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A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Prestonpans, a coast town and parish of W Haddingtonshire. The town, extending ¾ mile south-westward along the shore of the Firth of Forth, is 2½ miles ENE of Musselburgh, 8 E of Edinburgh, 1¾ N W of Tranent, 9¾ W of Haddington, and ¾ N NW of Prestonpans and Tranent station on the North British railway. It is supposed to have become a seat of population for the manufacture of salt so early as the 12th century. The monks of Newbattle, who pushed their trading enterprises in all directions from their property of Prestongrange, appear to have adopted and cherished Prestonpans as the scene of their salt-making operations; and they probably secured for it a rude but abundant prosperity so long as it was under their influence. Even for generations after the Reformation it continued to thrive, and to be a flourishing seat of various sorts of the hardier orders of industry. But chiefly in consequence of the repeal of the salt duty in 1825, the town lost its ancient sources of support, and fell into decay. Its deserted salt-works, some of them contiguous to it, others along the coast, form a rueful feature in the landscape. The masonry in these buildings looks as if it had withstood the buffetings of ages; the woodwork is comparatively fresh and uninjured; and yet the whole aspect is ruinous and forlorn. Numbers of the doors still show brass excise padlocks, bearing the now almost forgotten initials ` G. R.' The town itself, too, has a somewhat decayed appearance. It consists principally of a single street following the line of the beach. A rill runs across the roadway, cutting off from the W end of the street an ugly suburb called Cuittle or Cuthill. The houses have a blackened, time-worn appearance; scarcely any two of them stand in a line; and the whole town, which was so built for defensive purposes, has been described as `zig-zag at both ends and crooked in the middle.' The parish church stands on a rising-ground above the town, and, dating from l595, was partially rebuilt and reseated, with double galleries, in 1774. Within the churchyard there are several interesting memorial stones or tablets over the remains of Lords Cullen, Prestongrange, and Drummore; Captain Stewart of Physgill, who fell in the battle of Prestonpans; a brother of General Roy's; and others. A new Free church was built in 1878; and a new public school in 1881, at a cost of £3000. A monument to Dr Thomas Alexander, C.B., the director-general of the medical department of the British army, was erected in 1862, and consists of a stone statue 8½ feet high, on a square pedestal 6½ feet high, within an enclosure immediately N of the church.

Prestonpans and the neighbouring villages used to supply all the east of Scotland with salt. This part of the coast, owing to the absence of large rivers, is favourably situated for the production of salt; and being in the immediate vicinity of very extensive coal-fields, it possessed great facilities for carrying on a large and lucrative salt-trade. Ten salt-pans belonged to the town, and were capable of producing between 800 and 900 bushels of salt per week; and there were others in the neighbourhood of similar extent. In the five years preceding 1792, the annual average amount of salt delivered in the Prestonpans collection was 83, 471 bushels, about half of which was produced by the town's own pans, while the rest was produced by pans in the vicinity. A race of females known as salt-wives, and second in notoriety only to the fishwives of Fisherrow and Newhaven, used to carry the salt in creels for sale in Edinburgh and other towns. A manufactory of sulphate of soda, and of sulphuric, nitric, and muriatic acids, once employed upwards of 50 men, but has long since been abandoned. Extensive potteries, commenced about the middle of last century, employed about 40 men and upwards of 50 boys; but after the close of the first quarter of the present century, they degenerated into a small manufactory of brown and white ware. Two brick and tile works long sent forth a steady produce of roofing-tiles over the country; but they have been, to a considerable extent, superseded by the works of the Prestongrange Coal and Iron Co., for bricks, tiles, and every description of fireclay goods. The large brewery of Messrs John Fowler & Co. has been long at work, and has enjoyed extensive fame for the good quality of its ales. A soap-work is among the most recent of the town's considerable manufactories; but for years a chief employment and traffic of the town has been the fishing and exportation of oysters. The largest and fattest of the oysters were formerly taken nearest the shore, and have long been in high esteem as Pan-door or Pandore oysters-a name whimsically given them from the oyster-bed lying off the doors of the salt-pans. The oyster-beds of Prestonpans, or `scalps' as they are called, extend about 6 miles into the firth, and rather more than 3 miles from E to W; and in the latter part of last century, they yielded a daily produce to dredgers of from 400 to 600 oysters in the day, which were sent not only to Scottish markets, but to Newcastle, Hull, and London. Now, however, they appear to be much less prolific than then. As the oysters spawn in May, and are in a sickly state till August, the proper dredging season begins on the first day of September and ends on the last day of April, continuing, as it is said, `during the months in which there is an R.' The fishermen, while employed in dredging them, sing a peculiar air, which is said to be of Scandinavian origin, and has a very peculiar and striking effect when borne over the waters by fitful gusts of wind. At the E end of the town, close to the beach, is situated the colliery of Preston Links; which, after half a century s successful working by the Messrs Grieve, was discontinued towards the close of 1884, as being no longer profitable. The commerce of the town, through its port of Morison's Haven, a little way W of Cuthill' was great in the days of its manufacturing prosperity. The harbour, formed under a charter from the monks of Newbattle in 1526, and styled Acheson's Haven, from the name of its original owner, Alexander Acheson, ancester of the Earl of Gosford in the Irish peerage, was once a custom-house port, whose range included all creeks and landing-places between the mouth of the Figgate Burn at Portobello and the mouth of the Tyne near Dunbar; and it had the right of levying customs and the various sorts of dues to the same extent as those exigible at Leith. All the western portions of Preston and Prestonpans towns and the adjacent hamlets are included within the barony of Prestongrange; and all the eastern portions of these towns and the adjacent villas and ancient mansions are within the barony of Preston, whose ancient cross, bearing date 1617, is still a conspicuous central object of interest. The town of Prestonpans is now a police burgh under the General Police and Improvement Act (Scotland) of 1862. It has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and railway telegraph departments, a branch of the Royal Bank, an hotel, and a gas company. Pop. of town (1841) 1659, (1851) 1640, (1861), 1577, (1871) 1790, (1881) 2265, of whom 1069 were females, and 1610 were in the police burgh. Houses (1881) 486 inhabited, 75 vacant.

