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


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25750 73551
325750, 673551


Statue 1685; pedestal 1835, incorporating 1685 inscription tablet (see Notes). Exceptional and important, lead, life-size, equestrian statue of King Charles II situated on tall, rectangular-plan, classical ashlar pedestal.

Equestrian statue with figure dressed in Roman martial imperial dress, sitting astride horse and with baton in right hand. Horse in standing position with right front leg raised.

Pedestal with shallow plinth, deep moulded base course, overhanging cornice. Sunken panels to all sides with egg and dart moulding. 1685 inscription tablet to E face.

Statement of Special Interest

A Group with Nos 2-11 Parliament Square, Advocates' Library, Signet Library, Parliament Hall, 1 Parliament Square, St Giles High Kirk, Lothian Chambers, City Chambers, Alexander and Bucephalus Statue, Queensberry Memorial and the Market Cross.

This life-size, grand, imposing, and finely crafted statue is the oldest statue in Edinburgh and may be the oldest lead equestrian statue in Britain. It is situated in Parliament Square, in front of the Parliament Buildings and behind St Giles Cathedral (both separately listed) and adds significantly to the gravitas of this particular architectural group. It is an exceptionally important statue with modelling of the highest standard. Recent research cited by D Howarth suggests that this statue came from the workshop of Grinling Gibbons, the famous Dutch sculptor. Gibbons is more widely recognised for his woodcarving and currently only 4 documented large scale works of his remain.

The statue was erected in 1685 as a tribute to Charles II (1630-1685). It depicts Charles dressed in Roman military dress and equates him with one of the Caesars. The baton he carries is a symbol of Imperial authority. The original pedestal was made from Craigleith stone by Robert Mylne, the King's Master Mason in Scotland. The original marble inscription tablet, extolling the virtues of Charles II was incorporated into the current, later replica pedestal and was written in Latin by an advocate, William Clerk.

The statue has been repaired in 1824-35, 1922 and 1951-2.

List description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-8.



William Edgar, Map of City and Castle of Edinburgh, 1765. John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984. p203. D Howarth, Sculpture and Scotland 1540-1700, 1991 p29, essay in F Pearson (ed) Virtue and Vision, Sculpture and Scotland 1540-1990, 1991. (accessed 06-06-07).

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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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