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Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace, North Garden, Sundial

Sundial (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace, North Garden, Sundial

Classification Sundial (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Palace Of Holyrood; Palace Of Holyroodhouse; Queen Mary's Sundial

Canmore ID 52390

Site Number NT27SE 35.07

NGR NT 26845 74005

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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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 35.07 26845 74005

(NT 2684 7400) Sundial (NR)

Although this sundial is popularly associated with Mary, Queen of Scots, it was constructed in 1633 for Charles I. The dial-head bears enrichments such as the crowned initials of Charles I, his queen Henrietta Maria, and royal heraldic devices and badges. The octagonal pedestal, which seems to have been renewed, stands on the original base of three octagonal steps. The total height is 10' and the width of the base is 10'3".

This sundial originally stood within a formal lay-out in the King's Privy Garden, W of its present position.

J S Richardson 1950; RCAHMS 1951.

As described in previous information.

Visited by OS(SFS) 3 December 1975.

Architecture Notes

NT27SE 35.07 26845 74005


Scottish Country Life, August 1929 page 251 -photograph (McLagan & Cumming)


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 2002)

Facet-headed sundial standing on a high, wide-spreading base, consisting of three moulded steps. The support of the dial is hexagonal. At top and bottom the facet-head has five sides and in the centre ten sides. The dials are hollowed out with figures of various shapes. In one the gnomon is formed by the nose of a grotesque face. The under surfaces have no dials, but are decorated with the royal arms and the initials of Charles I and his queen Henrietta Maria, for whom Charles had the dial made.

The sundial was made by John Mylne, the king's master mason, in 1633, assisted by Mylne's sons, John and Alexander, ' "for which he was paid the sum of £408, 15s. 6d. Scots." The dial and pedestal measure 6 feet 7 inches high, and the total height, including the base, is 10 feet, and the width at the ground is 10 feet 3 inches. It is stated that this dial was lying broken and uncared for, and that it was put in order by command of the queen.' (Castellated and Domestic Architecture, Vol. V) (1)

Inspected By : T.S.

Inscriptions : On the under surfaces of the sundial: C R and M R [ the initials of Charles I and his queen Henrietta Maria]

Signatures : None

Design period : 1633 (original) / 1908 (repairs and new gnomons)

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0723)


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