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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: 22/02/1971


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

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 11875 76697
  • Coordinates311875, 676697


1623. Substantial, symmetrical, ornate, square, Renaissance, 12-spout, drinking-style fountain, capped by sundial on octagonal pedestal, approached by flying-arched stair. Carved ashlar sandstone.

Low-relief strapwork carving, with projecting masks at intervals; lead water spouts in mouths of masks; corbelled water troughs below. Latin inscriptions in carved cartouches and between pilasters. Central section of cornice to each elevation projected on carved consoles, except to W, where stair joins. Consoles decorated with male and female heads, cherubs bearing floral wreaths, and cipher of Sir Walter Dundas; angle compartments decorated with Dundas family emblems, including lion's head emerging from thicket, lion gules, salamander amongst flames and shield of Sir Walter Dundas quartered with that of wife. Winged termini to sundial pedestal.

Statement of Special Interest

Scheduled Monument. A Group with Dundas Castle, including Blue Acre, Boat House, Brown Acre, Castleloch, Castle Grove, Dovecot, Dundas Castle Keep, Dundas Loch Bridge, Dundas Mains, Ice House, Lilac Cottage, North Lodge, Rose Cottage, South Lodge and Walled Garden (see separate listings).

The fountain, built for Sir Walter Dundas, 18th Laird, originally formed the centrepiece to an enclosed parterre, with banqueting houses at its four corners. A drawing of Dundas Castle by David Allan (1793), shows the original position of the sundial, to the N of the old castle.

There are 2 cartouches on the friezes of all 4 elevations, with Latin inscriptions, translated as reading ?See, read, think and attend. Through rocks and crags by pipes we lead these streams, That the parched garden may be moistened by the spring water. Forebear to do harm therefore to the fountain and garden which thou see?st. Nor yet should?st thou incline to injure the signs of the dial. View and with grateful eyes enjoy these hours and the garden, And to the flowers may eager thirst be allayed by the fountain. In the year of human Salvation 1623?. Further inscriptions reveal that Sir Walter built the sundial ?as a future memorial of his posterity, as also an amusing recreation for friends, guests and visitors, this fountain in the form of a castle?. The masks are to warn against thieves, as well as to please spectators, and the inscription refers to them with the words 'With ordinary things to content us here, is to be even with others - we envy not their better things'.

The quality of the detailing on the top cornice suggests that it may be of a later date.



McGibbon and Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND. VOL. I (1887-92/The Mercat Press, 1971), pp328-335; INVENTORY FOR MIDLOTHIAN AND WEST LOTHIAN (The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland, 1929), pp205, 206; McWilliam, LOTHIAN, EXCEPT EDINBURGH (1978), p191.

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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