We have previously written about Grade II listed buildings, alongside an extensive guide on the differences between listed building gradings in England, but we’ve yet to look at listed buildings in Scotland and the differences between Scotland and England.

Like England, in Scotland listed buildings are graded according to their historical and architectural significance. The grading system is administered by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the executive non-departmental public body responsible for the country’s historic environment.

Three Categories for Listed Properties in Scotland

Listed buildings in Scotland are classified into three categories: Category A, Category B, and Category C. When a building is listed, it means it is recognized and legally protected for its special architectural or historic interest. The grading helps to prioritize the level of protection, guide planning decisions, and ensure appropriate conservation and management. Here’s a breakdown of each grade:

Category A

These are buildings of national or international importance, considered to have exceptional architectural or historic significance.

Category A buildings are usually of outstanding architectural merit, often designed by renowned architects or associated with important historical events or figures. 7% of Listed buildings in Scotland are Category A.

Category B

Buildings in this category are regionally or locally significant due to their architectural or historical value.

While not as exceptional as Category A buildings, Category B structures still possess significant character and importance within their local context. Around 50% of listed buildings in Scotland are Category B.

Category C

This grade is reserved for buildings of lesser importance that still contribute to the overall historic or architectural fabric of an area.

Category C buildings may have more modest design features or historical associations compared to higher-graded structures. Around 43% of listed buildings in Scotland are Category C.

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. Dunrobin Castle is also one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland. You can read more about this Grade A castle here.

Key Differences between Listed Buildings in England and Scotland

While there are similarities in the listed building systems of England and Scotland, there are also some key differences. Here’s a brief comparison between the two:

Grading System
(I, II* and II vs. A, B and C)
Listed buildings are classified into three grades: Grade I, Grade II*, and Grade II. Grade I represents buildings of exceptional national importance, Grade II* denotes particularly important buildings of more than special interest, and Grade II encompasses a wide range of buildings of special interest.The grading system follows the English model but uses Category A (Grade I), Category B (Grade II*), and Category C (Grade II).
Management and AdministrationHistoric England is responsible for the listing and protection of historic buildings.Historic Environment Scotland (HES) fulfills this role
LegislationThe legal framework for listed buildings is primarily governed by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, along with subsequent regulations and guidance.The primary legislation governing listed buildings is the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997, as well as associated regulations and guidance.
Listed Properties per Square Mile
(10 vs. 1.5)
There is 50,300 square miles and around 500,000 listed buildings – that’s around 10 listed properties for every 1 square mile!There’s just over 30,000 square miles in Scotland and around 47,500 listed buildings – that’s around 3 listed properties for every 2 square miles

Listing Criteria

While the broad principles for listing are similar in both countries, the specific criteria for assessing the significance of buildings can differ. The respective listing authorities consider architectural, historic, and cultural significance when determining whether a building should be listed and at what grade.

Decision-Making Process

The decision-making process for listing and delisting buildings may differ between England and Scotland. The relevant authorities in each country consider expert advice, consultation, and public input before making decisions on listing applications or proposed changes to a building’s status.

It’s important to consult the specific guidelines and regulations applicable to each country when dealing with listed buildings, as there may be further variations and nuances within the overall systems.

Do you own a listed building in Scotland or England? Give our experienced team a call

It is important to get the right level of insurance cover to protect your historic asset. We highly recommend to give us a call or get a quote online to benefit from free listed building and contents advice from the experienced 4.9-Star Stanhope new business team.

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Written by Matthew Ashton

I started working in the insurance industry in 2004. Four years later, I left to focus on theological studies, working as a youth worker and then as a ministry director in Seattle, USA. When returning to the UK, I had an opportunity to work for the late Andrew Marchington. I joined his firm as a sales advisor when it had around ten staff members. Within three years, I was Head of Ops with a staff team of over 30 people. After a chance encounter in 2019 with Rachel Living and Will Cooper, I co-started Stanhope to build a high-value home, luxury watch, and jewellery broker synonymous with trust. I love being with Donna, my wife, and four kids when not working, cramming in the odd row, or running when I can. I am fortunate to love what I do and consider it a blessing to grow the Stanhope brand.

Matthew Ashton

Date: Thursday 6th July, 1:01am

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