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Edinburgh, Craighouse Road, Old Craig House

House (16th Century), Psychiatric Hospital (19th Century), University (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Craighouse Road, Old Craig House

Classification House (16th Century), Psychiatric Hospital (19th Century), University (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Napier University; Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Canmore ID 52587

Site Number NT27SW 12

NGR NT 23459 70660

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Digital Images

First 100 images shown. See the Collections panel (below) for a link to all digital images.

Administrative Areas

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

Architecture Notes

NT27SW 12 23459 70660

NT27SW 195 73353 70686 New Craig House

NT27SW 697 23434 70500 South Craig House

NT27SW 1006 23429 70558 Bevan House

NT27SW 1007 23431 70626 East Craig House

NT27SW 1008 23249 70658 Queen's Craig House

NT27SW 1009 23621 70611 East Lodge

(NT 2346 7066) Old Craig House (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1973)

Craig House (RCAHMS 1929; MacGibbon and Ross 1887-92) is now (ie. 1973). Called Old Craig House to distinguish it from the modern hospital, Craig House, adjacent. It consists of a 17th century 3-storeyed oblong block, with stair tower, to which an oblong wing was added in the mid-18th century. The lintel above the entrance, which is dated 1565, is apparently in situ, but is rather earlier than the detail of the building.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; RCAHMS 1929, visited 1920; A N Robertson 1945.

No change to previous information.

Visited by OS (B S) 3 December 1975.

Original house built 1525, North wing circa 1711.

ARCHITECT: Sydney Mitchell and Wilson -alterations circa 1890.

OWNERS: Formerly Royal Edinburgh Hospital, before becoming part of Napier University complex in 1993/4.

Site Management (6 June 2012)

Original house dated LCSP 1565, 3-storey and attic rubble-built, 72' x 25' 8" with square tower near W end of N front; main gables have 18th century club skew, tower has original crowsteps. Ground floor vaulted. NW wing dated 1746 added to re-entrant angle of tower (forming L-plan) 3-storey 4-window to E, 2 crowstepped chimney gables and large S crowstepped gable to W. Harled with margins. Minor alterations at early 19th century restoration, more extensive alterations late in century (Sydney Mitchell) for hospital purposes; some further alterations since. Poor modern wooden verandah encloses original doorways. Original gatepiers built into garden wall.

Built by the Symsounes of Craighouse; belonged to the Dicks from at least 1685. In the 19th century it was the residence of John Hill Burton, historian (Historic Scotland)

The estate of Craig House was purchased by the Board of Managers of the Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum, under the influence of the then Physican Superintendent, Dr Thomas Clouston in 1878. The new Craig House Hospital was created within the estate for paying patients, with the buildings designed to give the appearance of a hydropathic hotel rather than a hospital. Old Craig House itself was adapted for hospital use. The site was renamed the Thomas Clouston Clinic in 1972.(Lothian Health Services Archive/ Historic Scotland)

Purchased from Lothian Health Services around 1994 by Napier University for use as their new campus.


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 (7 December 2000)

Coat of arms of Sir James Elphingstoun impaled with those of his wife Dame Cicell Denholm: a shield carved with (on the left) two boars' heads, a chevron on which is an episcopal mitre, one boar's head [the Elphingstoun arms]; and (on the right) the head and neck of two martlets [?], a chevron, the head and neck of one martlet [?] [the Denholm arms]. Above the shield is a helmet with an open visor, surmounted by a right hand holding a quill pen. On each side is foliage

The original house was built by the Symsones [or Symsounes] of Craighouse in 1565. An extension was added in 1746.

Sir James Elphingstoun was one of the commissaries of Edinburgh and a Writer to the Signet. His wife Dame Cicell Denholm was one of the Denholms of West Shields.

Inscriptions : On ribbon at top of coat of arms: SEDULITATE

Below coat of arms: S. James Elphingstoun / D. Cicell Denholm

Signatures : None

Design period : 1746

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0376)

Archaeological Evaluation (24 April 2015 - 17 July 2015)

During the archaeological trial trench evaluation at land at Craighouse, Craighouse Road, Edinburgh, 14 trenches were excavated. Eight trenches uncovered structural evidence, most of which complied with documentary evidence. Trenches 2 and 4 revealed substantial evidence for a building to the north of Old Craig House, seen on Johnson’s 1888 map of Edinburgh as well as the 1857 and 1896 OS maps. These are likely to be post medieval outbuildings, probably demolished sometime in the late 19th / early 20th century during the construction of the New Craig complex. Trenches 5A and 5B were excavated over the now demolished western extent of the western wing and revealed a number of stone surfaces and walls. This was, again a post medieval extension to the original 16th century building. Trench 9 investigated the old boundary wall and trench 1 was hand excavated over the former dovecot (NT27SW 42). Only two trenches revealed structural evidence which was not formerly recorded: trench 7 and trench 11B. Trench 7 contained a possible wall footing or part of a foundation, a previously unknown feature. No dating evidence was found, and it is likely that this was some form of garden wall or garden feature as it lies within the boundaries of the walled garden although it could potentially predate the current building and relate to an earlier phase of occupation. Trench 11B contained one square posthole, containing 19th century pottery and glass, likely a fence post or another garden feature.

Information from Mike McElligott (Wardell Armstrong Archaeology) August 2015. OASIS ID: wardella2-220140

Standing Building Recording (1 June 2015 - 11 September 2015)

Wardell Armstrong Archaeology was commissioned by Clearbell Capital LLP to prepare a level II building survey for Old Craig, Craighouse, Edinburgh (NT 2345 7066) ) in support of a proposed redevelopment of the site into a residential area. (Ref. 12/04007/LBC).

Information from Arianne Buschmann and Richard Newman (Wardell Armstrong Archaeology) December 2015. OASIS ID: wardella2-223772

Excavation (12 May 2016 - 17 June 2016)

An archaeological excavation at the former Napier University buildings, Craighouse Edinburgh. The archaeological work was undertaken over 26 days, between the 12th May and the 17th June 2016, and comprised an initial topsoil strip (CES-C) within an area immediately to the west and northwest of Old Craig. The area measured approximately 844m2. Following the positive identification of archaeological remains during the topsoil strip, a full excavation was initiated in order to fully investigate and record those remains (CES-D). The earliest identified activity comprised the limited remains of potentially two separate structures. Limited artefactual evidence suggested that these structures dated to the late medieval/early post-medieval period. These remains were replaced by a substantial east to west aligned structure. Although only the western end of the structure survived, it was clear that the building would have had a north facing entrance and a substantial internal slabbed floor. No dating evidence associated with this building was recovered during the investigation, although map evidence indicates that the structure post-dated 1682.

Information from Mike McElligott (Wardell Armstrong Archaeology) September 2016. OASIS ID: wardella2-262686


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