In 1591 John Fian or Cunningham, schoolmaster at Prestonpans, was tried as one of the North Berwick warlocks, and after suffering the cruelest tortures, was condemned and burnt; in 1661, another schoolmaster here, Andrew Rutherford, was appointed commissioner for trying certain persons accused of witchcraft.

As a boy, Sir Walter Scott resided for some time, in 1777, at Prestonpans, and must have acquired then his minute knowledge of the localities which he afterwards turned to so good account in Waverley.

The battle which was fought on 21 Sept. 1745, between the Jacobite forces under Prince Charles Edward and the Hanoverian forces under Sir John Cope, occurred principally within the parish of Tranent, and is sometimes called the battle of Preston, sometimes the battle of Gladsmuir, but oftener the battle of Prestonpans. Sir John Cope landed his troops and stores at Dunbar on the 16th, 17th' and 18th of September; and, desirous of making all speed to engage the rebels, who were then in possession of Edinburgh, he marched from Dunbar on the 19th, and took post in battle order on the 20th in the eastern vicinity of Preston, his right extending towards the sea at Port-Seaton, and his left towards a morass SE of Preston. Scarcely had he made his dispositions when the whole of the Highland army appeared descending the heights in the direction of Tranent. On approaching Tranent, the Highlanders were received by the King's troops with a vehement shout of defiance, which the Highlanders answered in a similar strain. About two o'clock in the afternoon the Highland army halted on an eminence called Birsley Brae, about ½ mile to the W of Tranent, and formed in order of battle about 1 mile from the royal forces. In the expectation that the Highlanders were advancing by the usual route through Musselburgh and Preston, Cope had taken up the position we have described, with his front to the W; but as soon as he observed the Highlanders on the heights upon his left, he changed his front to the S. This change of position, while it secured Cope better from attack, in the case of defeat was not so well calculated for safety as the first position. On his right was the E wall of a park belonging to Erskine of Grange, which extended a considerable way from N to S, and still farther to the right was the village of Preston. The village of Seaton was on his left, and the village of Cockenzie and the sea in his rear. Almost immediately in front was a deep ditch filled with water, and a strong thick hedge. Farther removed from the front, and between the two armies, was a morass, the ends of which had been drained, and were intersected by numerous cuts; and on the more firm ground at the ends were several small enclosures, with hedges, dry stone-walls, and willow trees. As the Highlanders were in excellent spirits, and eager to close immediately with the enemy, Charles felt very desirous to comply with their wishes; but he soon ascertained that the passage across the morass would be extremely dangerous, if not altogether impracticable.

