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 council area, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.

  • Midlothian
  • Midlowden
  • Meadhan Lodainn
Coordinates: 55°53′39″N 3°04′07″W / 55.89417°N 3.06861°W / 55.89417; -3.06861
Lieutenancy areaMidlothian
Admin HQDalkeith
 • BodyMidlothian Council
 • ControlSNP minority (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total137 sq mi (354 km2)
 • RankRanked 21st
 • Total97,030
 • RankRanked 23rd
 • Density710/sq mi (270/km2)
ONS codeS12000019
ISO 3166 codeGB-MLN
Largest townPenicuik

Midlothian emerged as a county in the Middle Ages under larger boundaries than the modern council area, including Edinburgh itself. The county was formally called the "shire of Edinburgh" or Edinburghshire until the twentieth century. 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.

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.

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



The modern council area of Midlothian is governed by Midlothian Council, based in Dalkeith.

Lothian Chambers, the former headquarters of Midlothian County Council, now home to Edinburgh's French Consulate and the French Institute for Scotland

Shire and county


The origins of the historic county of Midlothian are obscure; it emerged as a shire (the area controlled by a sheriff) in the Middle Ages, and was certainly in existence by the reign of David I (reigned 1124–1153). It covered the central part of the former kingdom or province of Lothian, and was formally called the "shire of Edinburgh" or "Edinburghshire", although the alternative name "Midlothian" was also used from a very early date. The burgh of Edinburgh became administratively independent from the surrounding county in 1482 when James III granted the burgh the right to appoint its own sheriff and coroner, making it a county of itself.[3]

Commissioners of Supply were established for each shire in 1667, and served as the main administrative body for the county until elected county councils were created in 1890 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, taking most of the commissioners' functions.[4] The commissioners for Edinburghshire, and the county council which followed them, did not have jurisdiction over the city of Edinburgh, which was administered by the town council of the burgh.[5]

From its creation in 1890 the county council called itself "Midlothian County Council".[6] However, the legal name of the county remained the "county of Edinburgh" or "Edinburghshire". In 1913 the county council petitioned the government to formally change the name to Midlothian.[7] The government responded that it would direct all government departments to use Midlothian rather than Edinburghshire, but that a formal change of name needed to be done by statute and it could not justify the parliamentary time to make such a change.[8] The statutory change of name from Edinburghshire to Midlothian eventually took place in 1947, under section 127 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo. 6. c. 43).[9]

Midlothian County Council was based at Midlothian County Buildings, built in 1904 on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh on the site of the earlier County Buildings.[10]

Midlothian was abolished as a county for local government purposes in 1975. The boundaries of the historic county of Midlothian, including the city of Edinburgh, are still used for some limited official purposes connected with land registration, being a registration county.[11]



Midlothian County Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which abolished Scotland's counties and burghs as administrative areas and created a new two-tier system of upper-tier regions and lower-tier districts. Most of Midlothian's territory went to a new district called Midlothian within the Lothian region. The Midlothian district was smaller than the area of the pre-1975 county, with the parts of the pre-1975 county going to other districts being:[12][13]

For lieutenancy purposes, the last lord-lieutenant of the county of Midlothian was made lord-lieutenant for the new district of Midlothian when the reforms came into effect in 1975.[14] The former county council's headquarters in Edinburgh became the offices of the new Lothian Regional Council, whilst the Midlothian District Council established its headquarters in Dalkeith.[15] In 1991 the council built itself a new headquarters called Midlothian House at 40-46 Buccleuch Street in Dalkeith.[16]

Council area

Midlothian House, Dalkeith

The Lothian region was abolished in 1996. The four districts in the region, including Midlothian, became unitary council areas.[17] The reconstituted Midlothian Council continues to be based at Midlothian House in Dalkeith. The Midlothian lieutenancy area corresponds to the current council area rather than the historic county.[18]

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 Midlothian council area contains the towns of Dalkeith, Bonnyrigg and Penicuik, as well as a portion of the Pentland Hills Regional Park, Rosslyn Chapel and Dalkeith Palace.

