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The word shire is of Old English origin and meant office, charge, administration. The Norman Conquest introduced the word county through French from the Latin comitatus, which in mediaeval documents designates the shire. County is the district ruled by a count, the king's comes, the equivalent of the older English term earl. This system of local administration entered Scotland as part of the Anglo-Norman influence that strongly affected our country after the year 1100. The earliest mention of a sheriff of Haddington is in the thirteenth century. Although the county boundary, except along the sea-board, is almost nowhere a natural one, there is every reason to believe that it has remained nearly unchanged for centuries.
About half of the counties of Scotland are named after the county town. Officially, i.e. in census and other government returns, our county appears as Haddingtonshire ; but its colloquial designation is East Lothian. The origin of the name Haddington is unknown. The earliest spellings are Hadynton (1098), and Hadintune, Hadingtoun, in the twelfth century. It is obviously English, and most probably derived from the founder. The origin of the word Lothian is less obscure. Bede has Regio Loidis, i.e. the same as Leeds. In the Pictish Chronicle, year 970, it appears as Loonia; a century later in the Old English Chronicle, it is Lothene. In the Welsh Pedigrees of the Saints is mentioned a prince Leudun Luydawc from the fortress of Eidyn in the North, and the district round Eidyn is named Lleuddiniawn, which, according to the late Sir E. Anwyl, is like a Welsh derivative of Laudmus. This prince Leudun or Lleuddin is the same whom Sir Thomas Malory calls King Lot. As a territory Lothian originally included all the country to the east of Strathclyde between the rivers Forth and Tweed.
SOURCE: Muir, Thomas Scott. East Lothian. Cambridge: University Press, 1915.
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