Haddington, the county town of the traditional Scottish county of East Lothian, is located within a bend of the River Tyne, approximately 400 miles north of London and 20 miles east of Edinburgh.
The town has a population of around 8,500. Administratively it is the seat of the unitary council region of East Lothian which covers an area of approximately 679 sq kms and which has a
population of around 90,000.
Surrounded by fertile agricultural land, it is an ancient and attractive town of wide streets set around a compact centre, which remarkably for its size has 129 buildings listed as historically interesting. Most notable of these is the 14th-century St.Mary’s Church, Scotland’s largest parish church, with its ornate display of gargoyles. Renowned as the birthplace of Alexander II of Scotland, the town is a good base from which to explore the beautiful coastline and hinterland of Lothian and Borders as well as the Lammermuir Hills.
The town’s history dates from the 12th-century but it was during the early 18th century when Haddington experienced its major period of growth. In the process it became synonymous with modernization – new ideas and technology were introduced by the progressive landowners transforming agriculture in the region.
Historically the town’s economy was based upon agriculture and this is still the case today, although tourism and services are a growing and significant sector. Haddington is home to the local government headquarters, which is the town’s major employer, and its other industries include electrical, electronics and retailing.
The name Haddington probably derives from ‘Hadda’s Tun’, meaning the ‘town of Hadda’, and may refer to a Saxon chief who settled on the banks of the Tyne. Alternatively, it may come from the Gaelic ‘hofdingia-tun’, meaning ‘princes town’.