Ancient Monuments

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South Elphinstone, settlement, chapel and graveyard 370m WSW of

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

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Latitude: 55.9188 / 55°55'7"N

Longitude: -2.9684 / 2°58'6"W

OS Eastings: 339573

OS Northings: 669942

OS Grid: NT395699

Mapcode National: GBR 70Q0.44

Mapcode Global: WH7V1.CHQG

Entry Name: South Elphinstone, settlement, chapel and graveyard 370m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 19 February 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13365

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: chapel; Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Tranent

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Tranent, Wallyford and Macmerry

Traditional County: East Lothian


The monument is the remains of an enclosed prehistoric settlement dating probably to the late Bronze Age and Iron Age (between about 1200 BC and AD 400), which is partly overlain by a pre-Reformation chapel and graveyard. The enclosed settlement lies buried beneath the plough soil and is visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. These show intermittent sections of two concentric arcs of ditches, from 7-10m apart and each about 2m wide, surrounding an oval area measuring about 120m NW-SE by 100m transversely. Within this area there is a graveyard still in use. In 1853, it was reported in the Ordnance Survey Name Book that the grass-covered foundations of a pre-Reformation chapel stood about one foot high in the NW corner of the graveyard. No trace of the chapel is visible on the ground surface today, but it is expected to survive as buried remains, probably with a contemporary burial ground. The monument occupies an area of relatively level ground above the coastal plain around 5.5km SE of Musselburgh, at about 125m above OD. A footpath from Cousland Park to Elphinstone bisects the monument.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes all burial lairs where rights of burial still exist, and the above-ground elements of all grave-markers, stone walls, hedges and post-and-wire fences, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the site of a substantial bivallate prehistoric enclosure, overlain by the remains of a pre-Reformation chapel, offering substantial potential to trace transition in settlement and rural land use from the Bronze Age until the medieval period. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with the wider landscape of enclosed settlements on this part of the coastal plain, extending SE as far as Doon Hill. 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 and ecclesiastical sites in SE Scotland would be diminished if this monument was lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the settlement as NT36NE68 and the chapel as NT36NE3. The East Lothian Council Historic Environment Record reference for the graveyard and chapel site is MEL3.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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