Parish of Dunbar

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Dunbar
1834-45: Dunbar

Dunbar (Gael. dun-barr, ` fort on the point '), a town and a parish on the north-eastern coast of Haddingtonshire- A royal and parliamentary burgh, seaport, and seat of considerable traffic, the town by road is 11 miles ENE of Haddington, and 11¾ ESE of North Berwick, whilst by the North British railway it is 29 ¼ E of Edinburgh, and 28½ NW of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It stands, Carlyle says, ` high and windy, looking down over its herring-boats, over its grim old Castle now much honey-combed, -on one of those projecting rock-promontories with which that shore is niched and vandyked, as far as the eye can reach. A beautiful sea; good land too, now that the plougher understands his trade; a grim niched barrier of whinstone sheltering it from the chafings and tumblings of the big blue German Ocean. Seaward St Abb's Head, of whinstone, bounds your horizon to the E, not very far off; W, close by, is the deep bay and fishy little village of Belhaven; the gloomy Bass and other rock-islets, and farther the hills of Fife, and foreshadows of the Highlands, are visible as you look seaward. From the bottom of Belhaven Bay to that of the next sea-bight St Abb's-ward, the town and its environs form a peninsula.. Landward, as you look from the town of Dunbar, there rises, some short mile off, a dusky continent of barren heath hills, the Lammermuir, where only mountain sheep can be at home., To which need only be added that the town itself chiefly consists of a spacious High Street and two smaller parallel streets.

At the foot or N end of the High Street stands Dunbar House, within the old park of the castle, exhibiting to the street a large couchant sphinx with extended wings, and to the sea a handsome facade with central circular portico. Built by the Messrs Fall, and thereafter a mansion of the Earl of Lauderdale, it was purchased in 1859 by Government, and converted into a barrack. The park around it, which serves as the parade-ground of the Haddingtonshire militia, contained, till its levelling in 1871-72, two large artificial mounds, supposed to be of prehistoric origin. The castle, founded at an early period of the Christian era, but many times reconstructed in the course of wellnigh a thousand years, bore for a long time prior to the invention of gunpowder the reputation of impregnability, and was one of the grandest fortresses of the Border counties, exerting a powerful influence on the national history down to its demolition in 1568. Its ruins, already grievously dilapidated, were still further reduced by excavations for the Victoria Harbour; but Grose has left us two views, and Miller a full description, of them in their more perfect condition. Of Miller's description the following is a summary:-The castle is founded on - a reef of trap rocks, which project into the sea, and, in many places, rise like bastions thrown up by nature to guard these stern remains of feudal grandeur against the force of the waves. The body of the buildings measures 165 feet from E to W, and in places 207 from N to S. The South Batteryby Grose supposed to have been the citadel or keep, and now converted into a fever hospital-is situated on a detached rock, which, 72 feet high, and accessible only on one side, is connected with the main part of the castle by a passage of masonry 69 feet long. The citadel measures 54 feet by 60 within the walls, and in shape is octagonal. Five of the gun-ports, or so-called ` arrowholes, ' remain, and measure 4 feet at the mouth, but only 16 inches at the inner extremity. The buildings are arched, and extend 8 feet from the outer walls, and look into an open quadrangle, whence they derive their light. About the middle of the fortress, part of a wall remains, through which there is a doorway, surmounted with armorial bearings, and leading seemingly to the principal apartments. In the centre are the arms of George, eleventh Earl of Dunbar, who succeeded his father in 1369; and who, besides the earldom of Dunbar and March, inherited from his heroic mother the lordship of Annandale and the Isle of Man. The towers had communication with the sea, and dip low in many places. NE from the front of the castle is a large natural cavern of black stone, supposed to have formed part of the dungeon, which, Pennant observes, ` the assistance of a little art had rendered a secure but infernal prison. ' But as it has a communication with a rocky inlet from the sea on the W, it is more likely that it is the dark postern through which Sir Alexander Ramsay and his brave followers entered with a supply of provisions to the besieged in 1339. It was a place also well suited for securing the boats belonging to the garrison. The castle is built of a red stone like that of the neighbouring quarries. Part of the foundation of a fort, which was begun in 1559 for the purpose of accommodating a French garrison, may be traced, extending 136 feet in front of the castle. This building was, however, interrupted in its progress, and demolished. In the NW part of the ruins is an apartment about 12 feet square, and nearly inaccessible, which tradition designates Queen Mary's Room.

