appeared in 1169 when the land is confirmed to Philip de Setune (Seton) by William the Lion, King of Scots.

The two parts of the word, ‘wincel’ and ‘burh’ may mean ‘town in the nook or angle’, so it is possible that Winchburgh was named after the bend in the Niddry Burn that runs through the village.

We would like to thank Alan Russell for providing information and for his support in developing the timeline of Winchburgh. Credit to Dallas-Pierce-Quintero for providing the excellent photography of Niddry Castle and Union Canal.

1169

The first reference to the settlement at “Wincelburgh” appeared in 1169 when the land is confirmed to Philip de Setune (Seton) by William the Lion, King of Scots. The two parts of the word, ‘wincel’ and ‘burh’ may mean ‘town in the nook or angle’, so it is possible that Winchburgh was named after the bend in the Niddry Burn that runs through the village.

1314

The village plays its part in Battle of Bannockburn, after Lord Douglas pursued King Edward II and what was left of the English army to Winchburgh where both armies camped overnight.

1377

The name is settled as ‘Wenchburg’ almost identical to today’s version. This is referred to earlier in the epic poem, The Brus, by John Barbour.

1400

Auldcathie Church is rebuilt using the remains from an earlier building and is still standing today as the oldest remains in the village.

1568

Mary Queen of Scots rested in Niddry Castle in 1568 following her escape from Loch Leven Castle.

1588

The lands of Duntarvie which lie just to the north of Winchburgh, were transferred to James Durham and construction of Duntarvie Castle as we know it today began shortly after. Earlier documents do suggest the existence of a castle on this land from as long ago as 1212. Today, Duntarvie Castle is owned by kiltmaker Geoffrey Nicholsby who is leading a restoration project to return the castle to its former glory, and offers a new venue space for the town perfect for weddings, intimate parties and small festivals.

1683

One of the earliest ever books on gardening was written and published by John Reid. This book was also Scotland’s first recipe book.

1700

Niddry Castle was abandoned when its owner, John Hope, moved to Hopetoun House.

1822

The Union Canal is officially opened for the first time, providing the first vital city-link between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

1842

The Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line opens with trains stopping at the newly built Winchburgh train station. The station would later be closed in 1930.

1860

The landscape around Winchburgh was transformed by industrialisation, principally associated with the shale oil industry. This rich mining past is still evident today with the iconic red shale bings (large man-made hills formed by the used shale) still clear to see across the West Lothian landscape.

1872

Hopetoun Oil Works was constructed, and workers’ terraced housing was built at Niddry Rows. However, the Hopetoun Oil Works closed in 1942 and was demolished in 1952 (it was Scotland’s longest running oilworks).

1903

Niddry Castle Oil Works opens. Winchburgh miners’ rows were built between 1902 and 1910 using distinctive local brick from Dougal’s Brickworks.

1960

The Niddry Castle Oil Works ceased operation. The final collapse of the shale oil industry came in 1962.

2001

The Union Canal is reopened as part of the largest canal restoration project in the UK.

2005

Planning permission in principle for a 352ha development, including residential, commercial, industrial, recreation and retail uses, community facilities, landscaping & open space, road and rail infrastructure, including M9 junction, train station, park & ride, primary & secondary schools.

2012

The new Winchburgh masterplan, worth an estimated £1 billion, was granted planning permission in principle by West Lothian Council.

2016

The tartan for the Mars exploration programme was designed by Geoffrey Nicholsby at Duntarvie Castle in Winchburgh. In recognition of this, a landmark on mars has now been named ‘Duntarvie Castle’ in honour of the association.

2018

588 new homes are completed in Winchburgh Phase 1 and Glendevon Steadings.