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Canongate North 

Edinburgh Attractions

Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh is named after the canons of Holyrood Abbey and the Scots word gait meaning “road”.

The Canongate was a small district outside the Edinburgh City Walls. The lands and village of Herbegare, where the

Abbey of Holyrood was built was given to the monks by King David I in 1128 and a road that extended from Herbegare,

to the St John's Cross, this was known as Canon gait.

Houses soon were built on both sides of the road and in time the name of Herbegare was lost and the name Canongate was taken in its place. The Canongate had walls around the town which was to define the town with gates that were closed at night (Watergate). This however was no protection against invaders and the Canongate area was burnt to the ground on several occasions first by Richard II circa 1380 then 1544, 1642, 1649, and finally by Cromwell and his army in 1651.

Canongate North

Edinburgh Attractions

Canongate  Royal Mile Edinburgh

Royal Mile, Canongate North

Cranston Street (Leytht Wynd)

Mid Common Close Royal Mile

Morocco Land Royal Mile

New Street

Sibbald Walk

Shoemakers' Land

Bibleland Royal Mile

Gladstone Court Royal Mile

Old Tolbooth Wynd Royal Mile

Bowling Green Court Royal Mile

Dunbar's Close and Gardens 

Panmure Close Royal Mile

Lochend Close Royal Mile

Reid's Court Royal Mile

Campbell's Close Royal Mile

Golfer's Land Royal Mile

Brown's Close Royal Mile

Forsyth's Close Royal Mile

Galloway's Entry

White Horse Close

Water Gate

Leith (Leytht) Wynd

Cranston Street Edinburgh

Leith Wynd or Leytht Wynd (1514) was a road that started on the North Side of the Nether Bow Gate at Cranston Street and continued to the back of the Canongate (Calton Road) near to the entrance of Waverley Station on Calton Road and was used by the coaches to London. I have included Leith Wynd in the Close’s of the Royal Mile as I felt that it gives an idea of how difficult it was to get into Edinburgh prior to the New Town and the draining of the Nor’ Loch. From the Head of the Canongate Leith Wynd traveled down to the foot of Caton Hll then west around the calton Hill to joint leith street.

Cranston Street. Canongate Edinburgh

Mid Common Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Mid Common Close is one of three closes at the head of the Canongate. The other two were west common close and east common close neither survive. This was previously named Vietch’s Close. West Common Close was  High School Close and East Common Close was Logan’s Close each of the close’s gave common access to the High School. These closes were like small communities in very narrow streets with up to 100+ family homes each of the closes were previously known by other names as the owners would dictate the close name.

Mid Common Close Canongate Edinburgh

Morocco Land


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The sculpture of a Moor faces forward with arms down at his sides supporting a blank shield. The sculpture was moved from its original position on an adjoining building when the present building was being redeveloped. The story of how the land (building) was named is that a young man Andrew Grey, an Edinburgh resident, was sentenced to death for rioting. He fled to Morocco and after a number of years made his fortune and returned home and was involved in saving the life of the daughter of the Provost who was perilously ill with the plague (presumably for this his sentence was commuted). He ended up marrying her and they made their home in the building where the little statue was erected. This came to be known to the locals as “Morocco Land”.


New Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

New Street or Young Street as it was first named after Dr Thomas Young who owned the Land. The access at the Canongate was private with chains and locks to prevent unwanted visitors to the street. In 1786 it was deemed a public street but was still chained until 1819 when the chains were taken away and access was available to all from the Canongate to Back of the Canongate North or now Calton Road. At the foot of New Street is a Doorway (Jacob’s ladder) to steps that will take you to Regent Road close to the Burns Memorial and the Calton Hill.

New Street Canongate Edinburgh

Sibbald Walk


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Sibbald Walk was completed in 2017 with renovation to the housing and land which is now a Square with a Marketplace. Keeping with the tradition of the area. Named after Robert Sibbald who was the inspiration behind the Physic Garden (Royal Botanic Gardens) which lay at the foot of Leith Wynd and Calton Road not far from the foot of New Street

sibbald walk Canongate Edinburgh
Sibbald Walk New Street Square Canongate

Shoemakers’ Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Shoemakers’ Close is an old house built in 1725, four stories high in which the shoemakers used to hold their meetings. Over the entrance door is the shoemakers’ coat of arms cut in stone, a crown and rounding knife. Inscribed on the tablet is; 1725 blessed is he | that wisely do | TH the poor man’s | case consider

Shoemakers' Land, Canongate Edinburgh
Shoemakers' Hall Plaque Canongate.JPG

Bible Land (1677)


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Bible Land is the name given to the land (building) on the Canongate which has the sculpture of an open book above the front door which contains part of Psalm 133 “Behold how good a thing it is and how becoming well together such as brethren are in unity to dwell”. There is also the following text “It is an honour for men to cease from strife. Bible Land was built for the Incorporation of Cordiner’s in 1677. The Cordiner’s were leather craftsman who were incorporated in 1544.

