Just over a week ago I made a comment on Outlandish UK Facebook page that there wasn’t much to mark the Battle of Prestonpans. Well this sparked another member of the group to prove me wrong and organise a tour of the Battlefield.
On Saturday 11th July a group of Outlander fans – with some husbands in tow – met at Meadowfield Sports Centre, Prestonpans. We were joined by Arran Johnstone, head of the Prestonpans Heritage Trust.
We started by walking up the old wagon way to Tranent Church. Initially the Jacobites occupied the churchyard but later withdrew to Tranent. Then as the battle took place this is where Colonel Gardiner was taken when wounded and he later died in the manse. He is believed to be buried in the churchyard but currently his grave maybe covered with undergrowth.
From the churchyard we walked back down the wagon way and up the man made pyramid hill to the battle viewpoint. Steep climb but worth it for the view and information at the top – this is in the process of being updated. The flag flown is Bonnie Prince Charlie’s standard. This is changed to the union flag for one week of the year between the anniversary of the birth and death of George II.
Next we walked towards the road and joining back up the wagon way. Here Arran pointed out where the battle took place and described the events of the battle. We could have listened for hours about what happened in September 1745.
We retraced our steps and walked back along the road into a park area where we were surprised to find a memorial to Colonel Gardiner marking roughly where the thorn tree was where he was wounded.
From here we walked through bushes down a makeshift path into Thorntree Fields. This is where the fallen from both sides were buried by the locals of Prestonpans in four pits. This area is under threat by developers who wish to build industrial units on this site. The Prestonpans Historical Trust wish to buy or lease the land and create a memorial to all the fallen. More information on this can be found on the Historical Trust facebook page. This is a very peaceful place and it would be a shame to loose this.
The tour continued with us walking to Bankton House and the Colonel Gardiner memorial. Bankton House was Colonel Gardiner’s house and after the battle was used as a field hospital to treat the wounded of both sides. Bankton House was destroyed by fire but where it was rebuild the outside had to kept the same as the original. It is now a private residence. Outside the grounds of the house the memorial to Colonel Gardiner can be found. This was built in the 1800s and could be seen from passing trains.
The tour concluded back in Meadowfield Sports Centre car park. An enjoyable afternoon was had by all. I learned more about the battle and hope to revisit the sites again soon.