The public buildings include the town-hall, an old edifice; the assembly-rooms (1822), substantial and commodious,but badly situated; the prison, legalised in 1864 for prisoners whose term does not exceed 10 days; the corn exchange (1855); St Catherine's Hall (1872), with ball or concert room, and Masonic, Free Gardeners', and Good Templars' lodges; the custom-house; and the railway station, which, standing on the south-eastern outskirts of the town, occupies part of the site of Oliver Cromwell's camp, and is a large Tudor structure, with accommodations suitable to its position nearly midway between Berwick and Edinburgh. Not far from the station, at the S end of the High Street, stands the parish church, on a spot 65 feet above sea-level-the site of a cruciform collegiate church, which, founded in 1342 and 1392 by Earls Patrick and George for a dean, a vicedean, and 8 prebendaries, measured 123 feet from E to W, and 83 feet across the transept. Built in 1819-21, from designs by Gillespie Graham, at a cost of £8000, the present church is an elegant structure in the Gothic style, with a pinnacled square tower 108 feet high, that commands an extensive view, and serves as a landmark to mariners. The interior, seated for 1800 worshippers, is adorned with two stained-glass windows, erected in 1865 and 1871; whilst immediately behind the pulpit is a superb monument, erected to the memory of George Home, Earl of Dunbar, third son of Alexander Home of Manderston. This nobleman was in great favour with James VI., and, holding successively the offices of high-treasurer of Scotland and chancellor of the exchequer in England, was raised to the peerage in 1605. It was on him that the ` British Solomon ' chiefly depended for the restoration of prelacy in Scotland; and, at the parliament held at Perth in 1606, he had the skill to carry through the act for the restoration of the estate of bishops. He died at Whitehall, 29 Jan. 1611, ` not,' says Calderwood, ` without suspicions of poison.' ` His body being embalmed, and put into a coffin of lead, was sent down to Scotland, and with great solemnity interred in the collegiate church of Dunbar, where his executors erected a very noble and magnificent monument of various coloured marble, with a statue as large as life.' The monument is 12 feet broad at the base, and 26 feet high. The Earl is represented, kneeling on a cushion, in the attitude of prayer, with a Bible open before him. He is clad in armour, which is seen under his knight's robes, and on his left arm is the badge of the Order of the Garter. Two knights in armour stand on each side as supporters. Above them are two female figures, Justice and Wisdom, betwixt whom, and immediately above the cupola, Fame sounds her trumpet; while, on the opposite side, Peace, with her olive branch, sheds a laurel wreath on his lordship. Immediately beneath the monument is the vault, wherein the body is deposited in a leaden coffin. Other places of worship are a Free church (1844), 2 U.P. churches, with respectively 700 and 500 sittings, a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, St Anne's Episcopal church, of iron (1876; 170 sittings), and the Roman-Catholic church of Our Lady of the Waves (1877; made a separate mission in 1881). The Burgh public school, the Lamer public school, and a Roman Catholic school, with respective accommodation for 289, 325, and 125 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 159, 185, and 32, and grants of £134, 10s., £140, 15s., and £27, 12s.

The town has a head post office, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and telegraph departments, branches of the Bank of Scotland, the British Linen Co., and the Commercial Bank, 20 insurance agencies, 9 hotels and inns, a British workman public-house, a gas company, a cemetery company, a lifeboat, bowling and golf clubs, masonic, foresters', and Good Templars' lodges, a clothing society, a total abstinence society, etc. A weekly corn market is held on Tuesday, and fairs are held on the first Tuesday of February (hiring) and on 26 May and 22 Nov. if a Tuesday, otherwise on the Tuesday after. Malting, brewing, fish-curing, boatbuilding, brickmaking, rope-spinning, iron-founding, and the manufacture of agricultural implements, sailcloth, and artificial manure are carried on. A printing-press was erected in 1795, the earliest in the county; and from it was issued the first Scotch cheap periodical miscellany. Trade has greatly fluctuated, both in quantity and in kind. The port had long a custom-house of its own, with jurisdiction from Gullane Point to the bounds of Berwick, but is now a sub-port of Leith. A whale fishery company was established in 1752, but, having little or no success, was dissolved in 1804. In 1830 six vessels were engaged in timber and grain trade with the Baltic, and 39 in various coasting trade; and in 1839 the vessels belonging to the port were 30 of 1495 tons, in 1851 only 11 of 658 tons, this falling-off of the shipping trade being mainly ascribed to the opening of the North British railway. The small Old Harbour, commenced with a grant of £300 from Cromwell, in 1820 received the addition of a graving-dock, which, proving, however, useless, was long ago filled up. The New or Victoria Harbour, formed in 1844 at a cost of £15, 762 by the burgh and the Fishery Board, and repaired in 1880 at a further cost of £2181, covers 5 acres, and is an important haven of refuge for vessels between Leith Roads and the English Tyne. It has a light, visible for 16 miles.

Created a royal burgh by David II. (1329-71), Dunbar is now governed by a provost, 3 bailies, a treasurer, and 7 councillors. It partly adopted the General Police and Improvement Act of Scotland prior to 1871;. and, with Haddington,. North Berwick, Lauder, and Jedburgh, it returns a member to parliament, the parliamentary constituency numbering 464 in. 1882, when the annual value of real property within the burgh amounted to £13, 887, 1s., whilst the Se of D bar. corporation revenue for 1881 was £884. Pop. (1841) 3013, (1851) 3038, (1861) 3517, (1871) 3422, (1881) 3651. Houses (1881) 943 inhabited, 104 vacant, 3 building.

Dunbar is a place of hoar antiquity. At it in 678the year of his expulsion from his see-the great St Wilfrid, Bishop of York, was imprisoned by Ecgfrid; and in 849 it is said to have been burned by Kenneth mac Alpin. In 1072 Gospatric, ex-earl of the Northumbrians, and kinsman to Malcolm Ceannmor, obtained from that king Dunbar with the adjacent territory; and the town's history for 360 years centres mainly around the sea-built castle of his descendants, the Earls of Dunbar and March. Patrick, fifth Earl of Dunbar, who in 1184 wedded a natural daughter of William the Lyon, was justiciary of Lothian and keeper of Berwick; and during his tenure of these offices, in 1214, Henry III. invaded Scotland with a powerful army, and, having taken the town and castle of Berwick, next laid siege to the fortress of Dunbar, but finding it impregnable, devastated the country up to the walls of Haddington. A marvellous story is told of Patrick, seventh Earl, who, during the troublous minority of Alexander III., was one of the chiefs of the English faction. Bower, who was born at Haddington 100 years after, relates that, on 11 March 1286, the night preceding King Alexander's death, True Thomas of Ercildoun or Earlston, arriving at the castle of Dunbar, was jestingly asked by the Earl if the morrow would bring any noteworthy event. Whereto the Rhymour made answer mystically: ' Alas for tomorrow, a day of calamity and misery! Before the twelfth hour shall be heard a blast so vehement as shall exceed those of every former period, -a blast that shall strike the nations with amazement, -shall humble what is proud, and what is fierce shall level with the ground! The sorest wind and tempest that ever was heard of in Scotland! ' Next day, the Earl and his companions having watched till the ninth hour without observing any unusual appearance in the elements, began to doubt the powers of the seer, and, ordering him into their presence, upbraided him as an impostor, whereto he replied that noon was not yet past. And scarce had the Earl sat down to the board, scarce had the shadow of the dial fallen upon the hour of noon, when a messenger rode furiously up, who, being questioned, cried: ` Tidings I bring, but of a lamentable kind, to be deplored by the whole realm of Scotland! Alas, our renowned King has ended his fair life at Kinghorn! ' ` This, ' said True Thomas, ` this is the scatheful wind and dreadful tempest which shall blow such calamity and trouble to the whole state of the whole realm of Scotland! '