While his lieutenant-general was, in consequence of this information, planning a different mode of attack, the Prince himself was moving with a great part of his army further off towards Dolphingston on Cope's right. Halting and turning towards Preston Tower, he seemed to threaten that flank of the English general, who, thereupon, returned to his original position with his front to Preston, and his right towards the sea. Lord George Murray, considering that the only practicable mode of attacking Cope was by advancing from the E, now led off part of the army through the village of Tranent, and sent notice to the Prince to follow him with the remainder as quickly as possible. After the Highland army had halted on the fields to the E of Tranent, a council of war was held, at which it was resolved to attack the enemy at break of day. A few piquets were placed around the bivouac, and the Highlanders, having wrapped themselves up in their plaids, lay down on the ground to repose for the night. When Cope observed Charles returning towards Tranent, he resumed his former position with his front to the S; and thus, in a few hours, he was obliged, by the unrestrained evolutions of the Highlanders, to shift his ground no fewer than four times. He now began to perceive that his situation was not so favourable as he had imagined, and that while the insurgents could move about at discretion, select their ground, and choose their time and mode of attack, he was cramped in his own movements and could act only on the defensive. To secure his army from surprise during the night, he placed advanced piquets of horse and foot along the side of the morass, extending nearly as far E as the village of Seaton. He, at the same time, sent his baggage and military chest down to Cockenzie; and as thee night-that of Friday the 20th of September-was very cold, he ordered fires to be kindled along the front of his line, to keep his men warm.

In point of numbers, the army of Cope was rather inferior to that of Charles; but many of the Highlanders were badly armed, and some had no arms at all. The royal forces amounted altogether to about 2300 men; but the number in the field was diminished to 2l00 by the despatch of the baggage-guard to Cockenzie. The order of battle finally formed by Cope along the N side of the morass was as follows: He drew up his foot in one line, in the centre of which were eight companies of Lascelles' regiment, and two of Guise's. On the right were five companies of Lee's regiment, and on the left the regiment of Murray, with a number of recruits for different regiments at home and abroad. Two squadrons of Gardiner's dragoons formed the right wing, and a similar number of Hamilton's composed the left. The remaining squadron of each regiment was placed in the rear of its companions as a reserve. On the left of the army, near the waggon-road from Tranent to Cockenzie, were placed the artillery, consisting of six or seven pieces of cannon and four cohorns under the orders of Lieut. -Colonel Whiteford, and guarded by a company of Lee's regiment, commanded by Captain Cochrane. Besides the regular troops there were some volunteers, consisting principally of small parties of the neighbouring tenantry, headed by their respective landlords.

The Highland army commenced its movement in the morning of the 21st, early enough to allow the whole of it to pass the eastern outlet from the morass before the dawn. It was divided into two successive columns, with an interval between. The Duke of Perth led the first column; and two persons intimately acquainted with the morass went before him to show the way. A little in advance of the van, too, was a select party of 60 men doubly armed, under the command of Macdonald of Glenalladale, major of the regiment of Clanranald, whose appointed duty it was to seize the enemy's baggage. The army proceeded in an easterly direction till near the farm of Ringan-head; and then, turning to the left, they marched in a northerly direction through a small valley which intersects the farm. During the march the strictest silence was kept, not even a whisper was heard; and lest the trampling of horses might discover their advance, the few that were in the army were left behind. The ford or path across the morass was so narrow that the column-which marched three men abreast-had scarcely sufficient standing room; and the ground along it was so soft that many of the men at almost every step were up to the knees in mud. The path in question-which was about 200 paces to the W of the stone bridge afterwards built across Seaton milldam-led to a small wooden bridge thrown over the large ditch which ran through the morass from W to E. This bridge, and the continuation of the path on the N of it, were a little to the E of Cope's left. From ignorance of the existence of this bridge-from oversight, or from a supposition that the marsh was not passable in that quarter-Cope had placed no guards in that direction; so that the Highland army, whose march across could here have been effectually stopped by a handful of men, passed the bridge and cleared the marsh without interruption.

