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East Lothian

The following collections of charters contain a number of references to roads in East Lothian (Haddingtonshire).

Kelso Abbey
Humbie Parish. Road to Haddington, stone bridge
Innerwick Parish. Road from Risilbrig towards Innerwick
Spott Parish. Road beyond Spartleton

Melrose Abbey
Stenton Parish. Road to Eslingcleugh (continuation of Spartleton road)
Whittinghame Parish - Ricardisrode

Isle of May/ St Andrews Cathedral Priory
Whittinghame Parish.
Garvald & Bara Parish. Monkesgate

Dunfermline Abbey
Smeaton Parish.
Haddington to Newbattle. Inveresk to Dalkeith.

Yester Writs
(mostly relating to Cistercian convent of Haddington)
Mainly parishes of Haddington, Gifford, Garvald & Bara, Morham.

Dunbar area Berwick-upon-Tweed Bothans, Duncanlaw, Newlands
Tweedsmuir Haddington Yellowpeth & Other Tracks
Peebles Middleton Roads near Bara
Portincraig Granges - Nunhope & Newlands Roads near Yester (Bothans)
Towns Nunhope & Crumberstrother Haddington to Garvald

Newbattle Abbey

Kressewelle (Monkrigg) Westforton & Drem
Bearford Edington, near Berwick

Overview Map

Overview map. Based on 1/4 inch OS map, sheet 3, 1923. With thanks to OS

Kelso Abbey were granted lands in Humbie parish in the time of Malcolm IV (1141-1165). The charters mention a road to Haddington and a stone bridge that may be a precursor of that now known as the Salter's bridge. As the Haddington road ran up to West Saltoun, it may have had a connection with the "salter's roads" that were known to pass through this area.

In charters dealing with lands the abbey had in Innerwick, there is mention of a road leading fom Risilbrig to Innerwick. Risilbrig was just north of Cranshaws and the road must have ran up the Bothwell valley. In the same area there is mention of the great road beyond Spartleton: this must be very early as it runs along the ridge of Spartleton Edge.

Just north of this, a Melrose charter mentions a road that is very likely to be the same road, and two or three miles to the south-west we hear of Ricardisrode on the route between Haddington and Longformacus.

Ricardisrode is mentioned again in charters of the Priory of the Isle of May (later passed over to St Andrews Cathedral Priory) that deal with lands near Penshiel. This priory was also gifted lands on the moor of Bara, three miles south-east of Haddington and there was a road from Haddington to Garvald said to have been used to carry stone into Haddington for building one of the churches there. In later years this was known as Stabstane Loan. In the charter a road called the Monkesgate was mentioned. The Monkesgate was probably linked to Newbattle abbey as this abbey had granges at Monkriggs (Cresswell) and Bearford and a petary in Crumbrestrother. They are said in fact to have made a "road which the same monks made from the front of the alders (at Crumbrestrother) that extends by the side (foot) of the hills towards the west". This may be the true Monkesgate, branching off the Garvald road and leading to their granges of Monkriggs and Bearford.

A charter of Dunfermline abbey refers to two roads: one from Inveresk south towards Dalkeith and one from Newbattle to Haddington. Newbattle abbey had a grange at Bearford, 3 miles east of Haddington and would have been amongst those using this road.

The collection of charters known as the Yester Writs has several references, mostly relating to the Cistercian convent at Haddington. Roads mentioned include Kilnunrodes, the above road between Haddington and Garvald, roads from the convent in Haddington to granges at Newlands and Nunhope, a road from Bothans (the old village of Yester) to Duncanlaw, and wider references to the Edinburgh to Moffat road and the Berwick Road. There was also a bridge at Bothans and a "Flaik" bridge which was like a wooden walkway.

Newbattle Abbey, located just south of Dalkeith, has some interesting reference to roads in its charters. Some mention Dere Street, both a Roman road and a later dark age route, and several charters deal with the route over to the Monklands, along which they negotiated passage with local landowners in exchange for one of their well-known wagons. There were some routes near the abbey, including a short road between Dalhousie and Gorton.

In East Lothian, they had granges at Monkrigg and Bearford, near Haddington and no doubt a connecting route to the abbey through the town. They also had rights to cut peat in Crumbrestrother. One charter gave them the right t pass through Edington on their way to Berwick which implies a route through the Lammermuirs. North of Haddington, near Drem, a road is mentioned altough its location is hard to determine. In West Lothian there was a road from Linlithgow towards West Binning and a clue to an old bridge in Kinpont near Broxburn.

The abbey had extensive properties in the Lochgow, Gladhouse, and Moorfoot areas with some likely routes passing through including a "salter's road" as shown by a "salterford". There are also mentions of a road or roads betwen Edinburgh and Leith.

A number of other Newbattle charters have to be looked at, including some that mention the salt trade, coal mining, and lead mining at Crawford in Lanarkshire to all of which there would have been routes.

Note: The maps below are based on the 1925 one-inch map for Edinburgh, the 1926 one-inch map for Dunbar and Lammermuir, the half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914 and the 1/4 inch map, sheet 3, 1923. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

Further details of charters pre-1314 can be found on the People of Medieval Scotland website. Amanda Beam, John Bradley, Dauvit Broun, John Reuben Davies, Matthew Hammond, Michele Pasin (with others), The People of Medieval Scotland, 10931314 (Glasgow and London, 2012) www.poms.ac.uk.

Keith (Humbie)

Photo of Keith church
Keith church - see Wikipedia article on Keith Marischal

In the time of Malcolm IV, the church of Keith and some lands were granted to Kelso Abbey. The church is now a ruin and is sited near Keith Marischal in what is now Humbie parish. Several charters relate to this grant and two are given below as they contain most of the placenames defining the lands.

Charter 85
"..with all that land and all woodland from the southern part of the river which runs next to the church, i.e. by the said river to the Kyrckeburn, and from there to the road which goes to Haddington, and from there to Kyrnestrother and then to Reavedene, and from Reavedene as far as the aforesaid river running next to the church; and that land from the east side of the road next to the church as far as the summits of the hills and the oak tree which stands above the river."

Thoto of the old road to Haddington
The road to Haddington

"Cum tota illa terra, et toto nemore ab australi parte rivuli qui currit juxta ecclesiam; scilicet, per predictum rivulum usque ad Kyrckeburn ; et inde usque ad viam quae vadit ad Hadyngton; et inde usque ad Kyrnestrother, et de Kyrnestroder usque in Reavedene, et de R. usque ad praefatum rivulum qui currit juxta ecclesiam; et illam terram ex orientali parte viae juxta ecclesiam usque ad supercilium montis, usque ad quercum quae est super rivulum."
Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, page 139
L. de Calchou charter 85, page 63

Charter 87
"...with all that land and all woodland from the southern part of the river which runs next to the church, i.e. by the said river next to the church to the Kyrcheburne and from the Kyrcheburne ascending to the road from Haddington which is beside the dwelling of Roberti Coth from the northern part, and by that road as a furrow has been drawn and crosses placed as far as Crosforde, and so by the ditch of Crosforde ascending by a furrow made as far as two great stones then more or less transversely across waste land to the east side of a large camp and from that as a furrow has been drawn to another camp, then transversely to stanilawes and from there by a furrow to a small stone bridge, and from that by a ditch down to chirnestrother and by the great ditch of chirnestrother descending northwards to Revedene, and by Revedene as far as the aforesaid stream that runs beside the church.."
"Cum tota illa terra, et tote nemore ab australi parte rivuli qui currit iuxta predictam ecclesiam; scilicet, per predictum rivulum iuxta ecclesiam usque in Kyrcheburne et a Kyrcheburne ascendo usque ad viam de Hadington que est iuxta domus Roberti Coth ab aquilonari parte et per eandem viam de Hadington sicut sulcus trahitur et cruces posite sunt usque in Crosforde et sic per sicam de Crosforde ascendo sicut sulcum trahitur usque ad duos magnos lapides et ab illis duobus lapidibus in transversum cujudam vacelli usque ad orientale latus unius magne chestre et ab illa sicut sulcum trahitur usque ad aliam chestram et in transversum usque stanilawes et a stanilawes sicut sulcum trahitur usque ad parvulum pontem lapideum et sic per sicam descendentem ab illo ponte usque in chirnestrother et per magnam sicam de Chirnestrother versus aquilonem descendentem usque in Revedene et per Revedene usque ad predictam rivulum qui currit iuxta ecclesiam prenominatam.."
L. de Calchou charter 87, page 65

Older maps show a stream south of the church running up to the Humbie Water which on this interpretation would be the Kyrckeburn. Following this river north, one reaches the point where the present day road (heading directly for Haddington) crosses the river at Milton Bridge. As the Harestanes were nearby this may well have been the Crossforde of the charters and this road, or its precursor, that of the charters.



