Glebe Archaeology and Workshops
The project’s purpose is to cast light and confirm the origins of the village as can best be demonstrated. This is an ambitious project involving 14 workshops, 4 lectures and a Schools Activities Programme, in addition to the field archaeology itself.
The Glebe field, a scheduled ancient monument of national importance to the north of the kirk, contains the ruins of the 16th century Kilspindie Castle but has been a site of human habitation for much longer and at least as far back as the 6th century. Geophysical surveys carried out by the Society in 2008 provided tantalising glimpses of possible Anglo-Saxon timber halls (see image). This is supported by the site hosting the most extensive range of Anglo-Saxon finds yet discovered in Scotland. As such the archaeology project designed to confirm and extend these results is supported by Historic Scotland.
Current status is that Permission to Start has been sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project will commence as soon as possible after this is received. Other grant funding supporters are Awards for All, East Lothian Council, Gullane Area Community Council and the Strathmartine Trust. We are grateful for the local letters of support from within the community and beyond.
Recently Completed Projects
The Aberlady High Cross
In 1863, a fragment of an early Christian high cross was found in a garden wall adjacent to Aberlady kirkyard. Recent research by the Society and others has highlighted the importance of this cross fragment to our understanding not only the origins and early history of Aberlady, but also of its relationship with the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the evolution of the early church in these islands.
The original carved cross would have been magnificent and nearly five metres tall when raised on the high ground of the present kirkyard 1300 years ago. The intricate carvings of Mediterranean vine scrolls, intertwined beasts and seabirds, and key patterns in the cross fragment bear a strikingly close relationship with the illuminated artwork that characterises the Lindisfarne Gospels, made on Holy Island around 720 AD.
A reconstruction of how the original cross may have looked, funded by grants awarded to the Society by Tyne Esk LEADER, now stands within the village Memorial Garden. The Society re-laid the paths of the memorial garden, adding four stone benches and two large onyx plant holders to improve its appearance. We are still in discussion about how the site might be further improved as a community garden.
Aberlady Heritage Project
Replacement Information Panel
The Society recently (2014) replaced the faded information board outside the Kirk Stables with new artwork interpreting the same buildings as in the original. Village artist Cheryl Leigh Jones also added to its appeal by including within it something of the rich natural environment that surrounds the village. The Society is grateful to Cheryl and to East Lothian Council for its support under the Civic Pride Fund.
Earlier work by the Society has included publication of two books by John Pringle Reid, one on his 19th century schooldays.
We have also amassed quite a collection of black and white photographs of the village, each with its own story to tell, some of which can be viewed at this Flickr site.