Annual Report 2015/16

Summer Visits

On Saturday 6th June the Society visited Aberlady Bay the outing was organised by John Hunt and led by the warden John Harrison This was a very pleasant afternoon.

On Saturday 11th July the Society visited Lennoxlove by kind invitation of the Duke of Hamilton. After a most enjoyable tour of the house members were entertained to tea. After which they had an opportunity to enjoy the gardens.

On Saturday 8th August the Society visited Mordington where they were received by Mr and Mrs J Trotter. Mordington was, in the 14th century held by Sir Thomas Randolph and is the presumed burial place of Agnes Countess of Dunbar. The group was entertained to tea and enjoyed a tour of the extensive gardens and grounds.

On Saturday 12th September the Society visited Gilmerton Cove led by Graeme Bettison. This proved a fascinating experience. There is still great conjecture about the origin of these coves.

The final outing of the season was to Barony House on Sunday 11th October. The group was welcomed by Mr &Mrs Davies This house which is not normally open to the public, was the home of Sir Walter Scott just after his marriage. He rented it from 1798 until 1804, before he moved to the Borders. It was later extended by the Clerks of Penicuik and used as a dower was a lovely sunny day and the garden in its autumnal beauty was much admired.

1st Annual Lectures Day

On Saturday 29 August 2015 in St Mary’s Church, Haddington the Society hosted a series of lectures on governance in Scotland and East Lothian in particular, in the 17th century. Entitled “Kings, Kirks and Commonwealth, this was the start of the Archaeology and History Fortnight arranged by East Lothian Council’s Archaeology Service and proved a very popular and successful event.

Plans are in hand to hold the 2nd in this series looking at the 18th century under the title “The Union, Rebellion and then Enlightenment” and will be held on Saturday 3 September 2016 in St. Mary’s Church, Haddington again as the first event in the Council’s Archaeology and Heritage Fortnight.

Winter Lectures

Three lectures were given in the course of the winter,
At the first on 18th November Kristian Pederson gave a fascinating account of the earliest settlers in the area and urged the Society to support attempts to reach a greater understanding of the coastal area and around East Linton.

At the second on 17th February Stephen Welsh, a local ornithologist, gave a talk entitled our evolving Avifauna which was most interesting,

The third lecture was given on Wednesday16th March by John Finlay, Professor of Scots Law in the University of Glasgow. His Lecture was entitled Local Lawyers in early modern Scotland. He looked at the developing link between lawyers and the local gentry in the 17th and 18th century and then how lawyers came to serve the community at local level.

The Annual Dinner 2016

The annual dinner was held on Friday 15th April in the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington. It was attended by 35 members and guests. David Ritchie, former President of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation and David Forfar the present President spoke on the history of the foundation and the importance of the contribution to science of James Clerk Maxwell.

Programme 2016/17

Summer Visits

The programme for the coming summer session has been issued along with the other papers for the AGM.

Reservations, together with any advance payments, to Shena Jamieson. Payments to the Society by cheque should be made out to ELA&FNS.

Winter Lectures

It is the case that the number of members attending the winter lectures has been declining over the last few years. This may be because we are becoming more reluctant to attend an evening event over the winter months unless we live close to the venue, in Haddington.

To make attendance at these lectures more appealing, it has been suggested that we hold these lectures on a Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm in the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington.

The lectures would continue to be at no cost to members. The opportunity to continue afterwards over a cup of tea and a cake at cost to those participating would enhance the social part of the event which does not happen on an evening lecture.

You are asked to indicate your preference by completing the questionnaire that has also been issued with the papers for this meeting.


The transactions continue to be held in high regard. They are lodged in the copyright libraries and are purchased by academic and other libraries. They are issued to Queen Margaret University, Secondary Schools in East Lothian and to Loretto and Belhaven Hill School and some other bodies.

However, the storage of the back issues of the Transactions continues to be a problem, particularly for our Librarian. The possibility of transferring them to a digital data base which would then make this considerable body of learned papers available to a much wider audience on line, with options for making a charge for this service is being investigated and will be considered by Council in due course.


Although our membership numbers remain steady, Council is looking at ways in which to attract new members particularly from a “younger” age group. A “new member” pack is to be produced and we are looking at updating our website.

Other Matters

The President represents the Society on the John Muir Park advisory group which he chairs.
The President represents the Society on the Laws advisory group.
Mr J Hunt represents the Society on the Aberlady Bay advisory group.
The Secretary represents the Society on the East Lothian Heritage Forum.
The Society continues to support the work of the Scottish Local History Forum and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland.

The Society is vigilant in the face of threats to our heritage of buildings and landscape and enquiries about the Society and about East Lothian continue to be received.

Stephen A Bunyan May 2016

By eastlothianantiquarians

The East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists’ Society, established in 1924, is a membership organisation and a charity. Member events include outings and a copy of the Transactions for just £15/annum. We also welcome short contributions from members for the website.