Preston, Prestonpans

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East Lothian
Preston Lodge01.jpg
Preston Lodge
Grid reference: NT388739
Location: 55°57’18"N, 2°58’44"W
Post town: Prestonpans
Postcode: EH32
Dialling code: 01875
Local Government
Council: East Lothian Council
East Lothian

Preston is a village on the coast of East Lothian which has been subsumed to become a mere area of Prestonpans, a town which was once its daughter village. Preston is to the east of Prestongrange, and the southwest of Cockenzie and Port Seton.

The name Preston means "priest town", and the monks of Holyrood Abbey and Newbattle Abbey owned land there. The village was noted for St Jerome's Fair, held on the second Thursday of October. The chapmen of the area had formed themselves into a guild and elected their office bearers at the fair.

The two most notable structures in Preston's are the Preston Tower and Preston Market Cross, still standing in pride of place in the village centre. Other notable buildings of Preston include Northfield House and Preston Lodge.

Preston Tower

Main article: Preston Tower, East Lothian

Preston Tower belonged to the Hamilton family (also known as the "haughty Hamiltons"), from whom spring the Duke of Hamilton. The Hamiltons owned ten strongholds including Preston House, Hamilton House, Innerwick Castle and Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran.

The Merkat Cross

The mercat cross, or Market Cross, in Preston is unique in that it is the only such structure in Scotland still in its original location and form. It was erected in 1617, in the reign of King James VI, to serve as the focus of Preston, then a bustling town. Now the merkat cross has become an isolated roadside monument, but in its day the town swirled around it and proclamations were made from it.

This is no mean piece of masonry but a substantial building: at ground level is a drum of masonry, within which is a space that would have served as the town gaol. Above this is a platform, from which proclamations would have been issued. The cross shaft rises from the centre of this platform.

The 'drum' has eight compartments, two doorways, six alcoves with semi-circular mouldings of scallop shells.

Today Market Cross is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.[1]


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Preston, Prestonpans)


  1. Preston Market Cross: Historic Scotland