The First Statistical Account of Scotland was the brain child of Sir John Sinclair. In the 1790s he sent questionnaires to the ministers of every parish in Scotland, asking them to report on what was going on locally – employment, population, industry, the morals and social life of the people and many other topics. Such was its success that a new or Second Statistical Account was compiled in the 1830s and 1840s, and one hundred years later the Third Statistical Account project was launched.

To mark the 50th anniversary of East Lothian’s Third Account, the 200th anniversary of the first Account and the new millennium, the East Lothian Fourth Statistical Account Society is publishing the Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian. The society is a consortium of eleven local history societies in East Lothian, led by the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society. The project received a grant of £30,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.