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

184A, 184B and 184C High Street, ElginLB30802

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 21389 62764
321389, 862764


Row of three, two-storey dwellings, built around 1800, in the rear plot and adjoining the rear of 186 and 188 High Street (see separate listing, LB30801). Nos 184B (centre dwelling) and 184C (south dwelling) are two bays wide, with a single window at the first floor. No 184A (north dwelling) has an additional bay to the right. The ground floor windows of No 184A are now blocked.

It is built in coursed rubble with droved long and short stonework dressings. The south gable is partially rendered. The windows are predominantly timber sash and case frames with a 12-pane glazing pattern. There are a variety of replacement entrance doors. The roof has grey slates and there are traditional square rooflights in the east pitch. There are straight stone skews and the gable chimney stack has been truncated.

The ground floor of the interior was seen in 2018. There are some panelled and painted timber doors and panelled timber window shutters.

Statement of Special Interest

184 High Street illustrates the continued use of the Scottish medieval burgh settlement pattern. Built around 1800 it shows the social development of Elgin's town centre and how people lived and worked in it. Its exterior form and built fabric is characteristic of a traditional burgh backland building of this time and survives relatively unaltered, which is unusual. The building is an integral part of Elgin's historic town centre and its well-preserved medieval burgh settlement pattern.

Age and Rarity

Medieval burgh settlements patterns are an important part of Scotland's history. They comprise a principal street with long and narrow burgage plots running at right angles to it, in a herringbone pattern. The High Street is Elgin's historic core and it is a very well-preserved example of this burgh settlement pattern. 184 High Street is an integral part of this.

Elgin Castle, the remains of which are a scheduled monument (SM1229), became a royal fortress in the 12th century and this resulted in the development of a settlement to its east. This settlement was laid out with as many as 100 long, narrow burgage plots running at right-angles to the High Street. (Wright, p10-11)

Along these narrow burgage plots, or rigs, long rectangular buildings were constructed, accessed by pends or closes. This arrangement can be seen on John Slezer's 1693 drawing 'The Prospect of the House and Town of Elgine' which is a view of the Elgin from the north.

Although there would have been 16th or 17th century buildings in the same location, the town plan of 1822 shows the site of 184 High Street, 186 and 188 High Street laid out as it is today. This map indicates that Mr Lyle is the landowner. The design of 184 High Street, particularly the taller door and window openings, indicate that the buildings are likely to date to around 1800.

The early 19th century was a period of significant prosperity for Elgin and this was reflected in its built fabric. Forsyth in his 1798 book 'The Survey of the Province of Moray' notes that houses in Elgin, which at this point was one principal street – the High Street - are in 'either new or of improved, according to the modern ideas of handsome accommodation' (quoted in Wright, p.20). In the 19th century new roads were laid out and new civic buildings built. Many of the buildings with frontages along the High Street were either rebuilt or extensively remodelled.

The new buildings along the High Street followed the medieval burgage plots and the width of a number of buildings fronting the High Street, particularly at the west end, reflects the width of the original plots. These buildings are typically shops or commercial properties, often with private accommodation above. In Russell's Morayshire Register of 1850, 186 and 188 High Street are recorded as being in use by William and Francis Nicoll, Silk Mercers, Woollen Drapers and Haberdashers. The 1851 census record for 188 and 186 High Street records the five siblings of Nicolls and a servant at this address. In Black's Morayshire Directory of 1863 this business was recorded at 132 High Street and John Mackissack, Grocers was now the occupant of 186 and 188 High Street.

To the rear of these buildings are long and narrow plots occupied by long buildings, typically two storeys and one room deep. These rear plots, or backlands, are accessed by pends, wynds or closes from the High Street. These buildings are usually small dwellings and occupied by people who may work nearby, and may have an association with the building fronting the High Street. They might have had a workshop at the ground floor with accommodation above.

Black's Morayshire Directory of 1863 has five entries for 184 High Street, including a house occupied by W and F Nicoll. The 1851 Census has five entries for buildings titled 'Off High Street Close 186'. The occupations of the occupants of these buildings include stonemason, hat manufacturer, needlewoman and flesher (butcher).

The pattern of the street layout, the burgage plots and their closes, are characteristic of Scottish burghs. They are fundamental features of Elgin and are of considerable significance. This medieval herringbone pattern is clearly seen in aerial photographs and views of Elgin from Ladyhill.

At the western end of the High Street, the closes on the north side retain the greatest numbers of late 18th/early 19th century buildings, particularly 211 High Street (see separate listings, LB30760, LB30761, LB30762, LB30763 and LB30764), 227 High Street (see separate listings, LB30765 and LB30766), 229 High Street (see separate listings, LB30767, LB30768 and LB30769) and 233 High Street (see separate listings, LB30771, LB30772 and LB30773).

