ANNE INGLIS, second daughter of John Inglis and Katharine Nisbet, was born about the year 1706, and on April 18, 1740 married John Preston of Gorton,1 eldest son of Captain William Preston of the Scots Dragoons (7th Hussars), and nephew and successor of the Robert Preston from whom her father bought Auchindinny.

Though Gorton included a coalfield, and though Anne Inglis brought her husband a tocher of £760 sterling,2 they were in poor circumstances, and Mr. Preston was often borrow­ing from his brother-in-law, George Inglis.

Mrs. Preston seems to have died about the end of 1747, as the last reference to her is an entry in Mr. George’s account books under date September 14 in that year: ‘Gave Dr. Sinclair to attend my sister Mrs. Preston, £2, 2s.’ She left two sons, William and John, and a daughter, Katharine.

Her husband married again on January 25, 1753, 3 his second wife, by whom he had three daughters, being Agnes, daughter of Mr. David Lindsay of Plewlands, late minister of Cockpen.

John Preston died in December 1760, and his second wife survived him.’


John, the second son, entered the navy in 1757, but he

1 Kirk Sesaion Becords of lasswade.

2 Regiister of Deeds (Durie), August 19, 1740.

3Lasswade Register.


54                     THE PRESTONS OF GORTON


never rose to be a lieutenant, and he died abroad some time between 1776 and 1783. 1


Katharine Preston, the only daughter of the first mar­riage, married Alexander Adams, ‘sclatter’ (slater) at Ander­son’s Land, West Bow, Edinburgh.2 He came to an untimely end on September 22, 1781 by falling off the roof of a house in the New Town.3 In 1778 they were living at a house with a garden at Lauriston,4 and in 1781 in the fourth story of a tenement which he built in Bristo Street, to the south of the Chapel of Ease.5

Mr. and Mrs. Adams had two children—a boy, born on July 25, 1775, and named George after his great-uncle, George Inglis of Redhall; and a girl, Agnes, born in 1777, who married William Molle, \V.S., of Mains, Berwickshire.6


William Preston, elder son of John Preston and Anne Inghis, was in the army from 1754 to 1766, and in that short time held commissions in five different regiments. When he was only thirteen years old he was appointed Ensign in the 25th Foot (King’s Own Scottish Borderers), then stationed in Ireland, but few months later a Cornet’s commission was bought for him in the 2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys), in which his uncle, George Preston, was Major. The commission cost £700, and William Preston held it from February 25, 1755 till July 26, 1756, during which period the Greys were moving from place to place in the south of England. This commission was then sold, and he was appointed Ensign in the 44th (East Essex) Regiment, and served a couple of years with them in America during the Seven Years’ War. On June 28,


Edinburgh Testaments, February 26, 1784.

2 Williainson’s Directory, Appendix.

3Edinburgh Courant, September 22, 1781.

                  4Edinburgh Advertiser, December 4, 1778.

5Edinburgh Courant, December 31, 1781.

6Burke’s Landed Gentry - Cadell of Cockenzte; Nisbet’s Heraldry, i. 319.


WILLIAM PRESTON OF GORTON                           55


1758 he exchanged into the 74th Foot, which was quartered in Jamaica, and he remained there till 1763, when the war came to an end, and the regiment was disbanded.

By this time his father was dead, and William Preston, now a Lieutenant, came home for a few months. On March 9, 1764 he bought a Lieutenant’s commission in the 21st Foot (Royal North British Fusiliers), then quartered in Scotland. The purchase money, £350, was borrowed from John Hyslop, merchant in Dalkeith, and was made a burden on the pro­perty.1 The regiment went to America in May 1765, and was stationed in West Florida for five years, but William Preston retired on October 10, 1766, and settled down as a laird.

His father had directed his trustees to sell Gorton, but he persuaded them, as there was a prospect of the coal being worked at a profit, to let him take the property under burden of his father’s debts, and of a provision of 6000 merks to his brother, and annuities of £22 to his sister and £10 to his stepmother. In his will, made nearly half a century later, he narrates with pride: 2 ‘by industry and by money lent by Mrs. Preston and by the credit of a particular friend who stood bound with me, I improved the estate.’ Time rental latterly stood at £982. In order to develop the market for his coal, he established ‘folds’ at Lasswade Bridge and at Howgate on the Peebles road, where the price was 2 ½ d. and 3 ½ d. per cwt. respectively; at the pithead it was 2d., and he undertook to deliver it in Edinburgh at 4 ½ d.3

William Preston died unmarried on July 19, 1812; the estate was sold, and after a history of nearly four centuries the Prestons of Gorton became extinct.


1Burgh Register of Deeds, vol. 122, August 24, 1764.

2 Edinburgh Testaments, May 22, 1813.

                             3Edinburgh Courant, July 15, 1775.