Completed 1665. The tall tower of the Merchants Steeple is all that remains of the Merchants Guild Hall and Hospital, built 1659 and demolished in 1817. The tower, which formerly adjoined the S wall of the tall 2-storey Merchant's House was later incorporated into the 1873
Fish Market (see separate item).
Tall, slim, ashlar tower, square section with 7-storeys, basement and spire, diminishing stages at top 2 storeys and spire.
EXTERIOR: fine ashlar walling. Lower 3 floors obscured by later building, clock face to 4th with pierced ashlar heart motif balustraded balcony to 5th. Tower stepped in at this and subsequent floors, all with similar balconies.
Paired louvred lancets to 5th floor, traceried window to 6th floor with corbelled detail. Above this rises spire with 2 levels of lucarnes, bulbous onion finial and weathervane.
INTERIOR: at present access to the tower is by an opening in the S wall, plainly originally only a window by its incomplete dressings and narrow dimensions. The basement has a wide blocked arched opening, presumably once giving access to undercroft of Merchant's House. A wide newel staircase occupying whole floor space rises through 2 floors. To the N wall at ground a handsome and elaborately roll-moulded door, and to 1st a large arched doorway with steps both now blocked but once giving access to Merchant's House. At 1st floor a
complete row of corbels to E wall; corresponding row to W interrupted by the rise of the newel stair. This awkward arrangement and the different tooling and character of the stone stairs at this point would indicate some changes to floor plan at this level. At 2nd floor a timber step ladder rises to give access to intramural spiral stair in NE angle rising from 3rd to 4th floor. In addition a series of timber stairs rise around open well to top of the tower. Most probably just such a timber stair was part of the original arrangement, a series of corbels placed across angles may have given support for a stair (or internal scaffolding). Above 1st floor level there are windows to each face, at 4th floor there are large clock faces. Apart from the one roll moulded door most openings have plain internal dressings, one piece of chamfering and a worked corbel are found at basement level. There are no surviving internal fittings, a large panelled ?18th century door has at some time been fitted to close off the stair at 1st floor.
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shep-dec2011.pdf, 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 www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.
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.
Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk.