A series of booklets on certain aspects of Dunbar’s history have been published since 2011,

offering visitors to the town and residents alike glimpses of key subjects over several centuries.

These are as follows:

Booklet No 1

Dunbar: A Famous Castle and the Story of Black Agnes

Roy Pugh Issue 1

Describes the development of Dunbar’s castle from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, it being one of the first stone built fortifications in Scotland and possibly East Lothian. The history of the castle between c.1244 and 1567 illustrates how it affected Scottish history during a turbulent period until it was finally dismantled on the orders of the Scottish parliament in 1568. The booklet also features the famous siege of the castle by Agnes Randolph, the 9th Earl of Dunbar’s redoubtable Countess against Edward III’s army between January and June 1388.


Booklet No 2

Dunbar: An Ancient Royal Burgh

Roy Pugh Issue 2

Charts the rise of Dunbar as a royal burgh from the year of its elevation from a Burgh of Barony – ie controlled by the Earls of Dunbar – to a Royal or King’s Burgh by David II’s charter of 1370. The booklet spans six centuries until Local Government reorganization in 1975 which abolished town councils like Dunbar. Over the centuries, the improvements to the community by the town council include the development of Lammerhaven (the Old or Cromwell Harbour) in the sixteenth century, the opening of the New or Victoria Harbour in 1844, both vital to fishing and sea-going trade, the introduction of a clean water supply in 1766, street lighting, paving of the town’s High Street and the creation of a grain market at the Corn Exchange in 1857 – all of which contributed to the town’s economy and well-being. Also included is a list of shops trading at regular intervals between 1832 and 1882, then 1901 and 2011. This information may assist those interested in their family tree over the period.


Booklet No 3

Dunbar: A Garrison Town and Casualties of Three Wars

Roy Pugh Issue 3

Traces the military presence in and around Dunbar over the period 1772 to 1950. Of particular interest is the founding and occupation of Castle Park Barracks (Lauderdale House) and the New Inn Barracks (High Street) by the War Department in 1855, housing militia units, then regiments of the regular British Army from 1914 to 1950. The presence of the military in Dunbar for over a century was of great benefit to the town’s economy. Also of interest are lists of casualties of the South African (Second Boer) War 1899-1902, the Great or First World War and the Second World War. The author has made every attempt to establish the rank, regiment and date of death of most of the casualties. Of specific interest is the list of infantry, cavalry and artillery stationed at Dunbar between 1772 and 1950; this information will be of interest to those whose relatives were stationed at Castle Park Barracks between 1914 and 1945.


Booklet No 4

Dunbar: Three Harbours, Fishing and Sea Trade

Roy Pugh Issue 4

Traces the development of Dunbar’s harbours from the first natural haven at Belhaven, then the first purpose-built harbour at Lammerhaven (The Old or Cromwell Harbour) in the sixteenth century, then the New or Victoria Harbour which opened in 1844. The booklet investigates the development of the herring industry (the annual Dunbar Drave or harvest), the short-lived whaling industry and sea-going trade both coastal and international in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Booklet No 5

Dunbar: A Kirk Chronicle

Roy Pugh Issue 5

Examines the history of Dunbar Parish Church between the twelfth and twentieth centuries, including its status as a pre-Reformation Collegiate Church between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. The booklet discusses kirk discipline and records actual cases of contravention of kirk discipline and penalties for breaching it – practices such as fishing on Sundays, failure to attend divine service on the Sabbath, frivolous pursuits frowned upon by the kirk fathers and sexual misconduct within and outwith marriage between the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The provision of parish relief to the poor is also examined, citing actual cases. A section on early graveyards and the modern cemeteries is included, covering the measures taken by the kirk authorities to prevent unlawful exhumation of corpses by the resurrectionists in the nineteenth century. Some of the grave monuments of prominent residents of Dunbar are also detailed.


Booklet No 6

Dunbar: The Battles of 1296 and 1650

Roy Pugh Issue 6

Describes the events leading up to and an account of the two battles fought near Dunbar, the first occurring in 1296 which heralded the beginning of the long, dour Wars of Independence between Scotland and England. An account of the battle of 1650 between Oliver Cromwell and the Scottish Covenanter army led by David Leslie also discusses the fate of about 4,000 Scottish soldiers force-marched from Dunbar to Durham where many hundreds died of malnutrition and disease while in captivity there.


Booklet No 7

Dunbar: Famous Visitors, Residenters and Induellars

Roy Pugh Issue 7

Traces the early, anonymous visitors to Dunbar from the Mesolithic Age or Period (10,000-5,000 BC), the Bronze Age (2,000-750 BC) the Iron Age (780 BC to 500 AD) and the Anglian occupation (638 AD to 1018 AD). Recorded history from 1066 onwards provides details of individuals who visited, were natives of or who made their homes in Dunbar are also included, not all of whom made positive contributions to the wellbeing of the community!


All booklets run to about 30 pages and are illustrated. Price including postage and packaging is £4 direct from the author or in retail outlets in Dunbar


Also available at cost direct from the Scottish Genealogical Society and Dunbar & District History Society


Spott East Lothian Burial Records transcribed and indexed by RJM Pugh and published by the Scottish Genealogical Society. Enquiries to the Scottish Genealogical Society, 15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH11 2JL or the Secretary, Dunbar & District History Society, Town House Museum, High Street, Dunbar, East Lothian EH42 1ER (telephone 01368 863734)