Battle Of Prestonpans / Battle Of Prestonpans Monument
- HER number: MEL563
- Site Name: Battle Of Prestonpans / Battle Of Prestonpans Monument
- Grid Reference: 340400 674400
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Battlefield (18th Century, Post Medieval)
- Commemorative Monument
- Summary: Site of the Battle of Prestonpans, 21st September 1745
- Description: (1) NT47SW 10 404 744. (Name: NT 404 744) Site of the Battle of Prestonpans AD 1745 (NAT)
(NR) (Also published on NT37SE at 396 744). OS 6" map (1853)
(2) A tract of level ground lying between the villages of Preston, Meadow Mill, Cockenzie, and Seton, is the site of the battle fought on the morning of the 21st September 1745 between the Royal forces and the Highlanders in which the former were defeated. Name Book 1853; New Statistical Account 1845 (NSA, W Cunningham)
(3) Those killed at the Battle of Prestonpans were buried towards the N end of Thorntree Field near where there are still three thorn trees. Towards the close of the 18th century, when this field was being drained, the workmen came on a number of bodies with well-preserved clothing, a little NE of the farm steading at Thorntree Mains (NT 401 745).
P M'Neill 1883
(4) Disposition of the opposing forces shown on plan (from evidence on Sir John Cope's trial), places the site of the battle in the area centred NT 404 744. AO Archives 6" plan
(5) Brander gives a full description of the battle, and his plan confirms the OS siting. M Brander 1975
(6) The monument/cairn to this battle lies at NT4023 7416. Information from RCAHMS (DE), March 2002
(7) A desk based assessment was undertaken by the Battlefields Trust on behalf of Historic Scotland, as part of a national appraisal of Scotland's most important battlesites. The GIS polygon reflects the 'extended search area' of the assessment for this battlesite.
(9) In February 2007, CFA Archaeology Ltd undertook an archive assessment, metal detector survey and watching brief in advance of, and during, the construction of a horse riding arena in a paddock at Bankton House, Tranent. Despite being within the area of the Battle of Prestonpans, no archaeologically significant finds or features were found within the application area.
(11) In May 2007, CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out an archaeological evaluation at Prestonpans Station, East Lothian in advance of the construction of a car park. The proposed development area is believed to lie on the route taken by defeated government troops fleeing the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. A number of field drains of the horseshoe type were uncovered, but there were no features, deposits or artefacts of archaeological significance.
(13) In September 2007, CFA Archaeology Group undertook a desk-based assessment and metal detector survey at the proposed site of a community woodland at the east of Prestonpans, within the core battle zone of the Battle of Prestonpans. It is believed that the line of retreat of the defeated government troops passed to the south of the proposed development area. The metal detecting survey did not produce any finds certainly related to the battle. A small assemblage of 17th, 18th and 19th century finds was recovered.
(14) In November 2007, CFA Archaeology Ltd undertook an evaluation at the proposed site of Prestonlinks Community Woodland, to the east of Prestonpans and within the core zone of the Battle of Prestonpans (1745). Five evaluation trenches were excavated, with a combined total area of 384m2. Three shallow pits and two linear features were discovered. The artefacts recovered were post-medieval with the exception of a piece of chert of possible prehistoric date. No artefacts or features were found that could relate to the Battle of Prestonpans.
