Dedicated to 'Our Lady'
Visitors often ask about the meaning and antiquity of the name Aberlady.
'Aber' is the p-Celtic, or early Brythonic, prefix meaning 'mouth of' or 'estuary'. So far as the suffix is concerned, it has been suggested that the burn that runs into the Bay was once known as the Leddie. There is no evidence for this. It has also been suggested that the suffix derives from ‘ledaig’, a Gaelic, or q-Celtic, word for flat estuary. But if the Bay was wider, deeper and more open to the sea during and prior to the village’s days as a busy medieval port, such a label would be illogical.
Instead, historians are increasingly of the view that the name links directly to its ecclesiastical history; more particularly to the chapel dedicated to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary which long stood in the grounds of present kirkyard. References to a chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary date to as late as 1620.
On this basis, the name Aberlady means ‘the place on the estuary of the chapel of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary’.
Early medieval silver figurine of Madonna & Child found at Aberlady. It may have been used to adorn a prayer book.
|That the name of the settlement did not change from its Brythonic origins following the Anglo-Saxon invasion suggests that it was already known and recognised as an Early Christian settlement by the 6/7th century English.|
Talks & Tours
What people said:
"Enjoyable talk and walk around Aberlady. Tour was just the right length, and of interest. Ian was very knowledgeable about the history and archaeology of the area."
"Other things were pointed out en route, e.g. submarines, the wooden slats and sunken posts in the area of the harbour which formed the edge of the old harbour, remains of fishing boats left for picturesque effect, the connection between the setting of the local church and the one at Lindisfarne, even some basking seals."
"The man who led this is obviously an enthusiast and his talk was extremely well prepared. We then went on a walk to see at first hand what he had talked about.
"Even the weather was wonderful."