Saltcoats Castle and the Livingstones

Scheduled Events >Lectures

Zoom talk by David Sowerby, a professional engineer, an amateur Archaeologist and a student of castles, who lives in East Lothian.

Saltcoats Castle and the Livingstones

The Society is pleased to present this talk on Thursday 3rd March, 2022, 7.30 PM.

The talk will mostly focus on the castle itself, with some supporting information about the Livingstone family.

Bio: David Sowerby

Before retiring David held various engineering and management roles in heavy industry, mostly associated with power stations.

Archaeology in both its practical and academic aspects has been a major interest since the early 1990s. He spent time over five summers helping, as a volunteer, with the excavation of a castle bailey. Then came work on a variety of other sites, from the Neolithic through to the early modern. Academic archaeological studies, initially with Edinburgh University, then the University of Leicester, cumulated with the writing of a Masters dissertation in 2005.

Castles have been an interest since a young David ‘discovered’ the North Wales castles of Edward I in 1970. He has been a member of the Castle Studies Group of the Society for Medieval Archaeology for the past 20 years.

The Saltcoats project started as an exploration of the form and function of the partially demolished castle located just south of Gullane. Little investigative work seems to have been done on the castle since the 1920s while the last work on the extinct family of Livingstone of Saltcoats seems to have taken place in the 1930s, being reported in Volume 2 of the Transactions of the East Lothian Antiquarians.

There is no published pedigree of the family. Drone technology, easier access to surviving records and improved search facilities coupled with a deeper knowledge of palaeography and diplomatic (the standard formats that various document types take, allowing easier analysis) acquired while studying remotely with Dundee University’s Centre for Archive Studies has aided this new exploration of Saltcoats and the Livingstones.

The investigation of the castle’s structure is written up in a Building report.
A biography of the Livingstone Lairds & Ladies of Saltcoats is currently in first draft.

By eastlothianantiquarians

The East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists’ Society, established in 1924, is a membership organisation and a charity. Member events include outings and a copy of the Transactions for just £15/annum. We also welcome short contributions from members for the website.