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


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 27044 76148
227044, 676148


Established in 1846. 80 acre sloping, wooded site with a wide assortment of finely carved, primarily 19th and 20th century gravestones in mainly classical or Gothic styles and in a variety of types, including Celtic crosses and obelisks. Some with particularly good quality bas-relief sculpture and some finely carved statuary. Some 18th century tombstones, relocated from site of previous Greenock Church (See Notes). Includes small marble pedimented temple style mausoleum on raised site and large, highly decorated Gothic memorial to Walter Baine, Provost of Greenock (1840-44).

'HIGHLAND MARY': 1842. John Mossman. Tall pointed arch stele on rectangular stepped base, divide into 3 panels. Upper panel with Greek bas-relief of weeping maiden representing 'Grief'. Middle panel bas-relief of two figures, representing last meeting of Robert Burns and Highland Mary. Inscribed on lower panel

'O Mary! Dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest?'

Situated close to James Watt Cairn.

JAMES WATT CAIRN: (NS 26488 76322) tall, massive cubic monument with large rectangular block base, with stepped levels ending at trabeated structure engraved with 'WATT'. Constructed from variety of stones from across the world, including marble and granite. Plaques to front and side inscribed with names and details of donors.

CEMETERY GATES AND GATEPIERS: (NS 27045 76152). 1847, Charles Wilson, architect; McCulloch and Co (Glasgow), ironfounders. At entrance to W. Pair of large Greek Revival square-plan stone piers with clasping pilasters to angled corners. Carved Greek detailing. Flat square caps. Tall, double sided ornate cast iron gates and railings with wreath surmounted by St Andrews cross motif, also echoed in gate pier design.

BOUNDARY WALLS: surrounding cemetery and lying to the S of the crematorium. Tall, rubble with flat coping.

Statement of Special Interest

Greenock Cemetery is a particularly fine example of a nineteenth century cemetery, established for a prosperous town and containing a fine collection of 19th and 20th century gravestones in a wide variety of types and styles. The cemetery itself is contained within a boundary wall and the careful planting of trees and shrubs provides an evocative setting. Some of the stones possess excellent carving and detail and many display maritime themes with ships and anchors.

Greenock Cemetery was established in 1846 as the expansion of the population of the town meant that the previous burial ground was inadequate. This particular site was chosen as it was secluded and not able to be viewed from the river. The Greenock Cemetery Company, formed in 1846, laid out the ground. Previous objections to the Council regarding the word 'necropolis' meant that this was always called a 'cemetery'. A small area near the SW boundary wall, close to the entrance was set aside as a paupers' burial area.

The cemetery contains some 18th century tombstones, moved from the Old West Church. This church was established in 1589, and was situated close to Harland and Wolff shipyard. In 1917, the shipyard was extended and the church was dismantled and rebuilt in a different location. The tombstones were then moved to the Cemetery.

'Highland Mary', or Mary Campbell had a brief, but intense relationship with the poet Robert Burns and they planned to emigrate from Greenock to Jamaica. Mary died at Greenock, in 1786, however, before the emigration could take place. She was originally interred in the graveyard at the Old West Kirk, but the stone was transferred here in 1920.

John Mossman (1817-1890) came from a family of sculptors and there are many examples of his public work in Glasgow. He was a founder member of the Glasgow School of Art.

The James Watt Cairn was begun as a project by the Watt Club of Greenock in 1854, initially to erect a tower as a memorial to James Watt. Never completed, this tower was to have been 289 feet. Stones were gifted from all areas of the world as a gesture to recognise the importance of James Watt in his contribution to industry. The stones were finally assembled and completed in 1936, the 200th anniversary of James Watt's Birth.

James Watt was born in Greenock in 1736 and gained international reputation and renown by improving existing steam engines, leading to the widespread use of steam power in industry and transport.

The cemetery gatepiers and gates are particularly fine monumental structures which add considerable value to the streetscape and provide a definitive entrance to the Cemetery. Charles Wilson (1810-1863) was a notable Glasgow based architect who worked throughout Scotland, including the Free Church College in Glasgow.

'Highland Mary' (Mary Campbell Monument), and the Cemetery Gates were previously listed separately, at Category B.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1856-8). John Wood Plan of the Town of Greenock, 1825. Frank Arneil Walker, The South Clyde Estuary, (1986) p 125. Joy Monteith, Old Greenock, 2004. Other information courtesy of Greenock residents.

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.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to GREENOCK CEMETERY, INCLUDING HIGHLAND MARY (MARY CAMPBELL MONUMENT), JAMES WATT CAIRN, CEMETERY GATES AND BOUNDARY WALLS

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 21/05/2024 02:15