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Surprises and delights at the museum

The BIG day finally arrived, and all was set for the launch at Prestoungrange Heritage Museum of Burke's Landed Gentry: The Kingdom in Scotland, 19th Edition Volume 1. The marquee was up and the modems installed on time ...

And the delights were many and enormous. BBC Radio Scotland at 9 am, and TV at midday and evening, and Scottish TV. All were there, as were a dozen journalists from newspapers and magazines. The storyline was hijacked much of the time by a Republican MSP who was, reluctantly for him, included as a person of significance, but the word was out and the sales are flowing. With distribution deals nearly 1000 of the print order of 2000 were gone pre-publication; and the web site was selling within 48 hours too. Genealogy and familial concern, rather than old fashioned over-lordship was the message.

By lunchtime the Names in the book were arriving to collect leather bound volumes of 1500 pages many with gold embossed arms on the covers. The first to receive their copy of the publication were Mr & Mrs D Boswell of Aucninleck. A fete atmosphere prevailed with Pipers and Scottish dancers from Edinburgh University where an earlier Lord Prestoungrange had been Rector in his time.

Jane Bonnar had arranged local exhibitions in the marquee as well. The Steamies were inside and on their tracks; the Prestonpans Historical Society was proudly at work led by its President Jim Forster; The Scottish Tartans Society President and the same Officer of the Scottish Heraldry Society were both there. Neighbouring Baron of Tranent and Cockenzie, David Garrison from The USA was there too. So was David Lumsden Baron of Cushnie, who resides at Hamilton House in Prestonpans, representing the 1745 Association and the Royal Stuart Society. Sir Francis Ogilvy and Lady Penelope Ogilvy his mother, from Wintoun House were both welcomed too.

Glenkinchie was there offering tastings of its fine Lowlands Malt which is the Baron Courts' officially appointed whisky; ScotWeb and Electric Scotland were showing their paces with whom there are no end of collaborative alliances in hand.

As the day went along, short cameo talks were given. The Baron of Prestoungrange and Jane Bonnar explained why Prestoungrange, and Peter Dewar explained how he had arrived at the Editorial Selection Criteria. Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, Lord Lyon until early 2001, the office which granted Arms to both Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun, and the Dedicatee of the Volume, explained how he had worked throughout his tenure with the Families listed in the work. Mike Cross, Project Director kept the whole sequence flowing smoothly and explained how the real work was done.

The web site at www.burkes-landed-gentry.com provided online access demonstrating the scope for updates and for imaginative searches, as well as News and Views and Family Home pages. Sarah Powell, the News Editor for the page was there gathering new contacts and storylines. The Website has plenty of pictures of what happened and its own version of the day's news!

Mathew Wills Yr of Prestoungrange and his family were there, and the Baron and Lady of Prestoungrange found time to share the fun with them, and pose for pictures!

By 4 pm it was time to rest and get ready for the Celebratory Diner at Wintoun House for all the staffs who had helped so much make not only the day a great success, but the Volume appear at all. Sir Malcolm Innes was the Guest of Honour as Dedicatee and he expressed his heartfelt thanks for an occasion he frankly had not expected to see - the Landed Gentry back in print with Scotland in the lead.



Pipes and a Scottish harp accompanied the occasion, and Sir Francis Ogilvy proudly gave everyone a tour of his ancestral home with the canapés. Then for a final nightcap of more coffee, ginger thins, Turkish Delight and Brammle liqueur, all were invited to the top floor apartment where the Baron and Lady of Prestoungrange are lodging for the next two years.

"And at 11 PM the coach arrived to take Cinders back to the Travelodge". Tired, yes, but happy and proud.

Published Date: August 1st 2001


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