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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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feet from the base, the diminutive building is actually surrounded with what the observer at first sight takes to be vicious looking pieces of artillery, ready to blaze away alike on friend or foe, but on closer inspection these turn out to be very peaceable gargoyles. They are eight in number, and very peaceable indeed, for most of them have their mouths gagged. Some of them it is evident, from the fineness of the workmanship, belonged to the original building; others have been restored. Another six feet or so above the gargoyles brings us to the summit of this octagonal building. Thus we have a height in all, from base to parapet, of fifteen feet to a nearness. There is a touch of carved work over each of the gargoyles.
Towards the west side there is a wicket gate, showing a dungeon on a small scale. There are no windows to give light to it, and we have no evidence to show what it was meant for, or that a refractory person was ever incarcerated there.
The circumference of the building is about forty feet.
Towards the eastern side is the entrance to the top. That a very strong door had hung here in former times to debar intruders is evident from the powerful iron sockets still fixed in the door cheeks. There are nine steps leading to the platform, and bounding up we find a ridge about three feet in height surrounding the structure. Capping the ridge are eight very strong corner stones: these from the outside give the building its octagonal appearance. These corner stones are firmly bolted down with flat iron bands, and deeply cut into each stone is a square recess meant apparently for a flagstaff. Examining with not a little curiosity that great oval-shaped, finely preserved monster monolith, rearing its head heavenwards, defying the elements as proudly to-day as it challenged and defied them centuries ago, we wonderingly inquire, " Is this a pillar cut out of one great solid block of stone?"
Just then we remembered a visit paid to a coal pit on Tranent estate some twenty odd years ago, where the miners had actually worked their way through an old forest there, and everywhere we found great tree roots, solid stone, petrified trees, monsters of the forest; some as if they had been cut by the axe of the woodman in long distant ages, and others as if they had been broken over by the force of the raging storm, while all around stood great upright trees whose weighty trunks pierced the roof, but how far they pierced the roof no one ever tried to find out. One of these upright fossil trees came directly in the way of a miner's working-place. He worked carefully all around and left it standing, a curious yet beautiful
pillar. It was straight as a pine and about thirty inches in circumference. Some eight feet of this petrified tree was exposed, but how deep or how high it went was never learned. There were quite a number of fossil trees in this old forest, far surpassing the Cross in circumference, but none so nicely shaped. They were all left standing. Of the root stumps, eight were sketched and described in the Evening Dispatch of that day. These were afterwards, at the instigation of Messrs James Waldie and Sons, brought to the surface, borne to Edinburgh, and shown at the International Exhibition there. Examine carefully this mighty pillar at Preston. Behold the grains as in wood, how they run upwards, and observe that pieces shell off its sides as old bark does off a tree. Probably this mighty pillar, whereever it came from, is neither more nor less than a tree fossil.
The great pillar is planted exactly in the centre of the octagonal building, and the base into which it is batted with lead is a solid block of bluish whinstone. In this block may be observed a quartette of neatly cut holes. These recesses held the feet of a table which was wont to encircle the pillar long ago, and on which the chapmen of old were wont to transact their business annually.
The pillar at its base is 43 inches in circumference; 36 inches up, it is 42 inches; and 6 feet from the base, it measures 41 inches in circumference. The pillar is exactly 21 feet in length, and losing as it does 1 inch in 36, its circumference at the top must still be about 36 inches. It is square-cut at the upper end, with some beautiful carving on it.
Over and above these 21 feet, another 3 feet may be added to its height, on account of the " Puggy " surmounting the whole.
Years ago, when no one took any interest in the cross, many a mischievous urchin in passing would run in with his hands full of stones, to " get a crack at the puggy on the top o'the pole. " This so-called " Puggy " surmounting the pillar, is a beautiful work of art, in the form of a unicorn, posing erect, and on the breast of the unicorn, easily discernible from the ground, on a shield stands the lion rampant, etc.
The head of the unicorn was wont to be adorned with the ever-accompanying horn; but one day, some forty years ago, Jock Burns, a stirring youth, who worked in the gardens with the present tenant's father, was having a " prap at the Puggy " with a stone when he smashed the outstanding horn in pieces. It has never been replaced, and perhaps never will, unless Jock
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