Listed Building

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 – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 32527 59109
332527, 659109


Circa 1764. Near rectangular plan walled garden. Random sandstone rubble with rubble coping to S; flat coping to remainder. Lean to brick and rubble potting sheds to exterior of N wall. Greenhouses to interior of N wall; much glass missing from greenhouse to W; glass of greenhouse to E replaced by corrugated plastic. Round arched gateway flanking greenhouses to E; early 20th century decorative ironwork gate; stugged ashlar lintel, to exterior elevation, surmounted by carved thistle datestone reading "1612"; interior elevation flanking pier walls: early 19th century; 5 vertically arranged nail head stones surmounted by carved Doric pilaster capitals with fluted and reeded pilaster tops, flanked by carved strapwork panels supporting carved masks of elephant and lion and stone urns; carved strapwork lintel with central fleur-de-lys surmounted by auricular mask. Gateway to W of N wall with earlier 19th century ironwork gate bearing the initials "RDMS"; bowed lintel with geometrically carved corner stones to exterior elevation. Gateway to centre of W wall with early 20th century ironwork gate; broached, square plan, coped gatepiers with spherical finials. Gateway to S of W wall with boarded timber gate; droved, coped, square plan gatepiers. Gateway to N of E wall: early 19th century elaborate ironwork gate including "ED" (Elizabeth Dundas) surmounted by fleur-de-lys; gatepiers swept down from walls and stepped out at base; long and short dressings; surmounted by rectangular plinths originally supporting stone urns; marble plaque dated 1916 for Colin MacTaggart to exterior. Rubble potting sheds to E of interior S wall; boarded timber door and irregular fenestration to flat roofed shed to left; shed to right blank; flanked by timber shelter. 2 20th century span glasshouses opposite potting sheds with brick walls.

LOGGIA: early 19th century, polished sandstone loggia to interior of NE corner of walled garden; 4 Doric columns supporting entablature with central segmental pediment enclosing royal cipher and flanked by carved masks; carved panels to interior, 2 thistles and one rose

Statement of Special Interest

Although the garden, which was possibly by John Adam, was begun about 1764, replacing William Adam's cascade, its present form owes a great deal to Lord Chief Baron Robert Dundas (1758 1819). Much of the gatepiers to the E of the N wall (excluding the elephant and lion carvings which represent the union of the Dundas and Oliphant families through marriage), and the semi circular pediment of the loggia (which bears the monogram of Charles I), possibly originated on Parliament House, Edinburgh, which was re faced by Robert Reid in 1803. The Lord Chief Baron brought cartloads of architectural fragments from Parliament house, were they "were treated as mere rubbish" (Arniston Memoirs p 297), to Arniston where they were incorporated into picturesque structures in the walled and sunken gardens (see Borthwick Parish separate listings). Other fragments were acquired by famous writer and antiquarian Walter Scott for his house at Abbotsford. The gateway to the E of the N wall was remodelled in the early 29th century when a round headed arch was installed, and the iron gates of 1825 replaced with wrought iron gates. The monogram on the gate to the W of the N wall possibly reads "RD MS", if this is the case it could commemorate the marriage of Robert Dundas (1650-1726) to Margaret Sinclair. While the initials "ED" on the gate on the E wall stand for Elizabeth Dundas, who married the Lord Chief Baron. Both the gates were originally ornamented with stone urns which have since been stolen. The walled garden became a market garden after World War 2, and is in use as such today.



G W T Omond, THE ARNISTON MEMOIRS, (1887), p297 298; "Arniston, Midlothian: The Seat of Lady Dundas", COUNTRY LIFE, (1 August 1925), p256 257, ill p254 255; C McWilliam, THE BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: LOTHIAN EXCEPT EDINBURGH, (1978), p82; A A Tait, THE LANDSCAPE GARDEN IN SCOTLAND, (1980), p29 n65; AN INVENTORY OF GARDENS AND DESIGNED LANDSCAPES IN SCOTLAND, Vol 5: Lothian and Borders, (1986), p13-15; J Thomas, MIDLOTHIAN: AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE, (RIAS), (1995), p98; S Cooper, AN INVENTORY OF ORNAMENTAL GARDEN BUILDINGS IN SCOTLAND, (1996), Vol. 2; I Gow, SCOTTISH HOUSES AND GARDENS, (Country Life), (1997), p88 96, ill p91; ARNISTON HOUSE GUIDEBOOK; NMRS Various Photographs and Illustrations.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 17/07/2019 05:33