Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Preston Tower

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Preston Tower

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 53671

Site Number NT37SE 3

NGR NT 39026 74064

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Prestonpans
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT37SE 3 39026 74064

See also NT37SE 22

(NT 3902 7405) Preston Tower (NR)

OS 6" map (1966)

Preston Tower, which dates mainly from the 15th century, stands within a 17th century enclosure wall. L-shaped on plan, the tower measures 34' N-S by 39 1/2' transversely over walls which are 6' 9" thick in the main block, and 4' thick in the wing. It stands 67' high, the top 21' of which, within a parapet walk, is a 17th c. addition. A monogram dated 1626 on the S side gave the date of this addition, though now only the first two figures remain. Initials on the E pediment record the repair of this part after its burning in 1650, by Cromwell's soldiers after the Battle of Dunbar. It was also burned in 1544 by the English under the Earl of Hereford; and finally accidentally set on fire in 1663 and never again occupied.

Preston belonged to a branch of the Hamiltons from the latter half of the 14th century, and the tower was almost certainly built by Sir Robert Hamilton, who inherited the estates c.1460.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1913; T Ross 1905

As described.

Visited by OS (RD) 4 January 1972

NT 390 740 The insertion of floodlighting by East Lothian District Council necessitated digging cable trenches on three sides of the tower at Preston (NMRS NT37SE 3). A scheduled monument, the tower was probably built in the 15th century and a further two storeys were added in the 17th century. Examination of the trenches revealed that the upper deposit consisted of garden soil and in many areas the trench did not penetrate this deposit. Where the topsoil was thin, archaeological features were noted. These consisted of a cobbled path leading to the entrance on the ground floor (SE corner), a spread of sand with mortar around the E and N sides of the tower and, under this, a layer of grey soil containing many stone spalls which lay directly on orange boulder clay. The grey deposit may represent a construction level but, like the sand with mortar, may simply have been a working surface. The foundations of a wall ran from the SE corner of the tower, E to the present boundary wall. Only modern artefacts were recovered, from the bottom of the garden soil.

Sponsor: East Lothian District Council.

AOC (Scotland) Ltd 1996.

Scheduled with NT37SE 22 as Preston Tower and Dovecot.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 13 December 2000.

Architecture Notes

NT37SE 3.00 39026 74064

NT37SE 22 39003 74157 dovecot

NT37SE 3.01 39061 74062 walls; gate piers


Non-Guardianship Sites Plan Collection, DC28454- DC28465, 1937 & 1938.


The Builder, March 17th 1888 - 1 printed sheet of plans, elevation & section. by Walter F. Lyon.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions