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Nether Liberton Doocot and Inch House

One of the most historic and yet overlooked buildings surviving in Nether Liberton is the mediaeval doocot, in the grounds of the University Landscaping Department off Gilmerton Road, built with space for 2,000 pigeons, making it the largest in the Lothians. The reason for its building as part of the property of the Inch House dates back to an ordinance of 1503, requiring the establishment of deer parks and doocots, presumably as resources for food. Thus, the date of the doocot is probably the early part of the sixteenth century. It has survived, because it has always been considered to bring bad fortune to demolish a doocot, which is why so many seem to have survived, including this large local example.

Inch House itself was for long the property of the family of the Gilmours of Craigmillar. The word Inch comes from a Gaelic word meaning island, or piece of low-lying land liable to flood. And records show that it was not without reason that the house bore this name. In 1760, and again in 1870, the Braid Burn broke its banks, making an island of the house. And as recently as the early 1980's, after the building of Cameron Toll shopping centre, Mid Liberton estate suffered some flooding , along with the new mall, as insufficiently large culverts had been installed to carry the burn under the new car parks, a situation which has now been rectified. 


We are grateful to Colin Symes for Liberton information reproduced from his website -
www.colinsymes.u-net.com.

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