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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Date Added
Local Authority
South Ayrshire
Planning Authority
South Ayrshire
NS 33239 17945
233239, 617945


Thomas Hamilton, 1818-22. Greek Revival monument; triangular-plan base with canted corners; open circular monument atop. Droved base course; channelled and vermiculated sandstone base; ashlar dressings and monument.

SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: steps to central entrance; splayed doorpiece; recessed timber door within (wreaths to sunken panels, star detailing surrounding). Greek key panel above breaks eaves and cornice to form semi-pediment with decorative scroll work. Polygonal-plan base atop supports circular-plan base supporting fluted Corinthian columns; wreath frieze; dentilled eaves; dentilled soffit (Greek key pattern and anthemion motifs to panels within; wreath to central circular panel); acroteriae; decorative stone foliate supports and urn detailing; gilded tripod finial surmounting (emblem of Apollo).

SE and NW ELEVATIONS: as for SW elevation; with blind niches replacing entrance doorpiece; additional small window to left of niche in SE elevation.

Roof unseen 1999.

INTERIOR: circular-plan stone floor; Doric order, with two columns in antis forming niche; bust within by Sir John Steell; plain metopes to Doric frieze; Greek key pattern ceiling panels above; garlanded bucranium frieze to glazed dome above. Shouldered, splayed doorpieces to entrance and left and right; timber doors, wreaths to sunken panels, star detailing surrounding; door to left leads to iron-railed stone staircase; rises to open columns; iron steps and railings.

LAMP STANDARDS, SUNDIAL, RAILINGS, GATES AND BOUNDARY WALL: decorative lamp standards to corner angles of monument; scrolled stone feet; circular-plan bases; painted circular-plan high upright; decorative iron, domed lamp standards surmounting. Sundial near entrance to Monument; elaborate baluster shaft (bulbous to centre, with figurative heads); table dial; metal gnomon. Ornate iron railings atop boundary wall to Alloway. Iron 2-leaf gate to Alloway entrance; modern 2-leaf gate to side entrance. Coped boundary wall encloses site.

Statement of Special Interest

The Burns Monument was Hamilton's first public project, won in competition. Hamilton declined the premium of 20 guineas stating that he was "proud to pay this small tribute of respect to the genius of Burns." The Burns Monument (costing ?2,085) was funded by public subscription raised by a committee chaired by Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, who inspired and directed the project. The builder was John Connell. The foundation stone was laid 25/07/1820 and the monument opened on the 4/7/1823. As Joe Rock notes, a set of drawings apparently by William Playfair show Hamilton's intention to use the more expensive, but more appropriate (according to Vitruvian principles) Ionic order (only one late presentation drawing used for fund-raising purposes survives). The circular temple has been associated in the romantic imagination with eternity, and after the publication of the Antiquities of Athens of 1762, showing the small Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, also associated with poetry. Unlike later users of the Lysicrates model, Hamilton did not just copy the original. He used the Corinthian order from the Temple of Castor and Pollux, removing the wall between the columns, to produce an open circular temple on a high triangular base.



Ordnance Survey map, 1858 (evident); THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND (1845), pp26-7; FH Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1892), p44; THE THIRD STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND (1951), p534; Ian Fisher "Thomas Hamilton" in THE SCOTTISH GEORGIAN SOCIETY, No 11 (1984), p5; Joe Rock THOMAS HAMILTON, ARCHITECT 1784-1858 (1984) pp8-10; John Strawhorn THE HISTORY OF AYR (1989), p135; Michael C Davis THE CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF AYRSHIRE (1991), p48; Rob Close AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN (1992), p156; Howard Colvin A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS 1600-1840 (1995, 3rd edition), pp453, 455; Miles Glendinning, Ranald MacInnes and Aonghus MacKechnie A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1996), pp202, 571.

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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