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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Revisiting the past

Although there is no formal history group in Yester, the residents have proved enthusiastic in pursuit of their past. Various booklets have been produced (see References) and two successful exhibitions put on. In 1981, for the reopening of the newly restored village hall, Andrew Gilmour held a photographic exhibition of Gifford and also recorded the recollections of Mrs Jessie Trotter born 1899, Mrs A. Hogg, Mrs B. Patterson and Mr A. Nicholson (all about the same age). These photographs were the basis of a later Millennium exhibition Gifford – The Last 100 Years held in July 2000, and which included more material donated since 1981. A complete set of these photographs, along with a catalogue, will be kept in Haddington Local History Centre and it is hoped to make a CD-ROM of the material. The material also formed the basis of this account of the parish.

In 1955, the Mercat Cross in the Square was rebuilt; funded by the Ministry of Works it cost £116 and 5 shillings. The same year, the St Andrew’s Society of New York commemorated John Witherspoon’s links with Yester with the unveiling of a plaque on the wall opposite the church.

The feuars of Gifford care for the herd’s horn and the town crier’s bell, and these have been on display at Yester school since 1972. The herd’s horn was used to tell the feuars to loose their cows from the byres; they were taken to the common fields by Johnny Leishman - known as Johnny Toot! – and brought back in the evenings. The Town Crier’s bell was used in days gone by to give out news.

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