History Snipits:

Golyn was the original name of the Parish.

The 12th Century ruins of the first Church are still to be seen in Gullane.

On 23rd October 1612, Sir Thomas Erskine, obtained the permission of Parliament in Edinburgh to build a new Church at Dirleton.

Dirleton Parish Church

Dirleton Kirk Black and white Drawing © DGGolyn was the original name of the Parish, and the ruins of the first Church built in the 12th Century are still to be seen in Gullane. In 1600, SIR THOMAS ERSKINE, a close friend of King James VI, received the Barony of Dirleton for saving the life of the King.

On 23rd October 1612, Sir Thomas Erskine, soon to be the Earl of Kellie, obtained the permission of Parliament in Edinburgh to build a new Church at Dirleton. The reason given was that the old kirk "is sa incommodiouslie situat beside the sea sand that the same, with the kirk yard thereof, is continewallie overblawin with sand, that nather the Kirk servis commodiouslie for the convening of the parichiners, nor yet the kirk yard for their Burial".

The Archerfield Aisle

THE ARCHERFIELD AISLE or the Dirleton Aislie as it should be called was built over the Grave of the first Earl of Dirleton, JAMES MAXWELL, who in 1646 had been created Earl for his services to the King. A man of enterprise and a staunch loyalist, he had purchased the estate of Dirleton in 1631. He died at Holyrood some months before Cromwell invaded Scotland in the year 1650. The Castle of Dirleton which had been used as a base for Royalist troops was taken and dismantled.

The Aisle is said to be the first example of the Neo-Classical style of architecture in Scotland. It was begun soon after the Earl's death by his widow Elizabeth Debousy, and was to have contained a marble monument to the Earl. It was imperfectly completed in 1660 when his grandson James, Earl of Salisbury, sold the estate to Sir John Nisbet.

Sir John Nisbet

SIR JOHN NISBET, Lord Advocate, was raised to the Bench in 1661 with the title, Lord Dirleton. The previous year he had brought the estate of Dirleton, which "stood him a great sum of money and was looked on as a great bargaine and purchase at that time". He had made his name defending the great Montrose but he was to incur hatred for his severe and unscrupulous treatment of the Covenanters.

He bequeathed his Bible for the use of the Kirk, and his estate to his cousin William Nisbet of Craigentinny who was Member of Parliament for the County of Haddington in the last Scottish Parliament and the first British one. Jean Bennet, the second wife of William Nisbet presented the Church with Communion Silver on the occasion of her Marriage, the 24th of April, 1711.

Mary Hamilton Nisbet

MARY HAMILTON NISBET was married first to the Earl of Elgin who brought to London the famous Marbles from the Acropolis in Athens, and then to Mr Robert Ferguson of Raith. Born in 1777 she had an interesting and varied life but it was to Archerfield that she returned in her declining years She died in 1855.

Mrs. Hamilton Nisbet Ferguson, as she liked to be called, did much to improve the Church and Village of Dirleton. The Tower was properly completed, a Vestry added for the Minister and a new imposing Manse built in 1828. The Castle Wall, the Inn, and the characteristic gables of the cottages are evidence of her good taste and interest in the village.

Archerfield Aisle Window

The window in the Archerfield Aisle was gifted in 1935 by Mr Jackson Russell of Archerfield in memory of his wife. There are about ninety different creatures portrayed. The whole is an expression of the soul's love of Nature. The window was designed by Miss Margaret Chilton, A.R.C.A., and executed by Miss Marjorie Kemp, under the direction of Mr. F.C.Mears, F.R.l.B.A.

There have been only 20 ministers since 1576. Andrew McGhie was reproved by James VI for the excessive smoking of tobacco. His son, John McGhie who was Minister in 1633, was prosecuted for not accepting Episcopacy, he being a sturdy Covenanter. He was also a sturdy believer in Witchcraft, and at this time a Witch-burning took place. The Kirk Session Records date from 1655.