Morham | Homes

Farms | In the village | Standards of Living | Utilities | Shops & services | Healthcare

By 2000, all the farmhouses were occupied by their farming owners, except for West Morham, which was rented out. Standingstone was still occupied by the Woyka family, although the farmland had been sold.

In 1945, there were about 25 named farm workers listed as inhabitants of separate houses on the various parish farms. Four other houses were listed as being empty, as was one smithy, and there were three bothies. By 1988, there were (apparently) some 19 similar homes in the parish, and two new houses had been built. As was the case across the county, many of the farms’ associated cottages proved surplus to requirements and were variously sold off, converted two into one, or rented to people not associated with agriculture.

Farm accommodation summary: the first number given, in brackets, refers to the farm’s associated cottages in 1945; the remaining information refers to what remained in 2000.

  • Mainshill (5): two cottages and a bothy (possibly listed as a cottage in 1945, but empty then) were farmer-owned; one cottage and the bothy were derelict. Two cottages had been sold and renovated.
  • Morham Bank (2): the cottages had been made into one. A bungalow was built in 1970.
  • Morham Mains (6 plus smithy): four cottages, some occupied by farmworkers.
  • Northrig (7 plus bothy): six remaining cottages. A new bungalow, East Coldale was built at the end of the road in 1974; it is owned by the farmer.
  • Rentonhall (1 plus bothy): the steading (which included the bothy) was in the process of being made into house.
  • Standingstone (5 plus bothy): two cottages to the north of the farm were sold and made into one. One further cottage was still farm-owned, and was occupied by a retired agricultural worker. One was sold.
  • West Morham (4): an earlier name for this was Morham Muir. The farmhouse was rented, as were two cottages. Two further cottages (Collier’s Row) had been sold.

Change on properties other than the farms:

  • Beechhill Mansion (4): the Stables Cottage and the lodge remained.
  • Burns Lodge: this bungalow was built near Bearford Bridge in the 1970s. It had been a game dealer’s property, belonging to James McLean’s grandson, Derek.
  • Coldale Smiddy: in 1945, this was a game dealer’s property, home of James McLean.
  • Morham Burn: previously known as Morham Vale, this was the original Morham school. It was headquarters of the Virtuosi Society until 1996, and thereafter it became a private house again.
  • Morham Loanhead: this had been the old Loanhead Smiddy, but by 1945 was a private house, occupied by James and Helen Reid who, according to the 1945 valuation roll, were Morham’s second rabbit catcher family.

In the village

After the school closed in 1968, a private building contractor, David Hastie, bought the school, schoolhouse and playground. He had contacted the council planning committee, offering to buy the school and the land. At the time the council was keen to promote small craft industries in the villages, and so Frank Tindall was against such uses as were proposed by Mr Hastie – as a builders’ yard – and so suggested that the building would be most suited to such as a small pottery, weaving or knitwear. On Mr Hastie’s reassurance that his business was in unique stone fireplaces, the sale was approved (Haddingtonshire Courier 30 August 1968).

Eventually the school and schoolhouse were converted to private house and tearoom, and then converted back to two separate houses. Later, two modern houses were built in the old playground – one in the 1980s and one in the 1990s – Castleshot and Castleview.

Four Orlit council houses were built in the 1950s; by 2000, two were privately owned and also one of the two original (1923) council houses.

Standards of Living – some recollections of homes in the parish

Most houses have solid fuel or logs but others now have oil or gas heating from storage tanks. Personal hygiene is good as all houses now have baths and flush toilets

Mary Stenhouse

Morham, 1940s

Morham, 1940s

A summary of the changes in one of the earlier council houses, 1961-2000:

This was one of a pair of semi-detached cottage, with drive in and a large garden at rear: in 1961 we were a couple plus a son of seven.

The two bedrooms each had fireplaces set across a corner; there was a small bathroom

The living room had an original range/fire and integral oven, which was removed in 1961. It was replaced with a beige tiled fireplace and surround, with a back boiler for the hot water. The small kitchen had an electric cooker.

There was only one electric socket in the house in 1961, so the place was rewired when we moved in. There was lino on the floors, and mats; the kitchen lino had a checked pattern – blue and black squares. In 1976, the kitchen was extended, and central heating – operated by an electric pump, and using water heated by the back boiler – was put in.

We bought the house in the mid 1980s, and added a back porch shortly after. In the 1990s the tiled fireplace was replaced with a cast iron surround, and a Charnwood closed-in solid fuel fire, which provided heat, as well as operating the central heating system.

Jenny Gray


The water main was laid from Hopes to Biel Grange about 1935. The contractor was Richard Baillie of Haddington and men dug the track by hand coming down ‘Clarty’ (the original road from Gifford to Morham) and along through the village.

We often have a burst pipe and it looks as if the whole main pipe will soon have to be renewed.

Mary Stenhouse

In the late 1960s a new water supply was laid in alkathene pipes from the main road to Morhamburn and the old manse, and in 1995 water was piped to the church and a toilet installed behind the steps to the laird’s loft.

The sewage pipe through which the village sewage runs was first led from the school, schoolhouse and the two outside school toilets. Then in the 1920s when the first two council houses were built, a septic tank was installed in the garden of number 1, which then flowed into the main. Next the village hall toilets were led in and eventually the four Orlit houses. The result was that Morham often smelt as the sewage pipe was too level and had no slope to drain the effluent into the glen. In 2001 the sewage from the garden of number 1 was connected into the main pipe, but time will tell if it is a success.

Electricity came to Morham in the late 1950s, and four street lights appeared about 1970.

After many power cuts we were told a trip switch had been fitted so that if power went off it would automatically come from another direction, but that doesn’t seem to work very well.

Mary Stenhouse

Morham does not have mains gas. In 1980 the gas pipe from Mosmorran to Bishop Auckland was laid through Northrig and Mainshill farmland, but does no good for Morham.

Television reception is good; there is a television mast near West Bearford.

In 1994, the telephone kiosk at Mainshill road end was taken away because it was so often vandalised and because BT (British Telecom) felt that it cost them too much. After much fighting a payphone was installed on the side of the village hall. The telephone exchange at Mainshill road was extended when STD started. After the Morham code was incorporated with Haddington in the late 1980s, the exchange became unused. By 2000, the exchange building belonged to a cycle club from North Berwick, and is being converted into a rest area for long-distance cyclists. This was after the district council (in February 1989) decided a non-existent house would not be offered for sale. The exchange owner, James McNeish, tried to sell it as such!

Mobile phones work well in the area. The mobile phone mast is located at Traprain farm, East Linton.

By the end of the period, refuse was collected weekly from wheeled bins. Heavy waste (old furniture, fridges and so on) could be collected by special collection after a phone call to the council’s Macmerry depot.

Shops & Services

In this period, Morham had no shops, and few services. However, in the early 1960s:

There were that many grocery vans that called at Morham when we first moved there that I could not afford to use them all.

Jenny Gray

These were grocer, butcher and hardware vans.

By 2000, the only remaining mobile services were a fruit and vegetable travelling shop weekly, and the library van fortnightly.

Morham did have its own registrar: James Reid of Morham Loanhead to the early 1950s, and then Richard Redpath of Mainshill to 1968. Thereafter registration was centralised, to the Council Buildings, Haddington.


Healthcare for Morham has always been provided from Haddington.