What we do

 In pursuit of one of its major aims :

“To foster interest in the history and archaeology of Haddington and its environs through annual programmes of meetings with guest speakers, and outings both locally and further afield”.

The society puts together a ‘season’ of meetings on one Thursday of each month in Haddington Town House at 7.30 pm. The programme for the forthcoming season (2018-19) begins in September 2018 – see HHS Syllabus.







News Update

As usual, our first talk (September 6)forms part of the programme for the East Lothian Archaeology and Local History Fortnight (see HHS syllabus). However, in this special celebratory year of the town’s confirmation as a royal burgh by King Robert the Bruce in 1318 (Haddington 700) the History Society has collaborated closely with the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society to organise a one day conference in the Town House on Saturday 15 September. Guest speakers will address important aspects of the town’s history and development from 1318 to 2018. The detailed programme will be published later.

To access the poster, click on the following title.

Charter, Church and Conflict Conference POSTER v1






News: correct on 9th September, 2017

East Lothian and World War Two: You may be interested in reading about East Lothian’s role in the Second World War. If so, please click on the following link and you will be taken to East Lothian at War, a website researched by Jack Tully Jackson, written and with additional research by David Haire and supported by your Society.

The link is www.eastlothianatwar.co.uk

Summer Outing to Colstoun – Nineteen members were able to visit Colstoun on a lovely sunny morning on Friday 15th May 2016. The visit was judged a great success as we were shown round by a most accomplished guide, Ludovic Broun-Lindsay’s cousin, Cameron. Cameron was not only full of interesting facts and amusing annecdotes about the deeper recesses of the family tree and the objets d’art in the house, but was also keen to illustrate the efforts required of large estate owners nowadays to maintain and preserve their properties.

Treasure Tour of John Gray Centre – This attracted fourteen members and turned into a very stimulating and interesting visit. The group was shown some of the Museum’s star items and then taken to the map room, deep in the upper levels of the building and somewhere most of us had never been. I know from one correspondent that the visit stimulated two members to return for another look later.

Guided tour of historical Haddington led by Jean MacKinnon. This attracted a much larger group than expected and all pronounced themselves mightily pleased by the experience. Well done Jean!

17th October: Eric Glendinning, David Haire, Jean MacKinnon and Bill Rarity led groups of visiting archaeologists and like-minded people around Haddington as part of Archaeology Scotland’s post-AGM activities. The group had met in our Town House. The tours were well-received and Archaeology Scotland very kindly donated fifty pounds to our funds. Clearly this means we’re now professionals!

East Lothian Heritage Gathering: 2016

This year’s Gathering was held in the Town House on Saturday 28th February. We organised and hosted this get-together which saw thirteen societies mounting displays and sixty-four attending. In all there were sixteen speakers, fourteen giving short reports on their society’s projects and two, Joy Dodd and Sheena Irving, giving longer talks, entitled ‘Altars out: pulpits in” and ‘Presenting Cousland’s past” respectively.

2016 Summer Outing to Arniston House, Midlothian. On Monday 16th May thirteen members travelled to this William Adam, Palladian style mansion house set in acres of beautiful parkland just 11 miles from Edinburgh. It has been home to the Dundas family for over 400 years and its present owner and her daughter took us on an excellent tour of the principal rooms in the house. After the tour, which included paintings by Raeburn, rooms restored from the bricks up after the ravages of dry rot and a lovely warm and comfortable library, we were treated to an excellent afternoon tea with cakes galore and floods of tea. After extracting ourselves reluctantly from the latter, we emerged into lovely sunshine and strolled across the newly mown lawns to investigate the sunken gardens and the stone remains from the old Scottish Parliament. It was another excellent History Society day out.

2017 Summer outing to Mellerstain House

Twenty-two members headed south towards Kelso to visit this wonderful Adams house. The weather was less promising than usual but Bill timed the visit to perfection and the heaviest rain shower was viewed with disdain – from within! Fortified by coffee and a variety of buns, we were amusingly and informatively guided round the finer rooms in this ancient pile. It was the owner’s (the Earl of Haddington) misfortune and our gain that water ingress had necessitated a fair degree of re-decoration in two of the main public rooms and everything looked pristine and fresh. The ceilings and plasterwork were quite breathtaking and unusual pieces of furniture all made for plenty to see and remember. It was a grand day out.

 Some of our members at Mellerstain

We arrive!

Special projects 2015 onwards

East Lothian at War

Jack Tully Jackson, our past  Honorary President, was long associated with recording the events and experiences of life in East Lothian during the 1939-45 war. David Haire, a past Convenor, has worked with Jack for nearly twenty-five years and has taken on responsibility for continuing the task. To extend the researcher’s reach and to provide anyone with an interest in this recent and important period of our country’s history, David has created a website. The website’s address is eastlothianatwar.co.uk

Should you have any information you could share for this project, please use the email contact at the bottom of each of the website’s pages. Thank you. So far the site has attracted new information from Malawi, Hamburg and Jerusalem as well as from more local sources.

Scotland’s Urban Past project (in association with HES)

Under the leadership of Eric Glendinning a team of the Society’s members is actively recording life in the Nungate in all its aspects in an area of Haddington which still retains its very own character. The team is recording long-term residents, examining old maps, collecting records and exploring the hints and clues found in paintings of the area. This project is intended to last from four to five years.