Prestonpans East Lothian Scotland
Prestonpans A Small Town with A Large History
Two important battle sites, Battle of Prestonpans and Battle of Pinkie Cleuch, The sixth oldest golf course in the world, a memorial to Robert Burns and the 81 witches that were falsely accused of being witches and were burnt to death. There are many things to see in Prestonpans, the Prestongrange outdoor museum and Café which is across from part of the John Muir Way that follows the coast of East Lothian where seals can be seen in the shallows. A great place to cycle or walk with fantastic views of Edinburgh. With story boards that show how the Harbour once was. The many murals throughout the town showing the towns history of the industries soap, salt, glass, tiles, ceramics and coal mining.
The Hamilton Family of Preston East Lothian
The Hamilton’s have been the land owners of Preston from circa 1380. Circa 1620 Sir John Hamilton of Preston was granted the lands and barony of Preston and Prestonpans by King James VI. Sir Thomas Hamilton was created Lord Binning in 1613 and later in 1627 he became the 1st Earl of Haddington. While his brother Sir John Hamilton (1565 -1644) had a house built in Preston East Lothian in 1628 which he named Hamilton House. In 1663 Preston became a free burgh with the right to hold markets. Sir William Hamilton, 1st baronet, of Preston was born in 1647 and became a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1673. Sr William Alexander first to receive the ownership of Nova Scotia in 1625. Baron The Duke of Hamilton now resides at Lennoxlove House near Haddington.
Inscription above window reads:praise be the lord my | Strenth and my redeimer Above the door J.H K.S 1628 and coat of arms.
Northfield House Prestonpans
Northfield House was built circa 1580 by George Hamilton the first owner and sold to Joseph Marjoribanks. A common stone above the door in these times were the owner’s initials and date normally called a marriage stone. In this case, the stone over the doorway with 1611 and the initials of J.M. (Joseph Marjoribanks) and M.S. (Marion Simpson) and the inscription ‘EXCEP THE LORD BVLD IN WANE BVLDS MAN’. Marjoribanks was a Burgess of Edinburgh. Northfield House has been renovated to a high standard keeping in with traditional furnishings with 7 bedrooms and 3 public rooms and extensive gardens this is a gem for a family home or Guest House.
Northfield House Doo’cot was were the owners of Northfield House would get fresh meat. All the large houses and estates would have a Doo’cot this is a bee hive shaped Doo’cot, where Preston Tower has a Cottage shaped Doo’cot They would take the young pigeons for food as they were the most tender. The pigeons still use the Doo’cot to this day but they are not used as food.
The Gothenburg in Prestonpans built in 1908 still runs under the original Gothenburg Public-house system. Where the majority of the income is given to charity to benefit the community. The system was originally started in Sweden in 1855 to control the consumption of alcohol. The Gothenberg also has a memmorial to the 81 witches falsely accused of witchcraft. The Gothenburg is also home to the Prestonpans Tapestry.
Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Army, Prestonpans 1745
(The Final Jacobite Uprising).
Map of route Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Army marched. Prestonpans to Derby and back to Culloden. September 1745 – April 1746. The beginning of the end of the fight for the throne of Britain for the Young pretender Charles Edward Stuart known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. The battle for the crown began in Prestonpans on 21 September 1745 and ended in Culloden on 16 April 1746 less than 7 months and thousands of deaths with Charles escaping to France where he lived till his death. After Culloden the English troops run riot through Scotland and made the kilt illegal dress and disbanded the clans a dark time in Scottish history.
Black Line shows land coastline Blue Line shows the Sea Purple line shows Jacobite Army route from Prestonpans – Derby Red Line Shows Jacobite Route from Derby – Culloden and the end
Important place on the map and Battles
1 JOHN O GROATS 2 INVERNESS 3 BATTLE OF CULLODEN 1746 4 ABERDEEN 5 FORT WILLIAM 6 BATTLE OF KILLIECRANKIE 1689
7 PERTH 8 SIEGE OF STIRLING CASTLE 1304 9 BATTLE AT STIRLING BRIDGE 1297 10 BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN 1596
11 BATTLE OF FALKIRK 1298 12 EDINBURGH CAPITAL OF SCOTLAND 13 BATTLE OF PINKIE CLEUGH 1547 14 BATTLE OF PRESTONPANS 1745 15 BATTLE OF DUNBAR 1296 16 BATTLE OF FLODDEN FIELD 1513 17 CARLISLE 1745 18 DERBY 1745
19 ISLE OF SKYE BRIDGE ON THE TRENT 1745 20 DUNADD, KILMARTIN FIRST CAPITAL OF SCOTLAND 500 AD
The Battle Flag and Pyramid
The Pyramid marks the area where the Battle of Prestonpans took place in 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie led the Jacobite Army in a triumph over the English. There is a story board at the summit of the Pyramid with the story of the Jacobite uprising and the route to glory and defeat.
