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 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