Patrick, eighth Earl of Dunbar-surnamed Black Beard-succeeded in 1289, and in the same year appeared at the parliament of Brigham as Comes de Marchia (Earl of March or the Merse), being the first of his line so designated. He was one of the ten competitors for the crown of Scotland (1291); and when, in 1296, Edward I. with a powerful army entered Scotland, the Earl of Dunbar took part against his country. His Countess, however, more patriotic than he, delivered the castle over to the leaders of the Scottish army. Edward despatched the Earl of Warrenne with 12, 000 men to the siege; whilst the Scots, sensible of the importance of this fortress, whose capture would lay their country open to the enemy, hastened with their main army of 40, 000 men, under the Earls of Buchan, Lennox, and Mar, to its relief. Warrenne, undaunted by the superior numbers of the Scots, left part of his army to blockade the castle, and with the rest advanced to meet the foe. The English had to descend into a valley before they could reach the Scots; and as they descended, the Scots, observing some confusion in their ranks, set up a shout of exultation, and, causing their horns to be sounded, rushed down from their position of advantage. But when Warrenne emerged from the glen, and advanced undismayed against their formidable front, the undisciplined troops, after a brief resistance, fled, and were chased with great slaughter as far as Selkirk Forest. Edward, next day, with the main body of the English army, came up to Dunbar, and compelled the garrison to capitulate. So, at least, runs the story, but Dr Hill Burton observes, that ` evidently there was not a great battle, with organised troops and known commanders pitted against each other ' (Hist. Scot., ii. 170, ed. 1876). According to Blind Harry, when Wallace first undertook to deliver his country, the Earl of Dunbar refused to attend a meeting of the Estates at Perth. Thereupon Wallace encountered Patrick in a field near Innerwick, where the Earl had assembled 900 of his vassals, and with half that number compelled the traitor, after a terrible conflict, to retreat to Cockburnspath, himself falling back on Dunbar. Patrick now went to Northumberland to crave the aid of the Bishop of Durham; but his ostensible reason, the Minstrel tells us, was ` to bring the Bruce free till his land. ' Vessels were immediately sent from the Northumbrian Tyne to blockade Dunbar, and cut off supplies, while the Earl, with 20, 000 men, hastened to retake his fortress. In the interim Wallace had repaired to the W in quest of succour, and, returning by Yester, was joined by Hay and a chosen body of cavalry. With 5000 men he marched to the support of Seton, while the Bishop of Durham, who had remained at Norham with Bruce, came to the assistance of Dunbar, and threw himself into an ambuscade near Spottmoor. By this unexpected movement Wallace was completely hemmed in, when Seton fortunately came to his relief. The two armies closed in mortal strife. The Scots pushed on so furiously against the Southrons, that they were just about to fly, but Patrick was

` Sa cruel of intent,
That all his host tuk of him hardiment:
Throuch his awne hand he put mony to pain.'

The desperate valour of the Wallaces, the Ramsays, and the Grahams was of little avail against the superiorforce of the English; so that when the ambuscade of Bishop Beck appeared, they were on the point of retiring. Dunbar singled out Wallace amidst the throng, and wounded him; but the hero, returning the blow with sevenfold vengeance, clove down Maitland, who had thrown himself between. Wallace's horse was killed beneath him, and he was now on foot dealing destruction to his enemies, when

' Eie Patrick than, that had gret craft in war,
With spears ordand guid Wallace doun to bear.'

But 500 resolute warriors rescued their champion, and the war-worn armies were glad to retire. The same night Wallace traversed Lammermuir in quest of the retreating host, while Bishop Beck, Earl Patrick, and Bruce fled to Norham. On his return, the champion, still mindful of the odinm attached to his name by the Earl of Dunbar, -

` Passit, with mony awfull men, -
On Patrickis land, and waistit wonder fast,
Tuk out guids, and places doun thai cast;
His steads, sevin, that Mete Hamys was call'd,
Wallace gert break the burly biggings bauld,
Baith in the Merse, and als in Lothiane.
Except Dunbar, standand he leavit nane.,

In 1314 Edward II. of England, after seeing his army annihilated at Bannockburn, fled with a body of horse towards Berwick; but Sir James Douglas, with - 80 chosen horsemen, so pressed on the royal fugitive, that he was glad to shelter himself in the castle of Dunbar. Here he was received by Patrick, ninth Earl, ` full gently; ' and hence, in a fishing-boat, he coasted along the shore till he reached the towers of Bambrough. After this, the Earl of Dunbar made peace with his cousin, King Robert, and was present at Ayr in May 1315, when the succession to the Crown of Scotland was settled on Bruce's brother. But after the defeat at Halidon Hill (1333), Edward at Berwick once more received the fealty of the Earl of Dunbar with several others of the nobility; and the castle of Dunbar, which had been dismantled and razed to the ground on the approach of the English, was now rebuilt at the Earl's expense, for the purpose of maintaining an English garrison.

