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Welcome to the Prestoungrange Arts Festival

The Prestoungrange Arts Festival has been sponsored by the Baron Courts of Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun, a Scottish Charity, since 1997. It has also received grants from a variety of organisations including the Scottish Arts Council/ Creative Scotland, National Lottery HLF, the Scottish Government, Bord na Gaidhlig, Event Scotland, Awards for All, East Lothian Council and Scotland Unlimited. It seeks in as many ways as possible to share the history and create the future of the town through the Arts. It is based on the extensive and continuing historical research reported at Prestoungrange University Press. The buttons on the left will lead you to the range of festival activities currently in hand.

* 2006 saw the Arts Festival host The Global Murals Association's 6th Biennial Conference

at Prestoungrange and the raising of the Prestoungrange Totem pole

* 2007 saw the definitive Exhibition of Prestonpans Pottery researched and presented by Graeme Cruickshank with a comprehensive accompanying book

* 2009 saw Prestonpans Salt made once again from the sea in partnership with Preston Lodge School and Newbattle Abbey - as 'Cistercian monks' once again came to the Pans

* 2010 saw the design by Andrew Crummy and creation by more than 200 stitchers of the 105 metre Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, telling the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's campaign in 1745 leading to his stunning Victory at Prestonpans in 1745. It has since toured the nation and exhibited in England and France attracting over 125,000 visitors in the first two years.

* 2011 saw the creation by Andrew Hillhouse of four major historical paintings depicting scenes from the Battle of Prestonpans. Andrew subsequently added a fifth and sixth painting to the series.

 [The first four are linked HERE].  A leaflet subsequently captured these and other artworks for an Exhibition at The Prestoungrange Gothenburg [HERE]

* 2012 saw Prestonpans designated a national Creative Place by Creative Scotland as atribute to all that has been achieved since 1997.

2012 also saw the launch of the largest project ever undertaken by the Arts Festival, with additional support from the Scottish Government & Creative Scotland - The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry - inviting 25 countries across the globe to tell their diaspora stories in embroidered panels ready for the Homecoming in 2014.

.... and finally, in the wake of the London Olympics, Tom Ewing completed his mural of Prestonpans Sporting Heroes at the Pennypit - sponsored by the Prestoungrange Gothenburg. A 22pp booklet linked HERE was also published with the athletes full stories.

.... the 'official' unveiling pictures were well reported in the local press.

* 2013 saw the award ['for services to the community in Prestonpans'] of Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [MBE] to Dr Gordon Prestoungrange, who founded and has led the Arts Festival from 1997. A joint article in East Lothian Transactions, May 2013, [LINKED HERE] summarises what had been attempted and achieved.

* 2014 & 2015 were focussed on the largest artwork yet attempted in The Pans - the creation in 34 countries across the world of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. [LINKED HERE] It was ready with an initial 167 panels for the nation's Homecoming 2014 with a premiere in Prestonpans Community Centre on May 31st. Panels continued to flow in and the artwork was finally completed and exhibited with 304 panels in Veere in The Netherlands. Throughout 2014/ 2015 it toured Scotland and England and 2015 saw exhibitions across the Baltic & Western Europe in Bergen, Barga, Picinisco and Paris as well as Veere. The Official Guide is available @ our online Boutique in English and Gaelic, with an APP including these languages plus Italian and French for visitors at exhibitions.

* 2016 saw the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry tour to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA with more than a dozen exhibitions en route i.e. Goolwa, Adelaide, Hobart, Albury, Wangaratta, Sydney, Otago/ Dundein, Winninpeg, Wiscosin, Scarborough/ Toronto, Charlottetown PEI, New Glasgow NS, Montreal Quebec and Iceland. The 2nd Edition of The Murals Trail & Arts Treasures of Prestonpans was published and The Art of Narrative Embroidery.

* 2017 sees the Diaspora Tapestry's final Canadian exhibition in Ottawa for that nation's Sesquicentennial Celebrations, before returning via Iceland for London's 6 weeks exhibition at The Palace of Westminster; then back to Prestonpans, Edinburgh & Crieff for its own 'Scottish' Homecoming with all 304 panels on display + more panels created in schools in partnership with EducationScotland.

The 1722 Waggonway was also interpreted in partnership with the Coastal Regeneration Alliance and Paths for All seeing interpretation Boards and signage installed and archaeology commenced at Cockenzie Harbour.

* 2018 saw both tapestries back in Prestonpans with occasional exhibitions, most successfully in Garioch Heritage Centre near Inverurie. An HLF Grant to help the campaign for a permanent home for the tapestries and a Living History Centre for the Battle Trust was won against the background of new Memorial Tables by Gardiner Molloy on the 1722 Waggonway and a parade of all The Clans that came Out with The Prince in September 1745.

* 2019 saw the Trust agree a Memorandum of Understanding with Hargreaves at Blindwells new town to explore the option to create the Living History Centre there on the Riggonhead Defile. The HLF funds ensured a comprehensive External Audit of the Battle Trust's work since 2006 that led to the PathtoVictory1745 Manifesto and the opportunity to win further NLHF support for the 275th annversary of the battle and 10th anniversary of the Prestonpans Tapestry. A grant from PSG Area Development Group also enabled Tom Ewing to restore a wide range of murals panels across town and to add designation plaques. The Gothenburg flourished once again under the leadership of Michelle and Calum Wilson and PL Chemists took charge of the microbrewery.

Icelandic stitchers gifted five new panels to the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry at a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament.

The Arts Festival's work has been led across the years by a team of Scottish historians and distinguished artists including Andrew Dallmeyer, Annemarie Allan, the late Jim Forster, John Lindsay, Andrew Crummy, Annemarie Allen, Gordon Prestoungerange, Tom Ewing, Adele Conn, Yvonne Murphy, Gillian Hart, Arran Johnston, Sharon Beck and Ed Bethune. But they have at all times been accompanied by volunteer contributors in many other fields e.g. music, song, poetry, theatre, sculpture, pottery, photography and story telling. The Festival has always depended on the services of any and all such artists as care to join the initiative. 'Burriss' Bursary and associated Grants have also been  provided for local artists.

The Arts Festival also works in close partnership with the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Trust which was established in 2006 helping to attract more visitors to The Pans by conserving, interpreting and presenting the Living History of that Battle.From 2016 that success led to a triennial commemoration cycle across the county of East Lothian embracing both Pinkie Cleugh 1547 and Dunbar 1650 under the leadership of the Scottish Battlefields Trust.

The Arts Festival was accepted by Scottish Ministers as a 'Community Right to Buy' enterprise in 2008 as it fought, regretably without success, to save the Auld Fowler's HQ in Prestonpans from demoilition by Lidl.

The Convenor of the Arts Festival Directorate from 2006/ 2016 was Dr. Andrew Crummy. General Secretary & Treasurer was Gillian Hart, both based at The Prestoungrange Gothenburg, 227 High Street, Prestonpans, East Lothian, EH32 9BE Scotland. Telephone (44) (0) 1875 819922. Today enquiries should be directed to Tom Ewing thereat.


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