At the summit of the pyramid there are plaques with the story-line of the Battle.
The Prestonpans Battle Cairn
Bankton House was originally called Olivestob and built by the Monks of Newbattle circa 1130. The house changed hands over the years, owned by many of the rich and powerful of the time. the Ker’s of Newbattle, Seton’s, Hamilton’s and Colonel James Gardiner purchased the house circa 1730 as his family home. and that is where he died at the end of the Battle of Prestonpans which took place on the lands to the east and north of the house.
The Bankton Doocot is a visitor attraction and once inside the story of James Gardiner of Bankton House will be told.
Colonel James Gardiner’s Obelisk
The Obelisk stands near to Bankton House his family home in Prestonpans. Colonel James Gardiner was one of Sir John Cope’s Dragoon commanders at the battle of Prestonpans in 1745. James Gardiner was born in Carriden West Lothian in 1687 and became a career soldier in the British Army as was his father. He died gallantly due to wound sustained on the 21st of September 1745 at the Battle of Prestonpans, when battling against the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Bankton House was where Colonel Gardiner was taken and subsequently died of his wounds sustained in the battle.
The Thorntree Memorial Stone
The Thorntree Memorial Stone stands in the vicinity of where Colonel Gardiner was to be fatally injured beside a Thorntree. Near to Bankton House can be seen a monument which was erected in 1853 in Colonel Gardiner’s memory. The inscription reads; During the Battle of Prestonpans fought on 21st September 1745 Colonel Gardiner of Bankton was fatally injured beneath a Hawthorn tree in this area. The inscription at the foot of the triangular stone reads; Stone inscription “The Battle was fought between the Jacobite’s” | “Led by Bonnie Prince Charlie and” | “The Gov’t forces led by Johnie Cope”
Prestonpans church was burnt down in 1544 and a new church was built in 1595. The present church was built in 1774 with parts of the previous Church. In the graveyard of Kirk Street in Prestonpans can be seen graves with dates from the 16th century. The tombstone below has an inscription born 1596 he died Feb 25 16 # # on the right and on the left John Hepburn.
Captain John Stuart
The Grave in Prestongrange Churchyard of Captain John Stuart of Phisgul Galloway.
Here lyeth the remains of John Stuart of Phisgul, a Galloway gentleman and Cap in Lessel’s Reg’m’t, a man of true bravery who died honourably in defence of his King and country, and of civil and religious liberty, being barbarously murder’d by four Highlanders near the end of the Battle fought in the field of Preston on the 21st Sept 1745.
Thomas Alexander CB
The Monument to Thomas Alexander CB stands in the gardens in front of Prestongrange Church on the south side of the High Street at Kirk Wynd. Thomas Alexander was born in Prestonpans in May 1812. He was an Army surgeon and took part in many campaigns and became the Director General of the Medical Department of the British Army. His main goals were to see improvements to the conditions the soldiers had to live in, especially during the Crimean war. The memorial was erected in 1862.
Prestonpans Totem Poles
The Totem Pole 32 foot high, that stands across from the Gothenburg was carved from a red cedar tree from Chemainus Vancouver Island British Columbia, Canada. The carvings give a pictorial story of the area and was erected in 2006 when the 6th Global Murals Conference took place in Prestonpans. Halfway up you can see the number 81 in memory of the Witches that were burnt unjustly and then pardoned in 2004. The other 3 Totem poles are caved from a log also given by Chemainus Vancouver Island British Columbia, Canada. and the mural of the Witches Trial can be seen in the play park.
The Prestonpans Murals
The Prestonpans murals show the history of the area and the Murals Trail starts at the Gothenburg and winds its way around the streets of Prestonpans. There are over 30 Murals to see and include John Knox, The Witches Gate, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns Tam O Shanter . There is also a number of things to see in the Burns Memorial Garden.
Robert Burns Memorial Garden
The Robert Burns Memorial Garden and Cairn that commemorates the 200th anniversary of Robert Burns death. The Tam O’Shanter mural can be found inside the Burns Gated shelter, next to the Robert Burns Memorial Cairn, in the Robert Burns memorial Garden.
Robert Burns Memorial Shelter
The writing above the doorway reads “BETTER A WEE BUSH THAN NAE BIELD” The translation is “it is better to have some shelter than no shelter at all”.
