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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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was wrecked with the late Lord Byron and Captain Cheape in the course of Lord Anson's celebrated voyages in the year 1742
James Hamilton, son of Thomas, and father of the late Major Hamilton, sold the estate of Olivestob to Colonel Gardiner, who received his death wound at Preston battle.
Shortly after Gardiner's decease, the property was purchased by Mr Andrew M'Douall, advocate, who some ten years afterwards was promoted to the bench, and out of delicacy to his old friend Mr Hamilton (former proprietor) took the title of Lord Bankton, instead of Olivestob, and Bankton it remains. The property at present belongs to James M'Douall, Esq. of Logan, and the mansionhouse is occupied by the tenant farmer on the estate.
Though Bankton estate lay for the most part in the parish of Tranent, the sympathies of the proprietor seem to have been rather with the parishioners of Prestonpans, for at his decease it was found he had bequeathed a sum of £600 for the benefit of the poor of this parish. This sum was sunk in Consols, and the poor of Prestonpans have benefited to the extent of ^18 per annum ever since.
This district is several times already referred to in these pages as the one where coal was first discovered, and we can find no cause in all our research to alter our opinion.
The Forth Collieries Company Limited has been fortunate in securing a lease of the minerals here, along with that of Schaw's and other estates, and a great future seems awaiting these explorers. Boring has gone on, sinking is in operation, and we have no doubt that, before these pages are in print, the heart of Mr Wilson, their young but exceedingly active manager, will be rejoicing in his output of black diamonds along the very line of the meadows where the monks, in the twelfth century, began their world-renowned excavations.
This curious little village stands on the southern extremity of the parish, about halfway between the east and west boundaries, while the main post road, between Musselburgh and Tranent, runs directly through the centre of it. The derivation of the name we suppose to be from dolphin's stone, —that is, the "stone" on which the "dolphin" sat; but if a dolphin ever sat upon a stone here, it must have been long before the monks of Newbattle had a habitation at the Grange, and the waves of the Firth of Forth must have rushed a good deal farther up the brae in those days than they ever attempt to do now, if they bore a dolphin in their bosom up all that distance.
The worthy old village had even a more antique appearance half a century ago than it has now, for then both sides were lined with funny-looking low-tiled houses; but oh ! they were pleasant to behold always, with their whitewashed fronts, and flower-plots each side the door, and so happy and clean-looking were the people, it was ever a pleasure to behold alike the village and the villagers.
There is a rare old dovecot towards the south-west side of the village, and there is a fine old ruin adjacent to it, the remains of an old fortalice, tradition says; but tradition gives no name or title to the noble lord or baronet who ever had a habitation here, except a M'Leod, though how a M'Leod got a habitation here is as difficult to say as how a dolphin got wobbled up to the same place.
Tradition affirms that during the great and bloody feuds that raged so long between the houses of Falside and Preston, it standing, as it did, halfway between the contending spirits acted as a sort of " buffer" between them. At times the retainers there, with M'Leod at their head, were wont to assist the Falsidians against the Prestonians, and at other times they were all for Preston against the castle on the hill. After many years of this sort of warfare, the Dolphinstonians resolved to remain neutral, and to live at peace with all men; but no sooner was this grand resolution arrived at, than the contending spirits on both sides fell foul of the peacefully inclined Dolphinstonians, destroyed the fortalice, slew M'Leod, and dispersed his retainers for ever.
Miller, in his " Lamp of Lothian, " says that Cromwell, during his victorious rush through East Lothian, slept a night at Dolphinstone Castle. He does not say who was the occupant then, or even if it was a regular dwelling-place. It would have been curious for Oliver Cromwell to have passed a night at Dolphinstone, with such houses as Wallyford and Prestongrange at hand. It is an historical fact that he passed these houses even, and spent two nights at Pinkie.

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