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Eldbotle, deserted medieval village

A Scheduled Monument in North Berwick Coastal, East Lothian

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Latitude: 56.0568 / 56°3'24"N

Longitude: -2.8039 / 2°48'13"W

OS Eastings: 350034

OS Northings: 685178

OS Grid: NT500851

Mapcode National: GBR 2R.QD02

Mapcode Global: WH7TJ.W1Z2

Entry Name: Eldbotle, deserted medieval village

Scheduled Date: 26 September 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10352

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Dirleton

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: North Berwick Coastal

Traditional County: East Lothian


The monument comprises the remains of a deserted medieval village, located on a slight slope at c.15-18m OD, at the south-eastern edge of Eldbotle Wood on the Archerfield Estate, near Dirleton.

The medieval village of Eldbotle, the precursor to the present village at Dirleton, is traditionally thought to have been in this vicinity and finds of medieval pottery sherds have been recorded over the years. However, the physical remains of the village itself were discovered only in 1999, during an archaeological evaluation in advance of proposed development on the Archerfield Estate.

The evaluation confirmed the presence of a substantial and well-preserved medieval settlement (although relatively little of the settlement was exposed during the evaluation). The remains can be characterised as domestic structures built of coursed stone walls, with stone drains, well-stratified floor deposits and extensive middens, all overlain by windblown sand and topsoil. The excavated deposits are dated to the 12th to 15th centuries on the basis of the pottery evidence. The artefactual assemblage also included an iron buckle and the remains of three iron knives.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to survive. It is irregular in shape with maximum measurements of 168m from SSW-NNE and 113m from E-W, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a rare survival of an intact medieval rural settlement. This well-preserved, well dated and substantial settlement survives because the site of the village was moved to Dirleton in late medieval times and the remains of the deserted village were preserved beneath windblown sand. It has the potential to make a major contribution to our understanding of medieval rural settlement and economy. The confirmed existence of structural remains, well-stratified floor deposits, extensive middens and a varied artefact assemblage greatly enhance the significance of the site.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 58 NW 11.


Baker, L. (1999) 'Archerfield Estate, Dirleton (Dirleton parish) survey and evaluation', Discovery Excav Scot, 27.

Chalmers, G. (1810) Caledonia: or a historical and topographical account of North Britain, 7 vols + index Paisley, Vol. 2, 507.

Ordnance Survey (1853) Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, Book No. 23, 10, 35.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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