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Edinburgh Castle, Governor's House

House (18th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh Castle, Governor's House

Classification House (18th Century)

Canmore ID 111827

Site Number NT27SE 1.35

NGR NT 25085 73503

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian


Publication Account (1951)


This structure, built towards the W. side of the Rock for the use of the Governor, store-keeper and master-gunner, is a typical example of the architecture of the mid-18th century. Designs for it had originally been made in 1740, but two years later amended drawings showing increased accommodation were prepared, and to these the House was built. It is oblong on plan, the higher central part, which contains the Governor's own quarters, having a double basement, two upper floors and an attic, while the pavilion-ends housing his subordinates contain one upper floor and an attic above the basement. Each set of rooms had a garden with a latrine at the far end. As the plan and front elevation are illustrated in [RCAHMS 1951] Figs. 96 and 83, further particulars need not be given.


Excavation (3 April 2000 - 7 April 2000)

NT27SE 1.35 2508 7350

NT 2507 7351 Old Governor's House. The excavation of five holes for fence posts to the NE of the Old Governor's House was monitored in April 2000. The foundation course of the mid-18th-century S Ordnance Storehouse was exposed, with deposits building up against it from this date onwards.

A Dunn 2000

Sponsor Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology

Excavation (2 December 2013 - 15 January 2014)

NT 2508 7347 An excavation was carried out, 2 December 2013 – 15 January 2014, in the Governor’s Yard, just to the rear (W) of the mid-18th-century Governor’s House, which is just W of the winding approach road leading up to Foog’s Gate and the upper citadel of the castle.

The bedrock showed only limited evidence of modification. Examination of the space under the tunnel accessing the yard from the E showed substantial areas of bedrock visible. This dropped near vertically to the N, and probably reflects the construction of the Governor’s House, although this is likely to be an enhancement of the existing rock formation, rather

than an entirely new creation. Features were seen which were certainly of an older date than the features associated with the construction of the Governor’s House, but it was not possible to determine their date on the basis of the available evidence.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

Information from David Murray (Kirkdale Archaeology) 6 March 2014.

OASIS ID: kirkdale1-279183

Excavation (20 April 2015 - 28 May 2015)

Under the terms of its PIC call-off contract with Historic Scotland, Kirkdale Archaeology was asked to carry out an excavation, and associated standing building survey, in the area known as the Governor’s Yard within Edinburgh Castle. The work was completed over two seasons (2014 and 2015) and identified 19th century garden construction over the truncated remains of a massive 17th century earthwork, faced and buttressed in stone. This in turn sealed the terraced profile of the castle rock which featured a series of weathered and truncated cuts and pits. Large assemblages of animal bone, ceramic and glass were retrieved from the 19th century and 17th century deposits.

The faunal assemblage from the 2015 excavation mostly represented food refuse remains from both domesticated and hunted animals. The cut marks and fragmental nature of the bones likely comes from the processing and discarding of food refuse. The exception is the bone from context 567, which may have an alternative historical biography, though the fragmental nature of the bone prevents further analysis.

G Ewart 2015

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology

OASIS Id: kirkdale1-311340

Linear Account (5 February 2018 - 21 May 2018)

Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd were commissioned by Cabling Resource to provide archaeological advice and recommendations on works undertaken in the Governors House at Edinburgh Castle. Installation of new cables within the building had resulted in the drilling of 13 holes in the south-east and south-west walls of the Daily Staff Rest Room, currently

used as an office.


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