Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24751 71920
324751, 671920


1645 (see Notes) memorial stone set into late 19th century walled enclosure incorporating 17th century fabric (see Notes). Roughly square-plan enclosure with roll-moulded coping and entrance to S elevation. Predominantly pink Hailes sandstone rubble with cream ashlar dressings. 3 steps to central 17th century roll-moulded doorway surmounted by 17th century scrolled open pediment inscribed with initials I.L and E.R to outer elevation and IL flanking heraldic shield charged with 3 cinquefoil flowers to inner elevation.

MEMORIAL STONE: 17th century. Roughly 6ft x 3ft. Set into interior of W wall, inscribed with at top 'MORS PATET HORA LATET' in arched scroll above winged hour glass over skull and cross bones; heraldic shield charged with 3 cinquefoil flowers and flanked by initials IL; inscription below as follows:










HIS AGE 53 DIED / 1645

Statement of Special Interest

This small rectangular burial enclosure incorporates stonework from the original 17th century enclosure on the same site (see below for details) and contains a fine and very well preserved 17th century memorial tablet or gravestone, generally believed to commemorate John Livingstone (but see below). The date of the stone, 1645, suggests that it commemorates a victim of the virulent plague epidemic that swept through Edinburgh that year. If this is the case it has additional historic interest as one of a very small number of memorials (if not the only one) to survive from the time when plague victims had to be buried outwith the Edinburgh City Boundary. The enclosure is set back from the road at the rear of a small public garden beside 1 Chamberlain Road.

John Livingstone is variously described in records as a Merchant Burgess or Apothecary and purchased the lands of Greenhill House in 1636. He married Elizabeth Rigg in 1626 and is believed to have died in 1656. It is therefore improbable that the memorial stone relates to him, although the initials and shield, which is identical to that on the pediment (the initials on which presumably are those of John Livingstone and Elizabeth Rigg), indicates that the stone may have been for someone connected with the family.

The enclosure stood within the grounds of Greenhill House, close to its SE boundary. Greenhill House and its grounds were located on the Borough Muir, the area to which Edinburgh plague victims were expelled for isolation and burial. Even if the person buried here was not a plague victim it would have probably been impossible to take the corpse across the infected area for burial in a regular Edinburgh graveyard.

The burial enclosure is shown on Kirkwood's map of 1817, the earliest readily accessible map that shows this area at a sufficient scale to mark the tomb. Kirkwood's map and Lancefield's map of 1851 show the rectangular enclosure originally had a roof across its southern half. The well-preserved state of the stone is probably due to the fact that it was originally under cover. The 1st and 2nd edition OS maps show the enclosure without a roof. When the land of Greenhill house was developed, the enclosure became part of the garden ground of 1 Chamberlain Road. A disposition of 1894 relating to the sale of the house stipulates that the new owner must 'build up the walls around the said tomb' which were taken down by the deceased Dr Archibald Graham sometime proprietor''. It would therefore seem that by this date the enclosure had fallen into a considerable state of disrepair. The 3rd Edition OS map (surveyed 1894 and published 1895) shows the enclosure with a new set of steps to the S elevation, where the present entrance is located (earlier maps show the entrance on the W wall). From this and evidence of existing stonework it seems that the walls of the enclosure were largely rebuilt at the end of 1894, reusing decorative elements from the previous enclosure including the roll-moulded door surround and scrolled pediment. The roll-moulded coping appears to be late 19th century in date.

It has been suggested that the walls were completely taken down prior to the disposition on the deeds, from which it could be deduced that the original memorial stone was been lost and that the existing stone is a 19th century reproduction. However, the uneven spacing of the inscription across the stone is characteristic of a 17th century stonemason's hand. 17th century authenticity is also supported by the continuous appearance of the enclosure on all the 19th century OS maps (indicating that it was only partially dismantled before being rebuilt).

James Grant in Old and New Edinburgh confuses this gravestone with another that was originally situated near Bruntsfield House, roughly at the southern end of Spottiswoode Street. When the tenements in that area were erected the gravestone was moved and built into the boundary wall of Bruntsfield House. It is described in that position in the Old Edinburgh Club 1910 year book and the RCAHMS inventory (no 186). A number of ancillary buildings to Bruntsfield House, including the boundary wall, were demolished when James Gillespie's School was built in the early 1960s and the whereabouts of the Bruntsfield stone is no longer known.



shown on Robert Kirkwood, A Map of the Environs of Edinburgh (1817); Alfred Lancefield, Johnston's Plan of Edinburgh and Leith (1851); Ordnance Survey Town Plans for Edinburgh, 1st Edition (surveyed 1852); 2nd Edition (surveyed 1877); 3rd Edition (surveyed 1894). James Grant, Cassel's Old and New Edinburgh' Volume III (1887), pp45-6. Book of the Old Edinburgh Club Vol III, 1910 (p198-201). John Smith, Greenhill Gardens Bruntsfield Links Edinburgh (1929), p63. RCAHMS Inventory for Edinburgh (1951), p244. Disposition relating to Ashfield Villa (1894). Birth and Marriage information for John Livingstone from ScotlandsPeople online database and Edinburgh Parochial Register.

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.

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