Hitherto the darkness had concealed the march of the Highlanders; but the morning was now about to dawn, and at the time the order to halt was given, some of Cope's piquets, stationed on his left, for the first time heard the tramp of the Highlanders. The Highlanders plainly heard these advanced guards challenge them, `Who is there ?' No answer having been returned, the piquets gave the alarm, and the cry of `Cannons, cannons! Get ready the cannons, cannoniers!' resounded through Cope's left wing. Charles instantly gave directions for attacking Cope before he should have time to change his position by opposing his front to that of the Highland army. As arranged at the council of war on the preceding evening, the army was drawn up in two lines. The first comprised a right wing, commanded by the Duke of Perth, and consisting of the regiments of Clanranald, Keppoch, Glengarry, and Glencoe, under their respective chiefs, and a left wing commanded by Lord George Murray, and consisting of the Camerons of Lochiel under their own chief, and the Stewarts of Appin under Stewart of Ardshiel. The second line, which was to serve as a reserve, consisted of the Athole men, the Robertsons of Strowan, and the Maclauchlans. This body was under the command of Lord Nairne. As soon as Cope received intelligence of the advance of the Highlanders, he gave orders to change his front to the E. Some confusion took place in carrying these orders into execution, from the advanced guards not being able to find out their regiments, and so stationing themselves on the right of Lee's five companies, as to prevent the two squadrons of Gardiner's dragoons, which had been posted on the right of the line, from forming properly. For want of room, the squadron under Colonel Gardiner drew up behind that commanded by Lieut. -Colonel Whitney. In all other respects the disposition of each regiment was the same; but the artillery, which before the change had been on the left, and close to that wing, was now on the right somewhat farther from the line, and in front of Whitney's squadron.

There was now nothing to prevent the armies from coming into collision; and if Cope had had the choice, he could not have selected ground more favourable for the operations of cavalry than that which lay between the two armies. It was a level cultivated field of considerable extent, without bush or tree, and had just been cleared of its crop of grain. But the celerity with which the Highlanders commenced the attack prevented Cope from availing himself of this local advantage. The beams of the rising sun were just beginning to illuminate the horizon; but the mist which still hovered over the cornfields prevented the two armies from seeing each other. As the Highlanders had advanced considerably beyond the main ditch, Lord George Murray was apprehensive that Cope might turn the left flank; and to guard against such a contingency, he desired Lochiel, who was on the extreme left, to order his men in advancing to incline to the left. Lord George then ordered the left wing to advance, and sent an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Perth to request him to put the right in motion. The Highlanders moved with such rapidity that their ranks broke; to recover which, they halted once or twice before closing with the enemy. When Cope, at day-break, observed the first line of the Highland army formed in order of battle, at the distance of 200 paces from his position, he mistook it for bushes; but before it had advanced half-way, the rays of the rising sun bursting through the retiring mist showed the armies to each other.

As the right wing of the Highlanders marched straight forward without attending to the oblique movement of the Camerons to the left, a gap took place in the centre of the line. An attempt was made to fill it up with a second line, which was about fifty paces behind the first; but before this could be accomplished, the left wing, being the first to move, had advanced beyond the right of the line, and was now engaged with the enemy. By inclining to the left, the Camerons gained half the ground originally between them and the main ditch; but this movement brought them up directly opposite to Cope's cannon. On approaching the cannon the Highlanders fired a few shots at the artillery guard, which alarmed the gunners to such a degree that they fled, carrying the powder flasks along with them. To check the advance of the Highlanders, Colonel Whiteford fired off five of the field-pieces with his own hand; but though their left seemed to recoil, they instantly resumed the rapid pace they had set out with. The artillery guard next fired a volley with as little effect. Observing the squadron of dragoons under Whitney advancing to the charge, the Camerons set up a loud shout, rushed past the cannon, and, after firing a few shots at the dragoons, which killed several men, and wounded the lieutenant-colonel, flew on them sword in hand. When assailed, the squadron was reeling to and fro from the fire; and the Highlanders following an order they had received, to strike at the noses of the horses without minding the riders, completed the disorder. In a moment the dragoons wheeled about, rode over the artillery guard, and fled followed by the guard. The Highlanders continuing to push forward without stopping to take prisoners, Colonel Gardiner was ordered to advance with his squadron, and charge the enemy. He accordingly went forward, encouraging his men to stand firm; but this squadron, before it had advanced many paces, experienced a similar reception, and followed the example which the other had just set. After the flight of the dragoons, the Highlanders advanced upon the infantry, who opened a fire from right to left, which went down the line as far as Murray's regiment. They received this volley with a loud huzza, and throwing away their muskets, drew their claymores and rushed upon the foot before they had time to reload their pieces. Confounded by the flight of the dragoons, and the furious onset of the Highlanders, the astonished infantry threw down their arms and took to their heels. Hamilton's dragoons, who were stationed on Cope's left, displayed even greater pusillanimity than their companions; for no sooner did they observe the squadrons on the right give way, than they turned their backs and fled without firing a single shot or drawing a sword. Murray's regiment being thus left alone on the field, fired upon the Macdonalds who were advancing, and also fled. Thus, within a very few minutes after the action had commenced, the whole army of Cope was put to flight. With the exception of their fire, not the slightest resistance was made by horse or foot, and not a single bayonet was stained with blood. Such were the impetuosity and rapidity with which the first line of the Highlanders broke through Cope's ranks, that they left numbers of his men in their rear, who attempted to rally behind them, but, seeing the second line coming up, endeavoured to make their escape. Though the second line was not more than 50 paces behind the first, and was always running as fast as it could to overtake the first line, and near enough never to lose sight of it, yet such was the rapidity with which the battle was gained, that, according to the Chevalier Johnstone, who stood by the side of the Prince in the second line, he could see no other enemy on the field of battle than those who were lying on the ground killed and wounded.