In 1339 the castle was again in the sole possession of its lord, and at the service of the Crown of Scotland; and then the Earls of Salisbury and Arundel advanced at the head of a large English host to take it. The Earl of Dunbar was absent in the North; so that the defence of his stronghold devolved upon his Countess, a lady who, from her swarthy complexion, was -called Black Agnes, and who was daughter to the great Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray. During the siege, Agnes performed all the duties of a bold and vigilant commander. When the battering engines of the English hurled stones or leaden balls against the battlements, in scorn she would bid a maid wipe off with a clean white handkerchief the marks of the stroke; and when the Earl of Salisbury, with vast labour, brought his sow close to the walls, the Countess cried:

` Beware, Montagow,
For farrow shall thy sow! '

Whereupon a large fragment of rock was hurled from the battlements, and crushed the sow to pieces, with all the poor little pigs-as Major calls them-who were lurking beneath it. The following is Wyntoun's rhyming narrative of this most memorable siege:

Schyre William Montague, that sua
Had tane the siege, in hy gret ma
A mekii and richt staiwart engine,
And up smertly gert dress it: syne
They warpit at the wail great stanes
Baith hard and heavy for the nanys,
But that nane merrying to them made,
And alsua when they castyne had,
With a towel, a damiseiie
Arrayed jollily and well. -
Wippit the wall, that they micht see
To gere them mair annoyed be;
There at the siege well lang they lay,
But there little vantage got they;
For when they bykkyne wald, or assail,
They tint the maist of their travvaile.
a d as they bykeryd there a' day,
Of a great shot I shall you say,
For that they had of it ferly,
It here to you rehearse will I.
Wiliiam of Spens percit a Blasowne,
And thro' three fauids of Awbyrchowne,
And the Actowne through the third ply
And the arrow in the bodie,
While of that dynt there dead he lay;
And then the Montagu gan say;
" This is ane of my Lady's pinnis.
Her amouris thus. till my heart rinnis "
While that the siege was there on this wise
Men sayis their feii sair juperdyis.
For Lawrence of Prestoun, that then
Haidin ane of the wichtest men,
That was in ail Scotland that tide,
A rout of Ingiismen saw ride,
That seemed gude men and worthy,
And were arrayed right richly;
He, with als few foil, as they were,
On them assembled he there;
But at the assembling, he was there
Intil the mouth stricken with a spear,
While it up m the harnys ran;
Till a dike he withdrew him than.
And died; for nae mair iive he might.
His men his death perceived noucht;
And with their faes faucht stoutiy,
While they them vanquish'd utterly.
Thus was this guid man brought till end,
That was richt greatly to commend.
Of gret wirschipe and gret bownte
His saul be aye in saftie.
Sir William als of Galstown
Of Keith, that was of gude renown,
Met Richard Talbot by the way
And set him to sa hard assay,
That to a kirk he gert him gae,
And close there defence to ma;
But he assailed there sae fast,
That him behov'd treat at the last,
And twa thousand pound to pay,
And left hostage and went his way.
The Montagu was yet lyand,
Sieging Dunbare with stalwart hand
And twa gallies of Genoa had he,
For till assiege it by the sea.
And as he thus assiegend lay,
He was set intil hard assay;
For he had purchased him covyn
Of ane of them, that were therein,
That he should ieave open the yete,
And certain term till him then set
To come; but they therein halily
Were warnit of it privily.
He came, and the yete open fand,
And wald have gane in foot steppand.
But John of Cowpland, that was then
But a right poor simple man,
Shut him off back, and m is gane,
The portcullis came down on ane;
And spared Montagu, thereout
They cryed with a sturdy shout
" A Montagu for ever mair! "
Then with the folk that he had there
He turned to his Herbery.
And let him japyt fullyly.
Syne Alexander, the Ramsay,
That trowed and thought, that they
That were assieged in Dunbar,
At great distress or mischief were;
That in an evening frae the Bass,
With a few folk, that with him was,
Toward Dunbar, intil a boat,
He held all privly his gate;
And by the gallies all slyly
He gat with his company:
The lady and all that were there
Of his coming will comfort were,
He issued m the morning in hy,
And with the wachis sturdily,
Made ane apart and stout melle.
And but tynsel entered he.
whiie Montagu was there lyand,
The king Edward of England
Purchased him help and alyawns.
For he waid amowe were m France;
And for the Montagu he sends;
For he eowth nae thing till end
F-orowtyn him, for that time he
Was maist of his counsei privie
When he had heard the king's bidding
He removed. but mair dwelling,
When he, I trow, had iying there
A quarter of a year and mair.
- Of this assiege in their hethyng
The English oysid to make karping
The Scottish wenche pioddere,
Come i aire, come I late,
I fand Annot at the yate." '

