| Preston was fought, and he was wont to tell his children,
with great gusto, how he and a great many others of his boy
companions went to look for, beheld, and admired Johnnie Cope's
horsemen the day before the battle, but just to feel as much
disgusted the following day when learning of their inglorious
retreat from the field at Meadowmill. He dwelt at this period
in that house known as " Nether Shot," near the
east end of Prestonpans. His son, grandfather of Mr John Wright,
became land-overseer, etc., to Mr John Fowler, famous in brewery
history; and his son, father to Mr John Wright, took to market
gardening. He became tenant of Schaw's Lands at Preston about
the year 1858.
It need scarcely be added here that the gardens of Preston,
from the time they were held in possession by Lord Grange,
when that gentleman took pleasure in forming " leafy
bowers," and making "fancy pathways" in every
direction throughout the extensive orchards, had run to riot
ere they came into the hands of the elder Mr Wright, but no
sooner had he settled down than improving and planting began.
Wherever a vacant spot was found in the orchard, it soon was
made glorious with fruitful bush and tree; and wherever an
unfruitful nook was discovered, means were instantly taken
to compel it to yield its rightful portion of revenue to the
At his decease, in 1861, his son, the present tenant, then
barely out of his teens, took the business in hand, and from
that day hence the very fruitful soil therein has had but
little time to slumber.
Besides a great part of Schaw's trust lands, Mr Wright also
cultivates, with the exception of two fields, the whole of
Watson's trust-estate. These adjoin his orchards, and extend
eastward, even to the enclosing of " two" of the
" triplet" which comprise the " Thorn Tree
" of Preston battle fame.
A strange coincidence in connection with both of the above
trust lands may be mentioned here. In 1858 Mr Wright's father
succeeded the late Mr John Fowler Hislop's father in Schaw's
lands, and in 1896 Mr Wright himself succeeded the late Mr
John Fowler Hislop in Watson's lands Since becoming tenant
of these lands, Mr Wright, while going in for general farming,
devotes a very large acreage to cabbage plant cultivation.
This famous little orchard, more famous through holding Preston
old Tower within its walls than through any special fruits
it produces, was originally the private haunt of the Hamiltons.
It afterwards became part of Schaw's Trust, but was latterly
sold to the late Sir William Hamilton by the trustees on the
estate, purely and simply, it is understood, in order to give
the old family name of Hamilton a localisation again in Preston.
The Aitkens in succession, as tenants, held the gardens for
long; then the Alisons, who were succeeded by the late John
Henderson. John was a thorough market gardener, and a most
pronounced politician of the " Glad-stonian Liberal"
order. He took credit to himself, rightly or wrongly, for
every slashing article which appeared in the local news during
election times in favour of our present M.P., and was pleased
if people seemed to believe it.
He got an unco gliff on the day after the election, however,
when it became known that Mr Haldane had been elected. He
had been at Haddington, or near by, awaiting the result, and
hurried home with the news. On coming to Preston he beheld
one who had taken a very active part on the same side with
him, working with all his might among his men. He halted,
and raising his hands above his head, "O Lord God,"
he exclaimed, " did I ever expect to see the like o'
this ! A Liberal! a genuine Liberal! and his men working like
slaves on the tap o' such a glorious victory ! " Poor
John, his political and other labours are all at an end. Mr
Thomas Wilson, who hails from Ormiston district, has recently
become tenant of the Castle Gardens, and is working them on
the market gardening system most successfully.
WIGITRIE HILL LANDS.
These lands, which overlook Bankton Marsh on the south, are
mentioned in our charters of the thirteenth century as "
Wygtrig," and because of this same thing the late Mr
John Fowler Hislop was very proud of them. Mr Scott Crichton,
a descendant of little short of two centuries of market gardeners
in the Dalkeith district, became tenant in 1896. He devotes
these lands almost entirely to market gardening purposes.
The buildings in connection with the little estate are of
a most extensive and commodious character. The late proprietor
took pleasure in seeing everything well done.
Mr JOHN GILLIES.
Mr John Gillies, though a resident, is not a native of Preston.
He first beheld the light of day in a neighbouring