Preston Tower, Prestonpans, Photo, Historic East Lothian Building, History, Picture

Preston Tower Prestonpans

Historic Prestonpans Building, East Lothian, Scotland

post updated 6 Mar 2021

Preston Tower

Located next to the Mercat Cross

central Prestonpans, East Lothian

Preston Tower from east

Preston Tower
photo © Adrian Welch

Preston Tower is a ruined L-plan keep in the ancient Scottish village of Prestonpans. It is situated within a few metres of two other historic houses, Hamilton House and Northfield House.

The original structure, some of which may date from the 14th century, has four storeys. A further two storeys were added above the parapet in 1626, with Renaissance windows bearing the initials SIDKH (Sir John and Dame Katherine Hamilton).

The entrance to the Tower had a lean-to hoarding from which items could be dropped, for instance boulders, hot sand, or boiling oil.

Mercat Cross 50m to south-east of Preston Tower:

Mercat Cross photo © Adrian Welch

Preston passed by marriage to the “haughty Hamiltons” (also known as “Hameldone”) at the close of the 14th century. David Hamilton of Preston went to France with James V in 1536.

Preston Tower was burnt by the Earl of Hertford on 16 May 1544 following the burning of Edinburgh during the war known as the Rough Wooing. David Hamilton was a Master Usher for Regent Arran, and a depute warden of the Middle March of the border with England.

Historic Properties in East Lothian

Lennoxlove House
tower building
photo © Adrian Welch
Lennoxlove House was originally known as Lethington Tower, the house has existed since the 13th century. It was built to its full height in 1345 by the Maitland family, whose coat of arms still crowns the front door.

Hailes Castle
The building incorporates a fortified manor of 13th century, extended in the 14th & 15th centuries.

Dunbar Castle
It was located on the rocks of the headland and incorporated a natural cavern below (now exposed) which may have formed part of the dungeon and undoubtedly acted as a postern-gate allowing supplies to be brought in by boat. For five months, the castle was defended by Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar, against a siege by the English, under the in 1338 Earl of Salisbury.

Historic Properties in East Scotland

Duddingston Kirk
Duddingston Church dates from 1124 and contains a Romanesque doorway and chancel arch. A famous former minister at this kirk was the Reverend John Thomson.

Holyrood House
At Holyroodhouse, a new family room will be created inside the palace, the storytelling of the state apartments will be improved and the Abbey Strand buildings, which sit just outside the palace gates, will be restored to house a learning centre.

Craigmillar Castle
Built round an L-plan tower house from e.15th century, much expanded in the 15th & 16th centuries.

Crichton Castle
Crichton Castle
photo © Adrian Welch

Dundas Castle
In 1818, James Dundas had the 17th century portion of the building pulled down and rebuilt in a Tudor-Gothic style by the Scottish architect William Burn. Burn also designed many churches and this influence is visible throughout the building. William Burn’s designs for the main state rooms allow for huge windows that look out on to lawns and parkland outside.

Linlithgow Palace

Dalhousie Castle

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