Scheduled Monument

Preston Tower and DovecotSM774

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Date Added
26/05/1936
Last Date Amended
13/12/2000
Type
Secular: doocote, dovecote, pigeon loft; garden; tower
Local Authority
East Lothian
Parish
Prestonpans
NGR
NT 39014 74105
Coordinates
339014, 674105

Description

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.

Statement of National Importance

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.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS inventory for East Lothian.

Map and grid ref 66 NT390741

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot. You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at designations@hes.scot.

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Printed: 12/12/2018 09:38