Amongst the nobles who fell in the field of Durham, in 1346, was Thomas, Earl of Moray, brother to the heroic Countess of Dunbar. As he had no male issue, Agnes inherited his vast estates; and her husband assumed the additional title of Earl of Moray. Besides the earldom of Moray, the Earl of Dunbar and his Countess obtained the Isle of Man, the lordship of Annandale, the baronies of Morton and Tibbers in Nithsdale, of Morthingtoun and Longformacus, and the manor of Dunse in Berwickshire, with Mochrum in Galloway, Cumnock in Ayrshire, and Blantyre in Clydesdale. George, the tenth Earl of Dunbar and March, succeeded his father in 1369. From his vast possessions he became one of the most powerful nobles of southern Scotland and the great rival of the Douglases. His daughter Elizabeth was betrothed, in 1399, to David, Duke of Rothesay, son and heir to Robert III.; and on the faith of the Prince, who had given a bond to perform the espousals, the Earl had advanced a considerable portion of her dowry. But Archibald, Earl of Douglas surnamed the Grim-jealous of the advantage which this marriage promised to a family whose pre-eminence in the state already rivalled his own, protested against the alliance, and, by his intrigues at court, through the Duke of Albany, had the contract between Rothesay and Lady Elizabeth cancelled, and his own daughter substituted in her place. Stung by the insult, Earl George withdrew to England, where Henry IV. granted him a pension of £400 during the continuance of war with Scotland, on condition that he provided 12 men-at-arms and 20 archers with horses, to serve against Robert. With a Douglas at Otterburn (1388), he had defeated Hotspur; now, with Hotspur, at Homildon (1402), he defeated a Donglas. At last, through the mediation of Walter Halyburton of Dirleton, a reconciliation was effected in 1408, Douglas consenting to Dunbar's restoration, on condition that he himself should get the castle of Lochmaben and the lordship of Annandale, in lieu of the castle of Dunbar and earldom of March, which he then possessed.

George, eleventh Earl of Dunbar and March, succeeded his father in 1420, being then nearly 50 years old. In 1434, he and his son Patrick visited England. The motive of this visit to the English court is not known; but the slumbering jealousies of James I.who had already struck a blow at the power of the barons-were easily roused; and he formed the bold plan of seizing the estates and fortresses of a family which for ages had been the wealthiest and most powerful on the Scottish border. The Earl of Dunbar was arrested and imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh, while the Earl of Angus, Chancellor Crichton, and Adam Hepburn of Hailes were despatched with letters to the keeper of the castle of Dunbar, who immediately surrendered it to the King's authority. In a parliament assembled at Perth on 10 Jan. 1435, George was accused of holding his earldom and estates after their forfeiture by his father's treason. In vain did he plead that his father had been pardoned and restored by Albany; it was answered, that a forfeiture incurred for treason could not be pardoned by a regent; and the parliament, in compliance with this reasoning, adjudged, ` that, in consequence of the attainder of George de Dunbar, formerly Earl of March and Lord of Dunbar, every right both of property and possession in all and each of those estates in the earldom of March and lordship of Dunbar, and all other lands which he held of our said lord the King, with all and each of their appurtenances, did and does exclusively belong and appertain to our lord the King. ' Thus earldom and estates were vested in the Crown; and by James II. the lordship of Dunbar was bestowed on his second son, Alexander, third Duke of Albany, then in his infancy.

In 1483 Albany gave the castle of Dunbar into the hands of the English; a condition of the truce with Henry VII. was, that its recapture by the Scots should not be deemed an act of war. On the marriage of Margaret of England with the King of Scotland in 1502, the earldom of Dunbar and lordship of Cockburnspath, with their dependencies, were assigned as the jointure of the young Queen; but the castle of Dunbar is expressly mentioned as being reserved by the King to himself. In 1516 John, fourth Duke of Albany, placed a French garrison here, under poor De la Bastie; and by the French it was held till James V., during his marriage sojourn in Paris (1537), expressly bargained for its evacuation. Three years later an English spy wrote word how James ` at least twice every week. in proper person, with a privy company of six persons and himself, repairs secretly by night, at the hour of twelve of the clock or after, to his said castle of Dunbar, and there so continues sometimes by the space of one day, and sometimes of two days, and returns by night again, and hath put all his ordnance there in such case that the same are in full and perfect readiness to be removed and set forward at his pleasure.'

The English, in the inroad under the Earl of Hertford, in 1544, after their return from the siege of Leith, and after burning Haddington, encamped the second night -26 May-near Dunbar. ` The same day, ' says Patten, ` we burnt a fine town of the Earl of Bothwell's, called Haddington, with a great nunnery an d a house of friars. The next night after we encamped besides Dunbar, and there the Scots gave a small alarm to our camp. But our watches were in such readiness that they had no vantage there, but were fain to recoil without doing of any harm. That night they looked for us to have burnt the town of Dunbar, which we deferred till the morning at the dislodging of our camp, which we executed by 500 of our hackbutters, being backed with 500 horsemen. And by reason we took them in the morning, who, having watched all night for our coming and perceiving our army to dislodge and depart, thought themselves safe of us, were newly gone to their beds; and in their first sleeps closed in with fire, men, women, and children, were suffocated and burnt. That morning being very misty and foggy, we had perfect knowledge by our espials that the Scots had assembled a great power at a strait called the Pease.'

In 1547, Hertford, now Duke of Somerset, invaded Scotland with an army of 15, 000 men; and having crossed the pass of Pease, with ` puffying and payne, ' as Patten says, demolished the castles of Dunglass, Innerwick, and Thornton. ` This done, about noon, we marched on, passing soon after within the gunshot of Dunbar, a town standing longwise upon the seaside, whereat is a castle-which the Scots count very strong -that sent us divers shots as we passed, but all in vain: their horsemen showed themselves in their fields beside us, towards whom Bartevil with his 800 men, all hackbutters on horseback-whom he had right well appointed-and John de Rybaud, with divers others, did make; but no hurt on either side, saving that a man of Bartevil's slew one of them with his piece. The skirmish was soon ended. ' In 1548, Dunbar was burned by German mercenaries under the Earl of Shrewsbury, on his retnrn to England from the attack on Haddington.

On Monday, 11 March 1566, just two days after Rizzio's assassination, Mary at midnight slipped out from Holyrood, and, with Darnley and six or seven followers, riding straight to Seton House, there got an escort on to the strong fortress of Dunbar, whose governor ` was amazed, early on Tuesday morning, by the arrival of his king and queen hungry and clamorous for fresh eggs to breakfast. ' Having thus seduced Darnley to abandon his party, the Queen's next step was to avenge the murder of her favourite. A proclamation was accordingly issued from Dunbar on 16 March, calling on the inhabitants of Edinburgh, Haddington, Linlithgow, Stirling, etc., to meet her at Haddington on Sunday the 17th; but it was not till the 27th that Bothwell, with 2000 horsemen, escorted the royal pair back to Edinburgh. Melville, the interim secretary, tells how at Haddington during this homeward journey Mary complained bitterly of Darnley's conduct in the late assassination; and on 19 April, in parliament, she, ` taking regard and consideration of the great and manifold good service done and performed, not only to her Highness's honour, weill, and estimation, but also to the commonweill of her realm and lieges thereof, by James, Earl Bothwell, and that, through his great service foresaid, he not only frequently put his person in peril and danger of his life, but also super-expended himself, alienated and mortgaged his livings, lands, and heritage, in exorbitant sums, whereof he is not hastily able to recover the same, and that he, his friends and kinsmen, for the most part, dwell next adjacent to her Highness's castle of Dunbar, and that he is most habile to have the captaincy and keeping thereof, and that it is necessarily required that the same should be well entertained, maintained, and furnished, which cannot be done without some yearly rent, and profit given to him for that effect, and also for reward of his said service: therefore, her Majesty infefted him and his heirs-male in the office of the captaincy keeping of the castle of Dunbar, and also in the crown lands of Easter and Wester Barns, the lands of Newtonleyes, Waldane, etc. So it was to Dunbar Castle that Bothwell brought Mary ` full gently, ' when, with 800 spearmen, he met her at Fountainbridge, on her return from Stirling, 24 April 1567, ten weeks after the Kirk-of-Field tragedy. The Earl of Huntly, Secretary Maitland, and Sir James Melville, were taken captives with the Queen, while the rest of her servants were suffered to depart; and Melville himself was released on the following day. Of Bothwell and Mary, Buchanan tells that, ` they had scarcely remained ten days in the castle of Dunbar, with no great distance between the Queen's chamber and Bothwell's, when they thought it expedient to return to the castle of Edinburgh. '

The marriage at Edinburgh, the retreat to Borthwick, and the flight thence in page's disguise to Cakemuir-these three events bring Mary once more to Dunbar, for the third and last time, on 13 June. With Bothwell she left next day to levy forces, and the day after that comes Carberry Hill, whence Bothwell returns alone, to fly on shipboard, which ends Dunbar's great three-act tragedy.

On 21 Sept. 1567, four companies of soldiers were sent to take Dunbar, which surrendered to the Regent on 1 Oct., and in the following December the castle, which had so often sheltered the unfortunate and the guilty, was ordered by Parliament to be destroyed. In 1581, among several grants excepted by James VI. from the general revocation of his deeds of gift made through importunity, mention is made of the ` forthe of Dunbar granted to William Boncle, burgess of Dunbar. ' This probably referred to the site of the fortress, and perhaps some ground adjacent.

On 22 July 1650, Cromwell, at the head of 16, 000 men, entered Scotland; on 3 Sept. he fought the Battle of Dunbar. Of which great battle and the events that led to it we have his own account in a letter to Lenthall, Speaker of the Parliament of England:` We having tried what we could to engage the enemy, 3 or 4 miles W of Edinburgh; that proving ineffectual, and our victual failing, we marched towards our ships for a recruit of our want. The enemy did not at all trouble us in our rear, but marched the direct way towards Edinburgh; and partly in the night and morning slips-through his whole army, and quarters himself in a posture easy to interpose between us and our victual. But the Lord made him to lose the opportunity. And the morning proving exceeding wet and dark, we recovered, by that time it was light, a ground where they could not hinder us from our victual; which was an high act of the Lord's Providence to us. We being come into the said ground, the enemy marched into the said ground we were last upon; having no mind either to strive or to interpose between us and our victuals, or to fight; being indeed upon this aim of reducing us to a lock, hoping that the sickness of our army would render their work more easy by the gaining of time. Whereupon we marched to Musselburgh to victual, and to ship away our sick men; where we sent aboard near 500 sick and wounded soldiers.

`And upon serious consideration, finding our weakness so to increase, and the enemy lying upon his advantage, at a general council it was thought fit to march to Dunbar, and there to fortify the town. Which, we thought, if anything, would provoke them to engage. As also, that the having a garrison there would furnish us with accommodation for our sick men, and would be a good magazine, which we exceedingly wanted, being put to depend upon the uncertainty of weather for landing provisions, which many times cannot be done, though the being of the whole army lay upon it; all the coasts from Berwick to Leith not having one good harbour. As also, to lie more conveniently to receive our recruits of horse and foot from Berwick.

'Having these considerations, upon Saturday, the 30th of August, we marched from Musselburgh to Haddington. Where, by that time we had got the vanbrigade of our horse, and our foot and train, into their Quarters, the enemy had marched with that exceeding expedition that they fell upon the rear-forlorn of our horse, and put it in some disorder; and indeed had like to have engaged our rear-brigade of horse with their whole army, had not the Lord, by His Providence, put a cloud over the moon, thereby giving us opportunity to draw off those horse to the rest of the army. Which accordingly was done without any loss, save of three or four of our aforementioned forlorn; wherein the enemy -as we believe-received more loss.

'The army being put into a reasonable secure posture, towards midnight the enemy attempted our quarters, on the W end of Haddington; but through the goodness of God we repulsed them. The next morning we drew into an open field, on the S side of Haddington; we not judging it safe for us to draw to the enemy upon his own ground, he being prepossessed thereof; but rather drew back, to give him way to come to us, if he had so thought fit. And having waited about the space of four or five hours, to see if he would come to us, and not finding - any inclination in the enemy so to do, we resolved to go, according to our first intendment, to Dunbar.

