| stands a piece of yellowish sandstone in pyramidal
form; this is about eighteen inches broad at the base and
about eighteen inches in height, running to a narrow point
at top. There seems to have been a deal of labour spent on
this, which may be termed the chief stone, the chiseling evidently
having been attended to with great care. In the first place,
it has been "cut out" all round about an inch in
depth, leaving a border about an inch in breadth, the central
part being cut out several inches deeper. Crowning all, and
directly on the point of the pyramid, is a crescent, its horns
There is other sculptured work in the dyke, but no more of
the same yellowish sandstone; while the foundation stones
of the dyke at this point are large hewn blocks, which had
evidently been used previously for a very different purpose.
The memorial slabs have an aged appearance compared with their
surroundings, and this has called attention to them previously.
The late Dr Struthers, half a century ago, examined the stones.
He expressed no opinion as to their being there; but the inscription
we give elsewhere is said to have been copied by him. Part
of the original inscription may still be found there, but
it will he found difficult to decipher.
The late Mr J. F. Hislop, another antiquarian of standing
in the district, tried also to unravel the mystery, but without
It seems to us that this dyke, which is a mutual wall between
the Northfield and Castlepark lands, must have been built
by old Laird Fowler, laird of Wygtrig, and the proprietor
of Northfield at that period, with stones taken from Katie
Herrin's close, for there may be found blocks of the very
same sort, the whole of which, including the memorial stone,
may have belonged to the original church of Preston.
ANCIENT PILLAR OR SUN-DIAL.
Another very interesting relic of the past is that large flat
stone and pillar, already referred to, which stands a few
paces eastward of the ancient cross. It has a history of its
own, and has survived many trials. That it did not always
occupy its present site we know. That it is older than the
adjoining cross seems evident; that it had witnessed many
furious forays around, and countless midnight raids to and
from old Preston Tower during the early centuries, need scarcely
be questioned. It scents so much of antiquity.
It occupied a different site in these gardens during Lord
Grange's occupancy, and it is supposed that his lordship,
or a predecessor, had it conveyed thence from the ruins of
the ancient church; but when Howieson became tenant, about
the beginning of last century, he had it and several other
pieces of antiquity cleared out to make space for his cabbages.
During the late Mr Wright's tenancy the large flat stone turned
up again deeply imbedded among nettles, while the handsome
pillar which had previously supported it was found humbly
supporting an old cart shed. The present tenant, Mr John Wright,
had them brought together again. The circular stones forming
the pillar are three in number—the upper one has been much
under the hands of the sculptor. It is eighteen inches deep
and seventy-two inches in circumference. It is encircled with
a beautiful floral wreath, and four shields had originally
found a place on it. Three of these are all but defaced, the
fourth yet shows six stars, —one at the top, two on each side,
and one at the bottom. The grand old stone on the summit is
quite one hundred inches in circumference, and in substance
an exceedingly hard white sandstone. It may have been the
pedestal for a baptismal font in the ancient church, as suggested
by some. It does not seem to have figured as a sun-dial, as
suggested by others. We are inclined to think, with our old
friend Mr Thomas Reekie of Leith and Prestonpans, that it
had served in its day as one of the central pillars of a double
arch in the ancient church at Preston.
Preston gave the title of Viscount to the Barons Graham of
Esk, a title which became extinct in 1739 at the decease of
Charles the third Viscount.
There was wont to be two market days weekly at the village
of Preston. These were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and
all business was transacted in the immediate neighbourhood
of the cross, around which was a great open space. Latterly
the markets were held on Fridays only; but they ceased altogether,
like those of the surrounding villages, about the middle of