Ancient Monuments

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Bishop's House,Elgin

A Scheduled Monument in Elgin City North, Moray

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Latitude: 57.651 / 57°39'3"N

Longitude: -3.3068 / 3°18'24"W

OS Eastings: 322107

OS Northings: 863093

OS Grid: NJ221630

Mapcode National: GBR L86H.MXY

Mapcode Global: WH6J7.5YMK

Entry Name: Bishop's House,Elgin

Scheduled Date: 13 March 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90141

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: precincts; Secular: house

Location: Elgin

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Elgin City North

Traditional County: Morayshire


The monument consists of the remains of Bishop's House, which stand some 50m NW of the W door of Elgin cathedral, on the west side of King Street.

Despite its name, it appears more likely that it formed the manse of the Precentor than the residence of the Bishop himself. As such it represents the only one of a number of manses belonging to members of the cathedral chapter to have survived more or less intact in its late medieval form.

The house has an L-shaped plan, comprising a main block and a jamb attached to the E end of the N wall, containing a turnpike stair below a caphouse chamber reached via a stair turret corbelled out on the N. Northward from the jamb there extends a N wing, which may possibly have been an addition. The door, in the W side of the jamb, was originally entered from a yard, which was in turn entered off a lane to the N.

The house would therefore in effect have backed on to

the main street (today's King Street). The principal block, which was set gable end to the street, contained on its ground floor a vaulted kitchen and cellar, both entered off a short passage from the stair. On the first floor was the hall with a main fireplace in the W gable and a wall-closet (pantry/buttery) entered from the screens passage

on the E.

All but the basement cellar have now collapsed; but late 19th-century drawings show the E gable to have had gableted crow-steps, a small oriel window similar to those at Balvenie Castle on the second floor, and the displayed arms of Bishop Patrick Hepburn (1535-73).

The N range contained a stable and a covered space probably for a carriage on its ground floor; from the latter, a door for pedestrians once opened to King Street but is now blocked. The upper floors contained chambers. The date 1557 is set below the crow- steps, while the N wall also has inserted in it the Royal arms and two smaller shields (one with the initials A.L.).

The area to be scheduled includes the standing structure of Bishop's House, and an area of ground the boundaries of which measure 10.67m on the E (running S from the surviving SE corner of the building along the east face of the boundary wall/fence), 15.1m on the S, 21.2m on the W, and 12.2m on the N (extending W from the surviving NW corner of the building along the N face of the boundary wall), as

shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved example of a 16th century manse belonging to one of the canons of Elgin cathedral chapter. In addition to its architectural planning and detailing, its importance is enhanced by the potential of the surrounding area for shedding further light through archaeological excavation on the building's structural development, the history of its use, and the material culture of its occupants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 26 SW 1.02.


MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1887-92) The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, 5v, Edinburgh, vol. 2, 58-60; V, 89-93.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Bishop's House, Elgin
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Related Designations

Designation TypeListed Building (A)StatusRemoved

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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