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 26551 73878
326551, 673878


Early 18th century (restored Ian Gordon Lindsay and Partners 1958; further restoration 2002 - see Notes). Classical, 2-storey, 5-bay manse with piend-roofed wings advancing to form U-plan, set back from street. Harled with ashlar dressings. Raised margins and quoins. 4-panel timber door to centre with rectangular fanlight above. Mullioned tripartite windows to ground floor rear with narrow margins. Two-storey stair projection to rear centre. 21st century single-storey extension to right.

INTERIOR: symmetrical layout with staircases to both left and right side of building (right stair now blocked). Fine 18th century panelling to 1st floor room; scalloped shelving. Some ornamental plasterwork fire surrounds and cornicing. Broad turnpike stair to rear rising to attic level.

12-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey Scottish slate. Ashlar skews with ornamental scrolled skewputts to main block. End stacks to main block; tall stacks to outer wings. Clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: substantial, tall and square gatepiers with moulded coping and pyramid-caps. Low, squared rubble walls. Later cast-iron gates with shield crest and railings.

Statement of Special Interest

Canongate Manse is a rare survival of an 18th century former laird's house on the Canongate, set back from the road with a courtyard to the front. It has undergone a series of sensitive alterations while retaining much of its former character. It retains 18th century plaster field-panelled walls of considerable quality in the principal 1st floor room. The wings were added in the late 18th century. Viewed from the street, the building is framed on either side by the 1966 residential scheme by Sir Basil Spence (see separate listing). Prior to becoming the manse in 1951 the building was used as a kindergarten for underpriviledged children. The building was restored in 1958 by architect and historian, Ian Gordon Lindsay who harled the exterior, consolidated the floor plan and subdivided to create Nos 5 and 6 Reid Court within the wings. It is probable that the manse was harled to reinforce the physical and ideological association with the Canongate Parish Church (also harled).

The court takes its name from Edinburgh brewer and magistrate Andrew Reid who lived here around 1770. The site was originally home to Lord Advocate Sir John Nisbet and the Earls of Aberdeen during the 17th century.

The historic and architectural value of Edinburgh's Canongate area as a whole cannot be overstated. Embodying a spirit of permanence while constantly evolving, its buildings reflect nearly 1000 years of political, religious and civic development in Scotland. The Canons of Holyrood Abbey were given leave by King David I to found the burgh of Canongate in 1140. Either side of the street (a volcanic ridge) was divided into long, narrow strips of land or 'tofts'. By the end of the 15th century all the tofts were occupied, some subdivided into 'forelands' and 'backlands' under different ownership. Fuedal superiority over Canongate ceased after 1560. The following century was a period of wide-scale rebuilding and it was during this time that most of the areas' mansions and fine townhouses were constructed, usually towards the back of the tofts, away from the squalor of the main street. The 17th century also saw the amalgamation of the narrow plots and their redevelopment as courtyards surrounded by tenements. The burgh was formally incorporated into the City in 1856. Throughout the 19th Century the Canongate's prosperity declined as large sections of the nobility and middle classes moved out of the area in favour of the grandeur and improved facilities of Edinburgh's New Town, a short distance to the North. The Improvement Act of 1867 made efforts to address this, responding early on with large-scale slum clearance and redevelopment of entire street frontages. A further Improvement Act (1893) was in part a reaction to this 'maximum intervention', responding with a programme of relatively small-scale changes within the existing street pattern. This latter approach was more consistent with Patrick Geddes' concept of 'conservative surgery'. Geddes was a renowned intellectual who lived in the Old Town and was a pioneer of the modern conservation movement in Scotland which gathered momentum throughout the 20th century. Extensive rebuilding and infilling of sections of the Canongate's many tenements took place, most notably by city architects, E J McRae and Robert Hurd (mid 20th century) with some early frontages retained and others rebuilt in replica.

List description revised as part of Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey, 2007/08.



John Gifford et al, Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, (1991) p216. Charles McKean, Edinburgh - An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) p37. Editors - Brian Edwards and Paul Jenkins, Edinburgh - The Making Of A Capital City (2005) p30.

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


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to 95 CANONGATE, REID'S COURT, CANONGATE MANSE INCLUDING BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 04/10/2023 04:04