Unfortunately for the royal infantry, the walls of Lord Grange's park enclosures about the village of Preston, which, from the position taken up on the preceding evening, formed their great security on their right, now that these park walls were in their rear, operated as a barrier to their flight. Having disencumbered themselves of their arms to facilitate their escape, they had deprived themselves of their only means of defence; and, driven as they were upon the walls of the enclosures, they would have all perished under the swords of the Highlanders, had not Charles and his officers strenuously exerted themselves to preserve the lives of their discomfited foes. The impetuosity of the attack, however, and the sudden flight of the royal army, allowed little leisure for the exercise of humanity; and before the carnage ceased several hundreds had fallen under the claymores of the Highlanders, and the ruthless scythes of the Macgregors. Armed with these deadly weapons, which were sharpened and fixed to poles from 7 to 8 feet long, to supply the place of other arms, this party mowed down the affrighted enemy, cut off the legs of the horses, and severed, it is said, the bodies of their riders in twain. Of the infantry of the royal army, only about 170 escaped. From a report made by their own sergeants and corporals, by order of Lord George Murray, between 1600 and 1700 prisoners, foot and cavalry, fell into the hands of the Highlanders, including about 70 officers. In this number were comprehended the baggage guard stationed at Cockenzie, amounting to 300 men, who, on learning the fate of the main body and the loss of their cannon, surrendered to the Camerons. The cannon and all the baggage of the royal army, together with the military chest, containing £4000, fell into the hands of the victors. The greater part of the dragoons escaped by the two roads at the extremities of the park wall, one of which passed by Colonel Gardiner's house in the rear of their right, and the other on their left, to the N of Preston House. In retiring towards these outlets, the dragoons, at the entreaties of their officers, halted once or twice, and faced about to meet the enemy; but as soon as the Highlanders came up and fired at them, they wheeled about and fled. Cope, who was by no means deficient in personal courage, assisted by the Earls of Home and Loudon, collected about 450 of the panic-struck dragoons on the W side of the village of Preston, and attempted to lead them back to the charge; but no entreaties could induce these cowards to advance, and the whistling of a few bullets, discharged by some Highlanders near the village, so alarmed them that they instantly scampered off in a southerly direction, screening their heads behind their horses' necks to avoid the bullets of the Highlanders. The general had no alternative but to gallop off with his men. He that night reached Coldstream, a town about 40 miles from the field of battle, and entered Berwick next day.

