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Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, Scottish Horse Memorial

Commemorative Monument (Period Unassigned), War Memorial (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, Scottish Horse Memorial

Classification Commemorative Monument (Period Unassigned), War Memorial (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) War Memorial, Boer War Memorial

Canmore ID 237907

Site Number NT27SE 1.56

NGR NT 25302 73523

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


Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (25 September 2002)

Celtic cross carved with scrollwork on the south side of the shaft of the cross, to about two thirds of the way down. The bottom of the shaft is carved with a lion rampant on a shield. All carving is in low relief. Below the shaft are four stages, the third one being made up of four rusticated layers. Attached to this are three bronze panels listing fallen soldiers. The fourth stage is a base of large flat stones, their edges left rough.

Inspected By : T.S.

Inscriptions : On first stage below cross shaft in applied bronze letters:


On second stage below cross shaft in carved raised letters:


On third stage below cross shaft on bronze panel:


Signatures : In applied metal letters on E. side of base:


Design period : 1905

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0480)

Excavation (December 2009 - September 2011)

NT 2530 7350 (centred on) A series of Scheduled Monument Consents (SMCs A–E) were granted, December 2009 – September 2011, for work associated with the design of new temporary stand for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

SMC A: Existing utilities were realigned or replaced to accommodate new stand foundations. These works revealed part of the Spur, a triangular artillery fortification built in the 1540s and demolished in 1650. Part of a second boundary-type wall was revealed to the NE of the Spur and this overlay an infilled ditch. The corner of a building was revealed at the E end of the Esplanade. All of these remains may be shown on an Edinburgh plan drawn by Gordon of Rothiemay in 1647. At the top of Castle Wynd Steps, a massively built stone plinth may have been a part of the Esplanade wall which was demolished prior to 1780.

SMC B: The Scottish Horse Monument was dismantled and rebuilt on a new abutment projecting from the North Esplanade Wall. A photographic survey of the wall was carried out.

SMC C: This covered the erection of the new stands and had no archaeological significance.

SMC D: The statue of Earl Haig and its stone plinth were moved from the Esplanade to Hospital Square. Excavations in Hospital Square revealed the wall of the 1748–54 powder magazine and the blast wall to the E.

SMC E: Work to relocate utilities serving the castle took place in Princes Street Gardens, in the Moat Vault, in the Coal Yard and on the steep grass slope between the South Esplanade Wall and Johnston Terrace. Walls were recorded prior to the placement of pipes/ducts. No archaeological remains were recorded in Princes Street Gardens. In the Moat Vault, plinths associated with former arched vaults were recorded. In the Coal Yard, a buried wall was recorded. Between the South Esplanade Wall and Johnston Terrace, a stone revetment was recorded.

Additional non-SMC work took place in Castlehill, Ramsay Lane and Mound Place. In Ramsay Lane, the foundations of what may be tenement buildings were recorded and to the N, part of a culvert drain was recorded.

Archive: City of Edinburgh Council SMR and RCAHMS

Funder: Sir Robert McAlpine on behalf of Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Ltd

Information from Ian Suddaby (CFA Archaeology Ltd) 2012. OASIS ID: cfaarcha1-78685

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.


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