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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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Prestongrange and its Lairds—Monks of Newbattle—Lords Lothian— The Kerrs of Ferniehirst—Kerr's Prosecution and Trial—Connived at by the King—John Davidson — Morison of Prestongrange — Sir Alexander Morison as First Lord Prestongrange—Hamilton of Preston and Morison of Prestongrange fined for laughing at a Church Squabble—Morison of Prestongrange First M. P. for East Lothian after Union of the CrownsOpposed by Fletcher of Saltounhall—The Apocalypse written at Morison's Haven—Morison's Sequestration—Lord Grant as Lord Prestongrange — Lord and Lady Hyndford—Sir George Suttie of Balgone—Sir James Grant Suttie—Sir George Grant Suttie—Sir James Grant Suttie—Sir George Grant Suttie—Lady Susan H. Grant Suttie—John Ker's Bible.
THIS beautiful house, the chief seat in the parish, lies a little to the south-west, and barely half a mile as the crow flies from the burgh boundary of the town. It is situated on a fine level stretch of land running east and west across the whole domain, while a gentle declivity sweeps down all the way from the front of the building to the shores of the Firth of Forth.
Deeply surrounded as it is by lords of the forest, how far away it seems, in its quietude, from the haunts of men, and the everlasting whirl and din of daily life. And yet it is so very near, for a never ending whirl of wheels and a never ceasing whish of steam go on in its immediate neighbourhood.
It is a real Scottish baronial mansion, endowed with a massive tower; while the whole structure from wing to wing is so evenly balanced, that, had it not been for a slight difference in the material with which it has been constructed, a casual observer might set it down as having been built as a whole at quite a recent date, instead of having been added to at various times and at very distant periods.
Centuries have elapsed since the original building was
planted here; and though masonry abounds showing work accomplished ages ago, yet if one stone remains upon another now of the original building it would indeed be difficult to define them. That the Grange was a place of industry over seven hundred years ago the following notes will show: —
In 1165 Robert de Quincy acquired the lands previously held by Swan of Tranent, and in 1184 he granted to the monks of Newbattle a goodly slice of land. This land ultimately became known as Preston, and the Grange they had formed thereon became Preston Grange.
Here then was formed the great hive from which these busy bees set forth in swarms to prosecute the various industries. Soon we hear of them, like good husbandmen, tilling the lands all around them. Then probably it was they who formed, for their own convenience, a grange on a small scale at Dolphinstone. Anon we hear of them approaching the seaside, laying hold of the angry waves, and charming, in the form of " salt, " the very essence out of them. Meantime they had been gifted with land in the meadows. There they formed a grange originally known as Holy-Stop, now Bankton. Along these meadows they grazed their oxen and their sheep, and out of these meadows, wherein was the "Tranent peaterie, " they excavated peats, and during these herdings and these excavations it was that they accidentally discovered the famous " black diamonds, " known as coal, and straightway began to excavate them. But these original excavations are fully treated of elsewhere.
That the monks of Newbattle held these lands from 1165 uninterruptedly till the Reformation times—a matter of four centuries—is an historical fact. Indeed, if we read the times aright, there was no definite break in the line of succession at the time of the Reformation either. It was simply a shuffling of cards from the right hand to the left, and back again. A Kerr of Ferniehirst was Abbott of Newbattle during these troublous times. This same Abbot Kerr, or his brother, suddenly acquires the title of Lord Newbattle, and Lord Newbattle as suddenly becomes Lord Lothian, the proud possessor of Prestongrange.
The first we hear of this family is in 1517, when one of its members is found in conspiracy with others to wrest the Regency from Albany. " Kerr of Ferniehirst, " says Buchanan, " a powerful border chief, and one of Home's most zealous adherents, was brought to trial and condemned, but having obtained a reprieve from the Regent, afterwards succeeded in

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