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

Elgin Sheriff Court including boundary wall and railings, High Street and Glover Street, ElginLB30778

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 21829 62840
321829, 862840


A and W Reid, 1864-66, extended to rear in 1993. 2 storey, 5-bay, symmetrical classical court house on a corner site, with slightly advanced, 3-bay centre surmounted by panelled parapet. Channelled ashlar at ground floor with polished ashlar above. Squared and snecked rubble to rear with ashlar dressings. Base and band courses; mutuled eaves cornice. Vermiculated quoins at first floor. Recessed 2-leaf panelled timber entrance doors and approached by shallow flight of steps. First floor windows have blind balustrade and bracketed cornice. first floor of advanced centre is flanked by paired Ionic pilasters with the central window flanked by paired and engaged Ionic columns. Courtroom windows are round-arched with keystone. Glover Street (east) elevation with shorter 2-storey, 3-bay range to left of and slightly set back from 2-bay return of front block and further single storey, 4-bay range (2 bays added circa 1993 to create holding cell block).

4-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Corniced wallhead stacks with octagonal cans. Piended platform slate roof.

The interior, seen in 2014, is arranged around a west facing ground floor courtroom. Courtroom 1 with panelled timber judge's bench, witness box, jury box, dock and well, as well as timber boarding to dado height. Bracketted canopy over bench with decorative pediment. Raked public seating. Hoodmouldings and stops with flower motif. Mutuled cornice with compartmented plaster ceiling with inset ceiling rose. Panelled timber doors set within architraves with panelled jambs flanked bench and leading to jury room and judge's chambers, both with deep combed cornice. Courtroom 2 (to east of plan) has replacement fixtures and fittings. Dog leg staircase to east of entrance with composite square and barley sugar balusters and timber handrail. Barrel vaulted and ribbed corridor running north to south. Some window shutters. Panelled timber doors.

Statement of Special Interest

Elgin Sheriff Court dates from 1864-66 and is a significant example of civic architecture in Elgin town centre. The building was designed in the neoclassical style to respond to its setting and is little altered to the exterior, with good stonework details such as balustrades to first floor windows, mutuled eaves cornice and an advanced centre with paired Ionic pilasters and columns. The interior has good mid-19th century detailing, particularly to the ground floor courtroom which has a carved timber canopy to the bench and a decorative plaster ceiling.

Elgin Sheriff Court was designed by Alexander and William Reid in 1864 and was officially opened on 14 January 1866. The court house was built adjacent to and on the same building line as an 1837 court house and county offices by their uncle, William Robertson. The 1837 court house had become too small and the Elginshire Commissioners of Supply were among the first to make use of the central funding offered by the Treasury, under the terms of the Sheriff Court Houses (Scotland) Act of 1860.

With the exception of the 2-bay addition to the rear, which was added in 1993 to improve holding cell accommodation after a fire in the 1980s, the footprint of the building is largely unaltered to that shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1868. The 1837 court house was demolished after the Second World War and replaced with the current county offices.

Alexander Reid (1816-97) and William Reid (1825-93) were nephews and pupils of William Robertson of Elgin and inherited his practice following his death in 1841. They were a prolific architectural practice with work ranging from private villas to churches and prominent public buildings. They were accomplished in the neoclassical style, as is evident at Elgin Sheriff Court as well as the former Caledonian Bank on the High Street in Elgin and the former Elgin Academy (see separate listings).

The development of the court house as a building type in Scotland follows the history of the Scottish legal system and wider government reforms. The majority of purpose-built court houses were constructed in the 19th century as by this time there was an increase in the separation of civic, administrative and penal functions into separate civic and institutional buildings, and the resultant surge of public building was promoted by new institutional bodies. The introduction of the Sheriff Court Houses (Scotland) Act of 1860 gave a major impetus to the increase and improvement of court accommodation and the provision of central funding was followed by the most active period of sheriff court house construction in the history of the Scottish legal system, and many new court houses were built or reworked after this date.

Court houses constructed after 1860 generally had a solely legal purpose and did not incorporate a prison, other than temporary holding cells. The courts were designed in a variety of architectural styles but often relied heavily on Scots Baronial features to reference the fortified Scottish building tradition. Newly constructed court buildings in the second half of the 19th century dispensed with large public spaces such as county halls and instead provided bespoke office accommodation for the sheriff, judge and clerks, and accommodated the numerous types of court and holding cells.

Statutory address and listed building record revised as part of the Scottish Courts Listing Review 2014-15. Previously listed as 'High Street (South Side) Sheriff Court'.



Elginshire and Morayshire Courier (19 January 1866). "Opening of the New Court house". p.6.

Watson, J. and W. (1868) Morayshire Described. p.166.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1868, published 1873) Elgin Sheet VII.16 (Elgin). 25 inches to the mile. 1st edition. London: Ordnance Survey.

Mackintosh, H. B. (1914) Elgin Past and Present. p.14.

McKean, C. (1987) The District of Moray. Edinburgh: RIAS. p.26

Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Court House and County Offices at [accessed 2 October 2014].

Further information courtesy of Scottish Courts Service (2015).

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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: Elgin Sheriff Court, north and west elevations, looking southeast, during daytime with blue sky.
Interior of courtroom one, Elgin Sheriff Court.

Printed: 18/10/2021 18:50