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Edinburgh, Parliament Square, Statue Of Charles Ii

Statue (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Parliament Square, Statue Of Charles Ii

Classification Statue (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 52292

Site Number NT27SE 271

NGR NT 25750 73551

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. 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 271 25750 73551

Oldest statue in Edinburgh, and possibly oldest lead equestrian statue in UK. Mylne's original pedestal of Craigleith stone. Statue completed within lifetime of the king (died 6 Febrary 1685), at cost of #2,580. Mylne was paid #938.14s. for pedestal. Height of statue c.8 feet from top of pedestal. Weight reputed to be c.6 tons.

A G Forgie 1952

Life-size equestrian lead statue of Charles II as Caesar. Supplied in 1685 by James Smith, Surveyor of the King's Works, probably imported from Holland. Pedestal 1835, a near replica of Robert Mylne's, incorporating marble inscription tablet of 1685. Statue restored in 1824-35 and again by H S Gamley, 1922, and E R Bevan, 1951-2.

J Gifford, C McWilliam and D Walker 1984

Painted white at the behest of the City Fathers, 1767. Following great fire of November 1924 spent nine years in storage in Calton jail.

M T R B Turnbull 1989.

Architecture Notes

NT27SE 271 25750 73551

ARCHITECT: Robert Mylne (pedestal), 1685.


Historical File -"Charles II Statue" -Historical Information


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 (16 October 2000)

Equestrian statue of Charles II in Roman Emperor's dress, placed on a rectangular stone pedestal.

Inscriptions : On marble panel on east side of pedestal:

Augustisimo Magnificentissimo / CAROLO SECUNDO / Brtanniarum Galliarum et Hiberniae / MONARCHAE / INVICTISSIMO / Cujus Natalitijs providentia arrisit Divina / Asterisco Meridiano eodem momento, conspicua / qui, postquam adolescentiam in acie, sub patre, exegisset / Illo demum obtruncato, Jus suum, per biennium / Strenue quidem, sed improspere vendicavit / Rebellioni Namq. saepius victrici impar / Solum prope per decennium vertere coactus est / in exteris autem Regionibus, divinis excubiis / [pactis dolis, minis, armis, Incubatoris

Non obstantibus] munitus, & custoditus, / Instar solis tandem, clarioris e nubibus / In regna sua sine caede, expostliminio reversus / Ecclesiam politiam Civilem pacem Commercium / Erexit, auxit, firmavit, et stabilivit / Bello dein Batavico insignis, statim devenit / Inter bellantes vicinos belli pacisque Arbiter / Rebellione denique pristina nuper repullante / Palladis non Martis ministerio Basiliscum / Inipso ovo compressit contudit et conculcavit / Huic ergo miraculorum principi summa in pace et Gloria

[This has been translated as: TO THE MOST AUGUST, MOST MAGNIFICENT CHARLES THE SECOND OF BRITAIN, FRANCE AND IRELAND, MOST INVINCIBLE MONARCH Whose birth Divine Providence smiled upon at the same moment as a noonday star was seen. Who, after passing his youth on the field of battle under his father until his father's execution, claimed his right, vigorously indeed but unsuccessfully, for two years: for, being oftener unequal to victorious Rebellion, he was forced to go into exile for nigh ten years. But in foreign lands he was shielded and watched over by heavenly guards [despite the compacts, deceits, threats and arms of the Usurper]. At length, like as the Sun issues more clearly from the clouds, returning to his Kingdom, he recovered his rights without bloodshed. He set up, enlarged, established and confirmed Church, Civil Polity, Peace and Commerce. Then, in the Dutch War, he at once became illustrious: between neighbouring warring nations he was Arbiter of War and Peace. And at last the old Rebellion breaking out again, he, by the help of Pallas, not of Mars, choked, crushed and trampled underfoot the Basilisk in the very eggs. To him, therefore, the Chief of Wonders, Highest in Peace and Glory, [this monument is dedicated].

Signatures : None

Year of unveiling : 1685

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0188)


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