The history of the estate of Keith Marischal has been a topic of dispute for almost two hundred and seventy years. On the 9th February 2019 there will be a joint presentation on the hidden histories of the property. Keith Marischal was the ancestral seat of the Keith family from at least the twelfth century. By the sixteenth century they were described as the richest earls in Scotland, their power centred on the famous Dunnottar Castle near Aberdeen. Keith Marischal remained symbolically important as their ancestry home and for its useful proximity to Edinburgh. The house and barony were sold due to the financial mismanagement of the seventh Earl Marischal in November 1642.
Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson will explore the history of the building over the centuries as the Keiths’ medieval tower developed into a grand Renaissance Palace before parts were gradually demolished. On one side of a courtyard once stood a great hall “which surpassed anything of the kind” 110 feet in extent and 3 stories in height, almost as long as the Great Hall of Stirling Castle. David Affleck, curator of the current Exhibition on The Last of the Hepburns of Smeaton will reveal the work done in the 19th C. to show that while the Hepburns had acquired the estate from the Keiths, the 17th Century Sir Robert Hepburn of Keith who died in 1683 was not descended from the Hepburn of Smeaton line. This is significant as there are families living in Australia who believe that they had an ancestral link with the Hepburns of Keith and through him, the earlier Smeaton line. In addition, the birth name of Sir Robert’s nephew was Congalton. He had adopted the surname of Hepburn as a requirement of his uncle’s will and became an active Jacobite in 1715. Accounts that the Hope family of Hopetoun had acquired Keith Marischal estate before 1715 can now be disproved.
Taken together, the hidden histories of the property and the ownership can now be revealed and will demonstrate the significance of the estate and its Keith and Hepburn owner in this part of East Lothian’s history.
The presentations are part of the winter lecture programme of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalist’s Society and will be held at the Maitlandfield Hotel Haddington on Saturday 9th February at 2.30.
“It’s a grand thing to get leave to live”
writer and journalist, knew Nan Shepherd for 35 years
and now acts as Nan’s literary executor.
on Saturday 10th November 2018 at 2.30pm followed by tea
at the Maintlandfield Hotel, Haddington
Erlend Clouston will relate how and why Nan Shepherd’s photo appears on the new Royal Bank of Scotland £5 note.
Nan Shepherd was born in 1893 and died in 1981. She spent almost all of her life in north east Scotland, close to Aberdeen. This allowed her extraordinary explorations of the natural heritage of the Cairngorms.
He will concentrate on Shepherd’s book “The Living Mountain” which has been acclaimed as one of the classic novels about the Scottish landscape. Whilst this book explores Shepherd’s love of the Cairngorm mountains her insights are applicable to any natural landscape, not least those of East Lothian.
Non members welcome, however a £2 contribution towards costs appreciated
The Annual General Meeting of East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalist Society was held at Westbarns Village Hall on Sunday 20th May 2018.
The President spoke to the Annual Report which had been circulated. He outlined the activities that had taken place during the year. Visits had been made to Fountainhall, St Abb’s nature reserve, Greywalls Hotel Gardens, Torness Power Station, Keith Marischal House and Melville Castle Hotel. A successful day of lectures on EAST LOTHIAN IN THE 19TH CENTURY, was held in September 2017. Three winter lectures were given on; The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry by Arran Johnston; John Knox and his East Lothian Connections, by Professor Jane Dawson; and Doon Hill, an update by Professor Ian Ralston. At the Annual Dinner in April, Mrs Judy Riley spoke on Helen (Countess of Haddington) entitled “The hand that launched a thousand trees”. [The development of the Tyninghame estate].
The president also reported that the transactions of the Society have now been digitised and are available on the re-vamped website. He proposed a vote of thanks to George Robertson and Philip Immirzi who had undertaken this work.
Election of Office bearers
Stephen Bunyan MBE was re-elected as President, and Joy Dodd as Vice President. Sir Hew Hamilton Dalrymple BT GCVO and the Dowager Countess of Wemyss and March as Vice Presidents Emeritus. The posts of Secretary and Treasurer remain vacant. There have been three resignations from the Council and three new members appointed.
The President confirmed that plans for the forthcoming year were well advanced, and thanked all who had contributed to the day, and indeed throughout the year.
Following the meeting, Arran Johnston gave an illustrated talk entitled “ Road to Defeat, General Cope’s march from Dunbar to Prestonpans”. He gave a reassessment of the events preceding the battle, and the subsequent fate of its commanders.
The next event will be on 9th June when the society will visit Stenton Village.
This picture shows Winterfield Park, where John Cope’s army was encamped after disembarking at Dunbar.
The final lecture in the Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society Winter Programme was an illustrated lecture entitled The Rennies of Phantassie It was given in the Church of Prestonkirk on Tuesday 18th March by Joy Dodd to an appreciative audience. Continue reading
East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society completed their programme of the 2010-2011 year with the annual dinner in the Maitlandfield Hotel Haddington on Friday 8th April when Robert Russel gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘ Walking the John Muir Way’ and made his book of the same title available.