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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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back turned than the empties were turned out and the full
barrels returned to the store rooms.

Laird Fowler was a hearty old man; he seemed not only to know, and be known, by everybody, but hailed every one in passing in his own familiar way. " One day, " it is told of him, "when Lord Wemyss and Lord Blantyre were passing the brewery, he hailed their lordships very familiarly, got them to dismount, enter, and have a horn of his new brewed beer. "

About the beginning of last century (1827) the proprietor of those gardens towards the east end of the village in which the old draw-well, known as the brewery well, is situate, sent three of his workmen to have the well thoroughly cleaned out. No one knew when this well had been sunk, and no one knew that it had ever been thoroughly cleansed before. Down went two of the men, and the third, Bill Baxter, well known previously as an artful dodger, elected to stay above ground the first day "and row the rubbish up. " About mid-day they " struck oil" in the form of stone jars all apparently chokefull with mud, and seeing that they were not " home made, " the men at the bottom took great care in sending them up entire. All had been sent up but one, and when searching for more, one of the men at the bottom of the well accidentally struck the jar with his spade and broke it, when out tumbled quite a number of foreign silver coins.
The men at the bottom, not wishing to raise any suspicion of what they had discovered, cried up to Bill Baxter to rest himself for an hour or so, " because they had broken a jar and wished to fish its contents out of the water. " " All right, " replied Bill, " and I will take care that nobody gets here to disturb you while engaged in fishing. "
An hour passed. Two hours passed, and only when about another half hour had gone the two men were " rowed " to the top. But there was no Bill Baxter there to welcome them. Bill had learned what the jars contained long before his fellows at the bottom of the well, and engaged a man to make sure that they would not get up till he had time to be out of the way. He hired, and drove into Leith with the jars and contents, and disposed of all of them. He was never again heard
of but once, from America, but he never returned.
The proprietor and the two workmen divided the contents of the broken jar amongst them. They were Dutch silver coins, and all about the size of crown pieces. These coins are well remembered yet in the village, and some as curiosities may still be in keeping of the natives. They were of the 14th or 15th century. But how the jars and contents came to be deposited there is a mystery. The general opinion is that some piratical gang had to do with the business, and had forgotten all about them. This may be so, but perhaps the people in Prestonpans had to do with the piratical gang, otherwise they might not have known there was a brewery well in the garden. Subsequently there was another jar got in the well, filled with coins relating to the Stuart dynasty. Several of them are yet in possession of the proprietors of these grounds. It is quite possible that they were all deposited there for security during the 1745 Rebellion.

The monks of old, according to song and story, were not only brewers of good ale, but loved the " wassail bowl" exceedingly. Tradition has it that along with their coalworks and their saltworks they also went in for ale brewing in the old village. Of the coal, and the salt, we can speak with certainty, but of the ale, there is no record to the fore dating further back than about the year 1756, when it is stated that the brewery " had been long at work, and had enjoyed large fame for the good quality of its ales. "e
What is known as the old brewery, situated to west of Dovecot Gardens, is known to have been built about 1720. Buildings were not erected long ago to last a century and a half only, but many centuries, and this, judging by appearances, may safely be set down as being built a couple of centuries previous to that date. There is little doubt that the monks of Newbattle would engage in brewing ales here.
There were originally three dovecots in these gardens, all within a stonethrow of each other. There are but two now, and one of them is bound partially with iron bands to keep it together. There are no dates on these ancient " dookits, " but their erection may safely be set down at the beginning of the sixteenth century, —about the same period as we would suppose the old brewery to have been erected.
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