The south side of the High Street has seen a greater degree of change and 20th century developments. On the south side the herringbone pattern can still be seen, but many of the rear buildings have been significantly changed (such as enlarged openings, altered rooflines and non-traditional render) or replaced. 184 High Street is one of the few backland buildings on the south side of the High Street which largely retains its late 18/early 19th century form and fabric. Other examples include the buildings along Harrow Inn Close (see separate listings, LB30791, LB30792, LB30793, LB30794, LB30795, LB30796 and LB30797).

The footprint of 184 High Street on Ray's Map of 1838 shows that it had been extended since Wood's map of 1822. This extension was removed in the later 20th century. It is still shown on the 1965 Ordnance Survey Map, but is not shown on the 1972 Ordnance Survey Map. The rear of the feu is shown as truncated on the 1988 Ordnance Survey Map and Thunderton Lane now forms the rear boundary.

All buildings erected before 1840 which are of notable quality and survive predominantly in their original form have a strong case for listing. Long and narrow backland buildings are characteristic of Scottish burghs. However, they tend to be subject to more alterations than the buildings fronting the main street. Those that survive predominantly in an early 19th century form or earlier are increasingly rare.

The exterior of 184 High Street is relatively unaltered. The lack of change for a traditional burgh building of this date is unusual and 184 High Street is of interest in listing terms. The loss of the mid-19th century addition at 184 High Street is not considered to have an adverse impact on the building's special interest, as this was a later development.

184 High Street is an integral part of the historic town centre. It is one of a number of similar rows extending down the back rigs from the High Street, illustrating the continuing use of the original medieval herringbone layout of the burgh. It also represents the redevelopment of the town from the late 18th century.

Architectural or Historic Interest


The interior has been modernised. Some traditional fixtures and fittings survive, such as panelled doors and window shutters, but these are not exceptional for a building of this date and type.

Plan form

The narrow rectangular plan footprint of 184 High Street clearly reflects the medieval burgage plot and this is of interest.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The exterior of 184 High Street is characteristic of late 18th and 19th century Scottish burgh backland buildings, in design and building methods. These features include a long and narrow plan form, a gable end and window arrangement, including first floor windows positioned just below the eaves. Unusually for traditional burgh architecture of this date it is relatively unaltered.


184 High Street adjoins the rear of 186 and 188 High Street and together these buildings form a good group of traditional burgh buildings. As Directories and Census Records indicate these buildings are historically related. They are an integral part of the historic town centre and its survival is important in illustrating the continuing use of medieval herringbone layout of the burgh.

The immediate setting of 184 High Street has been altered. The mid-19th additions have been removed and there is currently a single storey, lean-to on the gable end. The length of the feu has also been truncated and a large late 20th century commercial building and carpark has been constructed to the south. These later developments are not considered to have a significantly adverse impact on the setting of 184 High Street. The building and its immediate setting continues to be readable as a traditional backland burgh building.

Regional variations

There is no known regional variation.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2018).

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2018. Previously listed as '184A,B,C High Street (Through Pend)'.



Canmore: CANMORE ID 195349


Slezer, J. (1693) The Prospect of the House and Town of Elgine.

Roy, W. (1747-52) Military Survey of Scotland – Highlands.

Wood, J. (1822) Plan of the Town of Elgin from actual survey.

Parliament: House of Commons (1832) Great Reform Act Plans and Reports - Elgin (Elginshire).

Ray, R. (1838) Plan of the Burgh of Elgin from actual survey.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1871, published 1871) Elginshire VII.16 (Elgin, St Andrews Lhanbryd and Spynie) 25 inch. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1904, published 1905) Elginshire VII.16 (Elgin; Spynie; St Andrews Lhanbryd) 25 inch. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (1965) 1:1250 Map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (1973) 1:2500 Map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (1988) 1:1250 Map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Online Sources

Ancestry. 1851 Census Transcriptions for 186 and 188 High Street, and Off High Street Close 186 at (accessed 17/07/2018).

Ancestry. 1861 Census Transcriptions for 184 High Street at (accessed 17/07/2018).

Ancestry. 1871 Census Transcriptions for 184 High Street (Close) at (accessed 17/07/2018).

National Library of Scotland. Russell's Morayshire Register 1850 at (accessed 17/07/2018).

National Library of Scotland. Black's Morayshire Directory 1863 at (accessed 17/07/2018).

Wright, A.P.K et al (February 2012). Elgin High Street Conservation Area: Part 1: Conservation Area Appraisal at (accessed 05/07/2018).

About Listed Buildings

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184 High Street, east elevation, looking southwest. with bushes in the foreground


Map for 184 A B C High Street Elgin

Printed: 04/07/2022 12:30