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Coordinates: 55°57′35″N 2°57′40″W / 55.9597°N 2.961°W / 55.9597; -2.961

Prestonpans is located in Scotland

 Prestonpans shown within Scotland
Population 7,153 
OS grid reference NT401745
Council area East Lothian
Lieutenancy area East Lothian
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Prestonpans
Postcode district EH32
Dialling code 01875
Police Lothian and Borders
Fire Lothian and Borders
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament East Lothian
Scottish Parliament East Lothian
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Prestonpans is a small town to the east of Edinburgh, Scotland, in the unitary council area of East Lothian. It has a population of 7,153 (East Lothian Council Census, 2001). It is the site of the 1745 Battle of Prestonpans, and has a history dating back to the 11th century. The town boasts some impressive examples of historical architecture, such as the Preston Tower and the doocot and the local Mercat Cross, which is the only one of its kind in Scotland which remains in its original form and location. The town is also credited for achieving the title as "Scotlands Mural Town" with many wall murals reflecting the towns colourful past.



According to local legend, Prestonpans was originally founded in the 11th century by a pirate named Althamer, who became shipwrecked on the coast. Finding it impossible to get home, the survivors of the wreck decided to remain where they were and founded a settlement named Althamer in honour of their leader. Whether this story is true or not is a matter of opinion, however when the monks of Newbattle and Holyrood arrived in the district in 1184 there was already a settlement named Aldhammer on the site of what is now Prestonpans. The monks gave the settlement their own name, Prieststown or Prieston. Because of the salt manufacturing carried out by the monks using pans on the sea shore, the town's name would later develop into Salt Prieststown and Salt Preston, and finally Prestonpans.

One of the first post-Reformation churches was built in Prestonpans, in 1596. Ten years after the building of the new church, Prestonpans became a Parish in its own right, having previously formed part of the Parish of Tranent.



Salt panning was a very important industry in the early history of Prestonpans. By the beginning of the 15th century there were ten salt works belonging to the town capable of producing between 800 and 900 bushels of salt per week. However, Prestonpans was not a one industry town, and many other industries flourished in Prestonpans and contributed towards the town's growth. The discovery and mining of coal by the Newbattle monks in the early 13th century was arguably the first instance of coal mining in Britain. The mining of coal in Prestonpans began in the year 1210, and would continue for centuries.

Prestonpans at one time had sixteen breweries but none of them exist any longer. The oldest brewery in Prestonpans belonged to the Fowler family and was built in 1720. The Fowlers obtained it in 1756 and it was in production until the 1960s. There was a soap works in the town which at one time had an output of 90,000 lb per annum, and also several potteries and brickworks.

The town was served, for several hundred years, by the harbour at nearby Prestoungrange, known as "Morison's Haven". Fishing boats sailed from the harbour and herring was the most important catch. The harvesting of oysters was a lucrative industry up to the early 20th century.

Battle of Prestonpans

The Battle of Prestonpans (also known as the Battle of Gladsmuir) was the first significant conflict in the second Jacobite Rising. The battle took place on 21 September 1745. The Jacobite army loyal to James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart defeated the army loyal to the Hanoverian George II led by Sir John Cope. The victory was a huge morale boost for the Jacobites, and a heavily mythologized version of the story entered art and legend. A memorial to the Battle of Prestonpans is in the form of a modest stonemason mason-built cairn, and sits close to the battle site. An earlier monument to Colonel Gardiner, a Hanoverian who was mortally wounded on the field of battle, was also erected in the 19th century near Bankton House where the Colonel lived. Each year on the anniversary of the battle, a Battlefield Walk is organised by local historians, and in September 2008 the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Trust is organising a symposium on local battlefields.

Modern Prestonpans

Nowadays, Prestonpans is home to middle class families. There is very little industry and no longer any mining in the area, and growth of the town has increased incredibly over the last few years, new developments are starting to accelerate and there is potential for more affordable housing in the town.There remains a community spirit and a festival in early summer runs for two weeks and links Prestonpans with neighbouring Cockenzie and Port seton, hence the title of The 3 Harbours Festival.

The town has a primary school, an infant school, a nursery (or kindergarten) and Preston Lodge High School. Prestonpans railway station is on the Edinburgh - North Berwick line. The local non-league football team Preston Athletic F.C. plays its home games at the Pennypit Park in the town, along with the local rugby team Preston Lodge RFC. Prestonpans is also home to the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, the sixth-oldest golf course in the world (and home to The Old Club Cup, the world's oldest golfing trophy still being played for) and the town's cricket team Preston Village Cricket Club. The Prestonpans Murals Trail has become popular over the last few years. In 2006 it hosted the Global Murals Conference.

See also


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PRESTONPANS, a police burgh and watering-place of Haddingtonshire, Scotland, on the Firth of Forth, 91 m. E. of Edinburgh by the North British railway. Pop. (1 9 ot), 2614. A mile to the east of the village is the site of the battle of the 21st of September 1745, in which Prince Charles Edward and his highlanders gained a complete victory over the royal forces under Sir John Cope. Colonel James Gardiner was mortally wounded after an heroic stand, and an obelisk in the grounds of his house at Bankton, close to the battlefield, commemorates his valour, while the ballad of Adam Skirving (1719-1803), "Hey, Johnnie Cope!" has immortalized the rout of Cope.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, the salt trade was prosecuted with great success, the pans having been laid down as long ago as 1185, but the industry has declined. There are manu factures of fire-bricks, tiles and pottery, besides brewing and soapmaking. In the vicinity there is an extensive coal-field. Fisheries are still of importance, although the bed of Pandore oysters (an esteemed variety) has lost something of its former fertility. There are harbours at Morrison's Haven to the west and at Cockenzie and Port Seton to the north-east, which practically form one village, with a population of 1687. The cross of the barony of Preston dates from 1617. Schaw's Hospital Trust, at one time intended for the education and maintenance of the children of poor parents, has been modified, and the bequest is used to provide free education and bursaries, while the building has been leased by the trustees of Miss Mary Murray, who bequeathed £20,000 (afterwards increased to 30,000) for the training of poor children as domestic servants.

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