Work on a £1.1m heritage project at historic Preston Tower in Prestonpans is approaching completion.

A significant amount of grant funded repair work has taken place at the Scheduled Monument, parts of which date back to the 15th century.

Work has included repairs to the doocot, installation of new interpretation boards, a new garden seating area around a carved stone contemplation circle and new paths. These have already been well used, helping to make the gardens more enjoyable.

More recently completed work has included specialist stonework and plaster repairs, renewal of metalwork, installation of CCTV and lighting, and the development of future interpretation/display material.

The final phase of the project will see the installation of an external staircase to allow public access to the inside of the tower for the first time in over 40 years.

'Excellent demonstration'

Councillor Colin McGinn, Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said:

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this fantastic project, which has recognised the significance of Preston Tower to the local community and as an historical landmark. It has been an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved through the council working in partnership with local residents including the community council, Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

“I’m sure that those who have come along to Preston Tower during the works, whether local residents or visitors to the area, will have seen that great care is being taken at every stage to ensure that the works are of high quality and sympathetic and sensitive to the structure and fabric of this Scheduled Monument.

“There will be many people locally who have never previously had the opportunity to see inside the tower. Being able to do so for the first time in over 40 years is a very exciting prospect.”

Traditional construction techniques and materials have been required throughout and the council has been working closely with specialist contractors and consultants to deliver an appropriate repair project with all of the works specified by conservation accredited consultants (at Groves Raines Architects Studios) and reviewed by Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

Prestonpans Community Council secured initial funding for survey work looking at Preston Tower. Salt of the Earth Heritage Connections, a community network linked to the Area Partnership and funded by The Great Places scheme, has also been a key partner in the development work at Preston Tower building on the initial work taken place.   

The repair project to the tower, doocot and gardens has been funded from a variety of sources including the Scottish Government through its Town Centre Fund and Place Based Investment Programme, as well as the UK Government's UK Shared Prosperity Fund and by the National Trust for Scotland.

Friends of Preston Tower

Since the start of the project, a group called Friends of Preston Tower (2) Friends of Prestonpans Tower | Facebook) has been established. This group are currently exploring how to regularly open the tower to the public with volunteer guides. If you are interested in getting involved in a volunteering capacity at Preston Tower then please email or

The group’s direct email is

David Ferguson, group member, said:

“Friends of Preston Tower is a small but growing band of local volunteers and we are excited to take this project forward by delivering greater access to the tower, doocot and gardens through regular tours and special events.  This is an interesting milestone for our community, not least for our local school students who are the custodians of the future. What has become apparent over the course of this heritage project is just how little documented history of Preston Tower exists, so one of our major aims is to fill in the gaps and continually add to the story of the tower site which has been at the heart of our town for nearly 600 years.”

Published: Friday, 26th January 2024