Church at Gifford
East Lothian Villages

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As the title dictates East Lothian is sited to the East of the City of Edinburgh and is largely rural with a vast farming ability coupled with fishing from many of the small ports that dot its coast line. East Lothian has many attractive towns and villages. Below a few of them are mentioned with a brief history and links to other sites to enlarge on that history and other details. They have been chosen for no other reason that in my view they have some thing to offer the tourist or the visitor who is in the area. It is purely academic. At the bottom of the page a complete list of the remainder of the villages and a link to further information has been inserted. The photograph of the church above is in the village church of Gifford


The County town of East Lothian and a Royal Burgh since the reign of David I. In 1139 his son Earl Henry married Ada de Warenne and the town was granted to her. It was the birth place of their grandson Alexander II. Since it's conception the town has been destroyed by the English on three occasion in the 13th century. Again in 1356 it was destroyed by the English in a episode that became known as the Burnt Candlemass. But the Lamp of the Lothians as the town was nicked named rebuilt itself. On the 7th July 1548 the Treaty of Haddington was signed between the French and the Scots. Amongst other agreements this confirmed the betrothal between the Dauphin of France and Queen Mary, with a promise of French help in driving the English out of Scotland. The town reaped it's rewards from the early 18th century when it became the most important grain market in Scotland and a staging post on the road between Edinburgh and Newcastle and of course lies just of the main A1 road between Edinburgh and London. The town was thought to be the birth place of John Knox who was considered to be the founder of Presbyterian denomination. It was also the birth place of Samuel Smiles and Jane Welsh Carlyle. As stated elsewhere in this web site Haddington was described as "not as the County Town but as the "Metropolis" of East Lothian....misfortunes it had aplenty....faults...apparantly none. Find out for yourself.


Musselburgh Race Course The town of Musselburgh until the recent past was part of Midlothian, and was originally named Eskmouth. It lays claim to being one of Scotland's oldest towns and was settled by the Romans sometime around 80AD. The bridge they built was the main access to Scotland's capital for the next two thousand years. The new bridge was built by John Rennie in 1806. It was named Musselburgh about 1200 owning to presence of large mussel beds lying of the shore. The towns motto "The honest toon" was reputed to have been awarded to the towns citizens after they disclaimed any reward for honouring the body of the Regent of Scotland, Randolph the Earl of Moray who died there in 1332. His uncle was Robert I. It became a Royal Burgh in 1632. The main industry was fishing and the harbour at Fisherrow berthed boats trading with Holland and Norway. The towns Tollbooth was built in 1590 using the stones from a Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lorreto which was destroyed by the English in 1544. Musselburgh Links are reputed to be the oldest golf course still in use in the world. It was used as long ago by James IV in 1504 and from 1836 to 1891 was the home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The photograph on the left shows the entrance to the Links and is now contained within the tracks of the racecourse. It is of course closed on race day. Pinkie House near the High Street dates from the 16th century. The original tower being built by the Abbot of Dunfermline. The racecourse as previously mentioned was opened in 1817 and now play an important part as a venue for the race horse industry within the United Kingdom, and around two dozen meetings are held there every year. Today Musselburgh has a population of just over 22,000. It is a thriving community with a history dating back to the Romans. Like most modern towns it has good amenities.


Statue in DunbarDunbar has been from the 12th century an important fishing port and still is. It has been a Royal Burgh since 1445 and its place in both historic value and its geographic position both in Scottish and United Kingdom terms is equal to that of any small town or village. It certainly has a colourful and violent history. In 1294 Edward I of England demanded that John Balliol (empty coat) supply him with Scottish troops to fight in France. Balliol was forced to refuse and renounce his alliance with England. In response Edward sent a army north and on the 27th April 1296 confronted the Scottish army at Dunbar. In 1338 Agnes, Countess of Dunbar known as Black Agnes successfully defended Dunbar Castle during a six month siege by the Earl of Salisbury and Arundel. In January 1649 on the death of Charles I the Scots proclaimed Charles II as king. Owing to the political landscape of the time involving Oliver Cromwell the second battle of Dunbar took place in 1650. The town prospered during the 18th century being one of the major herring ports. The Tollbooth in the High Street dates from around 1650 while the nearby Lauderdale House was built around 1740 by Captain James Fall MP. It was then purchased The Duke of Lauderdale who commissioned Robert Adams to alter the house in 1788. Dunbar is also the birthplace of John Muir the founder of the American National Parks. The photograph on the left is the John Muir statue sited in the High Street. Dunbar is now a popular holiday resort and boasts it is the hottest and driest place in Scotland. I am sure there are those around who will dispute that. But find out for yourself.