Haddington - home of the Bear!
"It's been a long time."
I first visited Haddington during family holidays away back in the early 1970's. I went there for an afternoon a few years ago, but I didn't revisit it properly until late August 2006, for a very specific reason which i shall explain.
If you've read my homepage, you'll know that I really like the music of one Derek William Dick, better known as Fish, former frontman of the prog rock band Marillion and now an excellent solo performer. Every few years, the Big Man has a convention for fan club members in his adopted home town of Haddington (he's actually from nearby Dalkeith).
Hence, myself and a few hundred like-minded souls descended on the poor unsuspecting place for a weekend of fine music, revelry and drinking. this year's event was called "the Return of Haddington Bear", hence the slightly odd title of this page.
It was absolutely wonderful, although I didn't really collect much information or many photos for creating VT tips!
"A brief history."
I suppose it's not really surprising that the town survived the invasion of the Fish contingent as it's had to put up with a whole lot worse in it's long history.
The origin of the name is uncertain but may derive from Hadda's Tun (Hadda's village).
The town was created a Royal Burgh sometime between 1124-1153 during the reign of King David I. This meant that it received a royal charter, and accorded it certain rights within Parliament. Subsequently, the place was sacked and burnt by the English on no less than three occasions. It was also the site of the longest town seige in British history, which lasted for 18 months in 1547 - 1549.
Perhaps the centrepiece of the town is the Church of Scotland (Anglican) parish church of St. Mary, reputedly the largest parish church in Scotland, and certainly very mpressive. Fish performed two wonderful acoustic gigs in here and it was magical. the church itself was consecrated in 1410.
The town also boasts no less than 284 listed buildings and this is reflected in the very old feel of the town.
Nowadays, Haddington is the administrative centre for East Lothian which has various Council Offices in the town.
If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a look.