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 26190 68369
326190, 668369


Probably John Baxter Jnr, 1769, alterations circa 1835 including porch and service wing (possibly David Bryce), interior remodelled circa 1795, later decoration c.1840 by Thomas Bonnar of D R Hay & Co. Large classical villa with fine decorative scheme to principal rooms. 3-storey over basement, 3-central bays advanced and pedimented front and rear. Squared and coursed cream ashlar with polished ashlar dressings, rusticated quoins from 1st floor upwards, moulded base course, band course, raised ashlar margins at 2nd floor. Ground floor treated plainly; all margins flush, and 1st floor built slightly recessed over band course. Timber sash and case windows with 12-pane glazing pattern.

NW ELEVATION: advanced, pedimented central bay with entrance at ground floor; steps to later (circa 1835) aedicular porch supported on arch over basement area, with paired Greek Doric columns and pediment. Original consoled doorway, later timber panelled door. Windows flanking at ground floor and basement (half-height at basement), 3 taller windows at 1st floor, outer windows with triangular pediments, rounded pediment to central bay. 3 windows to 2nd floor, oculus in Gibbs surround to tympanum lighting attic, dies to pediment. Outer recessed bays with windows to each floor, taller and corniced at 1st floor.

SE ELEVATION: no access from house onto terrace. Treatment of elevation as above, except outer windows at 1st floor pedimented. Pediment with blank panel, suggesting that sculpture was intended.

SW ELEVATION: 5-bay with 5 windows at each floor, taller at 1st.

NE ELEVATION: as SW elevation, but with 2 large 20th century dormers added to attic, and flat-roofed service court added circa 1835, originally single storey adjoining basement, later raised by 1 floor in pink sandstone to adjoin ground floor of main house with link carried on arch. Central advanced bay to NW with simple pediment, pedimented central bay to NE with segmentally arched carriage opening at ground floor, now glazed with French windows. Ashlar blocking course. Service court with 8 lying-pane glazing at ground floor, taller 12-pane sash and case windows to 1st floor.

Grey slates to platform roof, corniced ashlar stacks.

INTERIOR: vestibule with plasterwork ceiling leads to unusual arrangement of 2 cantilevered staricases at centre of house, 1 rectangular on plan service stair at right, principal stair in square well with square cupola and gilded scrolled foliage to soffit, turned timber balusters, moulded outer end to each step. Principal rooms to SE at centre across 3 bays; DINING ROOM at ground floor with black marble chimneypiece, circa 1820. DRAWING ROOM above at 1st floor, remodelled later 18th century with delicate Adam-style ceiling; a long oval with central rose of acanthus leaves and spreading corn ears and flowers, frieze and cornice. Chandelier recently installed. Original chimneypiece lost, but large gilded pier glass with marble topped gilded console table, and gilded and ornately carved pelmet boxes retained. Shutters, doors and dado panels decorated with hand-painted pastoral scenes in gilt arabesques, circa 1840 by Thomas Bonnar of D R Hay & Co. Paint to walls not original. LIBRARY above at 2nd floor, original coved ceiling and plasterwork; eagles holding foliate sprays at corners, classical urns with foliate sprays half way along each wall. Heavy, dentilled cornice. 2 pedimented, break-front bookcases between windows, tall bookcases on opposite wall returning on side walls with brass mesh to doors. Woodwork now painted white. Chimneypiece to W wall, 18th century white stone with male and female caryatids carrying foliate capitals, concave fluted cornice and scrolled foliate frieze. Grey marble slips, modern grate.

TERRACE, FOUNTAIN AND STATUE BASES: terraced garden with stone steps to SE, arboretum to W of house containing -mid 19th century planting and stone fountain and stone statue plinths (statues now missing).

BURIAL GROUND: family burial ground with some surviving memorials (not seen 1995) on tree-planted mound to E of house with stone retaining wall.

Statement of Special Interest

Although the Mortonhall Estate including the garden ground around the house is still owned by the Trotter family, the house was requisitioned during the war as an officer's mess and leased to Edinburgh University in 1949 for a Marxist experiment in communal living. Following use as a nursing home in the 1950's and 60's, the house lay empty for some years, and suffered loss of fittings including fireplaces. It was subdivided into 13 flats which were sold individually in the mid-1980's. Stonework and earlier descriptions suggests there was garden access from SE and SW by iron staricases from 1st floor. These have been removed and stonework made good. The Stables and outbuildings, Dovecot and Factors House to the NE of the house, and the Walled Garden, former Kennels cottages and Icehouse to the W are all listed separately.



Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984), pp490-1.

C J Smith HISTORIC SOUTH EDINBURGH (19 ), Vol 2, pp386-7.

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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