Dodridge Law
Dodridge Law
From here it is interesting to see the parish boundary follows this road south-eastwards for about two miles and at one point runs very near the fort at Dodridge Law. The charter then refers to another fort which is not identifiable unless there was a fort on Mar Law, or Whitburgh refers to an early camp other than that at Dodridge Law.




Salters Bridge
Salters Bridge with ford

From the second camp the boundary ran to "stanelawes" and then to a small stone bridge. The Salters' Bridge, or a precursor, could be a candidate for this. The boundary then goes to Kyrnestrother then northwards by a ditch to Reavdene from where the stream running to the church is reached.

While this interpretation is not absolutely certain, it does tie in to a camp (Dodridge Law), the Harestanes, and a nearby river crossing with an early road (shown by its following the parish boundary) heading directly towards Haddington.

It is not clear what the purpose of the road beside the church was.

Innerwick parish
A charter of 1190 details the rent of forest and pasture lands to Kelso adjacent to lands they already held in Innerwick. The boundary was: "As the stream of Edwardescloth falls into the Bothkil next to Elziehaleth, and so as the Bothkil descends to the Wood of Fulhope, running obliquely by the marches of Ellum to Mammet, and by Mammet as far as the northern part of Witslede, and from Witslede obliquely as far as Edwardescloth where it falls into the Bothkil."
" Sicut rivulus de Edwardescloth cadit in Bothkil juxta Elzieshaleth ; et ita sicut Bothkil descendit ad Buccam de Fulhope, in transversum per divisas de Ellum usque ad Mammet ; et per M. usque ad acquilonarem partem de Witslede ; et ab W. in transversum usque in Edwardescloth ubi cadit in Bothkil."
Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, page 140
L. de Calchou charter 248, page 205

Another grant by Walter, the king's steward granted them lands that he held in Innerwick, namely:
"...to Bothkil, ascending by the stream which falls into Scoulande, as far as Scoulandesheved where a furrow has been drawn out, and by that furrow as far as the road which leads from Risilbrig towards Innerwic, and so by that road eastwards to a certain fosse, then descending to Meldrescloes-heved, and so by the stream from Meldrescloes-hevid all the way downhill as far as Mammet and so to the Wood of Estfulhope; and so ascending westwards next to the boundaries of Ellum and Risilbrig to Westfulhope, Withedre and Bothkil as far as the aforesaid river which falls from Scouland."
"a Bothkil, ascendendo per rivulum qui cadit a Scoulande, usque ad Scoulandesheved, ubi sulcus trahitur ; et per illum sulcum usque ad viam quae tendit de Risilbrig versus Innerwic ; et sic ab ilia via versus orientem, usque ad quandam fossam ; et sic descendendo usque ad Meldrescloes-heved ; et sic per rivulum de Meldrescloes-heved, semper descendendo, usque in Mammet; et sic usque ad Buccam de Estfulhope ; et sic ascendendo versus occidentem juxta divisas de Ellum et de Risilbrig, usque in Westfulhope, et in Withedre, et in Bothkil, et usque in pradictum rivulum qui cadit de Scouland."

Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, page 140
L. de Calchou charter 247, page 203

Click on map for larger image - based on 1926 1" map for Dunbar & Lammermuir,
with thanks to Ordnance Survey

Road from Risilbrigs to InnerwickBlaeu's map of the Merse shows a Rysybrigs close to Cranshaws church and just downstream from the confluence of the Whiteadder and the Bothwell water. The old 6"map (Berwickshire, sheet IX) shows a Rise Lea just south of Harehead farm nearby which is probably the Risilbrig of the charter. This means the road must have ran from here up to Innerwick.

That this is likely is shown by it being in the area covered by the charters. Although a number of the placenames have been lost, the old 6"map (Haddingtonshire, sheet 16) shows two streams running east to join the Bothwell: Hazelly Cleugh (NT6566) and Elsiecleugh (NT 6466). One or other must be the Elziehaleth of the charter. The mention of Ellum and the Whiteadder shows that the lands were in the south part of Innerwick parish which is bounded on its west side by the Bothwell. The Mammet of the charters is probably Monynut.

Although the charters do not contain enough detail to determine the exact course of the road, its general course is clear. It may have followed the route shown on the Military Survey that ran up by the Bothwell Water to the west side of Bransly Hill then north-east to Innerwick. Alternatively, a route is shown on other maps about one mile east of this that kept to the high ground between the Bothwell and Monynut Waters

Spott parish
This item has been moved from Berwickshire.
Earl Gospatric in the reign of Malcolm IV (1153-1165) gifted the church of Fogo as well as land and pasture at Bothkilscheles to Kelso Abbey. The charter says "By those bounds viz. from the source of the Kaldwell, all the way to the uninhabited land where this stream descends, and from there as that river falls into Bothkil; and thence as Bothkil falls into the Whitheddre; and then from the Witheddre to the great road which goes beyond Spertildoun, and by that road all the way to the source of the Kaldwelle; and to have common pasture between them and the shielings of my men of Pinkerdun."

In case my translation is faulty, the original text is given here - however, the references to the roads are clear enough. "Per istas divisas, viz. de sursa fontis de Kaldwelle, usque in vacellum in quo rivulus praedicti fontis descendit, et ab illo vacello sicut rivulus ille cadit in Bothkil; et inde sicut Bothkil cadit in Whitheddre, et post de Witheddre usque ad viam magnam quae vadit ultra Spertildoun, et per eandem viam usque in praedictum fontem de Kaldwelle; et communem pasturam inter eos et scalingas hominum meorum de Pinkerdun."

Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, page 128, L. de Calchou charter 72, page 54; Angus Graham, More Old Roads in the Lammermuirs, PSAS,Vol 93 (1959-60), pps 217-235


Map of Bothwell areaAlthough the Monastic Annals, following the listing of charters in the Liber Kelso, deals with the grant of Bothkilscheles under Fogo, it is actually in Spott parish in East Lothian. The Bothkil is Bothwell Water, Witheddre is the Whiteadder, Spertildoun is Spartleton and Pinkerdun is Pinkerton, a couple of miles NW of Innerwick and about 6 miles north of the Bothwell Water (the shielings would presumably have been closer to Spartleton on high ground). The difficulty is the Caldwell which does not appear on early maps, although there is a suggestive Caldercleugh running into the Bothwell Water.

There is however a strong likelihood that the boundaries of the grant are shown on early maps as a detached portion of the parish of Spott (see Forrest 1799 - NLS site). This shows the boundary of the detached portion of Spott running from a road down Calder Cleugh to the Bothwell, then following this as far as the Whiteadder. It follows the Whiteadder up a little way and heads up over a hill where it joins a road running up from Bothwell past Spartleton Hill as far as Caldwell Cleugh.

