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.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26082 73691
326082, 673691


Built by Robert Mylne under supervision of Sir William Bruce, circa 1675; subsequently moved and rebuilt (see Notes). Square-plan ashlar wellhead. Base course; pilasters with guttae; cornice and shallow pyramidal cope. Rectangular iron hinged door with oval cartouche (bearing Edinburgh coat of arms and motto) to N; inscribed metal plaque to S; metal lobed plates (missing handles) and cast bronze spouts (replicas, see Notes) to E and W; modern stone basin to ground at W.

Statement of Special Interest

De-scheduled 23 February 1996. Edinburgh's first piped water supply was introduced in 1676, the water coming from Comiston Springs 3 miles south of Edinburgh Castle. The water was piped into large storage tanks, such as the Castlehill reservoir, and from there it was piped to the wellheads in the streets. The pipes were made of hollowed elm trunks; the wellheads contained lead-lined cisterns and the spouts took the form of grotesque human faces cast in bronze. On this example, also known as the Fountain Well, the masks are replicas but an original from this particular wellhead is on diplay at Huntly House Museum in the Canongate. The wellheads were designed by Sir William Bruce, Surveyor of the Royal Works, and were built by Robert Mylne, the King's Master Mason. This example is the oldest surviving cistern of its type and was constructed circa 1675 and later rebuilt. It originally stood opposite Fountain Close in the High Street and was moved to its present site opposite Trunk's Close in 1813. The wellhead was restored and repaired by Edinburgh Old Town Renenewal Trust and Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprises Ltd in 1997. The inscribed plaque summarises the history of this wellhead and commemorates its restoration.



Marked on William Edgar's City and Castle of Edinburgh map 1742. Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1885) pp82, 209 (illustration of comparable example). RCAHMS Inventory Edinburgh (1951) pplxxi-lxxii and No 39 for photograph. Gifford, McWilliam, Walker BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: EDINBURGH (1984) p205. See also HUNTLY HOUSE MUSEUM display on Edinburgh's water supply.

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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Printed: 08/12/2021 22:54