Scheduled Monument

Craigmillar Castle,castle and gardensSM90129

Status: Designated

Documents

Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/termsandconditions).

Summary

Date Added
21/10/1994
Type
Industrial: mines, quarries, Secular: castle; garden
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Parish
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 28742 70783
Coordinates
328742, 670783

Description

The monument consists of Craigmillar Castle and its surrounding designed landscape. Craigmillar is arguably the best example of a medieval castle surviving in Scotland. Built according to 15th and 16th-century principles of fortification, it is instructively complete and picturesquely placed within the remains of a substantial and important designed landscape.

The core is the late 14th century L-shaped towerhouse built for the Preston family, the owners of the land from 1374 to 1660. The original entrance was in the re-entrant angle of the jamb. Facing W, it was protected by a shelving pitfall in the rocky crags. The towerhouse consists of the usual offices, with storage in the lower floor and its entresol, the great hall forming the first-floor of the main block and fitted with a late 15th-century fireplace. In the jamb adjacent to the hall was the kitchen, later adapted as a bedroom.

The massive enceinte was built in 1427, flush with the tower on the S and enclosing the present inner courtyard. It has rounded towers at each of the corners and a parapet walk to the N, E and part of the S. The NE tower forms one of the earliest artillery batteries in Scotland. Within the courtyard domestic accommodation was built against the E wall after the burning of the castle in 1544 by Hertford's army and against the W wall in 1661 when Sir John Gilmour, the new owner, added his fine renaissance house to complete the internal buildings.

The outer curtain or precinct wall was built soon after 1544 and was furnished with gunloops but not battlements. Within the precinct is a chapel of late 15th-century date. There were the usual farmyard offices, one of which is said to have been used later as a Presbyterian meeting place.

The field S of the castle has a pond shaped like a 'P', no doubt for Preston. This is the most visible remnant of the medieval garden to survive, but around it were probably more formal gardens and later an elaborate designed landscape with parkland and coppiced woodland. Beyond the wall around the field containing the 'P' pond is an area of quarrying associated with the building of the castle, later incorporated within the designed landscape, providing an area of coppiced woodland.

The area to be scheduled includes the castle and those elements of the designed landscape that can still be seen or inferred, and is marked in red on the attached map. The area measures a maximum of 1020m SW to NE by 830m NW to SE. All modern fences and roads are specifically excluded from the scheduling, but all masonry walls, including those at the boundaries of the scheduled area, are included.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is the most complete example of a medieval castle surviving in Scotland. Its historical interest is exceeded only by its importance as a major specimen of medieval military architecture, all set within an important series of gardens and historic and designed landscapes. It has the potential to provide information on all of the important elements of medieval life within a most important barony, which, because of its strength and proximity to Edinburgh was a favourite resort of the Stewart monarchs.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT 27 SE 107.00.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Craigmillar Castle

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/craigmillar-castle

Find out more

Related Designations

  1. CRAIGMILLAR CASTLEGDL00115

    Designation Type
    Garden & Designed Landscape
    Status
    Designated

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot. You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at designations@hes.scot.

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Printed: 17/11/2018 06:49