`By that time we had marched three or four miles, we saw some bodies of the enemy's horse draw out of their quarters; and by that time our carriages were gotten near Dunbar, their whole army was upon their march after us. And, indeed, our drawing back in this manner with the addition of three new regiments added to them, did much heighten their confidence, if not presumption and arrogancy. The enemy that night, we perceived, gathered towards the hills, labouring to make a perfect interposition between us and Berwick. And having in this posture a great advantage, through his better knowledge of the country he effected it, by sending a considerable party to the strait pass at Copperspath [Cockburnspath], where ten men to hinder, are better than forty to make their way. And truly this was an exigent to us, wherewith the enemy reproached us; as with that condition the Parliament's army was in, when it made its hard conditions with the King in Cornwall. By some reports that have come to us, they had disposed of us, and of their business, in sufficient revenge and wrath towards our persons, and had swallowed up the poor interest of England, believing that their army and their king would have marched to London without any interruption; it being told us, we know not how truly, by a prisoner we took the night before the fight, that their king was very suddenly to come amongst them, with those English they allowed to be about him. But in what they were thus lifted up, the Lord was above them.

`The enemy lying in the posture before mentioned, having those advantages; we lay very near him, being sensible of our disadvantages; having some weakness of flesh, but yet consolation and support from the Lord Himself to our poor weak faith, wherein I believe not a few amongst us stand: That because of their numbers, because of their advantages, because of their confidence, because of our weakness, because of our strait, we were in the Mount, and in the Mount the Lord would be seen; and that He would find out a way of deliverance and salvation for us; and indeed we had our consolations and our hopes.

`Upon Monday evening—the enemy's whole numbers were very great, as we heard, about 6000 horse and 16,000 foot at least; ours drawn down, as to sound men, to about 7500 foot and 3500 horse,—upon Monday evening, the enemy drew down to the right wing about two-thirds of their left wing of horse. To the right wing; shogging also their foot and train Much to the right, causing their right wing of horse to edge down towards the sea. We could not well imagine but that the enemy intended to attempt upon us, or to place themselves in a more exact position of interposition. The Major-General and myself coming to the Earl Roxburgh's house [Broxmouth], and observing this posture, I told him I thought it did give us an opportunity and advantage to attempt upon the enemy. To which he immediately replied, that he had thought to have said the same thing to me. So that it pleased the Lord to set this apprehension upon both of our hearts at the same instant. We called for Colonel Monk, and showed him the thing; and coming to our quarters at night, and demonstrating our apprehensions to some of the colonels, they also cheerfully concurred.

'We resolved, therefore, to put our business into this posture: That six regiments of horse and three regiments and a half of foot should march in the van; and that the Major-General, the Lieutenant-General of the horse, and the Commissary-General, and Colonel Monk to command the brigade of foot, should lead on the business; and that Colonel Pride's brigade, Colonel Overton's brigade, and the remaining two regiments of horse, should bring up the cannon and rear. The time of falling-on to be by break of day; but, through some delays, it proved not to be so; not till six o'clock in the morning.

`The enemy's word was The Covenant, which it had been for diver days. Ours, The Lord of Hosts. The Major-General, Lieutenant-General Fleetwood, and Commissary-General Whalley, and Colonel Twisleton, gave the onset; the enemy being in a very good posture to receive them, having the advantage of their cannon and foot against our horse. Before our foot could come np, the enemy made a gallant resistance, and there was a very hot dispute at sword's point between our horse and theirs. Our first foot, after they had discharged their duty, being overpowered with the enemy, received some repulse, which they soon recovered. For my own regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Goffe, and my Major, White, did come seasonably in; and, at the push of pike, did repel the stoutest regiment the enemy had there, merely with the courage the Lord was pleased to give. Which proved a great amazement to the residue of their foot; this being the first action between the foot. The horse in the meantime did, with a great deal of courage and spirit, beat back all opposition, charging through the bodies of the enemy's horse, and of their foot; who were, after the first repulse given, made by the Lord of Hosts as stubble to their swords. Indeed, I believe I may speak it without partiality, both your chief commanders and others in their several places, and soldiers also, were acted [actuated] with as much courage as ever hath been seen in any action since this war. I know they look to be named; and therefore I forbear particulars.

`The best of the enemy's horse being broken through and through in less than an hour's dispute, their whole army being put into confusion, it became a total rout; our men having the chase and execution of them near eight miles. We believe that upon the place and near about it were about three thousand slain. Prisoners taken: of their officers, you have this enclosed list; of private soldiers, near 10,000. The whole baggage and train taken; wherein was good store of match, powder, and bullet; all their artillery, great and small-thirty guns. We are confident they have left behind them not less than fifteen thousand arms. I have already brought in to me near two hundred colours, which I herewith send you. What officers of theirs of quality are killed, we yet cannot learn; but yet surely divers are; and many men of quality are mortally wounded, as Colonel Lumsden, the Lord Libberton, and others. And, that which is no small addition, I do not believe we have lost 20 men. Not one commissioned officer slain as I hear of, save one cornet, and Major Rooksby, since dead of his wounds; and not many mortally wounded. Colonel Whalley only cut in the hand-wrist, and his horse (twice shot) killed under him; but he well recovered another horse, and went on in the chase. Thus you have the prospect of one of the most signal mercies God hath done for England and His people, this war ' (Carlyle's Cromwell,* part vi.).

