About Liberton Tower
Liberton Tower is a 15th century tower in Edinburgh built by the Dalmahoy family, who owned the estate of Upper Liberton from around 1453.
In 1587, Liberton Tower was sold it to William Little, Burgess of Edinburgh and, within 20 years, he commenced the building nearby of the more comfortable Liberton House. Since then, the tower has been used mainly as a farm building, possibly as accommodation for labourers, and with a byre or a piggery in the basement.
Today, Liberton Tower is owned by the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust.
History of Liberton Tower
The Dalmahoy coat of arms appear on a carved panel on the south wall. Records indicate that it was in their possession from 1453, but it isn’t clear when it was built and if it might have had previous owners.
It passed on to a branch of the Corstorphine family, before being sold to William Little, who was Provost of Edinburgh in 1586 and 1591. Provost Little built the nearby Liberton House. Since Libterton Tower has been described as ‘grim and ponderous’, it is likely that Little wanted a larger, more comfortable, and more fashionable residence.
The castle was therefore abandoned in 1610, and was used for agricultural storage right up to the 1990s.
Deposits or charcoal as well as smashed pottery indicate that the tower was involved in Cromwell’s invasion of Edinburgh in 1650 as part of the Third English Civil War. Other evidence of this is the removal of the parapets, damage to the tower, and the firing of cannonballs in nearby fields.
In the 1990s, Liberton Tower’s owners, the Liberton Trust, granted Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust a lease of 100 years to ensure that the tower be restored and brought back into use.
Liberton Tower Today
The tower is a good example of a typical noble residence of the period, and one of a fairly small number which has not been significantly altered in later centuries.
Great pains were taken to ensure that the building retained its rustic charm when it was converted into a holiday letting from 1994-1998. It can sleep up to 4 people. From the parapet, there are splendid views across Edinburgh that include Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town, Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s Seat, and Craigmillar Castle.
Getting to Liberton Tower
From the centre of Edinburgh – around Prince’s Street and The Balmoral – the tower is reachable in around 20 minutes via A7 and A701. A number of buses depart from the same place and take 35-40 minutes. By foot, it takes just over an hour.