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Lairds House (Post Medieval), Settlement (Post Medieval), Village (Medieval)

Site Name Markle

Classification Lairds House (Post Medieval), Settlement (Post Medieval), Village (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Martle

Canmore ID 56229

Site Number NT57NE 3

NGR NT 5795 7754

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NT57NE 3 5795 7754

(NT 5795 7754) Markle (NR)

OS 6" map (1968)

Monastery (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1958)

Markle: The remains of a laird's house in a sub-rectangular enclosure plus sunken ways and other foundations are visible on the ground. Documentary evidence suggests a church in the late 16th century and sixteen houses and crofts on both sides of a street around 1750.

B Morris 1974

Three sherds of medieval pottery, an early 18th century ring dial and a domino were found during ploughing at the site of Markle, a deserted village with remains of a 17th century laird's houses. Aerial photographs suggest that there may have been a substantial settlement here when it was destroyed by the English in 1401 and 1544. The finds were donated to the NMAS by I Kinloch, Markle, who donated further sherds of medieval pottery and a lower quernstone from the same site in 1977-8.

D H Caldwell 1974; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1978; 1980

In 1726, 'a gentlemans house called Martle (sic), now belonging to Sir Francis Kinloch of Gilmarton' (Gilmerton) is noted. The name was believed by some to be a corruption of 'Miracle', from the miraculous appearance of a cross there immediately before the battle of Athelstaneford (W Macfarlane 1906). It is named 'Little Markle' on Blaeu's map (1662).

There are various 19th century and later references (e.g. Farmers Mag 12 March 1811, 49-50; NSA 1845 (J Thomson); C E Green 1907) to this as the remains of a monastery, but there is no authentic evidence to support this supposition. However, a chapel dedicated to St Mary is recorded here from 1511 to 1653, while clergy with the title provost (indicating a collegiate church, which MacKinlay says was dedicated to St Mariota and founded about 1450) are found from 1515. The provostship and prebendaries are mentioned in 1569, but no information can be found as to the number of prebends (I B Cowan and D E Easson 1976). The field in which the ruins stand is still known as the Provost's Park.

J M MacKinlay 1914

On the SE of this site there is a rocky bank with level and partially marshy ground at its base, which skirts an outcrop of rock lying to N and W. The outcrop has been surrounded by a ditch flanked by outer and inner ramparts to form an enclosure measuring some 850ft NE-SW by 450ft transversely. The ditch is much wasted, and a railway cutting has destroyed the N and NE part of the enclosure, but on the NW and W it is still about 6ft deep and 20ft wide. A stone wall about 3ft thick can be traced along the inner rampart in the NNW; S of this, within the enclosure, is a rubble-built, oblong, vaulted structure, 31 1/4 ft by 15 1/4 ft within walls 3 1/4 ft thick on average. The E gable, heightened to receive a very steeply pitched roof, stands complete, but the other walls are fragmentary. The masonry suggests that it has either been built out of old material or that it had become so ruinous that a complete reconstruction was necessary. There is a doorway in the gable, and on the inner face towards the SE angle there is a window which has been built up. It has an ecclesiastical appearance, and seems to have been a lancet light. There are two scarcements, one above the doorway and the other above the window. The former suggests that the building was floored at that level while the latter probably received the wall couple of the roof.

The bank against which the structure is build runs NNE- SSW and appears to have been walled, with circled towers projecting N at the NE portion, and to have had cross walls running from it to the SE. Between the cross walls are the ruins of a second structure (the laird's house previously noted) at least three storeys in height, and of 16th century date. Oblong on plan, it measures 75 1/2 ft E-W by 41 1/2 ft transversely. On the E there is a rubble wall about 2ft 7 ins in thickness by 44ft in length; at the N end of this wall there is a stone channel, which was an inlet for water; adjoining to to the S are the remains of a cupboard recess; the N wall has contained a kitchen fireplace. Fifty feet W is another portion of the building forming three sides of a rectangular tower, circled internally. It has an interior diameter of 14ft 8 ins and shows signs of rebuilding. An oblong structure projects S from the tower; it measures 36ft by 11ft within walls from 2 1/2 to 3ft in thickness. This may be later than the structures previously described. There was a chapel at Markle of 'Merkill' dedicated to St Mary; later (1699) it appears as the chapel of St Mariota. Alan of 'Merkshulle' is mentioned in 1312.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1919

The remains at Markle are generally as described by the RCAHMS, but part of the gable has fallen and therefore the built-up lancet window was not seen. The ditch to the N and W of the buildings is well-defined but the cross-walls are not; they exist for the most part as banks or scarps. There would appear to have been an entrance into the enclosed area, from the NW at NT 5785 7753 and another, from the SE, at NT 5805 7753.

Revised at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 29 October 1962

NT 5791 7753 (centre) An archaeological survey of the remains of the medieval village at Markle was undertaken by Headland Archaeology Ltd. The survey area covers some 4ha roughly 1.2km NW of East Linton, on the S side of the railway. The remains of the village have been severely damaged following the development of a commercial fishery during the last 25 years. The previously mapped archaeological remains covered an area of almost 3ha; this has reduced to a core area around the upstanding ruins covering only 0.16ha.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

M Dalland 1997

Old Markle "Two ancient ruins on the S side of the North British Railway and about a mile W of the village of E Linton, the largest one considered to have been a monastery and the other one a chapel, but the inhabitants of the vicinity cannot give the least information respecting their date of erection or to whom they were dedicated, notwithstanding Fullerton in his Gazetter had the following remarks on them, "On the farm of Markle stand the ruins of an ancient monastery considerable in extent but not refined in architecture of whose history little is known. The lands belonging to this establishment were nearly all alienated from it in 1606 and attached to the Chapel Royal at Stirling." Also in the Statistical Account is a similar notice concluding with the following assertion, "Very little is known about this religious establishment, but from the persent state of the building, which is very ruinous, it seems to have been of considerable extent but of very rude workmanship."

Name Book 54

Annotated Markle (Ruins), two unroofed buildings and one enclosure are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Haddingtonshire 1854, sheet 5). The fragmentary remains of one unroofed building and one enclosure are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1990).

Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 28 September 2000


Change Of Classification (19 November 2013)

A review of the information of this site and in light of the classification adopted in the most recent scheduling document (10 Sept 2013) the classification has been altered.

Information from RCAHMS (JRS) 19 November 2013.


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