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Dalkeith is a town in Midlothian, Scotland, on the River Esk. It was granted a burgh of barony in 1401 and a burgh of regality in 1540. The settlement of Dalkeith grew southwestwards from its 12th-century castle (now Dalkeith Palace). Dalkeith has a population of 12,342 people according to the 2011 census.

The town is split into four distinct areas: Dalkeith proper with its town centre and historic core, with Eskbank to its west and Woodburn to its east. Eskbank is the well-heeled district of Dalkeith with many large Victorian and newer houses. To the south of Eskbank is Newbattle with its abbey. Woodburn is a working class council estate.

Dalkeith is the main administrative centre for Midlothian. It is twinned with Jarnac, France.

One of the earliest historical references to Dalkeith is found in the Chronicles of Jean Froissart who stayed at Dalkeith Castle for fifteen days. He writes of the Battle of Otterburn and the death of James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas:
"I, author of this book, in my youth had ridden nigh over all the realm of Scotland, and I was then fifteen days in the house of earl William Douglas, father to the same earl James, of whom I spake of now, in a castle of five leagues from Edinburgh which is called in the country Dalkeith. The same time I saw there this earl James, a fair young child, and a sister of his called the lady Blanche."

Dalkeith Coat of Arms
Official blazon
Quarterly: 1st, Or, on a chief Sable, three escallops of the field; 2nd, Argent, three piles Gules, on a chief of the Last, three mullets of the First; 3rd, Or, on a bend Azure, a mullet of six points between two crescents of the field; 4th, Vert, a castle of two towers Or, masoned Sable, port and windows Gules, in chief two open crowns Or.
Above the Shield is set a coronet suitable to a Burgh, and on a Com­partment below the Shield with this Motto "Olim Custodes Semper Defensores" are set for Supporters two men in complete armour each holding in his exterior hand a halbert Proper.

The arms were granted on February 28, 1930.
Dalkeith was created a Burgh of Barony in favour of Sir James Douglas, 1st Lord Dalkeith, in 1401, and was raised in 1540 to a Burgh of Regality in favour of Robert Douglas of Loch Leven.

The arms are related to the device on the Burgh seal. The first three quarters recall the three famous families which have been so closely connected with Dalkeith, and show the arms of Graham, Douglas (represented by the arms of Douglas of Dalkeith and Lochleven as conjoined by the Earls of Morton, but with three stars in chief instead of two) and Scott; on the seal Douglas had been wrongly represented by the more familiar Douglas arms showing the crowned heart below a chief with three stars.

The 4th quarter is for the Burgh itself; it shows a castle to recall the old Castle of Dalkeith and the later Dalkeith Palace, built in the eighteenth century by Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth.

The two crowns above, the supporters and the motto are in reference to the occasion in 1637-38 when the Scottish Privy Council removed from Linlithgow to Dalkeith, taking the Scottish Regalia with them for safety.

The Latin motto means "Once the keepers, always the defenders" and comes from the old seal.

See also:
•  Dalkeith Castle
•  St Nicholas Church
•  History of Dalkeith House

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Last modified: Thursday, 22 February 2024