A WOMAN killed during an uprising in Tranent is at the heart of a new book by East Lothian’s MP.

Jackie Crookston was among those killed during the Massacre of Tranent in 1797.

Casualties were men, women and children, and the massacre features heavily in the new book Radical Scotland: Uncovering Scotland’s radical history – from the French Revolutionary era to the 1820 Rising by Kenny MacAskill.

The MP grew up in Linlithgow and told how he felt inspired to write about Crookston and other radical highlights of Scottish history.

He told the Courier: “First of all, I felt rather ashamed growing up less than 40 miles from Tranent that I did not know anything about it.

“I don’t beat myself up too much though – there are many people even less of a distance who do not know a great deal about it.

“We have not been told the radical history of Scotland.

“I grew up knowing about Peterloo but never heard of Jackie Crookston or the Massacre of Tranent.”

Mr MacAskill, who was elected East Lothian’s MP in December after succeeding Labour’s Martin Whitfield, has previously released three books: The Lockerbie Bombing (2016), Jimmy Reid (2017) and Glasgow 1919 (2019).

The latest book, which is released today (Thursday), tells the story of how the French Revolution lit a spark in Scotland, inspiring radicals and working people alike, and uniting them in opposition to the King and his government.

The oligarchy of landowners that ran Scotland was worried, with leading radicals like Thomas Muir and his fellow political reformists later rounded up and transported to Botany Bay.

Former Scottish Justice Secretary Mr MacAskill visited Tranent’s secondary school, Ross High School, and was “delighted” to learn that the Massacre of Tranent was included within the school’s curriculum.

The Massacre of Tranent took place on August 29, 1797, when Crookston and others protesting conscription into a militia were slaughtered by soldiers in the town and the nearby countryside.

A sculpture recognising Crookston’s role in the Massacre of Tranent is in place in the town’s Civic Square.

Designed by David Annand, it was unveiled in September 1995 and Mr MacAskill was keen to see a plaque created to alert people to the statue’s significance.

He noted the area around the statue was steeped in history connected to the Massacre of Tranent.

He added: “There should be a plaque on the wall that tells us about what happened.”

A spokesman for East Lothian Council said: “Fa’side Area Partnership (FAP) have plans to introduce a history walk in Tranent which will detail the industrial heritage of the town and other historical events, and will include updating of the interpretation board for the Jackie Crookston statue.

“These plans are at ‘advanced discussion’ stage but no dates for this yet.”