Prestonpans Robert Burns Memorial Garden Kinetic Sculpture Leslie Frank Chorley
Prestonpans Old Harbour
The Prestonpans Harbour first known as New Haven was built by the monks of Newbattle Abbey as a shelter to fishermen and their boats in the mid 1500s. The name changed and finally was named after the land owners Morrison. (Morrison’s Haven in Prestongrange). Situated directly across from Prestongrange Museum.
Prestongrange outdoor Museum
The Coal Mine of Prestongrange now a museum has been an important part I the history of not just Prestonpans but Dalkeith and Edinburgh. The monks from Newbattle Abbey were given the charter for the lands and started mining coal circa 1190. With many raw materials around the coast sand, kelp and clay, many industries started here which included brickwork, potteries, glass works and ceramics. The main supply of bricks to build Edinburgh’s New Town were provided from the brickwork which closed in 1975 after over 200 years of brick making. Salt was also refined here giving the name Salt Pans. The monks renamed the area Prieststown circa 1190 previously it was Althammer. seen below a carriage from the railway that transport the coal,
Cornish Beam Engine installed in 1874 and continued working until 1954
Prestonpans Mercat Cross
The Mercat Cross that stands in Prestonpans is the oldest remaining Mercat Cross in its original form and position in Scotland. Five Mercat Cross were built in the early 1600s all to the same design and for the same purpose, to make important civic announcements. Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross is still used for government proclamations that affected all of Scotland. An example, announcements concerning successions to the monarchy and the calling to parliament. There is an entrance to steps which bring you out at a platform where the announcements are read. The Unicorn is the ancient emblem of Scotland and stands at the top of the Mercat Cross.
Preston Tower and Gardens
Preston Tower is no long accessible but can be seen from the beautiful well-kept gardens. The Tower was built in an L-shape in the late 1300s or early 1400s and was the home of the Hamilton’s of Preston. The area around the Tower was once called Preston. Preston Tower has had a unlucky past, the Tower has been burnt 3 times 1544, 1650 and again in 1663 and has been vacant since. In the far corner of the gardens is a do’ cot which is still in use by the local pigeons. There is also a very impressive laburnum arch and well manicured gardens.
Prestonpans Town Hall
The Town Hall opened in 1897 and above the main door can be seen the Prestonpans burgh crest, with the Mercat Cross in the centre, also reliefs of local industries. These included crossed anchor, mining pick and salt shovel, with a sheaf of barley with crossed sickles. Donating Salt panning, Mining, Fishing and Agriculture.
The memorial on the same road to the Prestonpans Battle site is the Shrine, not far from the cairn for the Battle of Prestonpans. The sculpture is of two miners digging for coal in a mine shaft and was created by a local stonemason Gardner. Coal mining was a major industry in the area from circa 1200 to 1964 when the East Lothian mines were closed (Meadowmill and Bellyford).
Prestonpans War Memorial
The memorial of a soldier in the Royal Scots uniform was unveiled in April 1922. The memorial is dedicated to the fallen in World War I and World War II. There is also a bronze plaque Dedicated to the memory of those who laid down their lives in the defence of democracy in Spain between 1936 -1939 with a quote from Byron “they never fail who die in a great cause.” A simple inscription on the memorial reads; “To the glorious memory of the men of this parish who gave their lives for their country 1914-1918, 1939-1945”
The bronze plaque beside Prestonpans War Memorial in High Street Prestonpans reads; ‘Dedicated to the memory of those who laid down their lives in the defence of democracy. Spain 1936 -1939.’ It also includes a quote from the poet Byron: “They never fail who die in a great cause.” 3 men from Prestonpans fought in in the Spanish Civil War one of whom John Gilmour was unfortunately killed in Feb 1937
This is one of many sculptures by Andy Scott the sculptor who created the world famous Kelpies in the Helix Park in Grangemouth
Royal Musselburgh Golf Club
Royal Musselburgh Golf Club play for the Old Club Cup first won in 1774 by Thomas McMillan, which make it the oldest golf club trophy still competitively played for in the world to this day. A golf club was formed in 1760 by a group of local enthusiasts and played over the old Musselburgh course. Royal Musselburgh Golf Club had their first club house at 9 Links Place, now, 9 Balcarres Road Musselburgh. Prestongrange House has a long history and a building has been on the site since circa 1185 when it was known as Newbattle Grange. The Present building has been renovated and extended through 5 centuries and became the home to the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club in 1926.
The North British Railway Tavern was first a dwelling House, an asylum, a soldiers barracks, built 1628 possibly one of the oldest buildings in Prestonpans.