Although Forrest does not show a road from St Agnes to his other road, he does have a short length running from the Whiteadder to Hainshawside on the parish boundary. Ainslie's map of 1821 shows a road on this boundary running up to the other road. On both maps the road from this point onwards runs up to Calder Cleugh and beyond, following parish boundaries for several miles.

Bothwell Hill near Spartleton
Bothwell Hill near Spartleton

The best fit with the wording of the mediaeval charter is to assume that the Spartleton road did run from the Whiteadder near St Agnes and followed the above parish boundary, not only up to Calder Cleugh, but for another three miles, to the vicinity of the suggestively named Stoneypath (Angus Graham refers to a charter of 1458 confirming an earlier charter of 1359 that mentions Stoneypath). For a road to follow a parish boundary is a sign of great age and it is quite noticeable that it has the characteristics of a ridgeway, i.e. follows Spartleton Edge.

It is not clear what the purpose of the road was. The complicated history of the various tracks in this area as detailed by Angus Graham in his paper "More Old Roads in the Lammermuirs" suggests that at certain periods it could have been used to reach Haddington or Dunbar to the north and Duns to the south. It certainly has a very strong north-westerly alignment suggesting a route up the valley of the Whiteadder through Ellemford that would allow access to Haddington and elsewhere in East Lothian.


Trapain Law
Trapain Law

Nor is it clear when the route might have developed. It is well aligned with Trapain Law and with early Anglian settlements like Whittinghame but these are too speculative to be considered in the light of the existing evidence.




Stenton Parish
A charter by Waldeve, Count of Dunbar, dating from the reign of William I (1165-1214) gave Melrose some land in the Lammermuirs. The boundaries ran: "from Baldred's Stane by the highway to Eslingcloh and thence downwards as Heslingcloh falls into Bothyil and thence as far as the marches of Inerwic." (Fraser)
"scilicet, de Baldredestan per altam uiam usque ad Eslingcloh et inde deorsum sicut Heslingcloh cadit in Bothkyl, et inde usque in diuisas de Inerwic..."
Liber Melros, Charter 76, page 67; Frasers of Philorth, Alexander Fraser, 1879, page 12

There is a strong likelihood that this territory lay just north of the Bothkil grant immediately above. There is a Hazliecleugh running down from the road that runs along Spartleton Edge and a standing stone at Ling Rig (NMRS record) that may be the Baldred's Stane of the charter. The boundaries would have run from the stone along the road to the headwaters of the Hazliecleugh, followed this down to Bothwell Water and then upstream, presumably to the vicinity of Yadlee or Beltondod and so back to the standing stone. The only difficulty with this interpretation is the mention of the bounds of Innerwick as the Bothwell Water itself forms the boundary, although the wording may be relevant to the situation at that time.

In general terms, the charter confirms the continuation of the road along Spartleton Edge.

Whittinghame Parish
There is an interesting reference to a named road in the parish of Whittinghame that also forms the parish boundary for some length. The road is Ricardisrode and is mentioned in a charter dating from around 1230 in which Melrose were given land on the east part of Fastenei that ran: "from the ford of Fastenei by the road which is called Ricardisrode as far as the head of Kelnemade, and from there by the stream which runs into Kelnemade as far as Witedre..."
"Totam scilicet terram illam que est in orientali parte de Fastenei infra has divisas, a vado scilicet de Fastenei per viam que dicitur Ricardisrode usque ad caput de Kelnemade, et inde per rivulum qui currit in Kelnemade usque in Witedre..."
Liber Sancte Marie de Melros, Charter 215, page 193; Angus Graham, More Old Roads in the Lammermuirs, PSAS,Vol 93 (1959-60), pps 217-235


The charter describes a grant of land about four miles north-west of Longformacus on what is now a route leading to Haddington. Fastenei is Faseny, Kelnemade is the Killmade Burn and Whitedre is the Whiteadder. Following Graham, the ford was over the Faseny Water at NT 637615 from which point the parish and county boundary to the east no doubt shows the course of Ricardisrode for about one and a half miles where the headwaters of the Killmade Burn are reached. The Killmade Burn then runs NNE to reach the Whiteadder just east of the reservoir.

Although the county boundary turns NNE at the head of the Killmade Burn, the boundary between Longformacus and Cranston parishes continues along the line of the present road (shown on the Military Survey map and others) for about another mile and there seems no reason to doubt this is showing the line of Ricardisrode.

It is not clear if it was a road between Haddington and Duns, though as Graham points out Duns was appointed in 1612 as the place where tolls were to be collected on cattle passing through the eastern Borders so that this route may have been used by early drovers. There must in any case have been extensive movement of livestock from the monastic holdings in the Lammermuirs from an early date.

Hardie suggests the Ricard could have been Richard de Morville but no definite proof has been adduced for this. As to its status as beaten track or made road, Graham's description of multiple tracks and holloways along the length of the road suggests it was more of a beaten track formed out of constant use.


Whittinghame Parish

The following two charters refer to lands near Penshiel in the south of Whittinghame parish which were granted to the Priory of the Isle of May and passed to St Andrews Cathedral Priory when it took over the Isle of May. There was another grant c.1215 to the Isle of May by John, son of Michael (i.e John Fitz Michael) of land near Mayshiels, the text of which is incomplete but has it running from Windesduris, then from Bromside, from Bromside as far as Kelburn and so ascending as far as Goslawe. John also gave Melrose abbey land in the Penshiels area, including the charter noted above for Ricardisrode.

Mayshiel - cleck for larger image
Mayshiel from the west, as seen from "Richardisrode". Click for larger image.

Lands near to Penshiel and Mayshiel (Windesdores)
Carta Patricii comitis de Dunbar
Isle of May No. 21. Copy - St Andrews Priory, page 379
For further details see POMS

This was a charter of Patrick, Count of Dunbar, of lands in the Lammermuir Hills near to Penshiel and Mayshiel. In the Charters of the Isle of May (page xiv) it is described as follows:
Patrick, the Earl of Dunbar, who enjoyed his great border Earldom from shortly before the middle of the thirteenth century till towards its end, gave them all the land within these bounds - namely, from Windydure to Kingissete, and so by the footpath coming down to Kingsburn, and from thence up by the high road which goes by the Rede Stane, and by that road to Windydure, with common pasture; and he released them from the annual payment of a cow which they had been wont to make for their lands in Lambermor, held of him.

Strictly speaking the charter says "and so ascending by the Kingsburn to the high road which goes by the Rede Stane and by that road to Windidure... (et ita ascendendo per Kingisburne usque ad altam uiam que extenditur per le rede stane et per illam uiam usque ad Windidure)" - ... The location of the footpath is a little vague but the mention of the Red Stane makes it clear that the road was the present day road between Gifford and Longformacus which passed over Redstone Rig and was known at that time as Ricardisrode (see Ricardisrode charter above). Windesdores may be the Doris Hall of the Military Survey map just south of the summit of Penshiel Hill.

Carta Johannis filii Michaelis super terra de Mayscheles
Isle of May, Charter 24. Copy - St Andrews Priory, page 381
See also Sir W. Fraser, Memorials of the family of Wemyss of Wemyss, Vol. 2, page xli ff.
Further details see POMS

Area near Penshiel and Mayshiel
Some of the places mentioned in the charters.

