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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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The Statistical Account of the parish supposes it to have been originally a grange, or habitation of the monks of Newbattle. But we would as soon trust tradition in this case as supposition. We rather like the idea of its being the ruin of an old fortalice, whose laird's name, if not M'Leod, must have been lost in the distant ages.
The village and farm of Dolphinstone are on Prestongrange estate, and the tenant-farmer is Mr James Shields, one of the most enlightened and industrious agriculturists in East Lothian.
If you wish to see a cheerless-looking lot of houses go to Preston Links, a small village along the sea-coast, near the eastern extremity of the parish; and if you wish to feel a cold piercing wind, if wind is blowing at all, you will be sure to find it at Preston Links. This is where the football people play the rushing game, and this also is where the golf folks swing their weighty clubs; but it cannot be the effect of either of these happy pastimes that keeps the cold winds here; it must be natural to the locality. What tends to give a cheerless look, however, to the dwelling-houses, is the fact of the house-doors, instead of facing the main highway, being turned seaward, and this also must be set down as being natural to the locality.
The land and the minerals here, for the most part, belong to Schaw's trust. The lands, except those directly on the sea-coast, are of a fine loamy substance, and used mostly for market gardening purposes.
Previous to the middle of last century (about 1830) a coal pit was opened here by Mr Grieve, and worked successfully for a considerable number of years. The trade was entirely by cart sale, until a successor at his own expense ran a pier out into the sea, when small ships and steamboats were largely supplied. A deal of clay was also taken out of this pit for the fire-clay works at Bankpark. The colliery was discontinued towards the close of 1884, and the pier ultimately went to decay.
Other two pits were opened up previous to the middle of the century on the same estate. These were on the field adjoining the " Thorn Tree " westward, and a beautiful seam of coal, but thin, and very fine clay along with it, were turned out of these pits for a time. It was said " they did not pay the working." But if the coal and the clay did not pay the working of them on Schaw's estate in those days, they will soon be thoroughly tested again by new lessees.(Set Bankton elsewhere.)

It is understood that the Forth Coal Company has secured a lease of the minerals, not only on Schaw's estate, but also from the government, of the minerals under the Forth, and boring and sinking operations are already in progress all over the lands.
Mr Greenfield, of Preston Links, uses the lands in the neighbourhood largely for market gardening purposes. Mr Scrymgeour, Tranent, has been for some time the proprietor of these lands.
The Forth Coal Company, it is understood, are the in-augurators of a scheme to form a harbour at Preston Links, so great in extent, indeed, that it will rival the famous docks at Methil. Other colliery companies joined in, and a mineral line of railway is already marked off, extending from Preston Links by way of Preston, Wallyford, Smeaton Junction, New-tongrange, on to Stobhill all the way.
are following with a rival scheme. They propose to extend Cockenzie harbour adjoining Preston Links, run a line of railway from it, keeping always to the north of the other line, skirting Sibbald's House, Woodbine Cottage, Prestongrange, and Drummore, then catching on to the Musselburgh branch line of railway. This is understood to be for both goods and passenger traffic. If either of these railway schemes be carried out, a great commercial future may lie before Prestonpans and vicinity.

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