Bibleland Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh
Bibleland Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh

Gladstone’s Court


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Gladstone Court was previously Bowling Green Close as a Bowling Green was through the archway. Later Magdalene Asylum was built where the Bowling Green was. Magdalene Asylum was for fallen women of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Royal Magdalene Asylum was founded in the Canongate in 1797. This was in Magdalene’s Entry.  Magdalene Asylum then moved to the west of Edinburgh in 1842. (Springwell House). Magdalene’s Entry was renamed in honour of the Prime Minister William E Gladstone who was the Prime Minister of Britain on four occasions. There is also a memorial statue in Coates Crescent Garden and a street on the south side near The Meadows (Gladstone Terrace). Look for the concrete stone with Old Well inscribed on it. This is where the people of the Court would get there water for drinking and washing.

Gladstone Court Canongate Edinburgh
Old Drinking Well Gladstone Court Canong

Old Tolbooth Wynd


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Old Tolbooth Wynd was named after the Tolbooth where tolls were paid for road use and other charges. First mention of the Tolbooth of the Canongate was in 1477. It was later extended in 1591 and was the municipal centre and Jail for the residents of the Canongate. The People’s Story museum opened in 1989 telling the history of the people and area.

The inscription on the wall reads; S.L.B (Sir Lewis Bellenden)  PATRIAE ET POSTERIS (Country and Posterity). The triangle above the Canongate coat of arms shield with date 1128 inscription reads; James VI | IVSTICIA  ET PIETAS  VALIDE SVNT PRINCIPIS ARCES ( Justice and Compassion are the Fortification of King)

Canongate Coat of Arms with inscription
Old Tolbooth Wynd and Tolbooth. Canongat
Tolbooth Canongate Wall Tablet Edinburgh



Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Tolbooth is a late 15th century building. It served only the Burgh of Canongate. A bronze wall tablet can be seen with the Canongate coat-of-arms and date 1128. The Tolbooth was the town’s jail and administrative centre. The western part of the Royal Mile the High Street was in Edinburgh and had its own Tolbooth which is no longer there.  Its place is marked by the Heart of Midlothian. You can find a Tolbooth in most towns to this day but none are used as jails.

The large bronze plaque is a memorial who died in the world wars.

Tolbooth Canongate  Edinburgh Old Jail

The People’s Story

Museum Canongate

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Canongate Tolbooth is home to The People’s Story Museum, telling the story all about the people who have lived in Edinburgh from its beginning.

People's Story
The People's Story Museum Canongate Edin

Canongate Kirk


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The present Canongate Kirk building opened in 1691. The first building now in ruins beside Holyrood House opened in 1128. This 17th century Canongate Kirk was designed by James Smith, The Canongate Kirk is unique among Scottish churches of this period. Buried in the churchyard are several famous Scots including the economist Adam Smith. The Queen, when in residence at the Palace of Holyrood House, will use this as her local place to worship. Princess Anne’s Daughter (Zara Philips) married England rugby union captain Mike Tindal here in June 2011.

Canongate Kirk
Canongate Kirk Royal Mile Canongate Edin

Mercat Cross


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Mercat Cross originally stood in the middle of the road outside the Tolbooth and was moved next to the Tolbooth in the 1730s to make way for the increasing traffic. The Mercat Cross was moved to its present location in the early 1950s. Every town (Burgh) in Scotland had a Mercat cross, which would stand in the middle of a market square and on occasion be the place people would be chain for a crime and have rotten fruit and vegetables thrown at them by passers-by. The Cross was used as a pillory and had Jougs (neck and leg irons attached).

Canongate Mercat Cross Canongate Edinbur

Robert Fergusson

Plaque inscription reads;

Robert Fergusson was born just up the road in Cap & Feather Close (now demolished).

He studied at the Royal High School, Dundee Grammar School and the University of St. Andrews.

The death of his father cut short his life as a student. To support his widowed mother and family he returned home to Edinburgh in 1772 and took an ill-paid job as a copyist clerk in the Commissary Office.

His poetic career lasted just three years. In 1774 he injured himself falling down a flight of steps and was incarcerated in the Edinburgh Bedlam as a madman. Despite his early death, he died at the tender age of 24, he packed an intense outburst of creative energy into the last years of his life. His poetry in Scots expresses the character spirit and very taste and smell of the Edinburgh of his day.

