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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Group Category Details: A - see notes
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 2564 7333
  • Coordinates325640, 673330


Burial ground from 1562 (see Notes), comprised of incomparable selection of burial monuments and enclosures ranging from Artisan Mannerist George Heriot (senior) Monument of 1610 to Neo-Classical Joseph Black Enclosure of 1805, grouped around Greyfriars Church (separately listed), enclosed with lodge, gatepiers, railings and walls, including sections of Flodden and Telfer Walls (see Notes). Many significant alumni; only representative examples described; all of exceptional importance and group value.


E WALL: outstanding series of 17th century wall monuments with Renaissance and Mannerist details culled from contemporary pattern books, including: George Heriot (senior) Monument (1610, by Richard Doby, Dean of Guild 1610-12): basket-arched recess flanked by pilasters with vertical, diagonal and fishbone fluting, 2-stage inscription panel above with initials, arms and symbols of death. Naismith Monument (1614): taller recess flanked by rusticated columns, with (mutilated) figure of Naismith sitting up in coffin; angels with scrolls behind, inscription panel above. Harlay Monument (1617, probably by David Aikenhead, Dean of Guild 1613-20): similar to Heriot Monument, with baluster pilasters at base and octagonal columns supporting entablature. Dennistoun Monument (1626): inscription panel surrounded by strapwork and flanked by Corinthian columns, surmounted by aedicule containing arms with horse's head in broken pediment. Mylne Monument (Robert Mylne, 1674): inscription panel in tall Corinthian aedicule (inscriptions on columns) with segmental pediment containing coat-of-arms, bounded by semicirclular cast-iron railings (1779). Martyrs' Monument (erected 1707): inscription panel with open book below in Ionic aedicule, renewed 1771 (see Notes).

N WALL: BAYNE OF PITCAIRLIE ENCLOSURE AND MAUSOLEUM (1684-5): rubble-walled enclosure with moulded cornice and door frame; ogival stone-roofed mausoleum surmounted by swagged urn; round-arched openings with Corinthianesque pilasters; statue of Bayne, clad in long cloak, in S niche. TROTTER MAUSOLEUM: (Robert and William Mylne, 1709-10): small pitched-roofed building; slated roof with stone skews; ashlar to front, rubble to sides; central entrance (modern boarded timber door) in roll-moulded surround, with grille and inscription panel over.

W WALL: a group of mural monuments at NW exceptional both in materials and execution, including: Byres of Coates Monument (William Wallace, 1629): carved pedestal supporting aedicule with paired fluted Corinthian columns, enriched entablature and broken pediment, containing key-blocked round arched recess with inscription panel and figurative relief. Bannatyne Monument (1635): paired twisted Corinthian columns supporting richly decorated entablature; aedicule (now on ground) with elaborately scrolled pediment and relief depicting cherub, hourglass, skull and view of Edinburgh. Foulis of Ravelston Monument (Wiliam Aytoun, 1636): enriched pediment supporting tripartite Ionic-columned wall monument; (headless) female figures (Religion and Justice) standing on sarcophagi in outer shell niches; central aedicule with inscription panel, portrait busts linked by clasped hands, skull, cherub (coloured) and strapwork decoration; aedicule above entablature with broken segmental pediment, flanking caryatids, and enriched cartouche containing central relief panel with sleeping cherub, skull and hourglass. McMath Monument (1674): 4 fluted Corinthian piers supporting segmental pediment broken by arms and framing barley-sugar columns; sarcophagus and inscription panel to rear.

WILLIAM ROBERTSON MAUSOLEUM (1793): square-plan ashlar building; stone dome on pendentives; fluted keyblocked round-arched openings and paired Roman Doric corner pilasters.

ADAM MAUSOLEUM (John Adam, 1750): square-plan ashlar building (conical stone roof); round-arched entrance to E, blocked round-arched entrances to N, W and S with thermal openings above; entablature with bucrania and rosettes; dome carried on circular cornice to interior; marble inscription panels (1827).

