Ancient Monuments

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Preston Tower and Dovecot

A Scheduled Monument in Preston, Seton and Gosford, East Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9561 / 55°57'21"N

Longitude: -2.9783 / 2°58'41"W

OS Eastings: 339014

OS Northings: 674105

OS Grid: NT390741

Mapcode National: GBR 2J.XNV7

Mapcode Global: WH7TV.7K0B

Entry Name: Preston Tower and Dovecot

Scheduled Date: 26 May 1936

Last Amended: 13 December 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM774

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: tower

Location: Prestonpans

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Preston, Seton and Gosford

Traditional County: East Lothian


This monument consists of the well preserved remains of a late medieval towerhouse and its associated garden and dovecot. The tower and dovecot were originally scheduled in 1936. The revision of the scheduling is intended to included the garden which surrounds them and the walls which define it.

The tower is L-plan with the outshot housing a separate stack of rooms, including a prison and pit, rather than a stair. The main block runs NW-SE with the outshot at the SE end of the SW wall. The main block consists of a vaulted basement with entresol level, a vaulted hall on the first floor and a large single chamber on the second floor. There are two further floors to the tower which are much lighter in construction. They date from the early 17th Century and their elaborate Renaissance detailing contrasts with the massiveness of the 15th-century construction below.

The tower sits within a 17th-century garden enclosure which extends about 100m to the N. It is roughly rectangular and has a fine gateway at its SE corner. At the N corner of the gardens is a dovecot, still roofed, which still has almost 1000 nesting boxes.

The tower was built in the 15th century by a branch of the Hamilton family. The great alterations of the 17th Century appear to be the result of works by Sir John Hamilton in 1626. The building was burnt by Cromwell's troops in 1650 but was repaired only to be burnt accidentally in 1663. It does not appear to have been reoccupied after this date.

The area to be scheduled includes all the above features. It is defined by and includes the boundary wall of the garden and measures approximately 110m NNW-SSE, by a maximum of 50m ENW-WSW, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it is the substantial remains of a late medieval towerhouse with elaborate Renaissance additions. The survival of the garden enclosure and related dovecot is rare. The monument is a good example of the Renaissance adaptation of earlier buildings and creation of policies. The site's archaeology has the potential to expand our knowledge of the construction, adaptation and use of such buildings over a period of several centuries.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS inventory for East Lothian.

Map and grid ref 66 NT390741

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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