Author Archives: georgerobertson

East Lothian Place Names

Members of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society gathered at the Maitlandfield House Hotel on 8th February for another in their series of Winter lectures.
Honorary President, Stephen Bunyan, welcomed Liz Curtis of Dunbar who is a member of the Scottish Place Names Society. She gave a fascinating talk on the history behind some of the place names of East Lothian. These have been a subject of interest to historians for centuries with myths muddying the facts. For example, it was long suggested that Humbie got its name from the humming of the many bees to be found there! In reality, many of the names can be traced back to the languages of the many peoples who settled in the area from the earliest times – Brythonic, Old English, Norse, Scots, Baronial French. Strangely, although in East Lothian for some time with a fort at Inveresk, the Romans brought no Latin links.

Many names stem from the words for landscape features or land use in the different languages. Many relate to different types of farm e.g. those with ton, hame or by in them. Dunbar comes from the Anglo Saxon – Dyun Baer – Fort on the Point. A Saxon fort was found when the Leisure Pool was being built. Other names come from religious links e.g. Nungate in Haddington.

After a time for questions, including the correct way to pronounce Gullane, Mr Bunyan gave a vote of thanks. He noted that the day was also the 650th Anniversary of the granting of a Charter to Dunbar by King David the Second.
The next Winter Lecture will be a talk on the History of St Martin’s Kirk at the Maitlandfield House Hotel – 2pm on 14th March.

Message from the President Stephen Bunyan MBE

As we enter or complete a decade depending on your point of view it seems a good time to give an update. The Traprain treasure was found in 1919 and it aroused tremendous interest. Traprain Law was part of Whittinghame estate. Soon afterwards A. J Balfour [created earl in 1922] and his sister suggested the formation of an Antiquarian Society which was done in 1924.

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Visit to Marchmont House

The July outing of the Society saw members visit Marchmont House near Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders.
The house is one of Scotland’s finest country mansions. It is an imposing Grade A listed Palladian masterpiece built in 1750 by Sir Hugh Hume- Campbell, 3rd Earl of Marchmont.
The last Hume to live at Marchmont was Sir John Hume- Campbell. He sold it in 1913 to Robert Finnie McEwen who commissioned Sir Robert Lorimer to extensively extend the property with a new top floor and a music room with organ.
During the 1980s the house saw life as a Sue Ryder Nursing Home. However, after the closure of the care home the house fell in to disrepair.
Marchmont House was bought in 2005 by the Burge family who already owned surrounding farmland. They have spent considerable time restoring the property and gathering together a collection of fine artworks from across the centuries. Hugo Byrne also has a great interest in rush seated furniture and it is intended to open a workshop to continue the tradition in the near future.
In 2018 Marchmont House was the winner of the Historic Houses Association/Sotheby’s Restoration Award.
Members were escorted on their visit by House Curator, Francis Raemakers.
Following the visit Vice President, Jacquie Bell, thanked him for his interesting talk and the opportunity for members to see such an outstanding collection of artworks. She noted how good it was to see the house, which she had last visited when it belonged to Sue Ryder, as a much loved family home.
During tea and biscuits members were briefly joined by Hugo Burge. Mrs Bell again thanked him for the opportunity to visit.

Outing to Portmore Gardens

Members enjoyed their first outing of the summer with a visit to Portmore Gardens at Eddlestone near Peebles.

Once part of the Blackbarony Estate, Portmore was purchased by the Earl of Portmore in the 18th Century. It was later sold to the Mackenzie family and the house was built by William Forbes Mackenzie in 1850.

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Guided Walk Around East Linton

Saturday 3rd August. A guided walk round the historic village of East Linton with Garry Menzies

This historic town lies north of the river Tyne with the Lynn that supported four mills. The 16th century “Linton brigges” over the Tyne on Great North road from the south. Surrounded by fine agricultural land local residents, Sir George Buchan-Hepburn, George Rennie, Andrew Meikle and Robert Brown of Markle all played an important part in the agricultural improvements of the 18th century. In the 19th century the fine landscape, stone buildings with pantiled roofs brought many artists to the area. Nearby lies village of Preston, with the parish church, site of Friary of the Red Friars and Preston Mill. This walk will concentrate on the town, the mills and the bridge.

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

ELAFNS Annual Dinner – with David Campbell 12th April 2019

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Annual Dinner for 2019 will take place at the Maitlandfield House Hotel, Haddington on Friday 12th April 2019 at 7 for 7 30pm.

Late News: Tim Porteous has had to call off due to an urgent family matter. He has however arranged for what will be an excellent substitute in David Campbell.

David is an acclaimed writer, broadcaster, poet and storyteller, and will talk on the same subject of  “The convergence of East Lothian Folklore and History”.

Joy Dodd can provide booking forms and menu choices.

AGM & Lecture by Architect Tom Donaldson, Chalmers Memorial Church Sat 18th May

The AGM will be held at 2.30pm on Saturday 18th May 2019 at Chalmers Memorial, Church 29 Gosford Road, Port Seton EH32 OHG

A talk about the church will be given by Tom Donaldson, retired architect and elder of the church followed by a tour.

Come and learn more about this excellent example of Arts & Crafts Church. Designed by Sydney Mitchell for the United Free Church, the foundation stone was laid in 1904. It has a very elegant spire and bell-tower and unique stencilled interior. Stained glass windows by Margaret Chilton and Marjorie Kemp 1924-50.

This is an open lecture and will be followed by tea. Visitors welcome