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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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stands a piece of yellowish sandstone in pyramidal form; this is about eighteen inches broad at the base and about eighteen inches in height, running to a narrow point at top. There seems to have been a deal of labour spent on this, which may be termed the chief stone, the chiseling evidently having been attended to with great care. In the first place, it has been "cut out" all round about an inch in depth, leaving a border about an inch in breadth, the central part being cut out several inches deeper. Crowning all, and directly on the point of the pyramid, is a crescent, its horns pointing skywards.
There is other sculptured work in the dyke, but no more of the same yellowish sandstone; while the foundation stones of the dyke at this point are large hewn blocks, which had evidently been used previously for a very different purpose.
The memorial slabs have an aged appearance compared with their surroundings, and this has called attention to them previously.
The late Dr Struthers, half a century ago, examined the stones. He expressed no opinion as to their being there; but the inscription we give elsewhere is said to have been copied by him. Part of the original inscription may still be found there, but it will he found difficult to decipher.
The late Mr J. F. Hislop, another antiquarian of standing in the district, tried also to unravel the mystery, but without success.
It seems to us that this dyke, which is a mutual wall between the Northfield and Castlepark lands, must have been built by old Laird Fowler, laird of Wygtrig, and the proprietor of Northfield at that period, with stones taken from Katie Herrin's close, for there may be found blocks of the very same sort, the whole of which, including the memorial stone, may have belonged to the original church of Preston.
Another very interesting relic of the past is that large flat stone and pillar, already referred to, which stands a few paces eastward of the ancient cross. It has a history of its own, and has survived many trials. That it did not always occupy its present site we know. That it is older than the adjoining cross seems evident; that it had witnessed many furious forays around, and countless midnight raids to and from old Preston Tower during the early centuries, need scarcely be questioned. It scents so much of antiquity.

It occupied a different site in these gardens during Lord Grange's occupancy, and it is supposed that his lordship, or a predecessor, had it conveyed thence from the ruins of the ancient church; but when Howieson became tenant, about the beginning of last century, he had it and several other pieces of antiquity cleared out to make space for his cabbages.
During the late Mr Wright's tenancy the large flat stone turned up again deeply imbedded among nettles, while the handsome pillar which had previously supported it was found humbly supporting an old cart shed. The present tenant, Mr John Wright, had them brought together again. The circular stones forming the pillar are three in number—the upper one has been much under the hands of the sculptor. It is eighteen inches deep and seventy-two inches in circumference. It is encircled with a beautiful floral wreath, and four shields had originally found a place on it. Three of these are all but defaced, the fourth yet shows six stars, —one at the top, two on each side, and one at the bottom. The grand old stone on the summit is quite one hundred inches in circumference, and in substance an exceedingly hard white sandstone. It may have been the pedestal for a baptismal font in the ancient church, as suggested by some. It does not seem to have figured as a sun-dial, as suggested by others. We are inclined to think, with our old friend Mr Thomas Reekie of Leith and Prestonpans, that it had served in its day as one of the central pillars of a double arch in the ancient church at Preston.

Preston gave the title of Viscount to the Barons Graham of Esk, a title which became extinct in 1739 at the decease of Charles the third Viscount.

There was wont to be two market days weekly at the village of Preston. These were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and all business was transacted in the immediate neighbourhood of the cross, around which was a great open space. Latterly the markets were held on Fridays only; but they ceased altogether, like those of the surrounding villages, about the middle of last century.
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