| was wrecked with the late Lord Byron and Captain Cheape
in the course of Lord Anson's celebrated voyages in the year
James Hamilton, son of Thomas, and father of the late Major
Hamilton, sold the estate of Olivestob to Colonel Gardiner,
who received his death wound at Preston battle.
Shortly after Gardiner's decease, the property was purchased
by Mr Andrew M'Douall, advocate, who some ten years afterwards
was promoted to the bench, and out of delicacy to his old
friend Mr Hamilton (former proprietor) took the title of Lord
Bankton, instead of Olivestob, and Bankton it remains. The
property at present belongs to James M'Douall, Esq. of Logan,
and the mansionhouse is occupied by the tenant farmer on the
LORD BANKTON—A HANDSOME BEQUEST.
Though Bankton estate lay for the most part in the parish
of Tranent, the sympathies of the proprietor seem to have
been rather with the parishioners of Prestonpans, for at his
decease it was found he had bequeathed a sum of £600
for the benefit of the poor of this parish. This sum was
sunk in Consols, and the poor of Prestonpans have benefited
to the extent of ^18 per annum ever since.
NEW COAL WORKS AT BANKTON.
This district is several times already referred to in these
pages as the one where coal was first discovered, and we can
find no cause in all our research to alter our opinion.
The Forth Collieries Company Limited has been fortunate in
securing a lease of the minerals here, along with that of
Schaw's and other estates, and a great future seems awaiting
these explorers. Boring has gone on, sinking is in operation,
and we have no doubt that, before these pages are in print,
the heart of Mr Wilson, their young but exceedingly active
manager, will be rejoicing in his output of black diamonds
along the very line of the meadows where the monks, in the
twelfth century, began their world-renowned excavations.
This curious little village stands on the southern extremity
of the parish, about halfway between the east and west boundaries,
while the main post road, between Musselburgh and Tranent,
runs directly through the centre of it. The derivation of
the name we suppose to be from dolphin's stone, —that is,
the "stone" on which the "dolphin" sat;
but if a dolphin ever sat upon a stone here, it must have
been long before the monks of Newbattle had a habitation at
the Grange, and the waves of the Firth of Forth must have
rushed a good deal farther up the brae in those days than
they ever attempt to do now, if they bore a dolphin in their
bosom up all that distance.
The worthy old village had even a more antique appearance
half a century ago than it has now, for then both sides were
lined with funny-looking low-tiled houses; but oh ! they were
pleasant to behold always, with their whitewashed fronts,
and flower-plots each side the door, and so happy and clean-looking
were the people, it was ever a pleasure to behold alike the
village and the villagers.
There is a rare old dovecot towards the south-west side of
the village, and there is a fine old ruin adjacent to it,
the remains of an old fortalice, tradition says; but tradition
gives no name or title to the noble lord or baronet who ever
had a habitation here, except a M'Leod, though how a M'Leod
got a habitation here is as difficult to say as how a dolphin
got wobbled up to the same place.
Tradition affirms that during the great and bloody feuds that
raged so long between the houses of Falside and Preston, it
standing, as it did, halfway between the contending spirits
acted as a sort of " buffer" between them. At times
the retainers there, with M'Leod at their head, were wont
to assist the Falsidians against the Prestonians, and at other
times they were all for Preston against the castle on the
hill. After many years of this sort of warfare, the Dolphinstonians
resolved to remain neutral, and to live at peace with all
men; but no sooner was this grand resolution arrived at, than
the contending spirits on both sides fell foul of the peacefully
inclined Dolphinstonians, destroyed the fortalice, slew M'Leod,
and dispersed his retainers for ever.
Miller, in his " Lamp of Lothian, " says that Cromwell,
during his victorious rush through East Lothian, slept a night
at Dolphinstone Castle. He does not say who was the occupant
then, or even if it was a regular dwelling-place. It would
have been curious for Oliver Cromwell to have passed a night
at Dolphinstone, with such houses as Wallyford and Prestongrange
at hand. It is an historical fact that he passed these houses
even, and spent two nights at Pinkie.