Liberton, Edinburgh

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Liberton Kirk
Ploughing scene on the Straiton tombstone

Liberton is a suburb of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is in the south of the city, south-east of the King's Buildings campus of the University of Edinburgh.

The name, of Saxon origin and formerly written Libertun,[1] has generally been believed to signify 'Leper Town', the area being supposed at one time to have contained a small colony of lepers exiled from the city. However modern authorities have suggested it may more probably have meant ‘barley farm on a hillside’, from the Old English words hlith, hillside and bere-tūn, barley farm.[2][3]

Liberton Church dates from the 17th century but was heavily remodelled in 1815 (by the noted Scots architect James Gillespie Graham[4]). The graveyard contains a very noteworthy "table stone" to the south-west of the church bearing one of the earliest known sculpted depictions of ploughing.[5] A modern cemetery lies to the north-west of the older kirkyard. The war memorial at the western entrance (1920) is by Pilkington Jackson.

Liberton Tower is a well-preserved and restored late medieval (15th century) tower house standing to the south of the Braid Hills.[6] Liberton House nearby is a late 16th century A-listed fortified house, also restored. The house is open to the public free of charge by appointment only.[7][8]

Although the area is mostly residential, it has a riding school and stables, which take advantage of the nearby Braid Hills to offer pony trekking leisure activities. Also in the area is Liberton High School, and Liberton has a thriving rugby union club.

Dunedin, New Zealand, a sister city of Edinburgh's, has a suburb called Liberton.


  1. ^ New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family History Library book 941 B4sa, series 2 vol. 1)
  2. ^ A. D. MILLS. "Liberton." A Dictionary of British Place-Names. 2003.
  3. ^ Ross, D.(2001)Scottish Place-names Birlinn, Edinburgh p.141
  4. ^ The Buildings of Scotland; Colin McWilliam
  5. ^ Stephen Dickson; research whilst surveyor of graveyards and cemeteries for CEC
  6. ^ "Liberton Tower". Liberton Tower. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  7. ^ "Liberton House, 73 Liberton Drive, Edinburgh, EH16 6NP". Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  8. ^ "Projects". Groves-Raines Architects. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 

Coordinates: 55°54′51.67″N 3°9′42.76″W / 55.9143528°N 3.1618778°W / 55.9143528; -3.1618778

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