Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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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

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 statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. 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.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned 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. For information about curtilage see 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.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 21/11/2018 03:26