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 26258 72272
326258, 672272


3 and 4-storey tenement with complicated building history in 3 major phases: 1741, construction of 3-bay villa with 2 storeys over basement; 1810-12, 2 bays added to E; circa 1880, removal of doorpiece and steps to principal floor, and conversion into 2 tenements. Construction of neighbouring tenements during later 19th century enclosed principal N elevation, effectively reorientating house to S (now Sciennes House Place). Alterations: circa 1840, rendering of N elevation in a form of "Roman" cement; 1989 restoration.


1741: random sandstone rubble with stugged ashlar window and door margines; 3-bay, 3-storey dwelling. Dividing course between ground and 1st floors. Off-centre doorway with panelled door and plate glass fanlight; single windows to centre bay at 1st and 2nd floors; regularly disposed single windows in remaining bays (relieving lintels at 1st floor). 2 canted dormers to attic. Commemorative plaque at 1st floor.

1810-12 (to E of above): squared and snecked sandstone with stugged ashlar window margins and quoins. 3-storey, 2-bay slightly advanced and taller extension to above. Single windows in both bays (some evidence of alterations to windows at 1st floor). Curvilinear W gable.

CIRCA 1880 (TO E OF ABOVE): squared and snecked sandstone with stugged ashlar window and door margins, and quoins. 4-storey, 3-bay tenement. Segmental-arched doorway with cornice to outer left; single windows in remaining bays; segmental-arched windows at ground and 1st floors.


1741: (see notes on 1989 restoration of features on this elevation). Slightly advanced 3-storey, 3-bay block. Random rubble at ground floor; "Roman" cement rendering at 1st and 2nd floors, channelled at 1st and lined at 2nd Dividing band courses at ground and 1st floors; cornice; fluted blind balustrade with central swags, terminal dies and decorative urns; bracketted cills at 1st and 2nd floors (more ornate at 2nd floor); keystoned window surrounds raised at ground, lugged and architraved at 1st, and 2nd floor. Off-centre doorway with relieving arch and panelled door; small ventilation opening flanking to right; single windows above and in remaining bays.

1810-12 (TO EAST OF ABOVE): 2-bay, 3-storey extension of E; materials and details continuous with those listed above. Segmental-arched doorway with boarded door to outer left; single windows at 1st and 2nd floors above; small single window at ground floor between bays; wider single windows at all floors in bay to outer right.

CIRCA 1880 (TO E OF ABOVE): single 4-storey bay visible of corner tenement block, adjoined to similar block to N. Brick with ashlar dressings. Bipartite windows at all floors.

8-pane sash and case windows. Grey slate pitched roof. 2 mutual stacks with deep cornices and moulded cans.

Statement of Special Interest

The historical significance of Sciennes Hill House is recorded by the commemorative plaque with reads: "This tablet commemorates the meeting of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott which took place here in the winter of 1786-87". The house belonged to the Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University, Adam Ferguson, and it was at one of his literary gatherings that the only meeting between Burns and the young Walter Scott took place see Cant, Smith, and Grant).

A drawing of the house pre-1810 (before bthe additional wing), at the National Gallery of Scotland, shows that the N elevation was pedimented and surmounted by decorative urns, and that there was a projecting porch with capitalled columns and entablature. The OS map of 1877 indicates that the land around Sciennes Hill House had not yet been developed.

The house stood in its own grounds with a large gateway opening onto Sciennes. The map also indicates a perron staircase to the N entrance. At some time between 1877 and the start of comprehensive Dean of Guild records in 1880, the tenement block to the E was added. This was probably carried out for the baker, John Brown, who is recorded as owner of all the properties on the site in 1882, and who constructed the tenements to the W at that time (Thomas Young was the architect).

The restoration scheme carried out by Dennius Rodwell in 1989 involved, amongst a number of repairs, the reforming of 2 window openings, the reinstatement of earlier 19th century decorative detail in natural stone and "Roman" cement, the reconstruction of the decorative urns, and stone cleaning.



National Gallery of Scotland, undated drawings of exterior (D 2590) and interior (Watson Bequest 2688); Kirkwood's map of Edinburgh 1817; OS 1853; OS 1877; Dean of Guild, 6/4/1882; J Grant OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH (1883), pp54-55. C J Smith HISTORIC SOUTH EDINBURGH (1978), pp12-13; M Cant SCIENNES AND THE GRANGE (1990), p45 and pp48-52.

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: 29/03/2023 14:49