History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Portcullis Gate And Argyle Tower, Edinburgh Castle

A Category A Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 55.9489 / 55°56'56"N

Longitude: -3.1997 / 3°11'58"W

OS Eastings: 325177

OS Northings: 673522

OS Grid: NT251735

Mapcode National: GBR 8MG.CZ

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.TQJW

Plus Code: 9C7RWRX2+H4

Entry Name: Portcullis Gate And Argyle Tower, Edinburgh Castle

Listing Name: Edinburgh Castle, Portcullis Gate and Argyle Tower

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395628

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48227

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

Find accommodation in


1577-84, possibly incorporating earlier fabric, and Hippolyte Jean Blanc, 1886-7. 16th century entrance tower with barrel-vaulted passage; upper work by Blanc with chequer-set machicolations, coped parapet and crenellated bartizans to NE. Squared rubble to lower section, ashlar to upper. Roll-moulded segmental-arched vaulted entrance flanked by 2 tiers of slim pilasters linked by hoodmould. Moulded string course beneath pedimented Ionic-columned aedicule containing heraldic shield with royal arms (1887); mullets and hearts alternate with tryglyphs to entablature; flanked by carved seated lions. Heavy studded timber boarded door Stone slabs to pitched roof of vaulted room above; timber studded door in round-arched roll-moulded entrance to upper room (accessed from top of Lang Steps), lit by narrow windows; stone slabs to semicircular section adjoining gable.

INTERIOR: ribbed vaulted ceiling. Segmental-arched recesses with stone window seats.

Pyramidally-coped stacks. Cast-iron downpipes with date (1887) and decorative hoppers (lion rampant).

Statement of Interest

The A Group comprises Batteries, Foog's Gate, Gatehouse, Governor's House, Great Hall, Lang Stairs, Military Prison, National War Museum, New Barracks, Old Guardhouse, Palace Block, Portcullis Gate, St Margaret's Chapel, Scottish National War Memorial, Telephone Kiosks, United Services Museum and Vaults, all within Edinburgh Castle, and in the Care of Historic Scotland. Built on the instructions of Regent Morton to replace the Constable's Tower, destroyed in siege of 1573 (mullets and hearts are armorial devices of the Douglas family). William McDowell (Master of Work) was paid for construction of the 'inner yet' in 1577. Further work to protect the portcullis was carried out under the direction of William Schaw in 1584, adding 2 upper storeys. Blanc's work, 'in the style of David II,' was paid for by the publisher William Nelson, who hoped that the Honours of Scotland would be housed in the upper room. This upper section is known as the Argyle Tower because the 9th Earl of Argyle was thought to have been imprisoned in a chamber above the Portcullis Gate before his execution in 1685.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.