Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing 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.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 24748 61993
324748, 661993


Circa 1810. 4-stage octagonal clock tower containing prison cells/ guard rooms. Squared and coursed, stugged sandstone, base course, raised cills, cill band to 4th stage.

Originally with 4 doors on alternate faces, 1 now blocked as window, 2 others brick-blocked internally. Rectangular, tablet-like windows now blocked with stone or brick, with small ventilation louvres, to each stage of alternate flanks and above each stage where doors at ground, those to 4th stage under the eaves with remnants of former bars. Clock (now modern) fill oculi on 4 of the faces where door/ former door at ground.

Polygonal roof (almost conical), flattened at apex with flagpole, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters.

INTERIOR: stone spiral staircase to centre with cells radiating off. Timber floors. Boarded doors. Water tank now suitably housed.

Statement of Special Interest

The clock tower likely dates from soon after 1803-1804, when Greenlaw House was given over for conversion to a prison for French prisoners of war. Alternatively, it may date from the wider development of the site as a military prison after 1813. The tower was previously encircled by a ground level timber lean-to, possibly containing stores. An equivalent, but taller, octagonal structure exists at HMP Perth, designed by Robert Reid and similarly used for prisoners of war.

Glencorse prison was complete by 1813 and cost £100,000 (Groome.) It could accommodate 6000 prisoners and a plan shows observation walkways and prison blocks radiating from a principal terrace. This form may have survived the conversion to the general military prison for Scotland in 1845, but it was demolished either by or during the conversion to the central brigade depot for southeast Scotland in 1875-1877. Greenlaw House was also demolished, though the cellars may survive in the Officers' Mess block to the southeast. Glencorse Barracks remains in use by the military.

Formerly listed as part of a group including the Keep (LB7458), the barrack block (LB44615), the chapel, terrace and stores (LB44616) and the memorial lodges, gates, gatepiers and boundary walls (LB44617).



Groome's GAZETTEER; THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT (1843) pp317-8; C McWilliam LOTHIAN (1978) p218; J Thomas MIDLOTHIAN (1995) p64.

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. 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: 23/07/2019 09:58