Skip to content
Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.



  • Category: A
  • Group Category Details: A - see notes
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGR: NT 25196 73444
  • Coordinates: 325196, 673444


15th century with many later alterations and additions, including major reconstruction 1615-17. Rectangular, double pile building resting on massive vaulted undercrofts (circa 1382); moulded string course between 2nd and 3rd floors to E and N; corbelled out crenellated parapet with prominent cannon spouts; corbelled out square-plan turrets to E corners; engaged octagonal stair towers to N and W. Random rubble with polished dressings, 1615 work to N ashlar.

E ELEVATION: (show front facing Old Town) remains of 3 15th century oriels, 2 corbelled out from wall, 1 on polygonal stem rising from rock. Corbelled out square-plan turrets with ogee leaded roofs (re-instated 1939) to outer left and right. Pedimented windows to 1st and 2nd floors (that to centre segmental) with carved and gilded royal emblems, date (1616) and initials (IR6); panels flanking centre window, that to right now blank (until 1653 enclosing royal arms), that to left with relief depicting Honours of Scotland.

W ELEVATION: 3 floors to right, 4 floors to left; octagonal crenellated 6-stage stair tower (originally ogee-roofed, raised by 2 floors in 1820) with string courses to each stage to centre; carved panel with royal insignia, initials (ER) and date (1993); clock face to 5th stage, louvred opening to 6th stage. Round-arched entrance with rusticated voussoirs to right; cartouche over with monogram (MAH) and date (1566).

N ELEVATION: octagonal ogee-roofed 4-stage stair tower with string course between each stage to centre. Mullioned and transomed windows to left with carved and gilded royal emblems in pediments (that to 2nd floor segmental).

Cast-iron down pipes with decorative hoppers and fixings (thistles, fleurs-de lys, roses and initials (IR4).

INTERIOR: 2 earlier stone fireplaces flanked by colonnettes at ground floor. Small timber panelled closet to SE (see Notes) with bolection-moulded chimneypiece, painted compartmented ceiling and painted decoration to upper walls (later panelling to lower part of walls).

Statement of Special Interest

The A Group comprises Batteries, Foog's Gate, Gatehouse, Governor's House, Great Hall, Lang Stairs, Military Prison, National War Museum, New Barracks, Old Guardhouse, Palace Block, Portcullis Gate, St Margaret's Chapel, Scottish National War Memorial, Telephone Kiosks, United Services Museum and Vaults, all within Edinburgh Castle, and in the Care of Historic Scotland. The rectangular block on the E side of Crown Square originated as the 15th century Great Chamber. It was remodelled for the visit of James VI in 1617, the 1st floor being rebuilt and a new 2nd storey added. The King's master mason, William Wallace was in charge, although James Murray, the Master of Works may have provided a design. The Great Chamber was divided at ground floor level in 1615-17, providing a suite of ceremonial rooms; recently completed work (1999) conjecturally replicates the interiors of these rooms (plaster ceilings, timber panelling, painted decoration). The closet to SE was the room in which Queen Mary gave birth to the future James VI and I. It was painted by John Anderson in 1617, who was paid ?100 Scots in 1617 for painting 'the room where His Majesty was born' and for furnishing gold colours and workmanship. The ceiling is decorated with thistles and roses and crowned monograms IR and MR, while the walls have the Royal Arms of Scotland and the date 19 Junii 1566, that of the birth of James VI. New suites of rooms were built on the 1st floor to E for James, and on the 2nd floor for Queen Ann (who did not, in fact accompany him). The Crown Room on 1st floor now houses the Honours of Scotland. The high level arch between the Palace and what is now the Scottish National War Memorial appears in Alexander Nasmyth's painting of the Castle of circa 1780.



MacGibbon and Ross CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND (1887) pp445-63, figs 398-401. RCAHMS INVENTORY EDINBURGH (1951) pp1-25. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) pp 93-4. MacIvor EDINBURGH CASTLE (1993).

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

About Designations

Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


There are no images available for this record.

Printed: 20/02/2018 09:37