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ATHELSTANEFORD

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"ATHELSTANEFORD, a parish in the county of Haddington, Scotland, 5 miles to the S. of North Berwick. The parish lies in a low district, formerly a marsh, but now cultivated, to the S. of the river Peffer, and contains the postal villages of Athelstaneford and Drem. The North British railway passes through the parish. Athelstaneford is said to have taken its name from Athelstan, a Danish chief who fell in battle near the ford in 815, and was here interred. Probably, however, it is derived from ath-ail, the Gaelic for "stone ford," a ford of this nature called "Lug Burn" existing at the spot where the battle was fought. Remains of a Pictish town exist, and traces of an entrenchment, near which some Roman relies have been found. It is said that here was formerly a chapel of the Knights Templars. The living, which is of the yearly value of 290, is in the presbytery of Haddington, and in the gift of the chief heritor, Sir David Kinlock, Bart. The ancient church, which was founded about 1150 by Ada, daughter of the Earl of Warrenne and Surrey, having fallen into decay, the present more convenient one was erected in 1780. In the churchyard is the grave and monument of Robert Blair, author of the once popular poem, "The Grave," who was minister of Athelstaneford, and resided in the manse fifteen years. An obelisk has been erected to perpetuate his memory, and stands on the village green. The living was also held for ten years by John Home, author of the tragedy of "Douglas." He never occupied the manse, and at last quitted the living on account of the ill-will excited against him by his publication of the play. This village was the birthplace of Archibald Skirving, who distinguished himself as a portrait-painter, and whose remains rest in the churchyard here beneath a marble monument."

"DREM, a village in the parish of Athelstaneford, in the county of Haddington, Scotland. It is situated 4 miles N. of Haddington, at the point of departure of the North Berwick branch of the North British railway. Here is a railway station serving for Athelstaneford and Aberlady. The remains of a strongly fortified Pictish town are visible S. of the village."

"GILMERTON, a village in the parish of Athelstaneford, county Haddington, Scotland, 3 miles N.E. of Haddington."

"MARKLE, a hamlet in the parish of Athelstaneford, county Haddington, Scotland, 4 miles N.E. of Haddington."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson 2003]

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[Last updated at 21.03 on Thursday, 27 March 2003, Gaz3 v01.25, by David Howie. 2000]

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