The name, of Old English origin and formerly written Libertun, 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.
Liberton Church, by James Gillespie Graham, was built in 1815 after the old church was burned and subsequently demolished. The graveyard contains a "table stone" to the south-west of the church bearing one of the earliest known sculpted depictions of ploughing. 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. 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.
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.
Liberton Cemetery and Kirkyard
Local family names include Speedy, Flockhart, Inch, Tod, Plenderleith, Borrowman and Torrance.
Notable Monuments and Interments
- William Inglis Clark FRSE (1855-1932), chemist and mountaineer (stone vandalised)
- Arthur Robertson Cushny FRS (1866-1926), physiologist
- Henry John Dobson (1853-1923), artist
- Prof Robert Flint (1838-1910), theologian and philosopher
- Charles Edward Green (1866-1920), author of the Encyclopaedia of Agriculture
- A monument to the children who died at Dr Guthrie's School
- Rev George William Jones FRSE (1879-1918), academic, killed as a pilot in the First World War
- Rt Hon Sir John McNeill (1795-1883) and Lady Emma Augusta Campbell
- John McVeagh (d.1861), civil engineer
- Rev Joseph Moffett DD (1885-1962), theologian
- Robert Payton Reid ARSA (1857-1945), artist
- Ethel Constance Roussel (d.1917), widow of the artist Arthur Melville (in the family plot of David Croall of Southfield)
- Lt John Thornton (1780-1870), participant in the Battle of Nivelle
- Prof Findlater Simpson (1842-1923), theologian
Other Notable Residents
- New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family History Library book 941 B4sa, series 2 vol. 1)
- A. D. MILLS. "Liberton." A Dictionary of British Place-Names. 2003.
- Ross, D.(2001)Scottish Place-names Birlinn, Edinburgh p.141
- The Buildings of Scotland; John Gifford, Colin McWilliam, David Walker, Christopher Wilson
- Stephen Dickson; research whilst surveyor of graveyards and cemeteries for CEC
- "Liberton Tower". Liberton Tower. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "Canmore". Retrieved 5 December 2016.
- "Projects". Groves-Raines Architects. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.