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 29256 68634
329256, 668634


Possibly 1719-24. Subterranean cave and tunnels excavated from solid rock. Entered by flight of 12 steps to approx. 10ft below ground. Main passage approximately 40 ft long with rooms and passages on each side. To right at foot of stairs forge-like recess with aperture, room behind has fireplace with oblong panel. 3 rooms with tables and benches carved in curvilinear forms from rock, principal room approx 15ft by 5 ft, central pillar supporting ceiling and 10ft long table at centre with bowl carved at one end. Other rooms to left and right of passage with carved furnishings.

Statement of Special Interest

There has been much speculation on the date and use of this subterranean structure. Rev Thomas Whyte wrote in 1792 that the Cove had been dug out by Thomas Paterson, a local blacksmith, and was completed in 1724 after 5 years of work. Whyte tells us that Paterson lived in the Cove with his family, and that it became a much-visited curiosity. The carved oblong recess over the fireplace may have contained an insciption by Alexander Pennicuik referring to Paterson?s house (see Gillon p52). In 1897, F R Coles, Assistant Keeper of the National Museum of Antiquites visited the Cove with J Balfour Paul and George Good. He cast doubt on whether Paterson had constructed the cave, and recorded this structure and others like it, suggesting that it is of more ancient date and was merely used by Paterson in the 18th century. There is a local tradition that these passages link up with a network of tunnels, one of which leads to The Drum. Gillon gives a useful contemporary description of the structure, the Cove is currently accessed from the shop above in Drum Street, and is in a vulnerable condition (1995).



Rev T Whyte TSAS (1792). F R Coles PSAS Vol XLV, (1897), pp 265-301. M Cant VILLAGES OF EDINBURGH (1987), Vol 2, p65. J K Gillon ECCENTRIC EDINBURGH (1990), p50. Gifford, McWilliam & Walker EDINBURGH (1984), p587.

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.

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Printed: 03/07/2022 09:47