This was a grant by John Fitz Michael of the lands of Mayshiel in the Lammermuirs to the Isle of May. The charter is translated thus (page xiv):
From John Fitz Michael they got the lands of Mayschelis, in the Lambermor, on the south side of Calwerburne, from the ford between Panschelis and Kingseat, to the Standing Stone dividing between east and west, (Fraser has "as far as the Standing Stone which is in the middle place between south and west"..) and thence to a great stone beneath Winethes; and thence to Strother-field; and thence by a small pathway to Windesduris, in the pertinents of his town of Panscheles, with an acre of meadow, and with pasture sufficient for 300 mother sheep and thirty bearing cows, and twenty four brood mares with their young. The monks were also to have ten sows with their brood in his pasture, and the men dwelling on the land were to have peats and turfs when necessary for their houses, the whole gifts being declared to be free from hosting service and multures.

Mayshiels and Penshiel still exist; Kingseat is probably where the farm of Kingside used to be and where there was a ford before the reservoir was constructed. The boundary would follow the Kell Burn upstream (presumably the Calwerburne) to a standing stone. It might be the Red Stone of Redstone Rig but a better fit would be if the boundary returned south of Mayshiel as the rest of the charter implies that a pathway linked Penshiel and Strother field with Windesduris, i.e running south rather than north if the boundary came by Redstone Rig. The Military Survey map shows a Doris Hall between the two summits of Penshiel Hill and Southern Law. This would fit the charter quite well being near to Penshiel, and if the "Doris" comes from the Gaelic "dorus", an opening, it would describe its location. The stated pathway would then link Doris Hall and Penshiel and pass Strother field.

Garvald & Bara

Carta Gilberti de Berewe de terra in villa de Barewe.

Isle of May Charter 33, page 24. Copy - St Andrews Priory, page 388

For further details see POMS

This charter from the 1200's records a gift to the Isle of May by Gilbertus de Berewe (Gilbert of Bara), called de St Martin, of lands on the moor of Bara, viz.

...all that land of the moor of Barewe next to the nearby hill called Witelaw towards the west, which came to me when the foresaid moor was divided between lady Ela of St Martin and me, namely, by the way called Monkesgate as far as the valley which divided that land and Witelaw, and as the valley extends southwards as far as the Swinedene burn, and so by that burn westwards as far as a new ditch which Radulphus, chaplain of Barewe, then deacon of Fife, made there as a boundary between the foresaid land and the land now said to be the lady Ele’s; and so northwards as far as the Monkesgate…..

....totam terram illam de mora de Barewe proximo adiacentem colli que dicitur Witelawe uersus occidentem, illam que accedit michi quando predicta mora diuisa fuit inter dominam Elam de Sancto Martino et me. scilicet per uiam que dicitur Monkesgate usque in uallem que diuidit terram illam et Witelawe, et sic sicut uallis se extendit uersus austrum usque riuulum de Swinedene, et ita per riuulum uersus occidentem usque ad nouum fossatum quod Radulphus capellanus de Barewe, tunc decanus de Fif, fecit loco diuise inter predictam terram et terram iam dicte domine Ele; et ita uersus aquilonem usque Monkesgate...
Carta Johannis prioris de May de terra de Barewe

Isle of May Charter 34, page 25. Copy - St Andrews Priory, page 389

For further details see POMS

Whitelaw Hill from the west.

This charter also from the 1200's refers to land at Bara (see above) gifted to them by Gilbert of Bara, called de St Martin and which the Isle of May now grants to Ralph, chaplain of Crail. The boundaries of the land are stated as follows:
....namely, by the way called the Monkesgate as far as the valley which divides that land of Witelawe and so as the valley extends southwards into the Swinedene burn and so by the burn westwards as far as the new ditch which Radulphus, then deacon of Fyf, made there as a boundary between the foresaid land and the land of the Lady Ele of St Martin, and so northwards as far as the Monkesgate....
....scilicet per uia que dicitur Monkesgate usque in uallem que diuidit terram illam de Witelawe et sic sicut uallis se extendit uersus austrum in riuulum de Swinedene et ita per riuulum uersus occidentem usque ad nouum fossatum quod predictus Radulphus tunc decanus de Fyf fecit loco diuise inter prefatam terram et terram domine Ele de Sancto Martino et ita uersus aquilonem usque Monekesgate....

Whitelaw Hill is clear enough and there is a strong possibility that the Swindene Burn is now known as the Sounding Burn. One would then follow the burn westwards to the ditch made by Radulphus, then northwards to the Monkesgate. This would suggest that the present day minor road running past Chester was the Monkesgate, although the vagueness of the charters makes this somewhat conjectural. It is worth noting that Baro was separate from Garvald until 1702 so there would have been a now lost boundary separating it from the parish of Garvald, perhaps that described in the charter.

More than this, however, is the uncertainty attaching to the name. A road here could have reached the supposed grange at Garvald and the associated settlement of Nunraw, but as these are thought to have belonged to the convent at Haddington, a Nunsgate would have been more appropriate. There were several granges in East Lothian (see Derek Hall, Scottish Monastic Landscapes, p.185 ff, Tempus 2006) including some deep in the Lammermuirs but there is insufficient information to determine if this road was linked to any of them.

There is a possibility that this was the continuation of an old road from Haddington to Morham Loanhead as there is a good alignment between the two and the Morham Loanhead road was said to have continued to Garvald where stones were quarried for an early church in Haddington. It would also have served the nun's grange at Nunraw in Garvald. See here for further information.

Another possibility is that there was this road from Haddington to Garvald but that that it coincided in part with another road that ran from Newbattle abbey's granges at Monkriggs {Cresswell) and Bearford over to their petary in Crumbrestrother. They are said in fact to have made a "road which the same monks made from the front of the alders (at Crumbrestrother) that extends by the side (foot) of the hills towards the west". This may be the true Monksgate, branching off the Garvald road and leading to their granges of Monkriggs and Bearford.


Nicholaus filius Gilliberti de Smithetun
Register of Dunfermline: Charter 180, page 102.

This refers to
…that part of the lands of Smithton which is on the east side of the great road which leads from Inveresk in the Loning, which leads from the villa of Smithton as far as the wood of Crebarrin and so in the western side of the wood as far as the great road that goes from Haddington to Newbottle, and so by that road as far the bounds of Crebarrin……
..totam partem terre de Smithetun que est in orientali parte magne uie que ducit de Inuiresc in le Loning, que tendit de villa de Smithetun usque Boschum de Crebarrin 7 ita in occidentali parte boschi usque magnam uiam que uenit de Hadingtun usque Neubottle 7 sic per illam uiam usque diuisas de Crebarrin…

Based on 1/4" map, sheet 3, 1923. With thanks to OS.

Smithton is now Smeaton and Crebarrin is Carberry. The placename of the "Loaning" referred to has not survived.

The meaning of this extract is a bit difficult to determine. A suggested meaning is that a road led south from Inveresk and that the land lay to the east of this in the "Loaning". This "Loaning" (usually a strip of land for moving cattle) would then have led from Smeaton over to the wood of Carberry. Following the west side of this wood led to a main road running between Haddington and Newbattle.

If this is correct, then it is possible that the road between Inveresk and Smeaton joined what was later known as the "Salter's Road" at Smeaton. This ran between Dalkeith and Prestonpans where Newbattle abbey had salt pans and so is likely to date from the middle ages.

The road in the charter that ran between Haddington and Newbattle is likely to be the one shown on early maps, e.g. Military Survey c.1750, that ran through Penston and Elphinstone. It would have entered the area of the charter near Crossgatehall.


Calendar of Writs preserved at Yester House 1166-1623, Scottish Record Society, 1930


The following charters, dating from around 1600, are for land in Beltoun, south-west of Dunbar.

Charter 976, p. 263, c.1600
".....two acres of Kirkland in the town of Beltoun
near the lands of West barnis, between the Bairdisbalk on the west, lands of
Beltoun on the south, the water and public road on the east, and lands of West
barnis on the north, lying in the constab. of Haddington...."

