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Edinburgh Castle, Half Moon Battery

Battery (16th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh Castle, Half Moon Battery

Classification Battery (16th Century)

Canmore ID 52070

Site Number NT27SE 1.10

NGR NT 25223 73457

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

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 1.10 25223 73457.

Half Moon Bastion (NR).

OS 1/2500 plan, (1932); OS 1/1250 plan, (1947).

The Half Moon Battery or "Great Half Bastion Round" built by Regent Morton, stands on a platform partly founded on the ruins of David's Tower and partly on the old water tank vaults. It is girded by a massive curved wall. A beacon basket stands on the cope of the Half Moon parapet.

J S Richardson and M Wood 1948.

Half-Moon Battery. Built in 1574. Parapet and gun-loops last rebuilt

in 18th century. (RCAHMS 1951).

Visited by OS(JLD) 22 October 1953.

(Centred at NT 2521 7346) No additional remarks.

Visited by OS(JLD) 29 December 1953.

As described in previous field report

Visited by OS(SFS) 10 November 1975.


Publication Account (1951)


The Half-Moon Battery, constructed in 1574, mounts nine guns. Its breast wall, with a maximum height of 80 ft. on the S. side, is built of rubble in four tiers which recede as they rise. The parapet and gun-loops were last rebuilt in the 18th century.


Standing Building Recording (20 April 2015 - 5 June 2015)

NT 251 734 A programme of standing building recording was carried out, 20 April – 5 June 2015, at Edinburgh Castle. The work focused on a number of key areas of the castle: the Half Moon Battery (including the walling and masonry below), the bedrock, the Guardhouse Building (and adjacent walling,) the Fore Well Tower, the Inner Barrier, the Curtain Wall, the Eastern Approach Wall, the Lang Stair, the Portcullis Gate, the Dog Cemetery, Mills Mount Wall, and the South

Water Tank.

Between 1450–1573 the upper part of the Fore Well Tower was constructed, alterations were made to the Portcullis Tower (including the turnpike stair), and David’s Tower was modified to accommodate artillery defences. The outwork below the Fore Well Tower was enhanced, the Inner Barrier created and repairs to the Curtain Wall effected. Repairs were also made to the Lang Stair.

From 1573–1610, the Half Moon Battery was constructed, along with the eastern facade of the Portcullis Gate. The N wall of the Portcullis Gate was thickened, and there were repairs to the Curtain Wall.

Between 1610–1780 an upper storey was added to the Portcullis Gate, and a wall was constructed on the gate’s eastern approach.

From 1780–1850, the water tanks below the Half Moon Battery were constructed, a boundary wall was built on Mills Mount, and the Dog Cemetery (as a place of burial) came into being.

Between 1850–1950, the upper part of the Portcullis Gate was restored (including the replacement of the royal coat of arms). A gun port was opened on the Half Moon Battery, and the Kirkcaldy of Grange memorial was emplaced.

Gordon Ewart and Dennis Gallagher 2015

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

Kirkdale Archaeology


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