Origins & History

Heritage & Museum

Clan Court & Household

University Press


Golfing Delights


Court Records

Picture Gallery

Manor of Milton Malsor
East Lodge Prestonpans
Laird of Glencairn

Shop Online

News & Email

Site News

Prestonpans and Vicinity

Cover Contents 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
28 30 32 33 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64
66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 81 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 102
104 106 108 110 112 114 116 118 120 122 124 126 128 130 132 134 136 138 140 142
144 146 148 150 152 154 156 158 160 162 164 166 168 170 172 174 176 177 178 180
182 184 186 188 190 192 194 196 198 200 201 202 204 206 208 209 210 212 214 216
218 220 222 224 226 228 229 230 232 234 236 238 240 242 244 246 248 249 250 252
254 256 257 258 259 260 261                          

his visits there his people had cause to remember. After thundering at the door for a while with his staff he finished up shouting loudly, ''What? four o'clock! a summer morning, and everyone asleep here yet!" Mr John Taylor was kirk treasurer under William Carlyle at Prestonpans. John Taylor greatly improved this farm at his own expense. His son Alexander, and his daughter Isabella, resided for a time regularly at West Seton. Isabella married Dr William Brown, son of the famous divine, scholar, and author, Dr John Brown, of Haddington.
Dr William Brown was also an author. He revised his father's " Dictionary of the Bible, " wrote the " History of Missions, " and several other works. He was also author of that charming little book for children, " Brown's Catechism. "
He had four sons, all talented. Dr John Taylor Brown, the eldest, still survives. (He has died since this note was written. ) As an author he has written much in his day, and on various themes. His style is refined and pleasing. His second son was Mr William Brown above referred to. The younger brothers, Dr Alexander Brown and Dr Robert Brown, were young men of great promise in the medical profession, but both died at an early age.
We may also here mention the name of James Banks, brother to Mrs Alexander Taylor, of Prestonpans, because of his incessant efforts in the "anti-slavery cause. " When young he visited British Honduras and the Southern States of America, and being deeply impressed by the horrors of slavery, he tried by visiting these places to influence the public against the traffic in human beings. He also took a deal of trouble to ascertain if cotton could be grown by free labour on the west of Africa and in the British Colonies.
Obtaining specimens of cotton there grown he tried to interest the Manchester merchants in his plans, but the chief response he got was, " We wish cheap cotton, and we do not care how it is grown; " but when the war broke out between the Northern and Southern States of America, and cotton rose to a fearful price, it is said they expressed regret then that they had not taken the advice of Mr Banks. James Banks wrote a metrical version of the Psalms, which has not been published.
Alexander Taylor, the only surviving son of John Taylor, married Miss Banks, whose kindness of heart and gentleness are still well remembered in the district. He was a worthy son of a worthy father, inheriting his deep religious feeling

and strict integrity. He was a kind master, friend, husband, and father. He had five sons, and of these there are: —
John Banks Taylor, who retains the lands held by his father, but resides at the farm of Seton West Mains, a good man and true, and strongly in favour of temperance. He has conducted the farm for well-nigh half a century, and a single glance over the highly cultivated lands shows the untiring efforts in welldoing of this long-time tenant of the Earl of Wemyss.
Alexander, always of a mercantile turn of mind, after being in business for some years in Egypt returned to the home and the haunts of his early days, interesting himself in the welfare of those around him. He has done a little good literary work.
William, who was for many years in South Africa, and was happily married there, now resides an esteemed townsman in Prestonpans, from whence he has sent forth three sons, all of whom have taken an active part in the Transvaal War.
James, the fourth son, had an honourable mercantile career, and became the presiding partner of an eminent firm in Hong-Kong; and as a member of its legislative council, he exerted himself to put down the gambling practices which so evilly affected more especially the natives of the place, and in this was very successful. During his stay there he, along with the other honourable members of the legislature had the honour of welcoming Prince Alfred on his visit to Hong-Kong, which was brilliantly illuminated for the occasion. On his return to England he was one of the first to propose, and with other friends to found, the Chair of Chinese Classics at Oxford. His death took place at New York, 31st January 1884, causing deep regret to a large circle of friends.
Robert, fifth son, " the youngest and most cared for of all, " after a very bright but brief career now rests in far off South Africa.
There are also two sisters, Misses Margaret and Mary, and ladies more gentle in manner and kindly in disposition it would be difficult to find. One of their chief aims in life seems to be, how to do most for suffering humanity around them. One of the sisters has published—for private circulation only— a little volume of poetic gems, some of which deserve to be better known, and will be. The other is author of "A Noble Life, " a memoir of one of the brothers above referred to.
Lord Fountainhall at one time occupied that house now occupied by Mr Bryce, bootmaker, east of Ayres Wynd.
Back to top