Among six of Cope's officers who were killed was Colonel James Gardiner (1688-1745), a veteran soldier who served under the Duke of Marlborough, and whose character combined a strong religious feeling with the most undaunted courage. He had been decidedly opposed to the defensive system of Cope on the preceding evening, and had counselled the general not to lose a moment in attacking the Highlanders; but his advice was disregarded. Anticipating the fate which awaited him, he spent the greater part of the night in devotion, and resolved at all hazards to perform his duty. He was wounded at the first onset at the head of his dragoons; but disdaining to follow them in their retreat, he joined a small body of foot, which attempted to rally not far from the wall of his own garden, and while fighting at their head was cut down by the murderous Lochaber axe of a Macgregor. He was carried to the manse of Tranent in almost a lifeless state, where he expired within a few hours, and was interred in the NW corner of the church of Tranent. Captain Brymer, of Lee's regiment, who appears to have participated in Gardiner's opinion as to attacking the Highlanders, met a similar fate, as did also Captain Stewart of Physgill, over whose grave in Prestonpans kirkyard there is still visible, though partially weather-worn, an interesting memorial tablet. The loss on the side of the Highlanders was trifling. Four officers, and between 30 and 40 privates, were killed; and 5 or 6 officers, and between 70 and 80 privates, wounded. After the termination of the fight, the field of battle presented an appalling spectacle, rarely exhibited in the most bloody conflicts. As almost all the slain were cut down by the broadsword and the scythe, the ground was strewed with legs, arms, hands, noses, and mutilated bodies, while, from the deep gashes inflicted by these dreadful weapons, the ground was - literally soaked with gore. See, besides works cited under Culloden, Mr P. M `Neill's Tranent and its Surroundings (2d ed., Edinb. 1884) and the Autobiography of Alexander Carlyle, D.D. (1722-1805), who was a son of the minister of Prestonpans, beheld the Jacobite victory from the top of the church steeple, and himself for 57 years was minister of Inveresk.

The small but populous parish of Prestonpans, containing also the villages of Preston and Doliphingston, is bounded E and SE by Tranent, SW by Tranent and by Inveresk in Edinburghshire, NW by the Firth of Forth. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 25/8 miles; its breadth varies between 3 furlongs and 1¼ mile; and its area is 1429 ½ acres, of which 135¼ are foreshore. The surface rises- gently from the shore, attaining 100 feet above sea-level at the railway station, and 200 at the Tranent border. The beach is low and sandy, with a bulwark of low reefs, much shattered and water-worn along its margin; and it commands a picturesque prospect of the Firth of Forth and the southern parts of Fife. Ravenshaugh Burn runs along the boundary with Edinburghshire. The rocks belong mainly to the Carboniferous Limestone series; and coal was wrought in this parish as early perhaps as in any district in Scotland, and continues still to be largely worked, the recent growth of the population being -due to an increase in mining activity. Ironstone and fireclay also occur, and are turned to profitable account in connection with the mining operations. The prevailing soil is loam, partly heavy on a clay bottom, partly light on a sandy or gravelly bottom. Upwards of 1000 acres are under cultivation. The chief mansions, both noticed separately, are Prestongrange and Drumore; and 4 proprietors hold each an annual value of more than £500, 4 of between £100 and £500. Prestonpans is in the presbytery of Haddington and the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living was, in 1873, estimated to be worth £543. The original name of a hamlet near by was Aldhammer; but this early gave way to Priestistoun or Prieststown, which was gradually abbreviated into Preston; and that (which was the name under which the district was erected into a parish by act of parliament in 1606) was, in its turn, superseded by successively Salt-Preston and Prestonpans. An ancient chapel, which was situated at Preston, and which was a vicarage of the monks of Holyrood, in 1544 was burned, in common with the town and castle of Preston, by the Earl of Hertford, and never afterwards repaired. Another ancient chapel, situated within what is now the West Kirkyard, towards the W end of the town of Prestonpans, was in pre-Reformation times supplied by the monks of Newbattle, who were then the owners of most of the property in that quarter, but, excepting old stones built into the walls, no trace of it remains. The inhabitants of the two baronies, the eastern and western, or Preston and Prestongrange, into which the parish was distributed, seem, for a time after the monastic services were discontinued, to have tacitly attached themselves to Tranent; but were quite unduly provided for, and could obtain but limited access to the interior of the church. Mr John Davidson (1550-1604), who was minister for the last eight years of his life, at length built, largely at his own expense, a church and a manse in the village of Prestonpans, to which a glebe, garden, and stipend were attached by George Hamilton of Preston; and he also founded here a school for the teaching of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, and endowed it with all his property, free, movable, and heritable. The grammarian, Alexander Hume, was its first master from 1606 till 1616. In 1595 the General Assembly declared Prestonpans to be a parish quoad sacra, and in 1606 the parliament of Perth ` erected the said newly-built kirk into a parish kirk, which was to be called the parish kirk of Preston.' The public school, erected under the Education Act of 1873, with accommodation for 400 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 341, and a grant of £298, 7s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £8194, (1885) £11, 798, 14s. Pop. (1801) 1964, (1831) 2322, (1861) 2080, (1871) 2069, (1881) 2573.—Ord. Sur., shs. 33, 32, 1863-57.

