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RCAHMS County Inventory: East Lothian

Date 1912 - 1924

Event ID 1086865

Category Project

Type Project


Individual descriptive articles from the ‘Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of East Lothian', published by RCAHMS in 1924, were entered into Canmore between August 2019 and January 2020. Where the article exceeded c.1,500 words in length, only the introductory paragraphs were reproduced.

Readers can consult the original text to clarify matters of detail, and to access the related material in the introduction and glossary etc. The entire volume, in PDF format, can be downloaded as Digital File WP 003825 (

The eight report (RCAHMS 1924, iii-iv) is reproduced here to provide a further measure of the context and scope of the survey, which extended over some 12 years:

"We, Your Majesty's Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation, and conditions of life of the people in Scotland from the earliest times to the year 1707, and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, humbly present to Your Majesty this our Eighth Report. In doing so, we must refer with deep regret to the death of our late colleague Mr. W. T. Oldrieve, F.S.A. Scot., F.R.I.B.A., H.R.S.A., formerly Your Majesty's Principal Architect in Scotland, whose special skill and experience were of great value in our work.

Appended to the Report is a list of the monuments and constructions of East Lothian, which, in the opinion of Your Commissioners, seem most worthy of preservation. The list is divided into two groups: (a) those which appear to be specially in need of protection, and (b) those worthy of preservation but not in imminent risk of demolition or decay.

Your Commissioners have to express their thanks for the courtesy and co-operation which they have experienced at the hands of the owners of historic monuments in the county. They would also thank the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for the use of illustrations and other facilities.

The present Inventory is of monuments in East Lothian or Haddingtonshire, where the land has long been highly cultivated. It may therefore be assumed that many structures, especially of the earthwork class, have been obliterated; indeed, in some instances, there is direct evidence that this has been the case. Nevertheless examples of an impressive and significant character remain. Early ecclesiastical buildings are not numerous, but of such as have survived, several are in a satisfactory state of preservation. The castellated structures are of particular interest, including examples which in part at least are of the earliest period, while several others have been incorporated in more modern buildings and are still in use. A number of houses of early domestic type have also been in continuous occupation down to the present time.

All the parishes, numbering twenty-four, have provided monuments of one kind or another. The largest class consists of the seventy-one monuments which may be grouped as prehistoric, including fortified sites, stone-circles and cairns; while the castellated and domestic structures amount to fifty-four, the ecclesiastical to twenty-nine, and the other items are fragmentary or of minor types.

In spite of financial and other difficulties Your Majesty's Commissioners have been able to continue, though on a reduced scale, their survey of monuments in the Western Isles, a part of their work to which they attach particular importance. They hope to be placed in a position to complete this section within a short time.

Your Commissioners would express their gratification at the selection to fill one of the vacancies in their number of Dr. George Macdonald, whose eminence in the field of Roman Archeology in Britain is well known.

Your Majesty's Commissioners desire in concluding their Report to record their appreciation of the thorough manner in which Mr. W. Mackay Mackenzie has carried out his duties as Secretary to the Commission. Not only has he performed the clerical and editorial work but with the co-operation of one or other of the architects, Mr. Watson and Mr. Calder, to whom also special commendation is due, he has personally conducted the survey of monuments in the Outer Hebrides under unusually disagreeable conditions of weather and transport. They would remark further that all photographs in the Inventories, with the exception of the few attributed to other sources, are the work of members of the Staff. .

The issue of the present volume has been delayed by the necessity of incorporating the results of excavations made at Dirleton Castle and Tantallon by Your Majesty's Office of Works. Your Commissioners note with satisfaction that these historic structures have now passed under the control of that Department and are being put into a condition which will ensure their preservation.








EDINBURGH, 30th June, 1924.

RCAHMS 1924, iii-iv."

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