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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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a building there which certainly has not befooled the fine old site. Over the two garden wall doors on the seaside may be found various carvings and scriptural mottoes set up by Mr Ford in 1872.
Who has not heard of the " Land o' Cakes "? This is a two-storied block which stands about the centre of the town on the north side, overlooking the sea. There is a fine warm feeling attached to the name, and in the days that are gone the hungry, no doubt, would be tempted to seek out the place with the expectation of finding something to eat; but it was a place for the drouthy rather. Old Forbes got a license to deal in spirituous liquors here, and he being a man of humour, and his wife a famous baker of oatmeal cakes, he in honour of his better-half's abilities entitled his "public" "The Land o' Cakes." Forbes himself was a salter, and regularly followed out his employment. It is said that he liked a "drap o' his ain stuff," and ilka morning on going in to breakfast he had to get a slockener. If what his guidwife Barbara set down to him was not altogether to his taste, "Babbie," he would say, " that's a puir breakfast this mornin', ye had better gie's a bit glass, I think, to help it." Another morning, if the dish supplied happened to be nice, " Ay, Babbie," he would say, " that's a grand breakfast; I think it deserves a bit glass to keep it company." The "Land o' Cakes" did not only keep a good dram, but it was a " house of credit" too, especially for the salters. There was no bookkeeping, but every penny was chalked down behind the door; and all the chalk marks had to be washed out on the Saturday night, otherwise there were no more drams for the forgetful.
There does not seem to be much of a mystery about " Ringan's Hole" after all. In the years that are gone, a rough-looking block of buildings stood overlooking the beach at this particular spot. The block comprised a famous public-house, owned and held for a great many years by one " Ringan." In those days, as now, the "game of golf" was a very favourite pastime here; so much so, that daily, as soon as the tide went back, the game was wont to be taken up by the golfers along the beach. It must have been a very rough course, but there were quite a number of holes. One of these was cut out directly opposite the public house door; and so it was christened " Ringan's Hole, " and " Ringan's Hole" the spot remains to this day. Mr Gib was the last occupant of a house which stood till recently showing the site of Ringan's block.
About the middle of last century there were no less than twenty-four licensed spirit and ale houses in the parish. Now, with a much larger population, there are seven of these: three are public houses, where the indulger may, if he pleases, sit down and take a dram; and four are licensed grocers, where the drouthie passerby must go outside and take his dram. It looks funny, doesn't it? and why it should be so we can't tell. Langsyne the tippler could gulp it over at once if he were needfu', no matter where he bought it. Oh ! poor despised tippler.
The Castle o' Clouts is a two-storied building a little to the east of Grant's Hotel. To those unacquainted with the locality the name betokens some very old and ready to "topple over" structure; but the name belies the building, because, if not a handsome, it is a sturdy-looking block. This is how it got the name. Auld Tarn Rodger, a jobbing tailor, lived in the upper storey a great many years ago. " Claes ta Clout" was the sign-board he hung over his door, and "Claes ta Clout" was his cry some days as he trudged along the street. In course of time his business increased so much that he was compelled to employ a good many assistants. The clothes he got in to mend were daily hung outside the building, and when any of his customers wished to know if his " claes were clouted, " he just slipped along and cast an eye over the stock as it flaunted in the air. A wag one day on passing inquired at a bystander if this was "a castle o' clouts, " and the Castle o' Clouts it remains.
This old close lies a little to the east of Harlo Hill, on the same side, and it derived its name from Ralstone's old public-house there. On his sign-board stood a piper in gaudy attire,

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