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Edinburgh, Glasgow Road, Castle Gogar

Lairds House (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Glasgow Road, Castle Gogar

Classification Lairds House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Gogar Castle; Gogar House

Canmore ID 50717

Site Number NT17SE 9

NGR NT 16508 73018

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NT17SE 9.00 16508 73018

NT17SE 9.01 17069 72528 Lodge with Gate and Gate Piers

NT17SE 9.02 16672 72860 Bridge

NT17SE 9.03 16474 72952 Cottage

(NT 1648 7300) Castle Gogar (NAT)

OS 1:10000 map (1973)

Gogar House was built in 1625 by John Couper, whose initials, together with those of his wife, and the date appear on pediments to dormer windows. It is a very interesting, well-preserved laird's house of the period. The walls, of harled rubble, rise to three storeys and an attic, with a watch-chamber at the head of the stair-tower. The original door was at the foot of this tower. The ground floor is vaulted.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 1920; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1889; N Tranter 1962

The original Castle Gogar (Gogar House), built about 1300, belonged to the Forresters of Corstorphine; in the 16th century, the owner was Robert Logan of Restalrig who sold the house and lands to Adam Couper in 1601. The existing house was built, incorporating the original in 1625 by John Couper and is generally as described in previous information. Externally the house shows no traces of the 14th century building, but traces of this period can be seen in the basement.

(Lady Steel-Maitland; The Scotsman 1964; N Patullo 1967)

Visited by OS (SFS) 10 December 1975

Architecture Notes

NT17SE 9.00 16508 73018



W.Schomberg Scott Photograph Collection, Acc.1997/39

2 different exterior details.


Project (July 2005 - January 2006)

NT 165 730 Castle Gogar is a 17th-century tower house on the outskirts of Edinburgh associated with a walled garden, stables and cottage. The buildings are Grade A listed as a group including the gate lodge, piers and a 17th-century bridge on the approach drive. The castle is being fully renovated and elements of the walled garden, stables and cottage are being altered. The current programme of archaeological work was undertaken between May 2005 and September 2006 as a condition of planning consent. It included historic building survey, evaluations of the gardens and the castle interior and a watching brief during the excavation of foul and storm water drainage. Together with the historical research undertaken recently for the medieval settlement of Nether Gogar this work has provided a clearer picture of the castle, its development and context.


The evaluation in the walled garden and areas W of the stables uncovered evidence for previous garden buildings and 19th-century garden features. The evaluation within the castle did not uncover any depth of archaeological deposits, in contrast to many medieval castles. The implication is that the floors were cleared of material and possibly lowered during the laying of any flagstones and during major phases of rebuilding. The watching brief showed that features do survive in the N garden, though nothing of apparently early date. The area immediately around the castle has been disturbed by services from the 19th century, though some earlier drainage survives.


In summary, the combination of evidence suggests that a castle was probably built on the site in the early 16th century. This was almost certainly a high square tower possibly with ancillary buildings and boundary, probably built by the Logans of Restalrig or their tenants. The building was expanded and altered by the Couper family around 1625, possibly using the architect William Aytoun. His alterations, though greatly changing the nature and appearance of the building, incorporated much of the earlier fabric in an offset L-plan. Since then, the buildings at Gogar have been expanded and altered as the need for comfort increased. The Level 2 RCHME analysis, though supplemented by phased plans, can only begin to look at the detail of the alterations and history of this complex building.

Stables cottage

The cottage, SW of the castle itself, has areas of random rubble which are probably remnants of an 18th-century building that may have been part of the stables or a tack room or bothy. It was converted for accommodation in the later 19th century and has had limited alterations, mainly decorative, in the 20th century.

A watching brief during the demolition suggested that the foundations were fairly insubstantial, reaching a maximum depth of 0.6m at the W and the N faces. The E elevation of the building had a very insubstantial foundation. No further features were found.

Stables and walled garden

These ancillary structures were subject to a Level 1 survey. Both provide evidence of a complex history: the walled garden had been heightened at least twice and possibly enlarged with changed entrances; the fenestration and layout of the stable block had clearly been significantly altered.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS, including digital photographs. Report and digital photographs lodged with Edinburgh City Council.

Sponsor: Mr Scott Seath and Dennis Developments (Castle Gogar) Ltd

George Geddes, 2006.


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