Scheduled Monument

Dirleton Castle, Dovecot and GardensSM90096

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: castle; doocote, dovecote, pigeon loft; garden
Local Authority
East Lothian
NT 51560 83946
351560, 683946


The monument consists of the remains of Dirleton Castle with its associated dovecot, gardens and ancillary structures.

The castle dates from the 13th century and was founded by the de Vaux family. It was enlarged by the Halyburton family in the 14th and 15th centuries, with the construction of a splendid new gatehouse and hall range. The final major phase in its construction was the building of the Ruthven lodging in the late 16th century. Dirleton was besieged as part of General Monck's campaign in southern Scotland in 1650. It was abandoned as a fine residence after the Dirleton estate was bought by the Nisbet family in 1663, and built Archerfield House only about 1km away, NW of Dirleton. However, Dirleton continued to play a role in the Archerfield estate and, in the 19th century, the gardens were laid out once more as pleasure grounds.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape and measures approximately 210m E-W by 175 N-S, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The boundary wall, which defines the monument, is included in the scheduling. The principal exlusions from the scheduling include: all timber-built structures in the grounds; the boundary wall abutting the clubhouse of the Bowling Club; all the above-ground structures in the area of the works yard in the SE corner of the grounds; and the top 600mm of ground surface in the NE garden (this is the area shaded green on the accompanying map).

Amended on 11 June 2018 as follows:

  • The scheduled monument extends up to but does not include boundary walls and fences.
  • Specifically excluded (in addition to and amended from current exclusions)  are:
  1. The top 300mm of all paths and gravel areas to allow for their maintenance;
  2. The above ground elements of all garden walls and steps, wooden walkways, timber-built structures, modern signage, floodlights, handrails and modern fixtures and fittings;
  3. The top 300mm of ground surface of the bowling green; and 
  4. The top 600mm of ground surface of the north east garden.
  •   The plan annexed and executed as relative hereto is revised to take account of the above amendments.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Dirleton Castle

Find out more

Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Garden & Designed Landscape
  2. Dirleton castle gate, tower, north and west gateways and boundary walls, excluding scheduled monument SM90096, DirletonLB1525

    Designation Type
    Listed Building (A)


HER/SMR Reference

  • MEL2056
  • MEL1329
  • MEL1332

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


Dirleton Castle, looking north, during daytime, on clear day with cloudy sky.
Dirleton Castle, dovecot, looking north, during daytime with cloudy sky.

Printed: 02/03/2024 03:36