The village was ‘saved’ in the 1980s by a large car-owning population allowing people to commute as far as Edinburgh. Frank Tindall’s planning policies enabled Stenton to retain its historic appearance, and its Conservation Area designation also helped. People were encouraged to come and refurbish houses to 20th century standards and the population grew.
Scots have moved from elsewhere into the area because it is attractive and near Edinburgh, and people have come from England to live in the village and cottages in the hinterland. However, Stenton has not been overwhelmed by incomers – those who came and stayed were vitally important in ensuring the village’s survival – and all work well together. Nevertheless, there is still a considerable core of people here whose roots lie in East Lothian, and the farms have remained in the same hands since the 1950s.
In general, the villagers are now wealthier than in 1945, and increasingly they own their own homes. Biel estate sold many of its houses in Stenton in the 1970s, which brought new people to the village. Unfortunately by the end of the period, the increase in prices was preventing young couples finding accommodation in the parish. This could create future problems for the viability of the school.
The computer has enabled many people to work from home. Village life has remained vibrant. Activities are well attended. There are fewer vegetables at the horticultural show and more flowers; the trend today is to have flower gardens with a few people keeping a vegetable plot going. Stenton flower gardens are a success and every second year an Open Day is held so people can visit the best gardens.
Before 1945, Biel estate ran the village. By 2000, through the community council and the Community Association, the inhabitants of the parish had the responsibility for making the parish a thriving place.
THIS ACCOUNT OF STENTON PARISH WAS COMPILED BY DIANA HARROW. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, RESEARCH AND ESSAYS WERE PROVIDED BY RAY HALLIDAY AND THE FOLLOWING:
- Mike Clarkson General – 1940s and 1950s; Shops & Services
- Fiona Dobson – Economy – Agriculture
- Stella Findlay – Economy – Agriculture (Pitcox)
- Angela Foster – Interviewer of Adam Bathgate and Lawrence Docker
- Mike Fraser – Environment: Pressmennan Woods
- John Halliday – Stenton Bowling Club
- Jan Hillier – Healthcare
- Angus Jeffrey – Economy – Agriculture (Bielgrange)
- Elliot Jeffrey – Economy – Agriculture (Bielgrange)
- Maeve Jeffrey – Belief
- Mary O’Mahony – Education
- Mary Stenhouse Economy – Agriculture (Millknowe)
And the recollections of Sonia Baker (homes); Adam Bathgate (his life in the parish); Lawrence Docker (gamekeeping); Peter Obrzud (wildlife).
Thanks are also due to the people of Stenton who have answered questions about the parish.