The subsequent history of Dunbar presents nothing very memorable. At it Cope landed his troops from Aberdeen, 16 to 18 Sept- 1745-the week of the battle of Prestonpans In 1779, Paul Jones's squadron hovered a brief space in front of the town, and, in 1781, Captain G. Fall, another American privateer, threatened a descent, but sheered off on perceiving preparations making for giving him a warm reception. By a strange coincidence the provost in the latter year was Robert Fall, member of a family that, from the middle of the 17th to the close of the 18th century, figures largely in the annals of Dunbar as one of the chief merchant houses in the kingdom. The Falls of Dunbar married into the Scottish baronetcy, and gave a Jacobite member to Parliament; yet Mr Simson adduces many reasons for believing that they came of the selfsame stock as the Gipsy Faas of KirkYetholm-Faa being the form under which we first meet with the name at Dunbar, in the Rev. J. Blackadder's Memoir, under date 1669. When on 22 May 1787 Robert Burns arrived at ` this neat little town, riding like the devil, and accompanied by Miss -, mounted on an old carthorse, huge and lean as a house, herself as fine as hands could make her, in cream-coloured riding-clothes, hat and feather, etc.'-he ` dined with Provost Fall, an eminent merchant (Mrs F. a genins in painting).' Which is about the last that we hear of the Falls at Dunbar, where, in 1835, there was ` not even a stone to tell where they lie.' At York there are Falls at the present day, who likewise lay claim to Romani origin (Simson's History of the Gipsies, 2d ed., New York, 1878; and Notes and Queries, 1881).

The parish, containing also the villages of Belhaven and East and West Barns, is bounded N and NE by the German Ocean, SE by Innerwick, S by Spott and Stenton, W by Prestonkirk, and NW by Whitekirk-Tynninghame. Its utmost length, from W by N to E by S, is 71/8 miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between 2½ furlongs and 3 miles; and its area is 8803 acres, of which 1284¼ are foreshore and 21½ water. At the western boundary is the month of the river Tyne; Dry Burn winds 4¼ miles east-north-eastward to the sea along all the Innerwick border; and to the sea through the interior flow Spott Burn and Beil Water. The coast to the W, indented by Tynninghame and Belhaven Bays, presents a fine sandy beach; but eastward from the mouth of Beil Water is bold and rocky, ` niched and vandyked ' with headlands of no great height, yet here and there jagged and savage in their way. The interior exhibits a pleasant diversity of hill and dale, rising gradually towards the Lammermuir Hills, and commanding a prospect of seaboard and ocean from St Abb's Head to the Bass and the hills of Fife. The highest points are Brunt Hill (737 feet) and Doon Hill (582), these rising 3 and 2¼ miles SSE of the town, the latter on the boundary with Spott; since Dunbar Common, 6½ miles SSW of the town, though sometimes regarded as part of the parish, is really divided among Spott, Stenton, and Whittinghame. A part of the Lammermuirs, with drainage towards the Berwickshire Whitadder, it attains at Clints Dod a height of 1307 feet. The rocks of the parish exhibit interesting phases both of eruptive and of secondary formations. Coal occurs, but not of sufficient thickness to be worked; excellent grey limestone has long been quarried; and red sandstone, more or less compact, is plentiful. The soil is partly a fertile loam, partly clay, partly a light rich mould; and the entire area, with slight exception, is under tillage. A rough tombstone, rudely inscribed with the name of Sir William Douglas, is in the vicinity of Broxmouth House; and in Broxmouth grounds is a small mound, crowned with a cedar of Lebanon, and known as Cromwell's Mount, since from it Cromwell beheld the descent of Leslie's army from Doon Hill. Three ancient chapels stood at the villages of Belton, Hedderwick, and Pinkerton; but both they and the villages have long been extinct. A monastery of Red or Trinity Friars was founded at the town, in 1218, by Patrick, fifth Earl of Dunbar, and has bequeathed to its site the name of Friar's Croft; and by Patrick, seventh Earl, a monastery of White or Carmelite Friars was founded in 1263 near the town, it is thought on ground where some Roman medals were exhumed at the forming of a reservoir. A Maison -Dieu of unknown date, stood at the head of High Street. Mansions are Broxmouth Park, Lochend House, Belton House, Hedderwick House, and Winterfield House; and 9 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 12 of between £100 and £500, 31 of from £50 to £100, and 81 of from £20 to £50. The seat of a presbytery in the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, this parish is divided ecclesiastically into Dunbar proper and Belhaven, the former a living worth £443. Three schools under the landward board -Belhaven, East Barns, and West Barns-with respective accommodation for 122, 107, and 200 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 53, 122, and 102, and grants of £37, 3s., £90, 11s., and £82. Valuation (1843) £27,701, (1882) £37,635, 16s. 4d. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 3951, (1821) 5272, an increase due to the cotton factory of Belhaven 1815-23; (1831) 4735, (1861) 4944, (1871) 4982, (1881) 5393; of ecclesiastical parish (1881) 4049.—Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 1 863.

The presbytery of Dunbar comprises the old parishes of Cockburnspath, Dunbar, Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Prestonkirk, Spott, Stenton, Whittinghame, and Whitekirk-Tynninghame, and the quoad sacra parish of Belhaven. Pop. (1871) 12, 432, (1881), 12,663, of whom 2545 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878. See James Miller's History of Dunbar (Dunb. 1830; new ed. 1859).

* John Aubrey, in his Miscellanies (1696). records a circumstance unnoticed by Cariyie. ' One that I knew,' he says, 'that was at the Battle of Dunbar, told me that Oliver was carried on with a- Divine Impuise; he did laugh so excessiveiy as if he had oeen drunk; his Eyes sparkied with Spirits. He obtained a great Victory; but the Action was said to be contrary to Human Prudence.'

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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