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The Battle of Prestonpans 1745

DSCF4219 view from south


The Colonel Gardiner Story

Visitor site dedicated to Bankton House's most famous resident, Colonel James Gardiner (1688-1745).

Open to the public 10am-6pm; Entrance on the east wall


Colonel James Gardiner lived in Bankton House, formerly known as Olivestob, until his death at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. He was an experienced soldier with an illustrious and colourful career, modelling himself in later life on the ideal of the Christian Soldier. By September 1745 Gardiner was commanding the 13th Regiment of Dragoons. He was unable to prevent the Highlanders crossing the Forth and threatening Edinburgh, so Gardiner and his men retreated before them. They joined with Sir John Cope and the main army at Dunbar, before marching eastwards to the Battle of Prestonpans. The regiment was posted on the right flank but soon broke. Gardiner tried to stem the flow of the army's rout, but was mortally wounded beneath a hawthorn tree. A servant took him to Tranent manse, where the Colonel died a few hours later. His house was taken over to serve as the main field hospital for the wounded of both sides.


A succession of in the 20th Century fires left Bankton House in ruins until it was restored to its former appearance in the 1990s. As part of the restoration, the doocot (dovecote), seen to the left of the house in the photograph above, was turned into an interpretation space. But sadly this fell into disuse until 2017, when the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust renovated the doocot and re-opened it with up to date information. Inside the Doocot you will meet "Old Archie", who will tell you the story of Colonel Gardiner's life and death. For those unable to visit, you can view the specially-commisioned animated short film here (right).


Access on foot via footpath from the Obelisk - no parking at doocot.   Please respect local residents of Bankton Estate during your visit.


Tour operators wishing to visit the Doocot must do so by arrangement email: [email protected]