Haddington East Lothian Scotland

Haddington was a important town and over the years has been burnt down and flooded on more than one occasion. Haddington originally was in Northumbria up until circa 900 AD when the Border was moved to bring it into Scotland. St Martin’s Kirk in the Nungate was built 1178 which is now the oldest standing building in Haddington. The once Palace of Haddington was abandoned in 1216 when Haddington was burnt by the English invaders. In 1198  King Alexander II of Scotland was born in Haddington. John Knox Protestant reformer was born in Haddington or nearby circa 1510.  Haddington’s new Town Hall was built in 1748 and in 1817 the Waterloo Bridge near the Poldrate Mill was opened. In 1846 Haddington’s railway station opens to the public. linking with Edinburgh and closed in 1949. The twin steel arched Victoria Bridge was built in 1898 and the largest hoard of Roman artefacts (outside Rome) were found on nearby Traprain Hill in 1919 and can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.  In 1965 Haddington was twinned with Aubigny sur Nère in France. Place to see when in Haddington are;

St Martins Kirk Haddington

St Martin’s Kirk was built in 1178. It belonged to the Cistercian Nunnery of St Mary’s which was situated about one mile to the east of this site. The church was probably used by both nuns and the people of Haddington. Originally consisting of a nave and chancel at the east end. Only nave now remains. In the thirteenth century the six buttresses were added to the outer walls to take the weight of a new barrel vault. The area above the vault provided a second storey. The purpose of the square holes in the walls is unclear. Although it is possible that they were used for scaffolding (or the struts that held the upper floor up). Some Time after the reformation the church fell out of use and it is thought, although no visible sign exists. The area surrounding it was used for burials until the nineteenth century. 

 St Martin's Kirk Haddington Inside St Martin's Kirk Haddington St Martin's Kirk Haddington Plaque

Poldrate Mill Haddington

Poldrate Mill in Haddington is a modern mill built 1842 (Poldrate the area) on the site of the medieval Kirk Mill circa 1530 known as the east mill, situated near the Tyne River at the Waterloo Bridge. 

 Poldrate Mill Haddington

Nungate Bridge Haddington

The first bridge built over the River Tyne in Haddington was in 1282. The Nungate Bridge is built on the same site built circa 1560 after the previous bridge was bombarded in the siege in 1548 when most of Haddington burned. The Nungate bridge as its predecessor was the main route from the south into Haddington (now a foot bridge). The bridge was a place many criminals were shacked to with jougs’ iron manacle that went around the neck.  

Nungate Bridge Haddington Jouges

St Mary’s Church Haddington

In 1375 the building of St Mary’s Church began and was completed in 1462. In 1548-9 the church was in ruins due to the siege of Haddington. At John Knox insistence the church was rebuilt in 1561. Further renovations and improvements have been made over the centuries to what you see today. There are many things to see, which include; Lauderdale Aisle, Stain Glass windows depicting;  The Sepulchre, Vision of St John the Divine, Christ and the Woman of Samaria, The Good Woman, The Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John, St Margaret and St Helen Divine Wisdom, The Herald Angel appears to the Shepherds, Christ as the Good Shepherd, Christ and the Woman of Samaria, The Ascension, Christ and the Sea of Galilee, Gethsemane and Emmaus. Jane Welsh Carlyle memorial stone. for more history go to St Mary’s church History/.

St Mary's Church 

 Wemyss Family Plot Haddington

Amisfield House Remains

Charteris family bought a property called Newmills near Haddington in 1713, and renamed it Amisfield. On the land they built Amisfield House in 1755, a classic mansion house with a walled garden, a summer house known as the Banqueting House and stables. All that remains are ruins of the the summerhouse and stables. The gates with Lodges built circa 1720. and the walled garden circa 1786 are still in tact. However, the main house was demolished in 1928. The grounds have been used as Haddington Golf Course since 1865.

Amisfield House East Gate and lodges 

Amisfield House East Gate and Lodges

Amisfield House Stables 1785

Amisfield House Summer House (Banqueting House) 1755

The Summerhouse was used as a banqueting hall and was were the Charteris family would entertain guests. A bowling green was once to the rear of the house with statues surrounding it. Unfortunately a flood of the Tyne in 1775 washed the statues away and destroyed the bowling green.

