Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Perth And Kinross
Planning Authority
Perth And Kinross
NO 22833 27442
322833, 727442


Possibly 17th century. Interesting early, 2-stage, truncated polyhedral Baroque sundial. 1st stage with faceted single tier square base giving way to squat bulbous pedestal; 2nd stage with complex multi-faceted globe of vertical and facet dials, all faces eroded.

Statement of Special Interest

The Fingask Castle sundial is an important example, of some antiquity. It is located in the fine grounds of Fingask Castle along with a collection of separately listed early statuary. Although weathered, the dial retains evidence of an interesting highly complex faceted design closely resembling, in fact almost duplicating the 3rd stage, of the fine example at Glamis Castle (see separate listing) which MacGibbon and Ross say 'may be regarded as certainly one of the finest monumental dials in Scotland'. It is not uncommon for such early sundials to become polyglot structures over the centuries, and 1993 photographs of this dial held at the RCAHMS show the dial surmounted by four rampant lions supporting a mermaid figure.

There has in the past been confusion between this dial and another example (no longer at Fingask) dated 1563, and thought to have originated from Holyrood Palace. The provenance for this other example relied upon the testimony of Sir Patrick Murray Threipland, provost of Perth in 1665, who purchased Fingask Castle and estate in 1672. A photograph taken in 1989 at Fingask and held at the RCAHMS accords with a description in the 1861 OS Name Book of 'an octagonal block on a pillar, with a horse's head finial, marked as a sundial with 11 faces and a worn date which could well be 1563'. If the date is accurate, this would be one of the oldest dials in Europe, but its whereabouts are not at present (2007) known.

The first garden at Fingask was laid out during the 17th century, and improved in the late 18th century when James Stobie was factor. By the start of the 17th century, when gracious living began to flourish, formal gardens were being developed around the traditional tower house in the form of 'parterres and knot gardens, sundials and fountains' (Buxbaum, p7). Intense scientific interest led to early publications on the construction of sundials 'in which definite rules are laid down for the guidance of the dial-maker, so as to ensure his producing a work which will accurately note the passing hours' (MacGibbon & Ross, p357).

Category changed from A to B, 28 June 2007.



Melville Fair Land of Gowrie (Illus). N Haynes Perth & Kinross (2000), p196. OS Name Book (1861). Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Vol 117, A R Somerville 'The ancient sundials of Scotland' (1987), p242. Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes Tayside, Central and Fife (1987). Donaldson and Morpeth A Dictionary of Scottish History (1977), p216. MacGibbon and Ross The Castellated and Domestic Architect of Scotland Vol V (1990 facsimile of 1887-92 edition). RCAHMS Ref Nos C/15010 (1993), 14789 (1989). Tim Buxbaum Scottish Garden Buildings (1989).

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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Printed: 18/03/2019 19:27