Charter 991, p. 267, 1602
"....lying between "lie bardes balk" on the west, the lands of
Beltan on the south, the Water and Highway on the east and the lands of
West Barnes on the north parts ....."

Charter 771, p. 214, 1573 and charter 1133, p. 312, 1612 add a couple of placenames, viz. one acre beside the Berdisbalk between the lands of Beilhauch on the east, Beltoun on the south and west, and three rudis extending to one acre also beside the Berdisbalk between the lands of Beltoun on the south and west, the royal lands called Brwmestobbis on the east and north.


General area of the charters. Based on 1" map, sheet 33, 1905. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

The general area in question is approximately 3 miles south-west of Dunbar, where several Belton placenames survive. There was an old village, with a chapel, both of which have disappeared; though a likely guess is that they were near the old tower house, now incorporated into Belton House, or perhaps at what Roy shows as South Belton and the modern OS map as Old Belton (Little Belton on map at left). As the area of 2 acres was quite small, equivalent to 100 x 100 yards, one would assume it would have been close to the village. However, in the absence of further information it is very difficult to give a location for the road. It is unlikely to be the Berwick road, which existed at the time.


Yester Writs, Charter 157, p. 69, 1470. This was an exchange involving land at Olivercastel "lying between the Kingis streit and the berne burne..."


Olivercastle, on the Edinburgh to Moffat road. Based on 1" map, sheet 16, 1905. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

Today Olivercastle is a farm very close to the village of Tweedsmuir. This confirms that the King's Street, undoubtedly the Edinburgh to Moffat road, existed at that time. The Crook Inn, a mile or two to the north, dates from 1601.








Based on OS 1" tourist map Scott's Country, 1921.  With thanks. Yester Writs, Charter 241, p. 90, 1498. This charter was for land "at the east end of the burgh of Peebles on the North side of the King's highway between the land of John Lawsone on W., land of John Loth on E., and the hill of Venlaw on N.,"

As the road is said to be south of Venlaw Hill, it is likely to be the main east-west road.




Yester Writs, Charter 895, p. 243, 1591/2
Part of this charter reads: "....and the third one to the said Robert Meluile, the son and his heirs
in heretage of the lands of Southferrie of Portancraig, with the town and gate
thereof, etc., and six acres called Gibbisland with house and tower built thereon,
towards the Craiggait to the west, the bank of Chapelbank on the east, lands of
Jas. Hay on the south and the zairdheidis of the said town of Southferrie on the

Early maps such as Ainslie (1775) and Roy (c.1750) show just the one street. As the ferry left from the "craig" or rock, the Craiggait probably led down to this. The "gate" is probably the entrance to the town.

There are frequent mentions of streets in towns such as Haddington, Dunfermline, Edinburgh etc - see Index.

Yester Writs, Charters 9, 11 & 12, pps. 6/7, 1202-1234. References to the hospital at the Bridge of Berewick.

Yester Writs, Charter 8, p. 5, 1202 - 1207 mentions the road from Berewic leading to the bridge in Haddington.

Yester Writs, Charter 17, p. 12, c. 1250-1267 "I the said Hugh Giffard and my heirs become liable to the said Richard Soylard and his heirs for reasonable expenses in their going from and returning to the town of Berewich, namely for one groom and two horses if two they have, or one horse if they have not two: And also we are liable to
provide the said Richard and his heirs with sufficient lodgings as we think meet for lodging them in whilst we desire to employ them in our tradings."

The latter two of these charters note the existence of the Berwick road at this early date. See here for the course of the road in the 1600's - this is likely to be much the same as the road in the 1200's.


Yester Writs, Charter 26, p. 21, 1350 Mention of Giffardgatis (village at east end of Haddington) and Haddington Bridge.
Grants towards building and upkeep of the bridge.

Yester Writs, Charter 555, p. 165, 1529 "Also two acres of land lying at the west end of the said burgh and within the liberty thereof, between the lands of Thomas Dikesoun on the west, the Highway on the north, the lands of the late Robert Dikysoun on the east, and myldis burn on the south ; also ane acre of land lying in Witlinstreit within the said burgh, between the lands of the late Adam Lawsoun on the west, the Highway which leads to the mill on the north, the lands of Laird Redpeth on the east and the mill lade on the south, with an acre of arable land lying in the Mylltlat within the liberty of the said burgh, between the lands of Andrew Mayne on the west, the Myldis burn on the north, the lands of "lie Walkmyl" on the east, and the High way which leads to Clerkintoun on the south."

Based on half-inch map, sheet 28,  1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey. The course of the Clerkington road has been lost. The Reminiscences of the Royal Burgh of Haddington etc. by John Martine (page 16) says there was an old cart road from the High Street to the West Mill but that no trace of it remains. Alternatively it could have gone by the Mill Wynd, again leading to the mill. From there, Roy (c. 1750) shows a road crossing a ford and running opposite to Clerkington where it crossed the river again.

Witlinstreit (presumably Watling Street) is interesting but may just reflect the vague antiquarian tradition of a Roman road passing through the area.


The area around Middleton. Based on OS 1" map, sheet 74, 1928. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

Yester Writs, Charter 23, p. 18, c.1330 This was a charter by William de Vaux confirming a grant of land to Donald Fitz Duncan, namely: "two oxgangs of land (approx.30/40 acres, equivalent to about 400 yards by 400 yards in the territory of Middleton. which lie between the land of Patrick de Haya next the Road which leads to Thirneopesheud and abutts on Gwynesheleford towards the East, abutting on the land of the said Patrick towards the South, and stretching in length by the said road which is next Thirneopesheued to a land called the Wetrik, descending on that boundary to Suthburne on the East side of the Merestal; With a toft and croft, which lie near the said two oxgangs, bounded as measured and perambulated bv me and the good men of Middleton and elsewhere ..."

None of the placenames survive, except possibly Suthburne, if this is the present day Middleton South Burn, which would place the road south of this.

Granges - Nunhope and Newlands

Two of the granges belonging to Haddington convent. There was a connecting road between them, and each was connected to the convent in Haddington which lay about one mile east of the town at Abbey. Routes shown are approximate. Based on half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey

The following two charters refer to routes taken from the granges at Nunhope and Newlands to Haddington, and also between the two granges.

Yester Writs, Charter 20, p.15, 1327 In this charter John Gifford, Lord of Yester, acknowledges a dispute with the convent of Haddington over access to their granges at Nunhope and Nunland, and other places but "confirms to the said Nuns and their successors free and common transit beyond the corn and meadows enclosed in fence at all times of the year in all roads and paths of use at any time from the Nunhope to the town of Yestre and thence to their House of Hadygton, and from the said Grange of the Nunhope to their foresaid Grange of Nunland, and from that grange and all other granges, lands, woods, petaries, and turbaries in all roads and paths commonly used to their said House of Hadygtoun with wains, carts, horses, and any kind of animal whenever they require forever without contradiction or hindrance from me or my heirs or anyone in our name..."

This is a clear indication that the Nunhope road went through Yester and then onwards to Haddington. There was also a connecting road with the grange at Newlands and a route from Newlands to Haddington. With their several properties in the area such as Snawdon, rights to part of Crumberstrother, Carfrae and Newtoun it is likely, as the charter implies, that there were other tracks available to the nuns to reach such places.
Yester Writs, Charter 500, p. 151, 1533.

Nunhope lies just ahead in this narrow valley.

