Home
News & Programme
Visiting Cramond
Information Leaflets
The Cramond Fish
Cramond Through the Ages
History Section
Cramond Heritage Trust
Community Council
50 Years of the Cramond Association
Cramond Management Group
Photo Gallery
Publications
Map of the Association's area
Membership
Contact
Our Committee
Links

Early History
The Romans
Middle Ages
Kirk & Prosperity
Victorian Cramond
The 20th Century

 

Early History

Cramond is situated in the north-west of Edinburgh, on the east bank of the River Almond where it flows into the Firth of Forth. Here, at the close of the last ice age, hunter-gatherers frequented the raised beach where they left the waste from their flint working. This makes Cramond the oldest known site of human habitation in Scotland.

The Romans

Much later, the Romans chose the site using the river mouth as their harbour. Above it they built a fort and nearby there grew up a native village. Caer Amon (the fort on the river) played a unique part in the campaigns north of Hadrian’s Wall. Nor was that all, for Roman influences seem to have lingered here right into the Dark Ages. Certainly the Kirk, built at an early date with Roman stones on a Roman site, has proved a permanent legacy.

Middle Ages

The village reappears as Bishop's Cramond in the 15th century. The Bishop of Dunkeld had a residence in Cramond Tower; he received the parish teinds and appointed and paid a priest to conduct services in an east-to-west facing church. The Reformation changed all that, though it was not till the middle of the 17th century that the Kirk was actually rebuilt in a form designed for Presbyterian worship; of the medieval church the tower remains today. The parish extended from Granton to Turnhouse; the village (Nether Cramond) lived by fishing and coastal trading, and stood in the shadow of the Tower where a Covenanting Edinburgh merchant had displaced the bishop.

Kirk & Prosperity

After the Revolution of 1689 a final and sustained attempt was made to impose the full rigours of Presbyterianism. Discipline was gradually relaxed in the 18th century but the Kirk maintained its near-monopoly and its influence permeated every aspect of life. Meanwhile the landowners were introducing new farming methods, building fine mansions and planting the trees that still give us pleasure, while on the river bank the iron mills were providing a new kind of work for the villagers.

Victorian Cramond

Cramond declined in the 19th century. An 'improving' landlord destroyed half the village and the 'Disruption' deprived the Kirk of its unique position. The Age of Steam finally put an end to the water-powered iron mills and though Granton took on a new importance with its harbour, all its economic links were now with Edinburgh not with the rest of the Parish.

Strategically placed on the road system, Davidson's Mains developed, and Cramond, on the road to nowhere, became little more than its satellite. Members of the Church of Scotland still came down from Davidson's Mains to the old Kirk in Cramond but now they met Cramond folk going up to the Free Kirk in Davidson's Mains. When a Cramond Parish Kirk Hall came to be built it was built in Davidson's Mains not Cramond.

The 20th Century

A new age began for Cramond just before the end of the 19th century with the opening of the Princes Street to Barnton railway line. In what had been the minister's glebe there appeared new houses inhabited, some of them only in the summer months, by a new type of resident.

In the morning Father would set off in Henry Baillie's wagonette for Barnton Station en route for his work in town. The children, too, continued to attend their town schools but could look forward to the long summer evenings on the quiet unspoiled beach or up the river. Down by the riverside the click of bowls could be heard, and the Boat Club (no fibreglass in those days!) became an institution. Cramond might have its commuters but it was still a country village.

Those days have been gradually eroded by the internal combustion engine and in the course of the 20th century Cramond has been swallowed up in suburban Edinburgh. Yet so many old buildings still stand. To protect them and their surroundings from inappropriate development the Cramond Association was formed.