Jeannie Campell provided this record of piping in The Caledonian Mercury for 17 November 1741

ormiston article

“There was a numerous appearance of Gentlemen, &c. the 19th inst. at Ormiston in East-Lothian to see the Distribution of the different Prizes for Yarn, from 6 to 10 slipping and above, when was presented a handsome Quantity of the best spun and finest Yarn, done in Scotland this Year, particularly of the fine from 8 to 10 and 11 slips. This important Improvement in that Corner is in a great measure owing to Mr Cockburn of Ormiston, and his Lady; who, prompted by the noblest and most generous Passion for the happiness of their Country, are perpetually employed in promoting the Interest of its Manufactures, on which its Well-being does so immediately depend, and which if more universally encouraged, would soon enable us to retrieve ourselves, and render us once more a rich and happy people. ‘Tis to be wished that Gentlemen, who have Power and Authority, would take the Hint from them, and imitate so commendable an Example----- After the Prizes were distributed(a rich Stock for Practisers in the Spinning way) and the whole Yarn roup’d off, the overjoyed Girls made a most agreeable Appearance through the Town with their Wheels mounted on their shoulders, and their Reels in their Hands, with the Bagpipes playing before them A Rock and a wee pickle Tow!”
Editor’s note:
This John Cockburn, was the son of Adam Cockburn, who had been one of the first in Scotland to introduce long leases to his tenants one of whom, having signed an 11 year lease, ‘commenced to enclose his fields, a proceeding then quite novel in Scotland’.1
It’s worth noting that, although he became known as ‘the father of Scottish husbandry’, it may be as well not every Scottish Lord took the Newspaper’s advice, since Cockburn ‘scorned all his own immediate interests for the sake of what he deemed the general good, and gave long leases to the tenants of great part of his estates upon very low rents. He also started a linen manufactory, a brewery, a distillery, and a bleaching-field, bringing over artisans from Holland to instruct his people at Ormiston. But the unfortunate result of his spirited and enterprising undertakings was that he was ruined, and Ormiston had to be sold. It became the property of the Hopes, Earls of Hopetoun’ (having been in the Cockburn family since 1370).
Cockburn did, however leave behind the village of Ormiston, of which he had ‘made a plan of a neat, airy, regular street, to be filled up with the houses of manufacturers and tradesmen; and granted feus on moderate terms to all his tenants and cottars who choosed to build houses.’2
This, of course, was the classic pattern of ‘clearances’ in the Lowlands. Ormiston Hall, or what remains of its buildings, are still occupied; behind them, in what were once Cockburn’s gardens, stands the magnificent and ancient ‘Ormiston Yew’.
1. Cockburn-Hood, T.H., The House of Cockburn of that Ilk etc., p. 176-7
2. ‘Memoirs of John Cockburn Esq of Ormiston’, extracted from The Farmer's Magazine, 7 May,1804