Fergusson is so much the poet of Edinburgh that later figures including Robert Burns, R.L.Stevenson and Robert Garioch all acknowledged him as one of the sources of their inspiration. He is buried in this graveyard.

He was nine years older than Robert Burns but they never met.

Robert Burns on arriving in Edinburgh found Robert Fergusson had been buried here in a pauper's grave.

He paid for the gravestone which you can see if you walk round the left-hand side of the church.

Read on... "The Dark Days", "Caller Oysters", "To The Tron Kirk Bell" and

"Auld Reikie Will Tak Yer Mind Into the Mirk O' Lang Syne"

Plaque presented to our friends the people of Scotland, by the Burns Society of the City of New York and St. Andrew's Society of the State of New York.

Robert Fergusson Statue Canongate Edinbu
Robert Fergusson. Statue Plaque Canongate Edinburgh

Canongate Kirk

Burial Ground

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Among the people who are interned in the Canongate graveyard are Robert Adam Economist and author of The Wealth of Nations, Sir William Fettes Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Tea and Wine Merchant and founder of Fettes College, Agnes MacAlees (CLARINDA) Robert Burns one true love – the love affair was to last until their death,   David Rizzio Mary Queen of Scots private secretary, Robert Fergusson Royal Poet and inspiration to Robert Burns.

Canongate Kirk Burial Ground Canongate E

David Riccio

(Rizzio) Grave 

David Rizzio (Riccio) born 1533 – died 1566. Mary Queen of Scots’ private secretary and confidante, David Rizzio, was assassinated in the Palace of Holyrood House by Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley and a group of his allies on the 9th March 1566. This was his first steps to take over and rule as King. It was a short power struggle as Lord Darnley was murdered on the 10th February 1567, less than one year later. David Rizzio was of Italian descent from near Turin and was known as David Rizzio, David Riccio or David Rizzo.

David Rizzio's Grave,Canongate Kirk Edin
David Riccio's Grave,Canongate Kirk Edinburgh

Adam Smith

1723 – 1790 Grave

Adam Smith lived in Panmure House in Lochend Close in the Canongate and is buried in the Canongate Kirk Graveyard, behind the Canongate Kirk. Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. He was one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1776 The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Smith is cited as the father of modern economics. In 2009 Adam Smith was named among the “Greatest Scots” of all time, in a vote run by Scottish television. The inscription on the paving stone outside Canongate Kirk reads: HERE WITHIN THE CHURCHYARD | OF | CANONGATE KIRK | IS THE GRAVE | OF | ADAM SMITH | 1723 – 1790 | BORN IN KIRKCALDY FIFE | INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED | ECONOMIST | AUTHOR OF | “THE WEALTH OF NATIONS”

Adam Smith Memorial Paving Stone Canonga

Robert Fergusson

(Poet) Grave

Robert Fergusson was the inspiration to Robert Burns to make him the poet he turned out to be. Robert Fergusson died at the age of 24 in 1774. Robert Burns, to show how much respect he had for his fellow artist, paid for his headstone and wrote his inscription.

No sculptur’d marble here, nor pompus lie,

No story’d urn nor animated bust;

This simple stone directs pale Scotia’s way

To pour her sorrows o’er her poet’s dust.

Robert Fergusson's Grave Canongate Kirk

Agnes Maclehose

(Clarinda) Grave

Agnes Maclehose (CRAIG) Agnes Maclehose (1759-1841) was known as Nancy. Nancy first came to Edinburgh to live in Potterrow near the corner with Marshall Street after her husband left her to make his fortune in Jamaica. Robert Burns first meet with Nancy on the 4th December 1787 at afternoon tea and the assignation started. Mishap and misfortune stopped them from meeting for some time but they wrote to each other regularly. The love affair was to last until their death but their last meeting was in December of 1791 when Nancy left for Jamaica to be with her now wealthy husband. Read the famous letters written with code names Nancy being (Clarinda), Rabbie being (Sylvander) and not to forget the love song to Nancy `Ae Fond Kiss’.


Sir William Fettes

Grave Tomb

Sir William Fettes was born in 1750 and died in his home in Charlotte Square Edinburgh. A wealthy land owner with several estates, his main estate at Comleybank where Fettes School was built with money left in his estate to give free education to the poor fatherless children of Edinburgh. It was a boy’s only school until it went fully co-educational in 1981. William Fettes was knighted in 1804 and was Lord Provost of Edinburgh on 2 occasions.

