Goats of Haddington

Haddington is a pleasant country town in East Lothian. Our most recent visit was in July last year when we stopped for lunch on our way to our holiday cottage on the east coast. After lunch, we strolled round the town, first passing The Goats of Haddington. This sculpture by Dyre Vaa, depicting two fighting goats, was gifted to the town by the Norwegian firm Tandberg Electronics in 1978. A goat and vine appear in the coat-of arms granted to the Royal Burgh of Haddington in 1296, and are believed to represent prosperity – there is no need for the goat to eat grass when a vine is available. Or so I read on Wikipedia!

At Haddington House, we strolled round St Mary’s Pleasance, a 17th century-style garden created in 1972.

Next door is St Mary’s Collegiate Church, the largest parish church in Scotland, dating from the 14th century and restored in the 1970s. We had a wander round, inside and out. The wheelbarrow in the church porch was part of the Blooming Haddington Wheelbarrow Trail – we saw a few more about town. The crucifixion was made by Margery Clinton when she was teaching art in a rough secondary school in London. This was her response in her studio at home. The green board is a 17th century Burgess Board recording legacies – known as mortifications – given for support of the poor. £12 Scots equated to £1 Sterling, so this one for £18 Scots is for £1.50, the equivalent of about £180 today.

Finally, we took a walk along the River Tyne, past an old mill (Poldrate Mill, now an Arts and Crafts Centre) and back into town.

A very pretty, genteel place? Yes, but not without its revolutionaries!

We didn’t meet any of them and continued safely towards our destination.


  1. Hi Anabel – I spent a couple of days there when I visited for a memorial get together nearby … and thought it was such an interesting town – especially the history of the library (John Gray’s library) … I have been intending to write it up … I visited in 2012! It wasn’t brilliant weather … and wasn’t a good time for me – but I did find it really fascinating. Loved the church, and the gardens … so much to see – even for its relative smallness – yet set in a beautiful area.

    Didn’t know about the Arts centre … but did manage to visit the Heritage Centre – new that year.

    Thanks for taking me back to those days – all the best – Hilary


  2. A delightful stroll with you Anabel. And so funny about the goats – I see Becky drew your attention to the ones in Wales. Seems the underclass don’t get taught how to spell properly either!

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    • Ha ha, you are the first to comment on that! I’m devestated to think my readers are also uneducated (and had to work quite hard to avoid my iPad autocorrecting without me noticing. No autocorrect when you’re scribbling in felt-tip on an electricity box 😉). The goats were fine specimens.


  3. what a lovely place . . .and think it must be true on the goats. Just look what is happening in Llandudno, the goats have left the grass on the Great Orm for the flowers and shrubs in the town!

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