The same rights of passage over the same roads from Nunhope and Newlands are granted by John Gifferd Lord of Zester and Baron of the Baronies of Morhame and Dunkanelaw in this document, viz: "granting to the said prioress and
convent and their successors free and common passage by cornys and medowis putt in defence all tymes of the zeir in all wayis roddis any tyme usit frae Nunhope to the toun of Zester and fra thyne to thaire place of Hadingtoun and fra thair Grange of Nunhope to thair Grange of Newlandis and fra the said Grange and all utheris thair Grangis and landis wodis petis and turifis in all gatis and roddis commonlie usit to thair said place of Hadingtoun with wanys cartis hors and all utheris bestis als oft as neid beis. "

Yester Writs, Charter 418, p. 130, 1525. "Interrogators to be demanded at the witnesses to be produced for the prioress and convent of the Abbey of Haddingtoun anent the action moved by them against John Lord Hay of Zestir, for the alleged stopping of carts from passing through the common gates."

Nunhope and Crumberstrother

Map showing part of the boundary between the nun's lands and those of Yester. Based on half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey

Yester Writs, Charter 417, p. 130, dated 1525, and the similar charter 426, p. 132, dated 1526, detail the marches between the "lands of Newlandis, Carfra and Nunhopis alias Zestirhopis with their pertinents, pertaining to Elizabeth on the one part, and the lands of Duncanlaw, Zestir and Park of Zestir,with their pertinents pertaining to John Lord Hay of Zestir on the other part".

These boundaries have been identified in a study by Robert Waterston in the Transactions of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists’ Society (vol. 5, 1952), viz. An XVIth Century Boundary Perambulation, Pages 25 - 38.

They start at Knock Hill (Heslised Knock) and run down to the Hope Water (Yester Burn) and follow this as far as Brookside Burn (Doddis Burn). This is then followed upstream (south of Dodd Law) to some flat ground at the head of the burn, then south-east through a gap to a standing stone called the Pykit stane which he identifies as the Whitestone Cairn (on Harestane Hill). The boundary then crosses to the eastern headwaters of the Faseny Burn (Innerkemp) which it follows downstream.

Of interest to us, is the mention in the second charter of a "roid", viz. where the boundary runs from "the southt pykit stane eist to the roid that cumis wpe fra the eister heid graine (branch of a stream) of Innerkempe safer upe as the southt twa stanis liis erdfast..... The equivalent in the first charter is " ....to the standand stane utherwayis callit pykyt stane quhilk is the heid of Innerkent and fra thine downe to the heid of Innerkent burne passand downe as the said (burne) rynnis...."

While sections of the charter are obscure and placenames have changed or disappeared, it seems clear enough that this "roid" was a track running between the Faseny Water and the high ground near to Harestone Hill.


The same two charters mention a location called Crumberstrother. Waterston does not identify this but a
contributor (WP) to the Scottish Placename Society "Placename notes from the Newsletters" (Autumn 2004) on Crumbystruder Myr makes a convincing case for this being a distinctive landscape feature just north of Danskine Loch. The charters deal with the boundaries of the myre, the sharing of its resources and access rights.

Of particular note is the mention in charter 427, p. 132, (1526) of a wooden bridge across the marsh, viz. "fra the saidis merche dyke (of the nuns' lands of Carfrae) and stanis to the flaik brig." This is also mentioned in charter 841, page 230, 1583 as " lie " Flakersydbrig. The DSL gives the meaning of flaik as a "hurdle or framework of crossed slats, gen. portable and used as a fence, barricade, gate." In this case it would be a walkway.

Road between Bothans, Duncanlaw and Newlands Grange

Possible lines of road. Based on half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

Yester Writs, Charter 154, p.69, 1470 which deals with arrangements for a mill on the Water of Yester mentions "the gate that gais fra the Bothanis to Duncanlaw."

Another charter (Yester Writs, charter 16, p. 10, 1250-1267 ) may refer to the same road between the Bothanis and Duncanlaw, viz. "namely from the ford of the burn called Yester as the Kilnunrodes descend by that ford towards Duncanlaw and thus ascending northwards by the right side of the Kilnunrodes until opposite Berndene and thus going or crossing by Berndene and ascending through Berndene to the very top of the cultivated land of the Chapel of Duncanlaw and then between the said cultivated land and the wood to Welldene and thus crossing Welldene for a space descending and (crossing?) through the left side until it comes to the bottom of Welldene...."

Forrest's map of 1799 shows Duncanlaw to be about one kilometre east of its present position, at Cross Hill.
As Welldene's position is known, one would expect Berndene to be the stream running past Sunnyside. If we assume that the starting point of Bothanis was close to the old church (Gifford dates from the 1700's so the old village must be meant) then descending to the Water of Yester fits the second charter. One would then climb uphill past Sunnyside towards Duncanlaw to reach Berndene. From here to Welldene is about a kilometre.

It is not quite clear what route the Kilnunrodes took after crossing the Water of Yester (Gifford Water) but there has to be a strong presumption that it led ultimately to the grange at Newlands. The nuns also had lands at Carfrae and Snawdon which could account for the use of the plural "rodes" - they would be within easy reach of the Duncanlaw area. The grange at Newlands was said to have had a road leading to Haddington which could be the Kilnunrodes routed through Bothanis then north through Gifford although a more direct route could have been from Duncanlaw past Winding Law.

The Yellowpeth and Other Tracks
This is mentioned in the continuation of the above charter (Yester Writs, charter 16, p. 10, 1250- 1267) after the bottom of Welldene, viz. "and then mounting to the very top of Maistercroftes between the cultivated land of Maistercroftes and the wood as far as the eastern summit and then ascending northwards beyond the wood to the cultivated land and then between the cultivated land and the wood to the ford of the burn of Yellowpath which is between my land and that of the Nuns of Haddington..."

The Yellowpath (Zallowpete/Zallowpeth) is also mentioned in two other charters (Yester Writs, charter 1051, p. 286, 1607 and charter 841, p.230, 1583) both of which deal with the same boundaries although the placenames have changed a little. These charters also mention several route-related placenames, viz. Craigfurde (Craigfurde), Fleschfurde (Pleschefurde), Bowbriggis of Bothanis (bowbrig of Bothanis), Sandifurde (Sandifurde), Barro Kirkstyle (Barro Kirkstyle. There is a Lidgait (Litgaitt) but this is more likely to be a latched gate than a road (see DSL), though it would be on a track. The Flakersydbrig which we have already noted above under Nunhope and Crumberstrother (flaik brig) appears again.

Some of the charters mention various tracks, fords and a couple of bridges including a flaik bridge which led across marshy ground. Based on half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey


These charters afford some clues as to the location of the various tracks and fords, as follows:
This is mentioned after Crumberstrother and the Flakersydbrig and before Weldencleuch
This is somewhere between Weldencleugh and Suonedonmyre (Snawdon)
This is mentioned near to Welburne so may have been over that stream
The Bowbriggis of Bothanis
This suggests a bridge over the Water of Yester near to the village at the old church and would give access to Duncanlaw by "the gate that gais fra the Bothanis to Duncanlaw."
A Sandyford is marked on early maps just north of Gifford and some land called The Common. It could entail a route to Haddington.
Barro Kirkstyle
This refers to the old church of Baro where the style would have been over a wall or fence on a track leading to the church.

Possible locations of these places are shown on the map.

Public Road; Road between Bara and Newtoun

Some of the places mentioned in the text. Based on half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

Yester Writs, Charter 841 starts the boundary at the "temple lands of Barro lying on the south part of Barro, between the lands of Mayland on the east and Brounhill on the west, the public road on the north, and the stream between Barro and Newtoun on the south." Another charter (charter 1012, p. 274, 1604) is almost identical but instead of "the stream between Barra and Newtoun on the south" has "the road leading between Barro and Newtoun on the south..." Brounhill may be present day Brownhill but Mayland is lost making it difficult to place the first road, perhaps the road between Garvald and Haddington (see Nunraw). Newtoun was just east of Bara Loch and just south of the Sounding Burn though the two descriptions are confusing. This location would fit the first description although the wording "the road leading between Barro and Newtoun" is a more definite reference to a road. It was likely a local track to serve the convenience of Newtoun.

