The Esplanade with its several monuments has been A-listed by Historic Scotland
In a recent announcement, Historic Scotland declared The Esplanade and its accompanying monuments as an A-listed site. This recognition highlights the historical significance, cultural value, and architectural interest of the site, ensuring its continued preservation for future generations.
Located in the heart of Edinburgh, The Esplanade stretches the space between Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, providing sweeping views of the city skyline. The area’s rich history spans several centuries, with iconic monuments paying homage to key events and figures in Scottish history.
With this A-listing designation, The Esplanade now joins a select group of sites and buildings recognized for their exceptional historical or architectural importance. These sites are afforded special protection under planning laws, ensuring that any alterations or development proposals fully consider their impact on the conservation and preservation of the site.
Historic Scotland highlighted several notable monuments within The Esplanade deserving of this prestigious status, including:
1. The Royal Scots Greys Monument – Positioned at the western end of the esplanade, this impressive statue pays tribute to the Royal Scots Greys cavalry regiment who served from 1678 until 1971. Designed by sculptor William Birnie Rhind in 1906, it features a mounted soldier atop a bronze pedestal adorned with battle honours and regimental insignias.
2. The Scottish National War Memorial – Completed in 1927 to commemorate the sacrifices made by Scottish servicemen during World War I, this magnificent structure was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. Enclosed within Edinburgh Castle’s walls, it also holds records of all military personnel from Scotland who have died in conflicts since 1914.
3. Witches’ Well – This small yet historically significant monument is a hidden gem on The Esplanade. It marks the spot where over 300 women accused of witchcraft were burned at the stake between the 16th and 18th centuries. A brass plaque featuring a serpent and foxglove accompanies this somber reminder of Edinburgh’s dark past.
4. Governors House Ruins – Nestled near Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle lies the ruins of Governors House. Once home to governors of both Scottish and British garrisons stationed at the castle, these remaining structures serve as enduring evidence of Edinburgh’s military heritage.
This A-listing takes into account not only individual monuments but also their combined significance as part of The Esplanade’s unique landscape. It is hoped that this prestigious designation will ensure continued appreciation of these essential components to Scotland’s rich history.
In response to this announcement, visitors to Edinburgh can expect access to information about these historical treasures to become even more accessible. Walking tours focusing specifically on these newly-listed monuments are expected to be offered shortly, enriching tourists’ journeys through time as they traverse The Esplanade.
This recognition from Historic Scotland solidifies The Esplanade’s role as a pivotal location in preserving Scottish heritage while serving as a touchstone for locals and tourists alike eager to experience firsthand Edinburgh’s unique past. Through their decision to grant A-listed status to these important sites, Historic Scotland has ensured future generations can continue enjoying this crucial connection to history for years to come.