Author Archives: eastlothianantiquarians

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About 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.

St Anne’s Upon Dunbar Sands Stood Nearest to The Sea

The ancient ecclesiastical history of Dunbar is illuminated by an ancient rhyme, but it is confused because there are two versions. The rhyme was

St Abb, St Helen and St Bey
They all built kirks which to be nearest to the sea
St Abb’s upon the Nabs,
St Helen’s on the Lea,
St Bey’s upon Dunbar Sands stands nearest to the sea

The second and probably later version has

St Ann’s upon Dunbar Sands, stands nearest to the sea.

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The Society and Haddington House

Haddington House has just undergone extensive refurbishment and restoration and is now available as offices for local businesses and will provide useful income for the Lamp of Lothian Trust.

The Society was concerned about the state of the House as far back as 1942. They attempted to secure its future but did not have the resources to do so. They were however able to do so because the Earl of Wemyss became involved. He supported the Society until his death but his main contribution to the affairs of the Society was, to make it possible for them to realise the ambition of securing the future of Haddington House.

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Liz Curtis – “East Lothian’s place-names: A journey through time.” Saturday 8th Feb 2020

Please note the change of date to: Saturday 8th Feb 2020

Liz will present an illustrated talk outlining how East Lothian’s place-names have developed over the last 2,000 years. Successive waves of settlers, including Britons, Anglians, _ ” Scandinavians and Gaelic-speaking Scots, have all contributed 71 to the rich mix of place-names we know today. In turn, the place-names give us an insight into their societies.

Visitors welcome. Voluntary donation £2 gratefully received

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Winter Talks 2019 — 2020
All talks are held at the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington, at 2.30pm

 

A Short History of Haddington

EXACTLY 79 years has elapsed since East Lothian Antiquarians first published Forbes Gray’s A Short History of Haddington.

Now, 34 years after the re-publication by SPA Press, we are pleased to offer here a digitally scanned edition of the same facsimile. Forbes Gray starts the Preface thus:

EXACTLY a century has elapsed since James Miller published his Lamp of Lothian, the only work that attempts seriously to review the Royal Burgh of Haddington in its historical aspect. Considering the period at which it was written, likewise the fact that the writer was printer and not an historian, Miller accomplished his task with some credit. His path was beset with difficulties, some of them formidable. Miller had neither the time nor the facilities for writing the history of town rich in memorials of the past, town dating back to the time of David I. Moreover, he approached the subject from wrong angle. Instead of placing Haddington in the forefront, he buries it beneath long-winded disquisitions on the general history of Scotland. Indeed The Lamp of Lothian may not incorrectly be described as survey of our national story in which Haddington is introduced incidentally.

In the following pages an effort is made to reverse the process to place Haddington in the centre of the picture, and to bring in just as much national history as is essential for rendering intelligible the part played by the town in events which affected Scotland as whole. Written before the days of research as we know it, Miller’s book not only suffers from false perspective, imperfect knowledge, and ill-arrangement, but omits aspects vital to an adequate presentation of the subject. Had more extensive investigation of the sources been possible to him it would have revealed much fresh and illuminating material, which has been largely utilised in this work.

The work is in two parts. The first seven chapters set forth the reactions of Haddington to national affairs, while the remaining six treat of topographical features, as well as of municipal, industrial, and social life. In a work of limited scope it has not been deemed necessary to cite authorities in every instance, but all important statements are vouched for. Supplementary material of an interesting character is supplied in footnotes. The pictorial element includes rare and curious drawings depicting the burgh in bygone times, and there is copious index.

Stephen Bunyan, president of ELAFNS, says it was a major effort at the time and remains probably the best history of Haddington available. It is still available at the John Gray Centre.

 

 

Stephanie Leith – “St Martin’s Church, Haddington” – Saturday 14th March 2020

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE TO THE 14TH MARCH 2020

This well-preserved ruin is a rare survival of a 12th century church in Scotland. Belonging to the Cistercian nunnery of St Mary’s, St Martin’s was used by both the nuns and the people of Haddington, and can give us an insight into how the nunnery interacted with and influenced the town.

A recent geophysical survey of the church and its surroundings has revealed both its early history, and reuse and remodelling of the graveyard in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Visitors welcome. Voluntary donation £2 gratefully received

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Winter Talks 2019 — 2020
All talks are held at the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington, at 2.30pm

Photo © Lisa Jarvis (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Alister Hadden “A little bit of Wallyford History” – Saturday 23rd November

Saturday 23rd November Alister Hadden “A little bit of Wallyford History”

Alister will give an illustrated talk on Wallyford’s history, industrial heritage in coal mining and brick manufacture. He is from Wallyford and present Chairman of Wallyford Community Council, and has been involved in having a mining memorial installed within Wallyford, along with mining coal hutches on either side of the mining stone with all the 38 miners names lost in Wallyford Collieries from 1857 to 1929.

Visitors welcome. Voluntary donation £2 gratefully received

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Winter Talks 2019 — 2020
All talks are held at the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington, at 2.30pm

Photo © Richard Webb (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The copyright on this image is owned by Peter Gordon and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

Measuring the Past, Modelling the Future – John McCreadie – Saturday 12th October

The talk will describe how we create high resolution 3d digital models using laser scanning combined with drone and terrestrial photography. We work in the heritage sector creating “digital twins” of real world buildings, structures, objects and landforms to help with their conservation and management.

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Visit to Melville Castle Hotel on Sunday 8th October 2017

 

A visit to Melville Castle Hotel was the final outing of the season. It was led by the president who gave a short summary of the history of the building. The estate was noted as far back as 1155 when it belonged to Galfrid de Malleville. In the 18th century it became the seat of Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville who was virtually ruler of Scotland until his death in 1811. The estate remained in the possession of the Dundas family until c1980. It is now a hotel where Members had tea and visited the restored main rooms.

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Torness Power Station

On Saturday 19 August 2017 the East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalists’ Society made its 4th Summer Programme visit to Torness Nuclear Power Station.

Members thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience finding the strict security procedures, technology and grand scale of operations most interesting.

The guide also alluded to a somewhat unexpected field naturalist aspect being the power station having been awarded the Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trusts for its work in protecting and enhancing the unique and diverse wild life around its operation. Most of the Members were not aware of the Torness Coastal Walkway and on another occasion this may be explored.

The visit was rounded off with tea and biscuits provided by the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides.

The next Society visit will be to Keith Marischal House on Saturday 16 September.

Photo credit © EDF