The collision between the North and South China cratons in Middle Triassic time (240-225 Ma) created the world's largest belt of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphism. U-Pb ages, Hf isotope systematics and trace element compositions of zircons from the Xugou, Yangkou and Hujialing peridotites in the Sulu UHP terrane mainly record a ~470 Ma tectonothermal event, coeval with the Early Paleozoic kimberlite eruptions within the North China craton. This event is interpreted as the result of metasomatism by fluids/melts derived from multiple sources including a subducting continental slab. The peridotites also contain zircons with ages of ~3.1 Ga, and Hf isotope data imply a component ≥3.2 Ga old. Most zircon Hf depleted mantle model ages are ~1.3 Ga, suggesting that the deep subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath the southeastern margin of the North China craton experienced a intense mid-Mesoproterozoic metasomatism by asthenospheric components, similar to the case for the eastern part of this craton. Integrating data from peridotites along the southern margin of the craton, we argue that the deep lithosphere of the cratonic margin (≥3.2 Ga old), from which the Xugou, Yangkou and Hujialing peridotites were derived, experienced Proterozoic metasomatic modification, followed by a strong Early Paleozoic (~470 Ma) tectonothermal event and the Early Mesozoic (~230 Ma) collision and northward subduction of the Yangtze craton. The Phanerozoic decratonization of the eastern North China craton, especially along its southern margin, was not earlier than the Triassic continental collision. This work also demonstrates that although zircons are rare in peridotitic rocks, they can be used to unravel the history of specific lithospheric domains and thus contribute to our understanding of the evolution of continental cratons and their margins.