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

Stirling Sheriff Court including boundary walls and gatepiers, and excluding later extension to east, Viewfield Place, StirlingLB41108

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 79603 93774
279603, 693774


Thomas Brown II, designed 1864. Design modified and built by Wardrop and Reid, dated 1874-6. Dated 1912 former police station added to north. 2-storey and attic, 7-bay, Franco-Baronial court house. Circa 1970s, 2/3 storey L-plan wing to the east not considered of special interest in listing terms at time of review. Ashlar. Hoodmoulds to ground floor windows linked by string course. Cill course at first floor and attic. 6 and 9 light mullioned and transomed windows. Crowstepped gables with ball finials.

Principal (west) elevation: 5-bay centre flanked by advanced crowstepped gabled bay and set back corbelled turrets with candle snuffer roof. Central entrance porch with basket-arched doorway and elaborate crocketted hoodmould, arcaded balustrade with panelled piers and mock griffon gargoyles and topped by elaborate shaped finials with crown. Moulded, lugged and corniced surrounds to first floor windows. Those to advanced gables and windows flanking centre with elaborately carved scrolled and cartouched pediments. 3 dormer windows to central section with elaborately shaped pedimented dormerheads. Gabletted ventilators with bargeboarding and finial. 2-storey, roughly symmetrical addition to right in similar style. 6 light window flanked by porches with triangular pedimented doorpieces and balustrade with carved lion to corner piers. Triangular pediment window over porch to left. First floor window with carved pedimented and under crowstepped gable, all flanked by pair of tall square and corbelled stacks.

Predominantly plate glass in timber sash and case windows. Slated roofs, piended and platformed with decorative iron brattishing. Panelled and corniced ashlar stacks.

The interior, seen in 2014, is arranged around a west facing courtroom at first floor characterised by panelled fixtures and fittings. Entrance hall with compartmented ceiling. Half-turn stone staircase with decorative cast iron balustrade topped by timber handrail. Dentilled cornice beneath panelled and coombed ceiling over stair. Corniced doorpiece with panelled jambs to court. Courtroom 1 with panelled timber Judge's bench and panelled timber rear wall with integral canopy over bench, set within a tall recess with decorative plasterwork, flanked by round arched alcoves. Witness box with canopy, curved dock, raked public seating. Splayed window jambs with geometric detailing. Hammer beam timber roof trusses on corbels, with turned pendant details at hammer-post and centre. Courtroom 3 (to north of courtroom 1) is characterised by panelled timber fixtures and dentil cornice to coombed ceiling (similarly detailed to that over the main staircase). Replacement public seating in courtroom 3. Extensive basement comprising rectangular spaces with barrel vaulted ceilings. Some timber fireplaces and moulded cornicing. Panelled timber doors set in timber architraves.

Low coped ashlar wall topped by decorative iron railing. Pair of square gatepiers with pyramidal caps and cast iron gates to right of principal elevation.

Statement of Special Interest

Stirling Sheriff Court is a significant example of civic architecture and forms a focal point in the streetscape of Stirling city centre. Designed by the prolific court architect, Thomas Brown II, it is elaborately detailed with carved stonework to the exterior including an imposing central entrance porch with mock gargoyles, elaborately carved pediments and shaped pedimented dormerheads. The interior is also of high quality, retaining much of its mid-19th century decorative scheme, including finely detailed timberwork to the main courtroom and a well-detailed main staircase.

Stirling Sheriff Court was constructed in 1874-6 to an 1864 design by Thomas Brown II, of Brown and Wardrop. The 1864 design was for a court house adjoining an 1867 prison, also by Wardrop, on St John Street (see separate listing). Wardrop's successor architectural practice of Wardrop and Reid modified his 1864 design for the Viewfield Place site. Stirling Sheriff Court replaced an 1806 County Court House, which adjoins the early 18th century Tolbooth on St John Street (see separate listings).

On the Ordnance Survey map of 1898, Stirling Sheriff Court is shown as a rectangular plan building with slightly advanced wings to the principal elevation. To the rear of the court house was a rectangular plan building and attached to it by a small linking section. This building was used as a prison and warden's accommodation. In 1912 a police station was built in a similar style and adjoining the north of the court house. In the 1970s the prison and warden's accommodation was demolished and replaced with a 2/3 storey L-plan wing, providing further courtrooms, offices and police docking bay.

The development of the court house as a building type in Scotland follows the history of the Scottish legal system and wider government reforms. The majority of purpose-built court houses were constructed in the 19th century as by this time there was an increase in the separation of civic, administrative and penal functions into separate civic and institutional buildings, and the resultant surge of public building was promoted by new institutional bodies. The introduction of the Sheriff Court Houses (Scotland) Act of 1860 gave a major impetus to the increase and improvement of court accommodation and the provision of central funding was followed by the most active period of sheriff court house construction in the history of the Scottish legal system, and many new court houses were built or reworked after this date.

Court houses constructed after 1860 generally had a solely legal purpose and did not incorporate a prison, other than temporary holding cells. The courts were designed in a variety of architectural styles but often relied heavily on Scots Baronial features to reference the fortified Scottish building tradition. Newly constructed court buildings in the second half of the 19th century dispensed with large public spaces such as county halls and instead provided bespoke office accommodation for the sheriff, judge and clerks, and accommodated the numerous types of court and holding cells.

The circa 1970s extension to the west is not considered to be of special interest at the time of the listing review (2014-15).

Statutory address and listed building record revised as part of the Scottish Courts Listing Review 2014-15. Previously listed as 'Sheriff Court Buildings Viewfield Place'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 46161.

Minutes of Commissioners of Supply.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1896, published 1898) Stirlingshire, Sheet 017.03. 25 inches to the mile. 2nd edition. London: Ordnance Survey.

Stirling Observer (23 September 1875).

The Scottish Civic Trust (1983). Historic Buildings at Work. Glasgow: Scottish Civic Trust. p.17.

RCAHMS (1996) Tolbooths and Town-Houses: Civic Architecture in Scotland to 1833. London: The Stationery Office. p.188.

Gifford, J. and Walker, F. A. (2002) Buildings of Scotland: Stirling and Central Scotland. Yale University Press. p.713-714.

Historic Scotland (2014) Scottish Courts Preliminary Report at

Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Stirling Courthouse at [accessed 3 November 2014].

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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Stirling Sheriff Court, principal elevation, looking east, during daytime on a cloudy day.
Interior of courtroom 1, Stirling Sheriff Court.

Printed: 30/09/2022 07:42