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Peel Of Livingston

Castle (Medieval), Earthwork (Period Unassigned), House (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Peel Of Livingston

Classification Castle (Medieval), Earthwork (Period Unassigned), House (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Livingston House

Canmore ID 49079

Site Number NT06NW 3

NGR NT 0398 6758

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council West Lothian
  • Parish Livingston
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District West Lothian
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT06NW 3.00 0398 6758

NT06NW 3.01 NT 039 675 Garden

(NT 0398 6758) Livingston House or Peel of Livingston (NR) (Site of) (NAT)

OS 6" map (1966)

Sibbald describes the Peel of Livingston as in "the form of a Roman camp," with high ramparts about it, and ditches full of water, access being obtained by a timber bridge. He adds that a neat house, the seat of Sir James Cunningham, was built within the Peel of John Murray.

R Sibbald 1710

The Statistical Account (OSA) records that "the house of Livingston was a fortified castle, surrounded by a wet ditch about 30' wide, and a rampart of earth within the ditch; more than 3/4 of this ditch and rampart remained entire till 45 years ago (1753). In old writings it is called the Peel of Livingston." A charter, relating to Livingston Church, of Turstan, son of Leuing (from whom the name "Livingston" derives (H Scott 1950) was confirmed in 1163-5 (OSA 1798).

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB) states that Livingston House was built on the site of the "castle", but no traces remained in 1855, it having been pulled down when it became the property of the Earl of Roseberry.

(Sibbald's and the OSA description, and charter date, would suggest that the original structure on this site was a homestead moat - c/f Peel of Gartfarren: NS59NW 3 - having later buildings erected within it, the site being continuously occupied.)

Name Book 1855; J B Johnston 1970

In 1967 excavations were carried out by W Turnbull (Livingston Development Corporation) at the approximate site of the peel. In the exposed trenches can be seen a stretch of stone-lined drain which leads to a vaulted sump. The date of the drain is unknown but officials of the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments visited the site and considered it unimportant. A feature of this area of former parkland is the number of stone drains and wells.

No certain trace of the peel has been discovered and it is not possible to confirm the OS siting. There is no trace of a moat.

Visited by OS (JP) 21 March 1974

The Peel of Livingston was the centre of the barony of Livingston, a near-contemporary and kindred site to the Edwardian timber-built peel at Linlithgow (NT07NW 9). It was taken over and presumably reconstructed in similar fashion to house an English royal garrison in the early 14th century.

G Stell 1980; Calendar Docs Scot 1881-8.


Field Visit (1996 - 2003)

Russell Coleman managed an Historic Scotland funded project to record medieval moated sites in Scotland. Gazetteers were produced for each regional council area between 1996 and 2002 with an uncompleted overall review in 2002-03. The results of the first year of the project were published in Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal, Volume 3 (1997).


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