"DIRLETON, a parish, containing the post-office villages of Dirleton, Gulane and Kingston, also the village of Fenton, on the coast of Haddingtonshire. It is bounded on the west and on the north by the frith of Forth, and on the other sides by the parishes of North Berwick, Athelstaneford, and Aberlady. Its greatest breadth is 4 1/2 miles. Peffer burn, flowing to the head of Aberlady bay, traces the southern boundary. Along the coast, and within a short distance of the shore, are three little rocky islets, viz. Fiddrie or Fetteray, Eyebrocky, and the Lamb. The coast presents a broad strip of flat sandy-holms or links, edged on the landward side by richly-cultivated fields, and seaward by a fine sandy beach ... Population in 1831, 1,384; in 1861, 1,540." [From the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868]
A lengthier description is available.


[Note: The modern spelling of Gulane is Gullane]


Church History

The following quotation comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume I, page 382:

"The parish church stands in the immediate northern vicinity of the village of Dirleton, and contains about 600 sittings. There is a Free church ... The original name of the parish was Golyn, modernized into Gulane; and the ruins of the former parish church still stand in good preservation at the village of Gulane."

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1664. Old Parish Registers (before 1855) are held in the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh, and copies on microfilm may be consulted in local libraries and in LDS Family History Centres around the world. This includes church minutes for 1664-1736, as well as registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. Later parish registers (after 1855) are often held in the Scottish Record Office as are records of non-conformist churches in the area (often unfilmed and unindexed, and only available there).

Registers for the Dirleton Free Church are available in LDS family history centres around the world. These include christenings and marriages for 1843-1871.


Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For details of these and other records held at the General Register Office in Edinburgh, see the GRO tutorial.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Dirleton which are provided by:



Extracts for this parish from the 1868 National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland are available.



This map shows the location of the parish in the county.

The Scottish Record Office holds the following as part of its collection of maps and plans:

  • 1785: Sketch of the lands of Wester Chapel. Scale 1:1900. Size 34x25cm. Grid (map) reference NT5380. SRO reference RHP.625/1

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NT505829 (Lat/Lon: 56.03667, -2.796567), Dirleton which are provided by:



Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:



For a social and economic record of the parishes of East Lothian together with considerable statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, which was compiled in the 1790s. Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s; and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared since the Second World War.

Thanks to a joint venture between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh the First and Second Statistical Accounts can now be accessed on-line at The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1799 and 1845.