AGM – 20th May, West Barns Village Hall

To all members
The AGM will be held on Sunday 20th May at West Barns Village Hall at 2.30pm
At 3.0pm Arran Johnston will give a talk entitled:

“ROAD TO DEFEAT;
GENERAL COPE’S MARCH FROM
DUNBAR TO PRESTONPANS IN 1745”

Which traces the route of the army, the likely locations of their campsites in Dunbar and Haddington, and eye-witness accounts.
This is an open lecture and will be followed by tea.

Visitors welcome
Please call 01620 850877 if you wish to attend this talk.

The Annual Dinner

The final event of the annual programme of East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society was the annual dinner held in the Maitlandfield House Hotel, Haddington on Friday 20th April 2018.

A group of thirty members and guests enjoyed the fellowship of the annual dinner served with the usual efficiency by the new team at the Hotel. At the conclusion of the meal Joy Dodd introduced Mrs Judy Riley, who lives in Tyninghame House, and gave an illustrated talk; “Helen, the hand who Launched a thousand trees”. This described the significant landscape developments at Tyninghame carried out by Thomas, 6th Earl of Haddington and his wife and cousin, Helen Hope. who virtually laid out Binning Wood. The wood was cut down in the second war of the 20th century but was re planted.

Mrs Riley who is a landscape designer gave a very informed talk about on this important estate. There was some interesting discussion. Interested members and others should note that the estate is open on the 13th May. The President gave votes of thanks to the speaker and others who had helped with the organisation of the evening. He announced that the AGM would be held in Westbarns Village Hall on Sunday 20th May at 2 30.

At the conclusion of the business, Arran Johnston will give an open lecture at 3 pm entitled ’Road to Defeat; General Cope’s march from Dunbar to Prestonpans in 1745. Tea will be provided. The society in conjunction with Haddington History Society is holding a conference on September 15th in the Town House Haddington. The conference which is part of the Haddington 700 programme is entitled Charter, Church, Conflict and Community; Haddington 1318-2018.

Stephen Bunyan announced that the Transactions of the Society had been digitalised and put on an improved website.

Neolithic History of Doon Hill

At the last talk of the winter series on Sat 10th March Professor Ian Ralston OBE gave an illustrated talk on Neolithic times at Doon Hill and Balbirdie in Aberdeenshire. Ian has been a member of the society since he was a school boy and was one of the local volunteers who helped Brian Hope Taylor with his excavation between 1964-6. Hope Taylor had carried out his excavation of Yeavering in Northumberland which he had identified as a palace of Edwin, the 7th century King of Northumbria. Hope Taylor concluded that the building on Doon Hill had been similar in scale and date to that at Yeavering.

The site was stabilised as a tourist attraction and usually referred to as an Anglo-Saxon hall but the dig was not fully written up. This omission caused a lot of local frustration. This interpretation was challenged in 1980 when a similar site was discovered and excavated at Balbridie. It was established that Balbridie had been built about 3800 BC.

Hope Taylor died in 2001 and it was possible thereafter to radiocarbon date some of his artefacts. This established that they dated from c 4000 BC Indicating that the timber halls were more than 4,000 years older than had been thought.

This amazing conclusion was reported in the Times by Norman Hammond that very day. It made us feel that we were at the sharp edge of knowledge. The lecture was followed by some interesting discussion and by some reminiscence going back to 1966.

The next event will be the annual dinner on Friday 20TH April in the Maitland field Hotel Haddington
Stephen Bunyan

Penicuik House

East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society made a visit to Penicuik House and Estate on Saturday 10th September.

Penicuik House was destroyed by Fire in June 1899.When the Society last visited some years ago the house was still largely full of rubble and covered by vegetation.

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Mertoun House

A party of Members and guests of East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society visited Mertoun,near St. Boswells, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland on Saturday 2nd July. They were welcomed by the Duke who outlined the history of the house, which was originally built by Sir William Bruce for Sir William Scott of Harden between 1703-5 and of the art collection. He then conducted the party on a tour of the mansion house. At the conclusion of the tour refreshments were provided. The President thanked The Duke, the Duchess and their staff for what was a most memorable visit.

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