The name, of Saxon 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 dates from the 17th century but was heavily remodelled in 1815 (by the noted Scots architect James Gillespie Graham). 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. 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.
Note: In addition to the suburb of Liberton discussed here, there is also a Parish of Libberton in Lanarkshire.