Mercat Cross, Ormiston

Mercat Cross, Ormiston, Scotland

Today, I visited the fascinating, historical village of Ormiston, East Lothian which is located about 30 min drive south of Edinburgh. This is just one of five similarly named villages in Scotland all of which derive from the Old Norse personal name Ormr,a name which is associated with ‘worm’ ( in context of serpent) as found in Wormiston and Wormit on Tay. There are two Ormistons in in Roxburghshire, two in Lothian and an Ormistoun near Peebles.

Ormiston, East Lothian is, unusually for Scotland, a planned village.It dates from 1735 and was based on an English theme. Local man John Cockburn ( 1685-1758) planned and built the village which originally consisted of a broad, open Main Street flanked by a row of double story houses on each side.

Cockburn’s venture failed in that it fell short of anticipated return on investment and consequently Ormiston was sold to the Earl of Hopetoun in 1747.  There were attempts to generate wealth for the village via ventures into the linen trade and whisky distilling but these failed. A brewery and bleach fields for linen processing were also built.  Ormiston later became a coal mining village and today there is a pub there named the Coalgate.

Image below shows the 15th century, pre-Reformation Mercat Cross with its unusual cruciform shape.

Mercat Cross at Ormiston

Mercat Cross at Ormiston, East Lothian

 

Former Manse, Ormiston

Former Manse, Ormiston, East Lothian

Main Street, Ormiston

Main Street, Ormiston, Scotland

 

Coalgate Pub, Ormiston

Coalgate Pub, Ormiston, Scotland

 

Ormiston Kirk

Ormiston Kirk, Scotland

Historic Beech House

Historic Beech House, Ormiston (18th c)

Here is a memorial to Robert Moffat ( 1817-1870), a pioneer of the London Missionary Society wo spent considerable time on missionary work in Southern Africa. He was related to Dr David Livingstone.

Moffat Memorial, Ormiston

Moffat Memorial, Ormiston, Scotland

Overall, Ormiston impresses as well kept and respecting its historical heritage. However, it does not appear to be a tourist destination.

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