(15) Between February and November 2009 the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology undertook geophysics, excavation and metal detecting as part of the Prestonpans Battlefield Project. The centre was commissioned by the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Trust to carry out the project, which was funded by HLF as part of a grant awarded for the preparation of a management plan for the battlefield. One of the projects main aims was to engage the local
community in the quest to learn more about the battle and its impact on the locality. Geophysics was undertaken at the site of the 18th century Preston House and anomalies tested by 4 excavation trenches. A number of features were
identified, the most notable of which is a substantial robber trench, running north to south in the most easterly of the trenches. It is believed that this feature relates to the robbing out of a wall at some point in the late 19th – early 20th century. Features in other trenches included deposits of demolition rubble and an area of cobbling which may relate to the courtyard of the house. Metal detecting surveys were undertaken in 4 areas on the periphery of the battle (Tranent Church, Bankton House, Polwarth Terrace and Thorntree Monument) and two fields within the core of the battle, with the assistance of detecting clubs SARG and SDC. A metal detecting 'outing' was also undertaken by SARG and SDC with recording assistance from the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, which was not part of the project but the results were included in the report. The results of the survey in the peripheral areas did not uncover any artefacts clearly related to the battle or any other related battle events ie skirmish or rout. In the core area no significant artefact distributions were uncovered that would suggest the area was the core of the battlefield. Only four lead projectiles were uncovered which were spread widely across the two fields. Although a small collection it is an interesting one as three of the projectiles are of a calibre associated with a carbine and one a pistol which can all be related directly to the battle. This spread of carbine balls may provide some evidence for the direction of the dragoon’s flight and therefore some indication as to the extent of the battlefield as the government lines began to break up. For these events to be occurring in this area it would suggest that the battlefield ‘core’ is situated further to the east than previously thought, a theory supported by the large assemblage of battle-related material from the metal detecting outing held on the fields of West Seton.
- For more information contact: East Lothian Council HER
- Related Interventions:
- Metal Detector Survey and Watching Brief at Bankton House, Tranent, EEL395
- Evaluation at Prestonpans Station Car Park, EEL411
- Metal Detector Survey at Prestonlinks Community Woodland, EEL443
- Evaluation at Prestonlinks Community Woodland, Prestonpans, EEL462
- Metal detecting survey at Prestonpans battlefield, EEL682
- Geophysical survey at Preston House, EEL683
- Trial trenching at Preston House, EEL684
- Metal Detector Survey at Seton West Mains Farm, EEL685
- Metal detecting survey at Prestonpans battlefield (core), EEL686
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Bibliographic reference: Michael of Albany. 2003. The Battle of Prestonpans: reasons and its aftermath.
- Bibliographic reference: Name Book (County). Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey. Book No.37, 33.
- (10) Digital archive: White, R. 2007. Bankton House, Tranent, East Lothian: Archive Assessment, Metal Detector Survey and Archaeological Watching Brief.
- (11) Unpublished document: Kirby, M. 2007. Proposed Car Park, Prestonpans Station, East Lothian: Archaeological Evaluation.
- (12) Digital archive: Kirby, M. 2007. Proposed Car Park, Prestonpans Station, East Lothian: Archaeological Evaluation.
- (13) Unpublished document: Hill, I & Anderson, S. 2007. Prestonlinks Community Woodland, Prestonpans, East Lothian: Archaeological Desk-based Assessment and Metal Detector Survey.
- (14) Unpublished document: Murtagh, P. 2007. Prestonlinks Community Woodland, Prestonpans, East Lothian: Archaeological Evaluation.
- (15) Unpublished document: Pollard, T and Ferguson, N. 2010. Prestonpans battlefield Project: Report.
- (15) Digital archive: Pollard, T and Ferguson, N. 2010. Prestonpans battlefield Project: Report.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: NSA. 1845. The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy. Vol.2 (Haddington), 30??
- (3) Bibliographic reference: M'Neill, P. 1883. Tranent and its surroundings. 116.
- (5) Bibliographic reference: Brander, M. 1975. Scottish and Border Battles and Ballads. 202-5.
- (7) Unpublished document: Foard, G and Partida, T. 2005. Scotland's Historic Fields of Conflict.
- (8) Bibliographic reference: Duffy, C. 2007. Victory at Prestonpans, and its significance for the 1745 Campaign.
- (9) Unpublished document: White, R. 2007. Bankton House, Tranent, East Lothian: Archive Assessment, Metal Detector Survey and Archaeological Watching Brief.