Spott Parish,East Lothian
Posted on Saturday, 23 Mar 2013 by Chris
An inland parish to the south of Dunbar,Spott has an irregular boundary with Stenton to the west and Innerwick to the east. Like it's neighbouring parishes it has rich agricultural land rising up to the escarpment of Lothian Edge, with the Lammermuirs beyond.
In common with many Scottish parishes,over the centuries it has staged many historic events.Doon Hill with it's panoramic views along the coast was formerly the site of a 7th century Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon wooden hall.
Two battles of the same name have been fought within Spott.The first Battle of Dunbar during the Scottish War of Independance in 1296 when Edward I defeated the Scots and it was also from here that the Scots Covenanting army camped before their disastrous defeat against Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar in1650.
Descending from Doon Hill,the road to Spott village passes the entrance to the privately owned Spott House. Originally the castle of the de Spott family since the 13th century,it has changed hands many times:the Humes, Douglasses, Murrays and the Hays – have all held the lands of Spott. Just beyond the lodge entrance on the right,set back from the road is Spott parish church. The current building dates from 1790 on a much earlier Christian site. Besides the parish war memorial an other item of interest is the set of Jougs (old French - a yoke) attached to the porch wall. Consisting of an iron collar,it held those miscreants for public humiliation,who had fallen foul of the kirk session.
Spott has also been home to some colourful charcters.In 1570 the minister murdered his wife in the manse before delivering his sermon. Divine intervention did not save him and he was later publicly executed in Edinburgh.
From the church continue to walk the length of the main street through the village and a few hundred yards further are a set of black railings around a boulder.Spott was notorious for its witches in both the 17th and early 18th centuries and the boulder is supposed to be near the spot where Marion Lillie, the Ringwoodie Witch, was burnt to death around 1698. She was not the last to meet that fate in Scotland,for Dornoch,Sutherland in 1727 had that honour. Curiously when I visited,there were coins deposited on top of the stone.
An old route known as the Herring Road passes through Spott,from Dunbar to Lauder in Berwickshire. This centuries old road would have been used for trading wool from the Lammermuirs and fish from the harbour at Dunbar.Today it offers views to the north over the Firth of Forth,Berwick Law and the Bass Rock and south,flanked by wind turbines as it drops down to the Whiteadder Reservoir.
OS Dunbar & North Berwick 1:25000 Sheet 351
Spott Parish Links
Family Search Spott Parish
Gazetteer of Scotland Spott Parish
Scotlands Places Spott Parish
Wikipedia Spott,East Lothian
The Fourth Statistical Account East Lothian Spott
Old Roads of Scotland,East Lothian Spott
SCAN Scottish Officers captured at Battle of Dunbar 1650
Undiscovered Scotland Spott Parish Church
Undiscovered Scotland Doon Hill Dark Age Settlement
Spott Parish Archives
Spott Parochial Board/Parish Council Minutes 1845-1895 ELCC/10/18/1
Voter's Roll c1830-1860 DUN/11/1/1
Spott Parish Statute Labour Road 1824-1842 EL20
Available at John Gray Centre,Haddington