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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 05/02/1971


  • Local Authority: East Lothian
  • Planning Authority: East Lothian
  • Parish: Dirleton

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 51609 83929
  • Coordinates351609, 683929


Castle on rocky outcrop with sheer drop to W and N,

fosse to S, filled at E. 13th century origins by de Vaux

family, who built 2 round and a square ashlar towers to

S. SE entrance and E range rebuilt in 14th and

15th centuries by the Halyburtons. Minor additions by

Ruthven family in 16th century. Sandstone with some

freestone dressings.

S RANGE: 3 13th century towers. 2 circular with square

tower at centre. Triangular inner court. Masonry 10'

thick in places. Pointed vaults to polygonal chambers.

3 storeys originally.

SE ENTRY: timber ridge on rubble piers leading to tall

pointed arched gateway. Round arched inner and outer

gateways and portcullis chamber.

E RANGE: blank curtain walls pierced by minimal windows

to E. Barrel-vaulted chambers and bakehouse with Great

Hall and Kitchen. Chapel at N end with prison and pit


Additional remains in courtyard. Some notable carved

details remaining.

DOVECOT: 16th century, 4 tier, circular plan, beehive

dovecot, 30 yards N of castle. 21' in diameter, 25' high,

incorporated into earlier 19th century wall. String

courses dividing tiers with moulded billet course below

domed top. SW doorway with ashlar lintel. 2 buttresses,

coped where battered in.

CASTLE GATE: 16th century, round arched gateway to

Castlemains, in partial remains of rubble wall.

Quirk-edged roll moulding to surround to N, segmentally

arched embrasure to S. Bar-hole evident in E jamb.

TOWER: earlier 19th century circular, 2-storey stugged

sandstone ashlar tower, at W angle of boundary walls,

battered at base. Arrow slits. Paired pointed windows

to E with diamond pane glazing. Forestair to S serving

as porch to doorway below, with doorway above. String

course with water spouts, below crenellated gablet coped

parapet, bearing curved arrow slit details. Single

diminutive stack to NE behind parapet.


Earlier 19th century walls. Raised stugged

ashlar bays with gablet coping. Roll-moulded outer

surrounds, chamfered inners to hoodmoulded gateways.

Timber doors with yett grilles to upper panels. Rubble

walls, ashlar coped with 2 stugged ashlar courses and

gablet coping set above, bounding N and W of castle grounds.

Statement of Special Interest

Guardianship monument. Tower entrance gates and wall

copings were part of Lady Elgin's "beautification" of

Dirleton, bearing similar features in other parts of the

village. The tower was deemed the most expensive "lamp


Scheduled Ancient Monument 90096.

Re-scheduled Area - 10 February 2003.



Inventory 27.

Ancient Monuments Guidebook, J S Richardson, C J Tabraham.

S Cruden, THE SCOTTISH CASTLE 1981, pp 80-87

C McWilliam LOTHIAN 1978, pp 173-6.

TRANSACTIONS of ELAFNS vol III 1934-8, p 9 T Wilson Fish,

Ancient Dovecots of East Lothian.

SRO RH15/70/4- contract for dovecot 1735.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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