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.


Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26845 74005
326845, 674005


John Mylne, 1633. Multi-facetted polyhedron stone sundial set on carved and moulded hexagonal pedestal, centrally situated on wide, tiered, 3-stepped, moulded and panelled hexagonal base. Sundial with 10 triangular side faces, each with carved figures and geometric shaped sinkings, including hemispheres and hearts, some with metal gnomons. One with carved grotesque head. Carved heraldic devices to underside with MR and CR insignia (see Notes). Pedestal with carved acanthus leaf decoration.

Statement of Special Interest

The ground beneath the Palace of Holyroodhouse and nearby structures (including Croft-an-Righ House, the buildings on the N side of Abbey Strand and the buildings around Mews Court) is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 for its archaeological importance. The upstanding remains of Holyrood Abbey and Queen Mary's Bath are also scheduled monuments. Significant upstanding and below-ground archaeological remains may survive as part of and in addition to the structures and features described above.

This is one of the earliest and most elaborate examples of a complex multi-facetted polyhedron 17th century sundial. Made for the Scottish coronation of Charles I by the King's Master Mason John Mylne, it is intricately carved with a variety of different shaped sinkings and carries the insignia of Charles I and his wife Henrietta Maria to the underside. John Mylne was aided by his two sons, John and Alexander and the dial cost £408.15s.6d Scots in total. It has been moved to different areas within the grounds of the Palace and underwent restoration during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Multi-facetted dials were a particular cultural feature of Scotland in the 16th and 17th century and it is thought that Scotland had more of this type of dial than any other country in Europe. They are very rare and comprise a number of small dials of varying sizes and shapes, each with differently aligned gnomons and markings and they required great mathematical skill to produce. One of the gnomons here is the nose of a grotesque face, another is a thistle. It is thought that the Scottish fascination with mathematics encouraged the building of these complicated dials, which could also serve as unusual garden ornaments. Other examples can be found at Pitmedden House and Glamis Castle (see separate listings).

John Mylne was the founder of the Mylne dynasty - a family which was renowned for its stone masons, architects and which produced more than one Master Mason to the Crown.

Part of A-group comprising: Palace of Holyroodhouse; 28 and 30 Croft-An-Righ (Croft-An-Righ House); Abbey Strand Eastern Building; Abbey Strand Western Building; Queen Mary's Bath House; North Garden Sundial; Palace Forecourt Fountain; Abbey Court House; Gatehouse and Former Guard Rooms; Palace Coach House; Stables; Queen's Gallery (see separate listings).

List description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08. List description updated 2013.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1849-53). MacGibbon & Ross, The Castellated & Domestic Architecture of Scotland Vol V, 1892, pf441. Tim Baxbaum, Scottish Garden Buildings, 1989, pf70. Christopher St J H Daniel, Sundials, 2004, p34. (accessed 24-08-07). RCAHMS - Inventory 87.

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 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.

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 and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but 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. 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 advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to HOLYROODHOUSE SUNDIAL, NORTH GARDEN

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 20/03/2019 00:45