East Lothian

Main Street, Gifford
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Main Street, Gifford

A village of East Lothian, Gifford lies on the Gifford Water, 4 miles (6.5 km) south of Haddington. In 1708 Gifford replaced an earlier settlement that once stood close to Yester House near a collegiate church known as Bothans which was founded in 1421. The area has associations with the Gifford family which date from the 12th century, although their estates passed to the Hays by marriage. Given the family name Gifford, the village initially developed in association with textile and paper mills and had two annual fairs. The paper mill, which closed in the 1770s, produced Bank of Scotland notes. Buildings of interest include the Mercat Cross (1780), the Town Hall (1887) and the parish church (1710) which has a 15th-century bell and a 17th-century pulpit. In the church there is a memorial to the Rev. John Witherspoon (1722-94) who was born in the village and emigrated to the United States of America where he became President of the New Jersey College, Princeton, and was a signatory to the American Declaration of Independence. The surrounding area is popular amongst golfers, hill walkers and pony trekkers.

Close to Yester House is a burial vault in what was part of a 13th-century Collegiate Church; the house itself was built by James Smith, while other architects who worked here include William and Robert Adam. The superb rooms include the Saloon. One mile (1.5 km) southeast of Yester House is Yester Castle (13th-century) with its 'rock-hewn chamber' known as Goblin Ha' which featured in Sir Walter Scott's poem Marmion. The Chippendale International School of Furniture is located at Myreside to the north of the village.

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