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                          

A subscription library, supported by such public-spirited gentlemen as Messrs Mellis, White, Belfield, Hume of Preston, etc., flourished for a considerable number of years in the village, but the subscribers beginning to fall off, and the Garibaldian struggle for freedom being at its height, it was unanimously resolved to sell off and assist the Garibaldians, and some £20 through this means was handed over to the Garibaldian Patriotic Fund.
On the 4th of May 1868 very riotous proceedings prevailed in Prestonpans. It was altogether a ridiculous affair, brought about indeed by the election of certain burgh commissioners, and those who took an active part laugh heartily now over the folly of it. An instrumental band was engaged for the procession of the rebellious subjects, and the banners the processionists displayed told their own tale, "No Taxes, " "Down with Tyranny, " "No Commissioners, " "Seamen never feared a Storm, " " Britons never shall be Slaves. "
It was, in fact, neither more nor less than an election of burgh commissioners, when certain gentlemen wished to win a seat on the board whom certain electors and non-electors wished to keep out. There were no broken heads going, but no end of feeling displayed.
The rebellious party not only held the "crown o' th' causey, " but gained their point; but, to the consternation of all concerned, by midnight next evening, some fifteen, mostly youths, were conveyed to Haddington and lodged in a place with a nasty name. After five nights' lodgings, bail was accepted of from £10 to £20 each, and all got home. The case was tried by jury. But acrimony had given place to a very different feeling on both sides, and this had much to do, alike with judge and jury, in bringing the case to a most satisfactory conclusionódismissal.

B. Fanjas Saint-Fond, Professor of Geology in the Museum of Natural History at Paris, thus writes in his "Travels in England, Scotland, and the Hebrides, " published in 1779: ó

" I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting in one of the streets of Edinburgh, a learned German whom I had seen some years before in Paris... It was Dr Swediaur, a physician who had long resided at London.
" He told me that, wishing to enjoy a little repose, and to amuse himself with the chymical arts, in which he was deeply skilled, he had quitted the capital of England, and had purchased an estate about five [9] miles from Edinburgh, in the village of Prestonpans, and by the sea-coast, where he intended to establish a manufacture of sea-salt, principally with a view to separate the mineral alkali from the muriatic acid.
" He begged that I would go to see the works which he had begun to construct, and as I had but a short time to remain at Edinburgh, it was agreed that I should go to dine at his house the next day.
" Prestonpans is very advantageously situated for the establishing of manufactures; the proximity of the sea, and the abundance of pit-coal found in the neighbouring mines, render it extremely convenient for this purpose. The coal of the place, which is the same as that used at Edinburgh, has the merited reputation of being of an excellent quality. It burns with a vivid, bright, aad long continued flame: its cinder is grey and light. The only fault found with it is, that it is consumed a little quicker than the Newcastle coal; but I should prefer the Edinburgh coal to that of Newcastle; I do not know any that makes a more agreeable fire.
"Swediaur showed me at Prestonpans the seat of the greatest manufactory of the oil of vitriol in Britain. I say the seat only, because the whole of the place is surrounded with a very high wall, which does not permit the eye to discover even the chimney tops of the works. A small harbour has been contrived to admit the vessels which bring the sulphur; but everything is so carefully enveloped in mystery that the harbour itself is surrounded with walls of a great height. All is concealed in this manufactory, and none can enter but the persons in employment. The only thing known is that the oil of vitriol (sulphuric acid) which it produces, forms an article of very extensive commerce. I do not suppose, however, that the processes employed here can differ much from those which are generally known, and which consist in burning the sulphur in chambers lined with lead. The suffocating smell perceived at a distance seems to announce that they are the same. But they may have some processes here for rectification or other purposes which they are desirous of concealing.
Back to top