Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


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Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 26845 74005
326845, 674005


John Mylne, 1633. Multi-facetted polyhedron stone sundial set on carved and moulded hexagonal pedestal, centrally situated on wide, tiered, 3-stepped, moulded and panelled hexagonal base. Sundial with 10 triangular side faces, each with carved figures and geometric shaped sinkings, including hemispheres and hearts, some with metal gnomons. One with carved grotesque head. Carved heraldic devices to underside with MR and CR insignia (see Notes). Pedestal with carved acanthus leaf decoration.

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.

This is one of the earliest and most elaborate examples of a complex multi-facetted polyhedron 17th century sundial. Made for the Scottish coronation of Charles I by the King's Master Mason John Mylne, it is intricately carved with a variety of different shaped sinkings and carries the insignia of Charles I and his wife Henrietta Maria to the underside. John Mylne was aided by his two sons, John and Alexander and the dial cost £408.15s.6d Scots in total. It has been moved to different areas within the grounds of the Palace and underwent restoration during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Multi-facetted dials were a particular cultural feature of Scotland in the 16th and 17th century and it is thought that Scotland had more of this type of dial than any other country in Europe. They are very rare and comprise a number of small dials of varying sizes and shapes, each with differently aligned gnomons and markings and they required great mathematical skill to produce. One of the gnomons here is the nose of a grotesque face, another is a thistle. It is thought that the Scottish fascination with mathematics encouraged the building of these complicated dials, which could also serve as unusual garden ornaments. Other examples can be found at Pitmedden House and Glamis Castle (see separate listings).

John Mylne was the founder of the Mylne dynasty - a family which was renowned for its stone masons, architects and which produced more than one Master Mason to the Crown.

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).

List description revised as part of the Edinburgh Holyrood Ward resurvey 2007-08. List description updated 2013.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1849-53). MacGibbon & Ross, The Castellated & Domestic Architecture of Scotland Vol V, 1892, pf441. Tim Baxbaum, Scottish Garden Buildings, 1989, pf70. Christopher St J H Daniel, Sundials, 2004, p34. (accessed 24-08-07). RCAHMS - Inventory 87.

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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.

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