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

127 AND 129 HIGH STREETLB29043

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25984 73692
325984, 673692


Thomas Bonnar, 1813, incorporating earlier fabric to rear. 2-storey 3-bay public house in eastern part of 5-storey 7-bay tenement reduced in height circa 1970 (see Notes). Early 20th century timber 3-bay pub front (see Notes). Segmental-arched pend to right (North Gray's Close) beneath dentilled cornice; pend to left (Bishop's Close). Painted ashlar 1st floor.

S (HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: 2-leaf timber storm door with segmental-arched fanlight; flanking segmental-arched windows; timber fluted pilasters dividing bays; consoled and dentilled cornice above; swept broken pediment; 3 1st floor windows with cills lowered below cill course.

E (NORTH GRAY'S CLOSE) ELEVATION: random rubble-built; ashlar margins to single and bipartite windows.

W ELEVATION: to Bishop's Close; some early stonework and blocked doorway (possibly 17th century); off-centre segmental archway in wall closing Bishop's Close; pend through to rear of tenement to W.

Plate glass timber sash and case 1st floor windows; plate glass to public house. Modern roof behind continuous timber fascia.

INTERIOR: reproduction pub interior.

Statement of Special Interest

In use as public house (the Royal Mile). A restored stone lintel in the pend of North Gray's Close reads 'BLISST BE YE LORD FOR ALL HIS GIFTS 1578', has an armorial and the intials 'VN' 'HM'. This stone came from the original Bishop's Land - the house of Archbishop Spottiswood (d.1639) - which fronted the High Street (see Grant p208). The site itself still conforms to the long, narrow burgage plot form of the old mediaeval town plan, as can be seen from the maps cited above. Bishop's Land is also associated with (among many others) Thomas Sydserf or Saintserff (1581-1663), successively of bishop of Brechin, Galloway and Orkney. It was later the birthplace in 1742 of Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, whose statue tops the column in St Andrew Square. The aforementioned lintel is inscribed 'Restored 1813' and was re-instated when Thomas Bonnar's 7-bay 5-storey pedimented tenement was constructed on the site. Photographs in the NMRS collection (ED/5048, ED/5049) dated 1970 show this, and the early 18th century 5-storey and attic 4-bay tenement to the east, still intact prior to demolition circa 1970 which left only the ground and first floors in this row. The present pub frontage does not appear in the 1970 photos and has clearly been re-located from elsewhere. Notes in the Edinburgh Old Town Study Record suggest the addition of the frontage to be post-1986.



Gray's Close is marked on William Edgar's City and Castle of Edinburgh map of 1742. Bishop's Close is discernible in form on Edgar's map and marked on John Ainslie's map of c.1780. Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1885) p208. Wilson MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH Vol II (1891) pp45-46. Gifford, McWilliam, Walker BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND: EDINBURGH (1984) p205. Edinburgh World Heritage Trust EDINBURGH OLD TOWN STUDY RECORDS (1989).

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: 15/08/2022 02:10