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Origins & History

2nd Millennium Feudalism @ Barony of Prestoungrange

The Barony of Prestoungrange is a feudal landed estate first granted by Robert de Quincy in 1189 to the Monks at Newbattle Abbey. Robert's son Seyer extended the original grant to include rights to coal and quarry working down to the low water mark to the north on the Firth of Forth. That extension enabled Prestoungrange to launch Scotland's first coalmine and create Acheson's ( later known as Morrison's ) Haven as an international harbour by 1526. Potteries and brickmaking and salt panning flourished using the coal and local clays until the mine was finally closed in the 1960s. Today the site of the mine and the potteries and the brickworks and the Haven are known as The Prestoungrange Industrial Heritage Museum.

Generations of Barons
of Prestoungrange have prospered, and sometimes squandered the prosperity which the baronial lands afforded. The Monks passed on ownership to the Kerrs, they to the Morrisons in 1621 who gave their name to the Haven, they in their turn to the Grants and Grant Sutties in 1746. It was Janet, Countess of Hyndford, who commissioned the splendid maps of the baronial lands at the end of the 18th Century, she being the eldest daughter of William Grant. In 1998 the Grant Sutties gave access to the baronial lands on the foreshore of the Firth of Forth to the Park Wills' who took the name Prestoungrange in honour of its traditions and contribution throughout the second millennium since the birth of Jesus.

From the 16th Century until the early 20th Century the Barons of Prestoungrange lived in the mansion of that name, Prestoungrange , to the east of Musselburgh and to the west of Prestonpans - the site of the famous victory of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 over Sir John Cope's Hanoverian army. That mansion remains today as the well preserved home of the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, but one famous piece has been relocated to Merchiston Tower at Napier University Edinburgh. It is the Prestoungrange painted Ceiling dated 1571.

The Barony of Dolphinstoun

The Barony of Dolphinstoun has been held, together with that of Prestoungrange, by the same family since the 17th Century. Whilst it had its own coal mining activities, it has traditionally been and still remains mainly agricultural. It lies south west of Prestoungrange.

The Baron Court of Dolphinstoun has, since 1999, worked in partnership with the Baron Court of Prestoungrange.

3rd Millennium CyberFeudalism @ Barony of Prestoungrange

The dawn of the 3rd Millennium saw Scotland's Parliament meeting again for the first time since it was adjourned in 1707. And one of its first determinations was to end the pattern of feudal land tenure which had continued in Scotland alone within the United Kingdom to the year 2000. Yet there are many values to the feudal system of life that are enduring values, such as the care that good superiors had always been able to show to their vassals. Democracy has no monopoly whatever of goodness in our lives. So the Baron of Prestoungrange has been equally determined to seek to discern a 21st Century definition and role here characterised as CyberFeudalism.

First and foremost some interests and enthusiasms of those who live on the baronial lands as mapped by the Countess of Hyndford are being addressed in feudal fashion. Well intentioned yet certainly not democratic support is being accorded to the work of the Industrial Heritage Museum. For the Year 2000 School resource services to assist new generations of young people who visit the museum to understand and learn from the past have been created on the Internet, and they are encouraged to express themselves through feedback and workshops. The Baron Court of Prestoungrange has been revived to give a structured framework to these and more activities in partnership with the Industrial Heritage Museum. A Virtual Pottery Exhibition has also been created, and a kiln is being reconstructed to produce limited editions of the best of earlier Prestoungrange wares and future facilities for local potters who will create 3rd Millenium Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun collections.

? ?. And Janice McNab, The Scottish artist was invited to create three paintings that captured the essence of Feudalism Past and CyberFeudalism, for the Future. These paintings hang at 21 Beaumont Street, the Oxford rooms of the Baron Court but they are also freely accessible on the Internet and at the Prestoungrange Industrial Heritage Museum. As with all fine art, they tell a story as the artist sees it. The Baron Court is deeply grateful for Janice McNab's care, great skill and enthusiasm in creating them.

For further extensive information on the Baronies origins and history


An Aerial View of the Two Baronies at the end of the 20th century is available.

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