The historic 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.


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

Largest settlements by population:

Settlement Population (2022)[19]




















Settlements within both historic and modern Midlothian


Settlements historically in Midlothian but since transferred elsewhere


Transferred to the City of Edinburgh


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)[20][21]

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:[23]

Abolished 1920[24]

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.[25]



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


Schools in Midlothian


Primary schools

  • Bilston Primary School, Bilston
  • Bonnyrigg Primary School, Bonnyrigg
  • Burnbrae Primary School, Hopefield
  • Cornbank St James Primary School, Penicuik
  • Cuiken Primary School, Penicuik
  • Danderhall Primary School, Danderhall
  • Gore Glen Primary School, Gorebridge
  • Gorebridge Primary School, Gorebridge
  • Hawthornden Primary School, Bonnyrigg
  • King's Park Primary School, Dalkeith
  • Lasswade Primary School, Lasswade
  • Lawfield Primary School, Mayfield
  • Loanhead Primary School, Loanhead
  • Mauricewood Primary School, Penicuik
  • Mayfield Primary School, Mayfield
  • Moorfoot Primary School, North Middleton
  • Newtongrange Primary School, Newtongrange
  • Paradykes Primary School, Loanhead
  • Rosewell Primary School, Rosewell
  • Roslin Primary School, Roslin
  • Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Penicuik
  • St Andrews's RC Primary School Gorebridge
  • St David's RC Primary School Dalkeith
  • St Luke's RC Primary School, Mayfield
  • St Margaret's RC Primary School, Loanhead
  • St Mary's RC Primary School, Bonnyrigg
  • St Matthew's RC Primary School, Rosewell
  • Stobhill Primary School, Gorebridge
  • Strathesk Primary School, Penicuik
  • Tynewater Primary School, Pathhead
  • Woodburn Primary School, Woodburn

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.[26]


  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. ^ Chalmers, George (1889). "Edinburghshire: Of its establishment as a shire". Caledonia. Paisley: Alexander Gardner. pp. 559, 574, 579. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  4. ^ Brown, Keith. "Act of the convention of estates of the kingdom of Scotland etc. for a new and voluntary offer to his majesty of £72,000 monthly for the space of twelve months, 23 January 1667". Records of the Parliament of Scotland. University of St Andrews. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  5. ^ Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict. c. 50)
  6. ^ "County councils: Mid-Lothian". Edinburgh Evening News. 13 February 1890. p. 3. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  7. ^ "Mid-Lothian County Council: Preserving an old name". Edinburgh Evening News. 12 March 1913. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  8. ^ "Imperial Parliament: House of Commons, Tuesday, June 3 - "Mid-Lothian" or "Edinburgh"". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 4 June 1913. p. 9. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1947 c. 43, retrieved 24 December 2022
  10. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "59-63 George IV Bridge, Lothian Chambers, including boundary balustrade (LB27674)". Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  11. ^ "Land Mass Coverage Report" (PDF). Registers of Scotland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1973 c. 65, retrieved 24 December 2022
  13. ^ "Boundaries viewer". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  14. ^ "The Lord-Lieutenants Order 1975", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1975/428, retrieved 27 November 2022
  15. ^ "No. 19730". The Edinburgh Gazette. 2 September 1975. p. 1163.
  16. ^ "Remember when". Edinburgh Evening News. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  17. ^ "Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1994 c. 39, retrieved 16 December 2022
  18. ^ "The Lord-Lieutenants (Scotland) Order 1996", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1996/731, retrieved 16 December 2022
  19. ^ "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ Partly in West Lothian. Article on Kirkliston in Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, by, Francis Groome, 2nd Edition, 1896
  23. ^ Order of the Secretary State for Scotland, effective from 15 May 1902, publ. in Edinburgh Gazette 1 April 1902, p. 350
  24. ^ Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5. c. lxxxvii)
  25. ^ The Statistical Account of Edinburghshire, publ by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh, 1845;p.648
  26. ^ "Illinois Member List updated June 2015 »". www.illinoissistercities.org. Retrieved 29 March 2018.