Amisfield House Do’cot 1766

This is a Gothic style do’cot which would provide the Charteris family with fresh meat. 

Amisfield Walled Garden 1783

Amisfield House walled garden is eight acre, one of the largest walled gardens in Scotland.  The walls of the garden stand at 16 feet(4.9 mtrs) and in each corner are circular pavilions. Note; The ‘Ancient Fraternity of Gardeners of East Lothian’ was established in 1676 the oldest gardeners fraternity known.



Fountain Court Street Haddington

The drinking fountain in Court Street Haddington with a statue of Samson at the apex was originally erected in 1924 and was of the centre peice only with four drinking cups on chains. It was then surrounded by a pond in 1998 and the cups removed.  

  Atlas Drinking Fountain Haddington

Tweeddale Monument Court Street Haddington 1881

Field Marshal George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale born 1787 at Yester House educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and became a full time soldier in 1804 and was awarded many honours throughout his career. On his fathers death in 1804 he became 16th Lord Hay of Yester. Earl of Tweeddale. 8th Marquess of Tweeddale. 8th Earl of Gifford. 8th Viscount of Walden.  He was appointed Knight, Order of the Thistle (K.T.) in 1820 He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Haddingtonshire between 1823 till is death. He became Governor of Madras India in 1842-46 and retired from active service in 1848 when he returned to Yester House. He gained the rank of Field Marshal in 1875.  While at home in Yester House he died of injuries sustained in a fire in 1876. He was honour in 1881 with the monument that stands in Court Street Haddington for his services in both times of war and peace. 

Tweeddale Monument Haddington

The Goats of Haddington

The Goats were sculpted by Dyre Vaa of Norway in 1978 The symbol of the Goat is on the coat of arms and the seal of Haddington thought to have been first adopted in 1296 when there were numerous goat farms in the area.

 Goats of Haddington Sculpture   Goats of Haddington Sculpture

Mercat Cross Haddington

A goat appears on the seal and on the coat of arms of Haddington it also is on the top of the mercat cross where the unicorn stands on most other mercat crosses throughout Scotland. The earliest documentary reference occurs in the reign of William the Lion (1165–1214), when it was decreed that “all merchandises sal be presentit at the mercat and mercat croce of burghis”. As William the Lion was a resident of Haddington, the mercat cross in the High Street could have been the first.

 Mercat Cross Haddington

John Grey Centre Haddington

The John Grey Centre is the library, originally founded by Rev. John grey in 1688 and now is the heritage hub and museum of East Lothian. There is 700 years of manuscripts books and images all relating to the history of East Lothian. The new building opened in 2012 and will be a place of knowledge for the whole of East Lothian. for opening times contact; John Gray Centre, 15 Lodge Street, Haddington, East Lothian, EH41 3DX Tel: Library 01620 820680; Museum 01620 820690; Local History/Archives 01620 820695 Email: jgc@eastlothian.gov.uk  www.johngraycentre.org. 

  John Grey Centre Haddington

Carlyle House Museum Haddington

Jane Welsh was born in Haddington in 1801 daughter of Dr John Welsh. She became one of the great letter writers of her age. She married essayist Thomas Carlyle in 1826.  The  house has been restored and is now the Jane Welsh Carlyle Museum. which tells the life of Jane before and after marriage. 

 Carlyle House Haddington    

Mitchell’s Close Haddington

Mitchell’s Close are 17th century buildings that have survived from the period, a true look back into the past.  

  Mitchell's Close Haddington info board Mitchell's Close Haddington  

Mitchell's Close Haddington Plaque


Royal Palace of King William I Haddington

Alexander II, son of King William I was born in Haddington Palace 1198. In 1214 King John attacked Haddington and burned it to the ground leaving very few buildings. The royal Place was saved but was vacated two years later. The present building is the County Building which was built in 1832 and stands on the site of the medieval palace of King William I remnants and foundations of which were found when excavating to build the county building in 1830. The plaque on the wall reads; This is the site of The Royal Palace occupied by King William the Lion and here his son Alexander II of Scotland was born 24th August 1198.