Fawsyd Gait; Cachtlamis Brighe

Yester Writs, Charter 24, p. 19, c. 1340. This was a confirmation by Eufemia Giffard, widow of Sir John Giffard of a grant of a half carucate of land (30-40 acres, or approx. equivalent to 400x400 yards) in the tenement of Barow by its right bounds, namely, "descending from the hospital to Vydenmyr, thence ascending to the common exit which leads to the west side of Barw, thence to Harlawmore, thence from the west side of the said exit to the ford which leads from Harlawmore to the road called Fawsyd gait, thence ascending to the site of the bridge called Cachtlamis Brighe, and thence from that road to the land which once belonged to Alexander de Stratum." Free entry and exit and common pasture were also granted.

The hospital was sited just south west of Linkylea House and Vydenmyr was probably some marshy ground near the Sandyford Burn (cf. Myreside and Winding Law). Charter 1051, p. 286, 1607 indicates this is the correct area, viz, "Sandifurde and eastward to the common meadow "prerious land" to Wyndenmyre and ascending Wyndencleuch to the Crofts of Duncanlaw, and from the common meadow eastward to the Skramure and Barro Kirkstyle" but does not help identify the features.


One of the roads mentioned may have ran between Yester and Duncanlaw. The other may have entered the village from the south (perhaps from Nunhope) and continued northwards. Based on half-inch map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks to Ordnance Survey

Yester Writs, Charter 79, p. 52, 1442/3. This charter by David Hay granted a portion of land "lying on the south part of the said church (Collegiate church of Bothanis) between the land of Dame Alice of Hay, Lady of Yester, on the east part, and the common way on the west part and the path lying between the ditch of the burying ground and the said piece of land on the north part of the computed space of 6 feet from the said land along to the said ditch and common way on the south, with the croft of the said piece of land lying on the south part thereof, commonly called le Orcharde croft, and so extending towards the east along to a cross of stone on the south part of the said Orcharde Croft, and so descending by the path which runs along to the south entry of the said burying ground, with the grazing of one horse and 2 cows with their followers..."

The ruins of the Collegiate Church (formerly St Cuthbert's) lie close to Yester House and were used as a burial vault by the family. From the charter there seem to have been common ways on the west and south of the cemetery. The one on the south could conceivably have run up to Duncanlaw - i.e. be "the gate that gais fra the Bothanis to Duncanlaw."
Yester Writs, Charter 176, p.74, 1474. This was a charter of David Hay, Lord of Yester granting Alexander Lempetlaw in the town and territory of Bothanis, on the west of the marches of the lands of Gamilstoun, on the one part, and on the north the common way on the other part, and on the south part a croft of the rector of Morham, which pertained to the Collegiate Church of Bothanis, commonly called "le Staw" of the said rector....

Yester Writs, Charter 404, p. 127, 1523. This dealt with land in the same locality, viz. a tenement of land with yard and pertinents lying in the town of Bothanis between the land of the late Alexander Lempetlaw on the south, the land of the chaplain of St. Edmund on the west, the King's way on the east and north....

Yester Writs, Charter 555, p. 165, 1529 This charter also refers to the common street on the east and the north, viz. the tenement of land lying in the said village of Bothanis on the south part between the land of the Holy Cross on the west, the common street on the east and north and the croft of the rector of Morhame on the south

The road mentioned is the common way/King's way on the east and the north situated between Gamilston and the village of Bothanis. However, additional information would be needed to fix the precise position of the road though there is a sense that it ran past the village on its eastern side and then proceeded northwards.

Haddington to Garvald

There was an old right-of-way from Haddington to Morham Loanhead, said to have originated as a route along which stones were brought from quarries at Garvald for the building of one of the churches in the town. Between Morham Loanhead and Garvald, old charters refer to a road called the Monkesgate which is probably the same road though there may have been a branch over to the petary at Crumbrestrother. Based on 1" map, sheet 33, 1905. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

In Reminiscences of the Royal Burgh of Haddington (pps.87 & 294) Martine says there was an old cart and foot road called Stabstane Loan that ran from Winton Barns, near Haddington, ran through Bearford Farm and the muir to Morham Loanhead. It is presumed to have continued to Garvald though by what line is not known. It was closed up a long time ago and was often impassable in bad weather. Tradition says that stone from quarries at Garvald were taken to Haddington for use in building the Collegiate church, work on which started in 1380.
Also in Reminiscences (p.87) Martine says that the road ran from the convent's church of St Martins to the nunnery at Garvald, presumably one of the granges.

While the Armstrong's (1775) and Forrest (1799) show this road including the present day roads between Morham Loanhead and Garvald, Roy (c.1750) does not show this latter section. Roy however does not always show all roads so we cannot say from this that the road did not exist around 1750. There is in any case a clue to the section between Morham Loanhead and Garvald in a couple of charters for Garvald and Bara parish (link) dating from the early 1200's that refer to a road called the Monkesgate. This was between the moor of Bara and Whitelaw and was in the same general location as the presumed Garvald road.

While the name Monkesgate is puzzling one solution is that it relates to Newbattle abbey who had granges at Monkriggs (Cresswell) and Bearford just south and east of Haddington and a petary at Crumbestrother. On this reading the road would have run from the granges to the petary and in fact one charter talks about the "road which the same monks made from the front of the alders (at Crumbrestrother) that extends by the side (foot) of the hills towards the west". This need not interfere with the tradition of the road from Haddington to Garvald as part of the Monkesgate could have been used as this with a direct link to Crumbrestrother.

Register of Newbattle Abbey
Additional details of Newbattle charters can be found on the POMS site here. People of Medieval Scotland. Amanda Beam, John Bradley, Dauvit Broun, John Reuben Davies, Matthew Hammond, Michele Pasin (with others), The People of Medieval Scotland, 10931314 (Glasgow and London, 2012) www.poms.ac.uk.

Carta Hugonis Gyftard
Charter 81, Page 63

Area around Cresswell (Monkrigg) aand Bearford. Based on half-inch OS map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks.

This is a charter of Hugh Gifford donating the lands of kressewelle to Newbattle. The boundaries were: ...namely, from the road which leads from leuendington as far as Bereford as far as the bounds of Morham and Combrecolyston..

scilicit a via que ducit de leuendington usque bereford vfque ad diuisam de Morham et Combrecolyston

POMS identifes this with Monkrigg, south of Haddington, which accords with the description as Leuendington (Levington) was in the area south of Waterloo Bridge, and Colstoun just south of this. The road appears to join that coming past Bearford to Haddington - see Haddington to Garvald Road.

Carta Johannis Gyffard
Charter 83, Page 64

This charter was by Hugh Gifford's grandson confirming the donation of Kressewelle, as follows:
....... from the road which leads from leuidinton as far as Bereford as far as the bounds of Morham and Combrecolyston and by the ditch set between kressewell and the lands of Leuediton ...

scilicit a via que ducit de Leuidinton usque bereford usque ad divisam de Morham et de
Combrecolyston • et per fossam que dividit inter kressewelle et terra de Leuediton

See above

BEREFORD (See above map)

Charters 87 & 88, Page 66
These charters of of John and Thomas of Morham refer to a mill pond at Bereford and to the firm land of Morham and the ford of Bereford, viz:

...his millpond on my land of Bereford with divisons as the stream now flows and the whole of the marsh from the western side of that grange as far as the dry lands of Morham and as far as the ford of Bereford…

...stagni molendini sui de Bereford super terram meam et diuisas sicut riuulus nunc fluit et totu maresium ab occidentali parte ipsius grangie vsque ad firmam terram de Morham • et vsque ad vadum de Bereford

Another charter by John Malherbe of Morham (Charter 103) relates to Crumbrestrother, a mill pond at Bereford on his lands of Morham and mentions the ford of Bereford.

