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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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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