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

University of Edinburgh, Abden House, Marchhall Crescent, Including Gatepiers and Boundary Walls, EdinburghLB29303

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 27054 72219
327054, 672219


Thomas Davies, 1855. 2-storey with basement and attic, 3-bay, irregular-plan, Jacobean mansion; single storey wings adjoining to N and S. Squared and snecked cream sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings. Base course; roll-moulded architraves; eaves cornice and parapet; curvilinear gables and dormerheads; decorative, carved strapwork set in dormerheads; further strapwork to cornices of porch and single storey wing to S; carved star, flower, fleur-de-lys, and thistle finials to gable and dormerheads.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: MAIN BLOCK: 3-bay with advanced bay to left; advanced, enclosed porch in re-entrant angle; steps up to architraved doorway with strapwork carving directly above; deep set, 2-leaf panelled door; single window above and to both floors in bays to outer right;

2 dormers above. Single windows between floors in advanced bay to outer left with 2 small windows to basement.

E ELEVATION: 3-bay; advanced bay to outer right with tall, 3-light canted window at ground; bipartite window to 1st floor above with strapwork carving above cornice; single attic window also with strapwork carving. Tall single windows to ground floor in bays to outer left; single windows and dormers to floors above.

SINGLE STOREY WING TO S: flat roof; advanced to W and E; canted to W with blank central wall and single windows in flanking bays; central, full-height, 3-light, canted window to E with pierced parapet above; blank wall to S.

SINGLE STOREY WING TO N: irregular-plan incorporating garage and later conservatory to W; 2-bay to E.

Variety of small-paned, timber, sash and case windows. Grey slate roofs; corniced, octagonal wallhead and ridge stacks with fluted flues, some with decorative capitals.

INTERIOR: fine interior with many original features remaining: oak panelled porch and ENTRANCE HALL, the latter with ornate cornice and ceiling; deeply coffered with circular designs to square central panels. 2 "HISTORY ROOMS" facing gardens and hillside to E: to N with reeded panels to plasterwork; panelled doors; simply carved, black marble fireplace; ornate cornice and ceiling. To S the drawing room; panelled walls, some panels handpainted silk featuring oriental scenes of flowers and birds, others full-height mirrors giving an illusory sense of space; marble fireplace with decorative surround featuring pulvinated friezes and cornice; delicately moulded plasterwork throughout including floral frieze, ornate cornice and strapwork ceiling.

GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: pair of stugged, channelled gatepiers with pyramidal caps and ball finials to Marchhall Place; high rubble boundary wall surrounding estate.

Statement of Special Interest

Thomas Davies (d. 1859) was a civil engineer who practiced in Edinburgh in the 1850s. As well as Abden House, he designed a double villa in Newington in 1855.

Abden House first appears on Bartholomew's Edinburgh Post Office Map of 1865.

Listed building record and statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as 'Marchhall Crescent, Abden House including gatepiers and boundary walls'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 157243

Paton, H. M. (1942) Lands of St Leonards: Southern Section, Book Of The Old Edinburgh Club, Vol 24, p. 234.

Bartholomew, J. (1865) Hislop's new plan of Edinburgh & Leith with suburbs ... constructed for the Post Office Directory by John Bartholomew, Edinburgh: Bartholomew.

Gifford, J. McWilliam, C. and Walker, D. (1991) The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh. London: Penguin Books. p. 637.

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Thomas Davies, [accessed 10 March 2015].

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


Northeast elevation, University of Edinburgh, Abden House, Marchhall Crescent, Including Gatepiers and Boundary Walls, Edinburgh, frost covered grass in foreground, taken on clear day.
Southwest elevation, University of Edinburgh, Abden House, Marchhall Crescent, Including Gatepiers and Boundary Walls, Edinburgh, tree in foreground, taken on clear day.

Printed: 28/09/2022 03:42