Gladsmuir Longniddry | Revisiting the past

At least one Iron Age grave was excavated in the 1950s in the garden of Thrushes Mead near the foot of the Lyars Road. A large stone unearthed a couple of years ago on the golf course west of the Dean was thought likely to be a buried monolith or standing stone. It is not impossible that it might have been one of the circle of ‘druid stones’ (mentioned by Martine in his History of the East Lothian Parishes), which once stood somewhere in the vicinity.

Tradition points to a fragmentary ruin in the grounds of Longniddry House as John Knox’s Kirk, a chapel where the reformer publicly catechised his pupils when acting as tutor to the sons of the laird of Longniddry.

Longniddry’s war memorial is a plaque inside Longniddry Parish Church commemorating those who died in the second world war. Those who fell in the first world war are included in the war memorial in Gladsmuir Parish Church.

A plaque was placed in front of the British Legion in Links Road in 1993 to commemorate those who died at Ferny Ness in 1943, when a target-towing plane crashed on to a bus carrying naval personnel.

The recent past

Several buildings remain in Gosford Estate from the wartime military base. The main complex remaining now houses a sawmill.

Most of the concrete blocks used as shore defences during the war were removed and used during the construction of Cockenzie Power Station. Several still remain on the east side of Ferny Ness, along with a scattered few elsewhere.


There are references to Longniddry in the Gladsmuir Kirk Session Minutes (CH2 169) held at the NAS (National Archives of Scotland). Longniddry was part of Tranent parish until 1692, and is also mentioned in the Tranent Old Kirk Session Minutes (CH2 357). The parish registers of Tranent and Gladsmuir record Longniddry births, deaths, and marriages.

The NAS holds the Forfeited Estate Papers (E661), which include a substantial amount of information on the Seton/Winton estates of which Longniddry was a part.

The Eglinton Muniments (NAS GD/1/4382-4546) contain Seton charters recording grants of land in the Longniddry area dating back to mediaeval times.

The Session Papers in the Signet Library contain the records of several late 18th century processes dealing with Longniddry at the time of the bankruptcy of the York Buildings Company, and during the Lairdship of John Glassel.