 Haddington County Building and site of the Royal Palace Haddington Royal Palace plaque

Ferguson Monument Haddington

Robert Ferguson of Raith was born in 1767 he was a landowner with estates in Haddingtonshire and Dysart Burghs. He became a member of parliament in 1835 for East Lothian and was also Lord Lieutenant of Fife in 1837. He after an affair married Lady Elgin of Dirleton. Lord Elgin of Elgin Marbles fame was the husband she divorced. 

 Ferguson Monument Haddington

John Knox Institute Haddington

In 1880 the Knox Memorial Institute to house the grammar school of Haddington was completed with a statue of John Knox in the centre tower. Later to be known as Knox Academy. John Knox a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer was a leader of the country’s Reformation, which in 1572 under James IV approved the reformation settlement of which founded the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1560. John Knox was born in Haddingtonshire in 1513. Other information states he was born in 1505 (Thomas Carlyle).

  John Knox Institute Statue Haddington  John Knox Institute Statue Haddington  

Gifford Gate Birthplace of John Knox

John Knox Birth Place 1515 - 1572

John Knox Tree and House Gifford Gate

John Knox House was at Gifford gate near Haddington opposite the parish church on the far bank of the River Tyne. Thomas Carlyle easiest and historian husband of a local girl Jane Welsh (14 January 1801 – 21 April 1866) a Scottish writer had a tree planted where John Knox house once stood.

The Plaque reads; Near this spot stood the house in which was born John Knox AD 1505. An oak tree was planted on 29th March 1881 at the request of the late Thomas Carlyle. 

John Knox house Gifford Gate  

Lady Kitty’s Doocot and Garden

Lady Kitty’s Doocot was built in 1771.  Named after Lady Catherine Charteris (born 1722) who had a walled garden built in the same period. Lady Charteris was of Francis Charteris, 7th Earl Earl of Wemyss ( Buried in Gosford Estate in a Mausoleum designed after the Great Pyramid at Giza) substantial land owner of Haddingtonshire. They had 6 children and Catherine lived until 1786 (64). The Do’cot was a feature of most wealthy home owners which provided fresh meat in the form of pigeons. 

Lady Kitty's Doocot and Garden

Normandy Garden, Bowling Green & Memorial

The Normandy Memorial in the old bowling green area was erected in 2004. The gardens were once a bowling green which opened in 1749 after moving from its original place in Haddington, where Lawn bowls were first played circa 1660. The area is now a World War II memorial to the Normandy Landings.

 Old Bowling Green Haddington  Normandy Garden World War II Memorial Old Bowling Green and Normandy Garden

Waterloo Bridge

The Waterloo Bridge near the Poldrate Mill was completed in 1817. The foundation stone was laid on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo 1815, hence the naming of the bridge.

 Waterloo Bridge over the River Tyne Haddington

Victoria Tree Haddington

The tree on the side of the River Tyne near Poldrate is one of many trees planted at the time the plaque at the foot of this tree reads; The tree was planted to commemorate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the 28th June 1838.

 Victoria Tree Haddington   Victoria Tree plaque Haddington


Victoria Bridge Haddington

The twin steel arched Victoria Bridge was built in 1898 named to commemorate Queen Victoria’s  diamond jubilee which had taken place in 1897. An excellent early example of a provincial steel arch bridge like the North Bridge in Edinburgh but on a smaller scale. 

  Victoria Bridge Haddington Victoria Bridge plaque Haddington


Haddington Town House 

Haddington Town House was built in 1748 and designed by William Adam Town House steeple had to be replaced in 1831. The bell in the steeple rings each day as a curfew at 10 in the evening and it then rings again at the end of curfew at 7 in the morning. The curfew-bell has rung since 1532. Within the Town House were a council chamber a jail and court and a clock was added to the tower in 1835.

Town House Haddington

Samuel Smiles Haddington

Samuel Smiles was born in Haddington in 1812. He was a government reformer and author of many books including “Self Help” which became a world wide success. He was also the author of  George Stephenson’s biography, the inventor of the locomotive and the modern railways. Self Help was published in 1859 the same year as Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. The plaque where he was born reads; Samuel Smiles, born in Haddington, lived in this house, Author of “Self Help” and other books. He died Kensington 1904.

 Samuel Smiles House Haddington plaque


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