East Lothian Antiquarians > Outings 2014

 Outings 2014

22 March 2014

The final lecture in the Antiquarian  and Field Naturalists Society Winter Programme was an illustrated lecture entitled The Rennies of Phantassie It was given in the Church of Prestonkirk on Tuesday 18th March by Joy Dodd to an appreciative audience.

Firstly Mrs Dodd traced the background of the name in Prestonpans in the 16th century and the family from James Rennie a slater at Prestonpans c 1680 through to James Rennie [b 1719 ] who came to Phantassie. In 1742 George Rennie of Auldhame  and his son James were granted a lease of Phantassie for 21 years and James, then 23 started farming there. From this beginning and with various difficulties the Rennies made an important contribution to Scottish agriculture at Phantassie both as tenants and owners. James’s son George Rennie developed Phantassie  into one of the finest farms in the county.The lives of other members of the family were explored. Passing reference only was made to John Rennie  the civil engineer who had been commemorated by the society in 2011.In 1840  George Rennie, Junior renounced his rights and the trustees sold the estate to William Mitchell-Innes.

The talk was developed from the article ‘The Most  skilful and successful agriculturists; the Rennies of Phantassie’ by Bill and Joy Dodd in vol 24 of the Society’s Transactions [2013]

The next event in the programme will be the annual dinner in the Maitlandfield Hotel on 11th April when the speaker will be Andrew Coulson who will give a talk on the work of the Pinkie Cleuch Battlefield Group.




The 10th AGM of East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists’Society was held in Prestongrange Parish church on Saturday May 11th by kind permission of the Kirk Session.

The Society was were welcomed by Mr Ian Wallace,the session Clerk. The President Stephen Bunyan, welcomed members to the meeting. There were a number of apologies.

Members held in remembrance three members who had died in the course of the year Mrs Sarah Tennant,Mrs Jean Colley and Dr Islay Donaldson and two former members Mr Stewart Ritchie and Mr John Edington. [Dr Arthur Taylor, a former member of Council also died in the course of the year]. The minutes of the agm of 2013 were accepted. The president read the annual report for the year which had been successful.The Hon Treasurer Joy Dodd presented the accounts and it was reported that the next volume of the transactions was well in hand and would be published in 2015.

The office bearers and members of council were re elected and the Duke of Hamilton was elected and welcomed as a new member of Council.

At the conclusion of the business Mr Wallace gave an account of the history of the parish church. The first minister John Davidson was appointed in 1595. Davidson was at odds with the king and was banished to Preston pans which had not had a minister for fifty tears and where there was neither church nor manse. He raised money to build both by 1597 and established a school.This meant that it was probably the first church built for the reformed church Mr Paton then traced later developments leading to the present church and after tea led some members round the grave yard.

Thanks were expressed to the church for their hospitality.
An outline of the programme for 2014/15 was given.
New members are welcome and should contact the Hon Sec Graeme Bettison or any other member of council.

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