The most southerly of East Lothian's parishes,Oldhamstocks stretches 7 miles inland,gradually ascending from sea level into the Lammermuirs.Barely 2-3 miles in breadth it has an unusual dogleg shape as it follows the border with neighbouring Berwickshire to the south east.
Bisected by the A1 road and east coast railway to England, it's former castle was the first resting place for James VI as he headed south for London in 1603 to claim the throne.
Formerly the main east coast route headed inland through the village of Oldhamstocks (Auldhamestocks-old dwelling place);now a picture perfect village with it's white washed church and red pantiled cottages surrounding the village green and mercat cross.
It''s worth wandering round the village with it's Saxon name and atypical Scottish appearance.Park beside the parish church beyond the village green,tucked in the shadow of the Lammermuirs.Dating from 1701 the present church is on the former site of numerous earlier places of worship.Lookout for the watch house built to guard the recently interred from the Resurrectionists and their grave robbing activities.The mercat cross and wellhead were the focal point of village life and this was painted in 1796 by the Scottish artist Alexander Carse when he portrayed the local fair.
But all is not as it might seem.The original mercat cross was removed from it's original location before 1900 and the shaft re-erected on a modern base in the 1950's.
The parish's most famous worthy was John Braidwood, born here in 1732.Like his former monarch he headed south to London where he established John Broadwood & Sons,famous piano makers to Mozart and Beethoven amongst others.
The walker has the choice of several tracks heading up through the cleughs and encroaching wind turbines onto Moneynut Edge in the Lammermuirs.But of greater interest,drive down to the coast and park beside the Dunglass viaduct under the speeding east coast main line.Follow the sign through the parkland of Dunglass Collegiate church under the care of Historic Scotland.
This cruciform 15th century church was founded in 1450 by Sir Alexander Home but later fell into disuse after the Reformation. Now the grounds and Dunglass House are a sought after wedding venue. As we approach Burns Night it is appropriate to end with his words following a visit to Dunglass:
the most romantic place I ever saw.
OS Dunbar and North Berwick 1:25000 Sheet 351