Innerwick village is today the largest settlement in the parish of the same name. The village became a free burgh of barony of the Maxwells of Innerwick, the feudal superiors, under a charter of 22 May 1630. When the charter was granted most populous settlement in the parish was Skateraw. But the charter gave James and Elizabeth Maxwell the right to place their burgh anywhere convenient to them. And so they developed the inland site of the present village. The charter gave the superiors the right to two annual fairs, each of two days duration, a weekly market on Thursdays. A tollbooth and prison for the bailies and burgesses to hold council and court were granted – but never built. The intention was that Skateraw remained the new burgh’s port. In the event neither settlement developed as full urban centres.
By the middle of the 19th century, Innerwick village was little different from many others in East Lothian. On the north it had its parish church and school. The east and west termini were each defined by a farm steading (Temple Mains (known earlier as Westhall) and Innerwick Farm). Within the village there was a sub-post office, under the Dunbar General Post Office, and two or three shops: grocers, cobblers, baker and a tailor cum draper.
Most of the population worked in agriculture and wright and a smith also found plenty to do supporting the local farms. The community looked after itself. What began as the Innerwick FUNERAL Society celebrated its 100th anniversary as Innerwick FRIENDLY Society: all along its main purpose was to provide funds to ensure the proper burial of any member. Like the other organisations in the village, the society accepted members from across the parish.
As well as benefit societies, the village had a number of clubs and other bodies, often associated with the Church or school. A Village Hall was built to provide a meeting place and it continues in use: it has long been the venue for Innerwick Horticultural Society‘s Flower Show – now one of East Lothian’s oldest.
If you have stories about Innerwick of old, its people and the buildings and places round about we’d love to hear about them. You can contact us or comment below.
More about Innerwick at the 4th Statistical Account website (consult the full account at the JGC).