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


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Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26798 73907
326798, 673907


Archibald Simpson, 1846 and John Henderson 1850 (former Free church), converted 2002 by Benjamin Tindall Architects to form art gallery. 3-storey, 6-bay, Neo-Jacobean former Free School and 4-bay, T-plan gabletted Gothic former Free church, situated on corner of Horses Wynd and Abbey Strand with gable elevations to Horses Wynd (W). Squared and coursed sandstone with raised margins to former school, squared and snecked sandstone to former church. Circa 2000 entrance created between church and school with central round arch with lettering 'THE QUEEN'S GALLERY' above. Base course to former church, cill courses.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: principle elevation to W: former church to left with slightly advanced gabled porch with hoodmoulded doorway and 2-leaf timber door. 2-light tracery window (now blocked) above and prominent, gabled bellcote above with 2 recessed openings and cross finial above. 2-light openings to N with stone mullions. Single-bay gabled entrance opening abuts Abbey Courthouse (see separate listing).

To right: former school with off-centre round-arched doorway with boarded timber entrance doors. Window openings above with strapwork ornament. Recessed section to left with tall round-arched window. S elevation with segmental-arched openings to ground, strapwork ornament to 1st floor openings and cornice course to top storey, pedimented over windows.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows with 6-pane fixed windows above to former school and diamond lead pane with top hoppers windows to former church. Multi-pane glass and timber 2-leaf doors to ground at S. Grey slates. Roll-ended skews and scroll skew-putts. Coped, gable stack with 3 square-plan flues.

INTERIOR: (seen 2007). Comprehensively modernised with both buildings incorporated into large gallery on 1st floor. Open timber roof. Shop and offices to ground. Curved imperial stair with curved timber balusters and timber banister, constructed 2002.

Statement of Special Interest

The ground beneath the Palace of Holyroodhouse and nearby structures (including Croft-an-Righ House, the buildings on the N side of Abbey Strand and the buildings around Mews Court) is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 for its archaeological importance. The upstanding remains of Holyrood Abbey and Queen Mary's Bath are also scheduled monuments. Significant upstanding and below-ground archaeological remains may survive as part of and in addition to the structures and features described above.

Prominently positioned on the corner of Horses' Wynd and Abbey Strand this former school and church are now combined to form the art gallery, The Queen's Gallery. Converted (2002) they are an important part of the streetscape in this historic and architecturally rich part of the city. They also form part of the wider stable complex of buildings associated with the Holyroodhouse.

The church and school are thought to have been intended as a single construction, but Archibald Simpson, who had already designed the Gordon Schools for the Duchess in Huntly, died after the completion of the school but before the church could be built. The church was then completed by John Henderson 4 years later, but with a reduced budget. The school's playground was situated on the ground floor as the arches were originally open and 2 large classrooms were placed above. It was converted into Chauffeurs' accommodation in the 1920s. The church was built with a seating capacity of 700 (marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1849-53), but the congregation had moved from the building by the end of the 19th century. Both buildings were built by gifts from the 'Good Duchess' of Gordon (1794-1864) who devoted much of her time and energy to giving money for schools and churches and who was a frequent visitor to the Old Town of Edinburgh.

Archibald Simpson (1790-1847), was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding nineteenth century city of Aberdeen. John Henderson (1804-62) was a pupil of Thomas Hamilton and specialised somewhat in church buildings. The buildings were converted to form an art gallery in 2002 by Benjamin Tindall Architects.

Part of A-group comprising: Palace of Holyroodhouse; 28 and 30 Croft-An-Righ (Croft-An-Righ House); Abbey Strand Eastern Building; Abbey Strand Western Building; Queen Mary's Bath House; North Garden Sundial; Palace Forecourt Fountain; Abbey Court House; Gatehouse and Former Guard Rooms; Palace Coach House; Stables; Queen's Gallery (see separate listings).

The former school was previously listed with Holyroodhouse gateway. List description updated 2013.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1849-53). John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1984 p163,178. Paul Harding, Holyrood Free Church and School, in RCAHMS, D8.41 Hol(P).

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: 06/06/2020 08:33