In situ, high-temperature energy-dispersive X-ray powder diffraction (EDXRD) data have been collected on synthetic and a natural sample of mercury sulphide (HgS). These measurements were made between temperatures of 295 and 798 K. Synthetic samples of HgS were prepared by reaction between sulphide and mercury in aqueous solution. In a subsequently dried and aged synthetic HgS sample, heated in vacuo, there is a change from a poorly crystalline pseudocubic material into a well crystalline cubic material in the temperature region 583–623 K. At higher temperature (748 K), there is evidence for a partial phase transition to the high temperature hypercinnabar HgS structure. In a neoformed synthetic sample, heated in a sealed Ti container, the initial `pseudocubic' metacinnabar phase partially transforms to a previously unknown phase (XHgS) in the temperature range 467–522 K. This phase disappears at 527 K, and the metacinnabar phase changes to a well crystalline cubic phase; cinnabar develops at 542 K. The proportion of cinnabar continues to increase up to 647 K. Both metacinnabar and cinnabar phases are retained on cooling. No phase transitions were observed for the natural cinnabar sample.