Linlithgow Civic Trust
Visits, Events and Talks
Wemyss Caves Tour
St Mary's Parish Church, Haddington
LCT 2020 Annual Lecture
Dr Moses Jenkins of HES
Ellie Graham of SCAPE
Stacey Rowntree of the Scottish Lime Centre Trust
Summer Programme of Visits
Details of the 2020 summer programme of visits will appear here as arranged. Please note that decisions on whether any of the visits will proceed will be subject to the prevailing health advice on Covid-19. We will try to give at least 2 weeks notice of any cancellations or postponements.
There are expected to be 3 visits to: Wemyss Caves in East Wemyss on 7 July; St Mary's Parish Church, St Mary's Pleasance Garden and the John Gray Centre in Haddington on 25 August; and to Panmure House in Edinburgh in the Autumn.
7 July 2020 - Visit to Wemyss Caves
The Wemyss Caves, which are believed to have been the product of sea action some 8000-5000 years ago, are situated on the north shore of the Firth of Forth near to the village of East Wemyss.
The Caves are historically precious due to the high number of carvings which are inscribed on their walls. The earliest of these are thought to date to the Bronze Age, whilst the vast majority are connected with the Pictish period. The Pictish carvings constitute the earliest style of Pictish art (Class I) and are widely thought to represent the highest concentration of Picitsh cave carvings in Britain.
There were initially eleven caves in total, two of which – The Glassworks Cave and the Michael Cave – were situated on the west side of the village. Neither of these caves exists today. There are, however, six remaining caves along the coastline to the east of the village: Court Cave, Doo Cave, Well Cave, Jonathan’s Cave, Sliding Cave and Gas Works Cave.
The Caves have featured on the popular archaeological television programme, Time Team (2004), ITV’s Off the Beaten Track (2014) and in Scottish crime author, Val McDermid’s novel A Darker Domain (2008).
We will be given a private guided tour by Sue Hamstead, Vice-Chair & Chief Tour Guide of the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society. There is no charge for this tour but donations to the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society would be appreciated. The tour will start at 2pm.
This is a coastal landscape with some uneven ground and includes many steps. A full tour to the caves and back is one mile long and usually lasts around an hour and a half. Please bring suitable footwear and clothing.
There is also a Museum, housed in the Visitor Centre, including a Virtual Reality installation which provides a fully immersive experience of visiting the caves without leaving the building. As well as telling the story of the caves, the Museum has displays and information on local geology and history, including later industries based in the village like mining and textiles. Refreshments and toilet facilities are available in the seated cafe area.
25 August 2020 - Visit to Haddington
We will start our visit to Haddington at 12.30pm with a visit to St. Mary’s Pleasance private garden which is maintained for the public by Haddington Garden Trust. The garden occupies 1.6 acres between St. Mary's Churchyard, Lady Kitty's Garden and Haddington House, which dates from 1648 and is the oldest dwelling in Haddington. Some of the garden’s boundary walls were built by Napoleonic prisoners of war.
We will then have a guided tour of the adjacent St Mary's Parish Church in Haddington at 1pm. Building work on the church was started in 1380, and further building and rebuilding has taken place up to the present day. It is the longest church in Scotland, at 206 feet (62.8 metres) from east to west,and is in the early Gothic style.
To end the day, we will also have a guided tour at 2.30pm of the Archive and Local History department of the John Gray Centre, the local museum.
12 February 2020 - LCT 2020 Annual Lecture
The 2020 LCT Annual Lecture was given by Geoff Bailey, Heritage Engagement Officer at Falkirk Community Trust. Geoff 's talk posed the question “How many canals were there in Falkirk?”. He identified more than we realised, some of which are sadly no longer to be seen because of redevelopment or were never built (such as the Stirling Canal). It was a hugely entertaining and informative talk enjoyed by all.
Cross House Winter talks 2019/2020
21 January 2020 - Dr Moses Jenkins "Scotland's Holy and Healing Wells"
The third and final of the talks was given by Dr Moses Jenkins who is Senior Technical Officer with the Historic Environment Scotland Technical Research team. His entertaining talk, on Scotland's healing and holy Wells, looked at the history of magic and sacred wells in Scotland and the types of ritual performed at such sites and folk belief surrounding wells. He would be interested to hear from anyone with any good tales about Linlithgow's wells.
3 December 2019 - Ellie Graham: "Coastal Archaeology of the Forth"
The second of the Cross House talks was given by archaeologist Ellie Graham of St Andrews University (recently seen on Alice Robert's BBC2 Most Historic British Towns programme on Stirling, Channel 4's Britain at Low Tide and BBC Scotland's Scotland from the Sky).
To a packed room, Ellie gave a fascinating talk on the "archaeological digs" she has been involved with on the Higgins Neuk site near the Clackmannanshire Bridge and the Pictish Wemyss Caves (which we will visit on 7 July - see above).
19 November 2019 - Stacey Rowntree: "The Work of the Scottish Lime Centre Trust"
The first of the 2019/2020 Cross House talks took place in the Adam Room of Cross House and was given by Stacey Rowntree, the Building Surveyor for the Scottish Lime Centre Trust. Her talk covered all aspects of the work of the Trust which was set up in 1994 to:
- Promote for the public benefit the appropriate repair of Scotland's traditional and historic buildings;
- Advance education through the provision of advice, training and practical experience in the use of lime for the repair and conservation of such buildings; and
- Promote and further the preservation and development of Scottish building traditional, crafts and skills.
At the end of her very informative talk we certainly all knew the difference between concrete and lime mortar and the "do's and don'ts" of using them.
Linlithgow Civic Trust organises events throught the year. Talks and lectures are arranged during the autumn and winter and there are visits to places of interest in spring and summer.