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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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Capping the summit on the north or sea-side of the house, and also adorned with vases, scroll work, etc., is the following inscription : —
Thomson, author of "The Seasons" is said to have been a friend of Lord Drummore's and author of these inscriptions. It is also said that in Drummore House Thomson wrote his "Castle of Indolence" If Thomson had to do with the outward parts of the building, as surely would he have to do with the designing of certain of the inside parts too, for on the ceiling of the drawing-room, in beautiful fresco-work, we find the four ages of man illustrated—childhood, youth, middle, and old age; and these again are charmingly represented by the fruits, flowers, etc., of the four seasons; while the arts and sciences are copiously delineated on the surrounding walls. Both stucco and fresco arc said to be the handiwork of Italians.
After Lord Drummore, the estate came into the hands of the Finlays, connections of the Finlays of Wallyford, whence that same Captain Finlay hailed who led the Cinque Ports or I'lack Dragoons, and took such an active part in the massacre of harmless men, women, and children during the military riot at Tranent known as the "Tranent Mob" (See "History of Tranent.")
The Finlays did not remain long in the district after the massacre at Tranent. They sold the estate in 1808, when Mr William Aitchiespn became the purchaser. He died in 1839 and was succeeded by his son, Mr William Aitchiespn, who dying in 1846 was succeeded by the present proprietor, Colonel William Aitchieson. The Colonel has had a very bright military career, first with the old gist or Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, and latterly with the Scots Fusilier Guards, with whom he served for twenty-five years, and saw-some rough service in South Africa.
We are not sure but this is a branch of the same Achesons, the great shippers at Acheson's, now Morison's Haven, during tlie 16th century, and presently represented by the Earl of Gnslord in the Irish Peerage. The Drummore family name was originally spelt similarly. The Achesons came out strong at the Reformation time.

This was a haven of rest for the toilers of the dvep long before the days of Morison, and had a very different name tuu. The haven lies a little to the west of Cuthill. " On 22nd April 1526 King James V., while at Newbattle Abbey, granted a right of constructing a harbour on the lands of Prestongrange, which was ratified in Parliament nth October." These lands at this period belonged to the Abbey of Newbattle : but it seems to have been to the Acheson family that the charter was granted, for immediately we find that Alexander Acheson took possession, and it became Acheson's Haven. This Alexander was an ancestor of the Earl of Gosford in the Irish peerage of the present day. Indeed, as an elder in Davidson's church, 1597, he is entitled at that period Alexander Acheson of Gosford. The Achesons became famous as shippers in those days, and we find them still flourishing in the district about a century afterwards. Two brothers Acheson were ciders in Davidson's church, 1602, and we find from the session records of that period that quite a number of their children had been baptized by Davidson.
Acheson's Haven was at one time a custom-house port, whose range included all creeks and landing-places between the mouth of the Figgate Burn at Portobello and the mouth of the Tyne near Dunbar; and it had the right of levying customs and the various sorts of dues to the same extent as those exigible at Leith.
In 1609, or very shortly afterwards, when Morison became proprietor of Prestongrange, the name of the harbour underwent another change, and became Morison's Haven ; and from that date up to the year 1800, what with the exportation of coal from Prestongrange, salt exportation, and the exportation of multitudinous other goods manufactured at Prestonpans, throughout that lengthened period it beheld no little prosperity.
For a considerable time during the past century there was virtually no trafficking in the harbour; but about a quarter of a century ago, when the first Limited Company took the Prestongrange Collieries in hand, they began to open up trade with foreign ports, and before the collieries again changed hands they were not only exporting largely but importing heavily too.
The present Company have put on an extra spurt, and the amount of business done here at the present time is in excess out of all comparison with any previous period of its history.

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