The 6" map (Haddingtonshire, sheet 10, series 1) shows a couple of fords over the Bearford Burn, just south west of Bearford, and on the road called the Stabstone Loan. This originated as a route along which stones were brought from quarries at Garvald for the building of a church in the town, and which may have been known as the Monkesgate. It may also have been used by Newbattle to reach their petary at Crumbestrother from their grange at Bearford.


Crumbrestrother. Other than that the roads mentioned in the charters were probably to the north and west of the marshy ground, little can be said of them. Based on 1" map, sheet 74, 1928. With thanks.

Carta Alexander de Sancto Martin
Charter 102, Page 76

This charter of Alexander of St Martin gave Newbattle "that part of my petary in Crumbestrother, to hold to them from the front of the alders as much of my petary extends towards the southern part

[illam partem] de petera mea in Crumbrestrother tenedam illis ab alnata fronte quantum petera mea se extendit versus australem partem

Carta Ele de sancto Martino Charter 102, Page 76

This was a confirmation by Ele of St Martin, his daughter, in which the bounds are detailed, viz.
from the front of the aldergrove as much as it extends towards the south of the same petary, and by that road which the same monks made from the front of the alders that extends by the side (foot) of the hills towards the west…
She also allowed free entry and exit through her land for the carrying of their fuel. There is a possibility that the road referred to was the Monkesgate coming from the granges at Cresswell and Bearford.

videlicit ab alnata fronte quantum ipsa petera se extendit versus australem partem • et per illam viam quam ipsi monachi fecerunt ab alnata fronte que se extendit per costeram montis versus occidentem •

Confirmacio Regis Alexander •

Charter 104, Page 77

Alexander's charter was also confirmed by King Alexander, viz.
.....his petary of Cumbirstrother from the front of the alders as far as the petary extends southwards. I concede also and by this my charter confirm and concede that Ela daughter of the same Alexander made to the same monks free entry and exit to their firewood and carrying this by their lands…

de petera sua in Cumbirstrother ab alnata fronte quantum petera se extendit versus australem partem • Concedo etiam • et hac mea carta confirmo concessione illa quam Ela filia eiusdem Alex fecit eisdem monachorum de libero ingressu et egressu ad focalia sua cariada per terram suam •

Carta Johannis Malherb
Charter 105 Page 78

Crumberstrother is also mentioned in a charter of John Malherb, lord of Morham, which granted Newbattle:
…a certain piece of my land of Duncanlaw next to his (my) petary of Cumberstrother for drying their fuel, by these divisions, namely as a certain old road which is in the northern part of the nearby front of the alders by the side of said petary of the monks as far as a certain well/spring as stones in the western side of this land have been placed as a division.

I also give to them and concede a certain part of my petary of Cumbirstrother next to the foresaid petary of the said monks from its northern side, as a certain fosse made as a boundary extends from the previously mentioned old road which is on the north side of the front of the alders as far as a certain large stone, which lies above the nun’s lands of Haddington towards the east.

I also concede and confirm to them those two roads which are often said to be near the frontage of the alders on both sides*, and free entry and exit throughout all my lands without obstruction etc.
[* This translation is approximate but the sense seems to be that there were two roads giving access at the front of the petary]

……quendam particulam terre mee de duncanlau iuxta peteram suam de Cumbirstrother ad focalia sua siccanda per has notiatas divisas scilicet a quendam via vetusta que est in aquilonali parte alnate frontis proximi ipsi alnate fronti per costeram predicte petere monachorum usque ad fontem quendam sic lapides in occidentali parte huius terre (of this land) posite per divisis testant.

Do et eis et concedo • quendam particulam petere mee de Cumbirstrother • proximam predicte petere predictorum monachorum ex aquilonali parte • sic fossa quendam facta per diuisis extendit se a vetusta via predicta que est in aquilonali parte alnate frontis vsque ad quendam magnum lapidem • qui iacet super terra monialium de Hadington (i.e. nuns) versus orientem.

Concedo et eis et confirmo illas duas vias que sunt sepedictere (often said to be?) alnate fronti Proxime ex uterque parte et liberum ingressum et eggressum per totam terram meam sine omni impedimento et vexacioe ad focalia sua carianda et ad dictam petera sua vtendam

Intriguing though these descriptions of various paths are, they are very difficult to interpret. Other than that they relate to the north and west sides of Crumberstrother, little can be said of them.

WESTFORTON (Athelstaneford parish)
Carta Nesi • filii Johannis de lundres •
Charter 107, Page 80

This was a grant of land in Westforton by Ness, son of John of Lundres. The charter dates from the early 1200's. The grant was for:

A half carucate (30 plus acres) of land in my feu of Forton, by these noted and patent divisions, namely, from Herteburne towards the east by erected stones as far as the stone cross, and from thence descending towards the north by a sike and stones as far as the via regia, and from there towards fortun as far as stones erected by the same road, and from thence towards Pefer by erected stones….

....vna dimidiam carucata terre in feudo meo de Forton • per has notiatas et patentes diuisas scilicit
de Herteburne yersus orientem per lapides erectos usque ad Crucem lapideam • et inde descendendo versus aquilonem per sicum et lapides usque ad viam Regiam • et inde versus fortun usque ad lapidem iuxta eandem via erectum • et inde per lapides erectos usque in Pefer....

See below

Carta Johannis filii Johannis de Lundres •
Charter 114, Page 84

Based on half-inch OS map, sheet 28, 1914. With thanks.

This was a gift to Newbattle Abbey of 5 acres of land by John, son of John of Lundris, which his brother:
....lord Nesius de Lundris gave to me in the parish of Lyntone, in pure and perpetual alms, [and] noted by these divisions, namely as Hertteburne falls from the road which leads from Drem and leads below north towards the east (north-eastwards?) and flows from the western side of the same land as far as the lands of the same monks of Pouerhou which they held from the gift of my brother Sir Nesii, and thence from the north side of the same land as three stones are placed, as far as the east, and as from that stone placed in the east in the direction as far as that stone placed alongside the noted high road

Quinque acras terre de terra mea • quam frater meus dominus Nesius de Lundris michi dedit in parochia de Lyntone • in puram et perpetuam elemosiniam • notiatim per has divisas scilicet sed Hertteburne cadit a via que vergit de Drem • et tendit subtus aquilonem versus orientem et defluit ex occidentali parte ipius terre usque ad terram ipsorum monachorum de Pouerhou quam tenent de donacione domini Nesii fratris mei • et de hinc ex aquilonari parte ipius terre sicut tres petre posite sunt • usque in orientem • et sicut de illa petre in oriente posita in directum vsque ad illam petram positam secus viam superius notiatam.....

Although a couple of the placenames in these charters such as West Fortune, Drem and the Pefer Burn have survived they are not enough to identify the lands described in the charters. There is a sense that they are dealing with land north of West Forton up to the Peffer Burn which suggests the road was one running east from Drem.

Carta Johannis de Edynton
Charter 205 Page 164

This was a grant by John of Edington granting Newbattle the right to travel through his land of Edington on their way to and from Berwick, and to overnight there with their carriages and animals. Dated 1290's

Edington was 2 miles east of Chirnside and 12 miles distant from Berwick. Without further information it is difficult to say what route would have been followed but an easy route would have been through Ellem and Cranshaws to the granges near Haddington.