Queen Victoria Blogs on East Lothian (Seven)!
An exercise in “just suppose….” (Part Seven)
The old Difference Engine clanked into life again and revealed more of Queen Victoria’s account of her stay at Broxmouth House by Dunbar:
Monday August 26th, 1878, Afternoon, Dunbar and vicinity
At half past three, started with Beatrice, Leopold and the Duchess in the Landau and four, the Duke, Lady Ely,General Ponsonby and Mr Yorke going in the second carriage, and Lord Haddington riding the whole way. We drove through the west part of Dunbar,which was very full, and where we were literally pelted with small nosegays, till the carriage was full of them, by a number of young ladies and girls; then on for some distance past the village of Belhaven, Knockindale hill [Knockenhair],where were stationed, in their best attire, the queen of the gipsies, an oldish woman with a yellow handkerchief on her head, and a youngish, very dark, and truly gipsy-like woman in velvet and a red shawl, and another woman. The queen is a thorough gipsy, with a scarlet cloak and yellow handkerchief round her head. Men in red hunting coats, all very dark, and all standing on a platform here, bowed and waved their handkerchiefs. It was the English queen of the gypsies from Norwood not the Scottish Border one.
We next passed the paper mills, where were very many people, as indeed there were at every little village and in every direction. We turned to the right, leaving the Traprain Law, a prominent hill, to the left, crossed the Tyne and entered the really beautiful park of Tyninghame-Lord Haddington’s. More splendid trees and avenues of beech and sycamore, and one very high holly hedge. The drive under the avenues is very fine, and at the end of them you see the sea.We could however, see it but faintly because of the haze. We passed close to the house, a handsome one, half Elizabethan, with small scotch towers, and a very pretty terrace garden, but we did not get out. Driving on through the park, which reminded me of Windsor and Windsor forest, we again came upon the high road and passed by Whitekirk, a very fine old church, where numbers of people were assembled, and very soon after, we saw through the haze the high hill of North Berwick Law, looking as though it rose up out of the sea, and another turn or two brought us to Tantallon, which is close to and overhangs the sea.
Visitors to East lothian are often entranced by the landscapes and sights that the county offers. The advanced search facility of this website lets those who want to find out more explore our collections and the Historic Environment Record; the latter provides comprehensive access to the archaeology of the county and references for further reading.
We’ve created this blog using Victoria’s own words (and punctuation), her own views and thoughts of her time at Broxmouth Park in 1878. More will follow. The extracts were selected from one of Victoria’s published Journals.