Dirleton Bowling and Social Club


Old Newspaper Cuttings

Haddingtonshire Courier 19th October, 1883.


"Dirleton Bowling Club- The old bowling club Dirleton, venerable from its antiquity, having many years ago ceased to exist, it was resolved this last summer to form a new one, and it has proved a great success.  Although not yet six months old, it embraces in its membership, almost without exception, all its young, and not a few of the old men of the village and neighbourhood, numbering in all forty five members, with the following office bearers:- Miss Nisbet Hamilton, patroness, Thomas D. Thomson, East Craigs, president; William Palmer, Vice President; Rev. John Kerr, Chaplain; and John Lees, secretary and treasurer.  The club has not yet been long enough in its existence to have made its mark in county and club competitions, but it has been eminently successful in the purpose for which it was started - that of providing a source of innocent and healthful amusement during their leisure hours for the young men of the place, and the zeal which they have displayed in the practice of the game, when tempered with another year's experience, will, it is hoped render them foemen not unworthy of the steel even of the Tyninghame "dons".  During the season, some interesting matches and competitions have been played, viz :- 1st a silver mounted pair of bowls, presnted by the president - won by Peter Ward; the final tie being with John Deans, who scored 15 to the winners 21: 2nd a beautifully designed and exquisitely finished silver medal, presented by the patroness - won by John Grant, the final tie being with Alex. Cunningham, who scored 13 to 21. 3rd, a pair of silver mounted bowls, by R. Higgins, Esq., Ninewar - won by Robert B. Lees, the final tie being with William Palmer, who scored 20 to the winner's 21.  In all of these competitions almost every member of the club took part. 4th, a four rink match between the president and vice-president - the former winning by three points.  5th, a return match between the same- the vice-president winning by 14.  The play for the season was brought to a close on Saturday by a close and well contested match between the batchelor and married members - four rinks a side - the batchelors winning by one point, eightythree to eighty-two.  At the conclusion of the day's proceedings, three hearty cheers were, on the call of the president, given for Lady Mary and Miss Nisbet Hamilton, through whose kindness the club enjoy the privilege of playing on the fine old green in the Castle Gardens, in connection with which the only regret is that it was laid down in pre-historic times, and is not quite up to the mark of the modern requirements of science.  A hearty cheer was also given for Mr. John Lees, to whom the club is in a great measure indebted for its success"




[Excerpt from Edinburgh Evening News Bowling Notes of 7th July 1911]

Surely one of the most unique outings claiming connections with the game is that which takes place on Friday, when the Annual gathering of the members of the Senior Dirleton Bowling Club will be held at Dirleton. The Club itself will reach the allocated span next year, and the function is much older, being a survival of the days when the children, under the care of the Canongate Parochial Board were taken for a holiday to the beautiful East Lothian village. On these occasions, it was customary for the guardians to resort to the castle lawn for a quiet game of bowls, while the children were amusing themselves, and this function has been carried down to date by the Senior Dirleton Bowling Club formed sixty-nine years ago. The Annual programme is something like the following:- The members, who come from Edinburgh and Leith, and other places, and who are limited in number, and jolly fellows all, take the train to North Berwick, and then drive to Dirleton where lunch awaits them. A feature of the liquid refreshment here purveyed, is the whisky and milk combination which is generally favoured. The members then proceed to the green where they are drawn up in line, "dressed" and numbered off by the captain (this year, Mr C. R. Urquhart). The bowls to be used are then laid out in a row - beginning with fairly good "woods," and gradually working back to the mists of antiquity along the line of lignum vitae, some of which, belonging to the castle, are extremely ancient.

The niceties of bias, etc., about which modern players are so particular, are, of course, conspicuous by their absence, and as the "green" makes no pretentions in the way of giving one what he plays for, it is usually the member who knows least about the game that gets on best.

The preliminaries having been so far advanced, the members dip into the hat and select their bowls from the nondescript collection in the order in which they draw. The player who draws No. 1 is lead in the first rink, and so on till the "green" is filled, this sometimes necessitating six players in a rink. At the first trial the members play for places. Each one plays for his own hand, and if a player is scoring too well, it is the practice for others to "go for" him, which, of course, adds greatly to the general gaiety. At the close of the first game, the highest scorers in each rink go to form a new rink, the second highest scorers a second rink, and so on. The three club medals and other prizes are then competed for, and the members thereafter adjourn to the Castle Inn in splendid trim for dinner.


Haddingbonshire Courier, 25th August 1882.

"A few gentlemen met in the Castle Gardens last week and after trying their hand at the almost forgotten game of bowls resolved <,A,v<ic. to form a club, principally with a view to provide some/amu s einerft for the oung men of the village and parish.  The following office bearers were elected:- President: Thomas D. Thomson, East Craigs Vice President: William Palmer, Secretary and Treasurer: John Lees Committee :- Georgie Begbie, John Watt, Wm. McDonald, James Morrison, A letter was drawn up addressed to Miss Nisbet soliciting the honour of having her name enrolled as patron   of the club and the privilege of using the green in the Castle Gardens until a more suitable one has been obtained.  A most gracious answer was received granting both requests.  The process of enrolling new members will at once be proceeded with"


Haddingtonshire Courier 29th June, 1883.


"The ties for a handsome pair of bowls presented by the President, Mr. Thomson of East Craigs were played off last week after keen competition, were won by Peter Ward, Gardener, Archerfield. A friendly match between Dirleton and North Berwick of four rinks was played on North Berwick green last Tuesday, resulting in the defeat of Dirleton, but on play being resumed for about 20 minutes, Dirleton finished 3 points up.  The DirletonClub has now upwards of 30 members enrolled and with the advantage of the Castle Green to play on, granted to the club by the kind patroness, Miss Nisbet Hamilton they are confident of a brilliant future"


Haddingtonshire Courier 6th July, 1883.


"The High Constables of Edinburgh and Guard of Honour of Holyrood held their annual outing last Friday and played their annual game of bowls on Dirleton Castle Green.  The weather was delightful and the party had every occasion to be satisfied with their visit to this, the"sweetest village of the plain".


Haddingtonshire Courier llth August, 1882.


"A match which originated through a dispute as to the superiority of a rink that played at the tournament for Biel over another that was set aside was played on Thursday last first on Tynninghame Green and then on Dirleton and resulted in a win by 6 points for the rink that was overlooked.


At Tynninghame:-

J. Morrison 17------J. Lees 11  (Dirleton)

At Dirleton:-

J. Morrison 17------J. Lees 17


Haddingtonshire Courier llth July, 1884.


Dirleton Bowling Club

Dirleton played North Berwick at Dirleton and won 49 to 43. J. Brodie of the North Berwick Club congratulated Dirleton -"A great feather in the Dirleton Cap for beating such an old established club as North Berwick.





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