Preston, a village in Prestonpans parish, Haddingtonshire, ½ mile S by E of the town of Prestonpans, and near Prestonpans station on the North British railway. It got its name from being a priests' town of the monks of Holyrood and of Newbattle, both of which fraternities had lands adjoining it; and, with Prestonpans, it figures prominently in traditional tales respecting their character and mercantile achievements. Both its relation to the monks, and its position on the great road of a former period, occasioned it to be frequently visited by the Scottish princes. It was formerly noted also for a fair, held on the second Thursday of October, and called St Jerome's Fair. The chapmen or travelling merchants of the Lothians bad, at a period when their craft was one of no small importance to the country, formed themselves into a regular guild; and they annually attended this fair to elect their officebearers for the following year. In a garden at the side of the road, near the E end of the village, stands, in the centre of what till last century formed a large open square, an elegant cross (1617), to the privilege of holding their annual meetings at which they laid claim-a stone pillar about 15 feet high, surmounting a small octagonal erection 9 feet in height. Till a comparatively recent date a social fraternity, styled the Chapmen of the Lothians, and chiefly composed of Edinburgh citizens, has been in the way of annually giving an imaginary report of their extensive transactions; and more than once has the present minister of Prestonpans, since his election as their honorary chaplain forty years ago, heard this report with facetious accompaniments given from the cross by one of the magistrates or other civic dignitary of the metropolis.

N of the village stands, in a ruinous condition, a venerable tower which Sir Walter Scott supposed to have been originally a fortalice of the Earls of Home, when they bore an almost princely sway over the SE of Scotland, and which, for a long time after the close of the 14th century, when the circumjacent barony came by marriage into the possession of the Hamiltons of Fingalton and Ross, was the seat of that family, the principal one of their name, and afterwards called the Hamiltons of Preston. The seat or castle, of which the ruined tower is but a vestige, was burned by the Earl of Hertford in 1544, by Cromwell in 1650, and by accident in 1663, and was then abandoned. The Hamiltons are represented by Sir William Hamilton, Bart., whose father, Sir William (1791-1856), the learned Professor of Logic, reacquired the ruined tower and the garden around it in the early part of the present century. Figuring in history as staunch partisans of the cause of civil and religious liberty, they afforded marked protection to Mr John Davidson, the eminent confessor and `Scottish worthy;' and, in the stirring times of the ecclesiastico-civil war, Robert Hamilton, the brother of Sir William of Preston, led the Presbyterians in the actions of Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge.

To the E of the cross, and within the enclosure surrounding what was, till lately, Dr Schaw's (now Miss Murray's) Hospital, are the remains of the ancient manorial residence of Lord Grange, whose wife, by his connivance, was carried off and clandestinely confined for years in the island of St Kilda. This, `Preston House,, was built after the Hamiltons had abandoned the `venerable tower,' and was never occupied by any of them. What remained of the estate of Preston after the Revolution was, owing to the representative of the Hamilton family declining to take the oaths to the Revolution sovereigns, transferred to a nephew of Hamilton, under a private arrangement for redemption should a covenanted sovereign come to the throne. It was for this nephew, Sir James Oswald, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, or his son who shortly thereafter succeeded him as laird, that Preston House was erected. The estate, however, beginning heavily burdened, the whole was, shortly after the beginning of the 18th century, disposed of, and coming before 1715 into Lord Grange's hand he made up titles to it on purchasing the various bonds, and he occupied the house in that year, when his elder brother, the Earl of Mar, was heading the rebellion. After Lord Grange's time it had a succession of owners, till acquired by Dr James Schaw before 1780, and occupied by him till his death, when by his will it was destined for the accommodation, maintenance, and education of poor boys. It was thus used till 1832, when a new and commodious house, in the old English style, was built, at a cost of nearly £3000, within the park near by. And this again, the Schaw funds being otherwise appropriated in 1881 under the Endowed Hospitals Act, has been recently rented by Miss Murray's trustees for the charitable upbringing and training of girls for domestic service, of whom there are already 40 in the institution.—Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 1863.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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