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Edinburgh, Ravelston Dykes Road, Old Ravelston House

House (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Ravelston Dykes Road, Old Ravelston House

Classification House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) 31-33 Ravelston Dykes Road; Ravelston Tower; The Mary Erskine School For Girls

Canmore ID 52597

Site Number NT27SW 129

NGR NT 21663 73971

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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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 129 21663 73971

NT27SW 127.00 21780 74025 Ravelston House

NT27SW 127.01 22164 74450 Lodge with Gates and Gate Piers

NT27SW 127.02 21737 74082 Ice-house

NT27SW 127.03 21680 73997 Ice-house

NT27SW 127.04 21793 73790 Entrance Gateway

NT27SW 127.05 21655 73985 Wall with Fireplace

NT27SW 41 21708 73978 Dovecot

NT27SW 115 21718 73854 Garden

NT27SW 194 The Mary Erskine School for Girls

NT27SW 477 Edinburgh, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73 Queen Street


Bedford Lemere 7 27721 - 29: negatives


Edinburgh Public Library:

pen and ink sketch

sepia drawing

drawing of doorway, James Skene


Field Visit (9 November 1920)

Architectural Remains at Ravelston House.

Within the gardens of Ravelston House, which is near the suburb of Blackhall, are preserved some architectural details that survived the fire in which the original mansion was destroyed. From these it appears that the house was an L-planned structure of some elegance, and that it dated from the early 17th century. The remains comprise a range of outbuildings and a small rectangular tower, now free-standing, which houses the turnpike and in which the entrance was situated. The tower measures 12 feet from north to south and 10 ½ feet from east to west. The masonry is of rubble and has been harled; the dressings at voids have the arrises rounded off at jamb and lintel. The entrance doorway was similarly treated, but a more elaborate doorway was subsequently placed within the opening; this has survived and is in good preservation. On either jamb there is a pilaster, on which large quatrefoils are wrought in relief; the base, capital, and cornice members are plane, and not curvilinear, in section. The pilaster friezes are initialled G.F. and LB. for George Foulis, first of Ravelston, and Janet (Joneta) Bannatyne, his wife (1); the lintel is panelled and is inscribed NE QVID NIMIS (‘Moderation in all things’) 1622.

The south wall of the tower has been roughly niched to house the components of a fountain; within the niche is a female torso, nude save for a drapery caught up by the left hand at the loins. The hair is in ringlets and is rather elaborately dressed; its only covering is a small pearled cap fixed by a crescented pin or brooch. Round the neck is a pearled necklace, from which a pendant is suspended between the breasts; these are piped for the emission of water. The basin is semi-octagonal on plan and is of the projecting type.

The house was enclosed by a boundary wall, a fragment of which still remains; in this the gateway is situated. It is 7 ¼ feet wide, has a semicircular head with a quirked edge-roll on head and jambs, and is defended by a gun-loop of prolonged oval type on the north and by a quatrefoiled loop to the south.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 9 November 1920.

(1) Inquis. Spec., Edinburgh, No. 800. (See also Introd., p. xli.)

Photographic Survey (June 1960)

Photographic survey of the exterior and interior of Ravelston House, dovecot, tower of old Ravelston House and garden features, Edinburgh, by the Scottish National Buildings Record/Ministry of Works in June 1960.


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