Long narrow section to SW, known as COVENANTERS' PRISON (see Notes), entered through broken-pedimented gateway, and bounded to W by E wall of Heriot's Hospital, to S by section of Telfer Wall (see Notes); high quality 18th and 19th century burial enclosures, including (E wall): McLurg Enclosure (1717): Corinthian-columned aedicule containing round-arched inscription panel with small pedimented aedicule atop entablature containing arms, with carved angel in pediment, framed by reclining cherubs. Dalrymple Enclosure (William Jameson, 1781): high relief draped urn flanked by upturned torches, under consoled open pediment. Innes Enclosure (early 19th century): Neo-classical; polished ashlar; corniced doorpiece; carved name insciption panel, Doric frieze and modillioned cornice. (W wall): Joseph Black Enclosure (1805): Neo-classical; swagged inscription panel (replaced 1894) in round-arched recess, beneath mask keystone and fluted spandrels, flanked by panels with carved serpents.


MAUSOLEUM OF GEORGE MACKENZIE OF ROSEHAUGH (James Smith, 1691): stone-domed circular ashlar temple surmounted by urn (based on Bramante's Tempietto in San Pietro in Montorio, illustrated in Palladio's Quattro Libri). Base course; dentilled cornice; engaged Corinthian columns flanking shell niches; (later) 2-leaf timber panelled door in moulded surround to N, surmounted by cartouche. Interior (restored by Rowand Anderson, 1892) lit by small windows in ribbed dome; plaster shells on wall.

LITTLE OF LIBERTON MAUSOLEUM (1680-3): rectangular Corinthian peristyle (fluted piers to corners) with ogival stone roof (mourning figures at corners) sheltering sarcophagus with recumbant effigy.

LODGE, GATEPIERS, GATES, RAILINGS AND WALLS: 1840. Semi-octagonal-ended single storey piend-roofed lodge with lozenge-paned leaded glass windows; octagonal chimney stalk with octagonal can. Obelisk-topped corniced ashlar gatepiers. 2-leaf decorative cast-iron gates, with decorative wrought-iron arch over. Cast-iron railings to squared and snecked bull-faced retaining wall with piers and machicolation at Candlemaker Row; steps to Candlemaker Row at NE with round-arched gateway and decorative cast-iron gate. Key-blocked round-arched gateway through Flodden wall (see Notes) to W enclosure, bounded by E wall of Heriot's Hospital, containing early to mid 19th century monuments. Gate to Heriot's Hospital: tall ashlar obelisk-topped gatepiers; decorative cast-iron gates with Heriot insignia.

Statement of Special Interest

The Franciscan Friary situated at the SE of the Grassmarket was dissolved in 1559, when the ground reverted to the crown. In 1662 the Town Council petitioned Queen Mary to use the site as a burial ground, in order to relieve congestion at St Giles. Construction of the church itself (separately listed) was not begun until 1612. The eastern boundary of the churchyard seems to have been part of the Flodden Wall. The Telfer Wall (named after its mason, John Taillefer) was built in 1628-36, enclosing an area of ground to the south and west of the churchyard purchased by the Town Council in 1618, of which the western section was sold to the Heriot Trust for the building of the Hospital. It was in the eastern part of this ground that the Covenanters, taken prisoner after the defeat of the Covenanting Army in 1679, were confined. In 1739 the Charity Work House was built in the SE part of this area. A narrow strip of land between the grounds of the Work House and Heriot's Hospital became part of the churchyard (marked 'New burying ground' on Kincaid's map of 1784). The southern boundary of this section is a surviving part of the Telfer Wall. In 1798 the churchyard was extended to the W, beyond the Flodden Wall, and a new boundary wall built with Heriot's Hospital. Burials were controlled by the Town Council, and until the 18th century restricted to wall-monuments along the boundary. The Martyrs' Monument commemorates the Covenanters executed in Edinburgh. The National Covenant was signed in the church on 26th February 1638. Greyfriars was regarded as Edinburgh's principal cemetery, and notable citizens buried here include James Douglas (Regent Morton), George Buchanan, Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, Allan Ramsay (senior), John Kay, Sir Robert Sibbald, Joseph Black, William Robertson, William Adam, the Gaelic poet Duncan Ban Macintyre (1812, obelisk with targe, stag's head etc), and Henry Mackenzie.



Appears on Gordon of Rothiemay's 1647 plan of Edinburgh. Lodge appears on 1854 OS map. RCAHMS INVENTORY EDINBURGH 1951 no7 pp 44-71. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) pp155-163.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

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