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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
  • Date Added: 14/12/1970


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

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 25341 73222
  • Coordinates325341, 673222


1514-60 and 1628-36. SW bastion of Flodden Wall (at head of Vennel): crenellated shell of square-plan tower (N side incomplete). Random rubble (original to height of approximately 20 feet), 4 feet thick; purplish stone from Bruntsfield Links. Coped crenellations; long and short quoins. 2 crosslet gunloops to W, 1 to N and S. Window (now blocked) in S wall (see Notes). Section of Telfer Wall (see Notes) to E of Heriot Place: Rubble wall (mainly orange sandstone, probably from Ravelstone); S section not coped, centre section coped, S section (to W of Heriot's Examination Hall) crenellated and coped. Broad gateway to S, round-arched gateway (modern 2-leaf timber door) and corniced doorway (timber panelled door) to N.

Statement of Special Interest

Scheduled Monument. After the defeat at Flodden in September 1513 the Town Council imposed a levy in order to strengthen the town walls. The new wall enclosed the suburbs of Grassmarket and Cowgate. The principal function of the wall was probably to deter smuggling rather than defence. The SW section ran up the line of the Vennel from the fortified gateway at the SW corner of the Grassmarket known as the West Port (demolished in the 1780's) to the bastion, then turning E, running N of the site of Heriot's Hospital and Greyfriar's Churchyard. An inscription above the blocked S window reads, 'This window was inserted in the old city wall with the sanction of the Town Council 1876. The tower owes its preservation to Dr Patrick Neill, described by Lord Cockburn as 'one of the few defenders of our architectural relics,' who published a pamphlet in 1829 entitled 'Notes relative to the fortified walls of Edinburgh.' The Telfer Wall (named after its mason, John Tailefer) was constructed in 1628-36 to enclose land bought by the Town Council in 1618, most of which was then sold to the Heriot's Hospital Trust, but including also the area to the S of Greyfriars where the Charity Workhouse was later built. The walls are important both historically and for the effect which they have had on the pattern of development of the city. The EW line of the Telfer wall, for example, determined the line of Lauriston Place. In 1762 permission was granted for the dismantling of bastions of the Telfer Wall, said to be obstructing the use of Lauriston Place. This section of wall was demolished prior to the building of William Playfair's gate lodge, boundary wall and railings to Heriot's Hospital in 1828.

Re-scheduled Area 4 February 2003 - SAM 2901.



Appears on Gordon of Rothiemay plan of 1647. Neill, Patrick, NOTES RELATIVE TO THE FORTIFIED WALLS OF EDINBURGH (1829). Wilson, Daniel MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH IN THE OLDEN TIME (1847) ills pp 80 and 116. RCAMS Inventory (City of Edinburgh) (1951) pp lxii-lxvi and pp120-121. BOEC vol 2 pp61-79. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) pp 84-5. Cullen THE WALLS OF EDINBURGH (1988).

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.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

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