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Gifford Attractions

East Lothian

Gifford Village near to Haddington in East Lothian, Scotland. A river called the Colstoun Water runs through it. The village is name after Sir Hugo de Giffard of Yester, owner of the baronies of Yester. Yester Castle was built in Yester wood, where a church also stood from 1241 (now a ruin). There is a  golf courses. Gifford Golf Club.   

Gifford Village Town hall was erected in 1887 and is the largest building in Gifford Village with the mercat cross standing nearby. First built in 1775 as the school house. The clock tower was replaced in 1887 when the building became the town hall in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Gifford Town Hall East Lothian

Yester Church 

Gifford Village

Yester Parish Church was built in 1710 and in the bell tower the bell from the old Church of Bothans hangs. The old church was built circa 1490. James Witherspoon was minister of the church from 1720 and his son, John Witherspoon was a regular attendee.

Yester Parish Church Gifford Church East

John Witherspoon Plaque 

Gifford Village

In 1723 a John Witherspoon was born in the Village of Gifford. After his studies he gained a degree from the University of Edinburgh at age 16 (1739) and became a clergyman. He later was offered the position of President of Princeton University in the United States. He Emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1768 taking the post at Princeton.  8 years later he became the only clergyman to sign the the United States Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776. There are many plaques in Edinburgh honouring Witherspoon. Two of which are at the New College Mound Place Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Medical School Teviot Place Edinburgh. There is also a statue of Witherspoon in Paisley, Scotland where he was minister of the Laigh Kirk Church, Paisley for 10 years. 

Rev. Witherspoon Gifford.birthplace East

John Pitcairn MacKintosh 

Gifford Village

The plaque of John Pitcairn MacKintosh is on the wall next to Rev. John Witherspoon.  John Pitcairn Mackintosh went to school at Melville College in Edinburgh and then to Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Princeton USA. He became a Professor of Politics in the University of Edinburgh from 1954 to 1961. He also served as a Member of Parliament for Berwick & East Lothian from 1966 till 1978. Married to a popular actress and comedian Una Maclean. A great Scot and Politician. 

John Pitcairn Mackintosh Birthplace Giff

The Mercat Cross

Gifford Village

In the centre of the Village still stands the Mercat Cross erected in 1780. The Mercat Cross was where the news of the day was announced to the villagers. Was also where the market would be held.  

Gifford Mercat Cross East Lothian

Yester Castle

Gifford East Lothian

In 1162, Sir Hugo de Giffard the first Laird of Yester died 1256. Hugo was known to be a warlock with magical powers and could speak with the dead. After the Scots Wars of Independence,Yester Castle was rebuilt as a fortified castle. 

It is in the cellars of the Yester castle which was said to be a coven where black magic and sorcery were performed. 

The tails of Goblins and strange creatures in the woods. John Hay 5th Lord Yester abandoned the castle in 1557 and moved to new Tower House close by where Yester house now stands.

Yester Tower House

Gifford East Lothian


The Tower House, The first Baron Hay of Yester died in 1508 in Gifford.

The tower was built by William Hay, 5th Lord Yester, in 1582, but was demolished about 1700. It was replaced by Yester House, a fine mansion circa 1710 which was designed by William and Robert Adam, a number of alterations were carried out which included the demolition of a pavilion.


Sir John Hay 1st Baron Hay of Yester

Birthdate: 1426

Birthplace: Wester Hoprew, Peeblesshire, Scotland

Death: October 23, 1508 (81-82)

Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland


John Hay, 8th Lord Hay of Yester 1st Earl of Tweeddale

Birthdate: circa September 08, 1596

Birthplace: Yester, East-Lothian, Scotland

Death: May 25, 1653 (52-60)

Yester Castle (House), Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland


John Hay, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl of Tweeddale

Birthdate: August 13, 1625

Death: August 11, 1697 (71)

Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom)


William George Montagu Hay 11th Marquis of Tweeddale

Birthdate: November 04, 1884

Death died on 30 March 1967 at age 82 at Yester Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland.

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