Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Seton West Mains, enclosures 500m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Tranent, Wallyford and Macmerry, East Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9582 / 55°57'29"N

Longitude: -2.9571 / 2°57'25"W

OS Eastings: 340340

OS Northings: 674325

OS Grid: NT403743

Mapcode National: GBR 2K.XMLX

Mapcode Global: WH7TV.KH2P

Entry Name: Seton West Mains, enclosures 500m SW of

Scheduled Date: 4 May 1993

Last Amended: 13 December 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5687

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Tranent

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Tranent, Wallyford and Macmerry

Traditional County: East Lothian


The monument comprises the remains of at least two enclosed prehistoric settlements dating probably to between 1200 BC and AD 400. The settlements lie buried beneath the plough soil and are visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. The westernmost settlement comprises a sub-circular ditch about 4m wide, enclosing an area measuring about 60m in diameter. About 100m to the E, a second larger settlement comprises a substantial rectilinear enclosure, measuring 80m SW-NE by 60m transversely, which abuts the remains of a further two, smaller sub-circular enclosures. All of the enclosed settlements are likely to contain the remains of houses and other structures in their interiors. The settlements occupy an area of relatively level ground on the coastal plain 1.5km SE of Cockenzie power station, at around 35m above OD. The monument was first scheduled in 1993, but the scheduling documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the construction of the settlements, their use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of power pylons, interpretation display boards, stone dykes, and the top 300mm of the Tranent to Cockenzie waggonway footpath that transects the scheduled area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to knowledge and understanding of rural settlement in the later Bronze Age and Iron Age. It is a rare example of a complex of sub-circular and sub-square settlement enclosures in the same location. It offers high potential to compare settlement form and character over a long time period and may encapsulate change in the later prehistoric landscape from circular to rectilinear settlement. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with the wider landscape of enclosed settlements on this part of the coastal plain. This landscape forms one of the most important concentrations of evidence for social and economic change in southern Scotland in the 1st millennia BC and AD. Our understanding of the distribution and character of later prehistoric settlements in SE Scotland would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT47SW 42 and 22. The East Lothian Council Historic Environment Record reference is MEL1576.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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