Few have heard of Morham parish,yet it can claim to be the smallest rural parish by population and area in Scotland.
Situated a few miles to the south of Haddington,midway beween the Lammermuirs and the sea,it is barely 2 miles in length and 1 mile in breadth. The population fluctuated around 200 across several decades.
Once the site of a castle,village and school,today the parish consists of a patchwork of arable fields,the church and a single row of houses.Nothing remains of the castle which originally belonged to the de Malherb family.They settled in the 12th century and took the name Morham from their lands; the 'village by the moor'.
Both ministers in the Statistical Accounts reveal how unremarkable life in the parish was:
it has neither mines nor minerals;it has neither towns nor villages,nor rivers,-it has neither any antiquities,nor natural curiosities of any importance;nor has it been the scene of any remarkable transactions.
By the second Account the minister put forward a case to abolish the parish or expand it's coverage by incorporating rural parts of neighbouring parishes whose population lived closer to Morham church.
Neither entries remark on the later claims by Mr Louden,the local school teacher,that Morham was the birthplace c.1514 of John Knox,the famous Protestant Reformer.Both Gifford and Haddington have claimed that honour,but Louden put forward a strong case that the Knox family had tenanted Mainshill and Knox's maternal line farmed Northrig,both farms in the parish.
A short walk covers the main points of interest.Leave the car close to a row of houses beside the village hall and walk eastwards past the last house towards the trees.On the right there is a dyke with worn steps and a way sign to Morham church. Follow the path along the edge of the field with the trees and the Morham burn on the left.Across open fields dominating the view is Traprain Law,a volcanic whale back hill with Iron Age fort of the Votadini and Gododdin.Hidden from the roadside the small wooded glen of Morham burn ends suddenly by the church.Within the graveyard are the old Knox headstones and a mausoleum for the Dalrymple family.Return by same route or the road past the manse and the site of the original castle.With no local watering holes,Haddington is only 3 miles away with numerous hotels and bars OS 1:25,000 Sheet 351.
Lawrie,C,G The Parish of Morham
Louden,David (1889,1997) History of Morham:The birthplace of John Knox:Haddington;Edinburgh William Sinclair:J.Menzies & Co.
Mitchell,A &A (2004) East Lothian Hillfoot Villages Monumental Inscriptions Edinburgh.
Stenhouse,Mary (1997) A History of Morham Parish:East Lothian Council.
Links for Morham Parish:
Louden,David (1889,1997) History of Morham:The birthplace of John Knox:Haddington;Edinburgh:William Sinclair:J.Menzies & Co.
Photographs of gravestones in Morham
Statistical Accounts :
The Scottish War Memorials Project
National Records of Scotland
Old Parish Records
Births 1712-1805, 1820-1855 Marriages 1712-1760,1820-1855 Deaths 1712-1760, 1783-1805
CH2/1382 Kirk Session 1805-1965
Minutes, 1832-1957; Formula, 1905-1954; Poor's fund accounts, 1805-1849; Extract report of the Presbytery of Haddington, 1810; Heritor's minutes and accounts, 1810-1861; Baptismal register, 1860-1864; Discipline register, 1913-1935.
East Lothian Archive Services
Morham School Log Book SCH8 1873-1968
Morham School Minute Book ELCC/10/10/1 1849-1930