William Fettes Grave Canongate Kirk Edin

Dunbar’s Close and Gardens


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Dunbar’s Close was named after the owner of the tenement at that time, an Edinburgh lawyer David Dunbar. Take a walk through Dunbar’s Close for a look at a 17th century style garden with views of Calton hill, the Nelson Monument and Burns memorial in the background. On your right of the gates as you enter are Cadell House and Panmure House, the latter is where Adam Smith lived and died (1772-1790).

Dunbar Close Canongate Royal Mile Edinbu
canongate tenements Dunbar's Close Canon

Dunbar’s Close and Gardens


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Mushroom Trust Plaque reads; Dunbar Close Garden was laid out in the character of  an Edinburgh 17th century garden in 1977 when it was donated by The Mushroom Trust of the City of old Edinburgh.


Panmure Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Panmure House, is where the Jacobite Earl of Panmure had his town house and later the Countess of Aberdeen occupied the house before Adam Smith lived and died here from 1772 till 1790. Adam Smith is buried in the Canongate Kirk Graveyard and his statue is in the High Street near to St Giles Cathedral.

The poppies on the gates were to show that this was the access to the Lady Haig Poppy factory between 1931– 1965.

Access to Panmure house is at 115 Canongate Little Lochend Close.

Panmure Close Canongate Edinburgh
Panmure Close Plaque Canongate Royal Mil

Cadell House

Panmure Close


William Cadell was born in 1668 and died in 1728. He was an Edinburgh merchant and freeman of Edinburgh. William Cadell’s grandson was a founder of the Carron Company Iron Works of Falkirk. The largest iron works of its type in Europe for circa 100 years. Cadell house was restored and converted to apartments in 1954. 

Caddell House Canongate Panmure Close Ed
Caddell and Panmure Houses  fome Panmure

Panmure House


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Panmure House is now a museum, visitor attraction. The house was built circa 1685 for the Earls of Panmure as a town house with their main residence in Panbride Angus. Adam Smith purchased the property in 1776 after the death of his mother who he lived with in Kirkcaldy (this is where he wrote "The Wealth of Nation") from 1767.

He lived in Panmure House till his death in 1790.

Panmure House
panmure House Canongate Edinburgh

Lochend Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Lochend Close has two entrances and at one time there was Little Lochend Close and Lochend Close Lochend comes from being at the end of Calton Crags and the Nor Loch which was at that time in the parish of Restalrig. This name was given by the owner of the house at the end of the close William Ferguson of Loch end Restalrig. Also entrance to Panmure House.

Lochend Close Canongate Royal Mile Edinb

Reid’s Court


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Reid’s Court takes its name from Edinburgh brewer and magistrate Andrew Reid who lived here in the 1770s. The house was first the home to Lord Advocate Sir John Nisbet and was built in 1624. It is now the Manse where the minister of the Canongate Kirk lives.

Reid's Court Kirk Manse Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh

Campbell’s Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Campbell’s Close previously Rae’s Close. Campbell’s Close was named after George Campbell Bailie of the Canongate.

Known as Campbell’s Land there were many famous lived here Archbishop of St Andrews Arthur Ross and

the 13th and 14th Earl of Morton.

Brown’s Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The name of the Close comes from a Joseph Brown who was a baker and had premises further up the Canongate. He purchase Paterson’s Land (Golfer’s Land) which was a tenement and land from John Paterson who built the tenement with proceeds from a Golf match.

Golfer's Land  (Brown's Close) 


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Brown’s Close or Golfer’s Land is a tenement building purchased with winnings from a 4 ball golf match between Baillie John Paterson and The Duke of York (King James VII) and two English noblemen. During the 1600s two English noblemen attached to the court of the Duke of York (to be King James VII) were challenged by the Duke to a golf match on Leith Links. The Duke’s partner was shoemaker John Paterson a descendent from a long line of golfers. The English noblemen were beaten and the Duke rewarded Paterson with the stakes that had been played for, which enabled Paterson to build a tenement building which he called Golfer’s Land. The building is no longer on the site as it was demolished in 1960. In 1664 Charles I (The Duke’s father) bestowed on the Duke of York the American provinces previously controlled by the Dutch now renamed in his honour, New York. The Duke succeeded to the crown in 1685, and died in 1701. In 1688, his wife Queen Mary gave birth to a son who was later to be father to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Reid's Court Kirk Manse Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh
Glofer's Land Brown's Close.JPG

Golfer's Land Plaque

On this site stood the tenement known as Golfer’s | Land. It was built in the 17th Century by the bailie John | Paterson.

The golfer with, it is said, his share of | the stake from a Golf match when he partnered | The Duke of York

(afterwards James VII) against two | English noblemen. The bronze coat of arms is a | copy of a stone carving which was built into | Golfers Land. Another panel with Latin inscription | by Dr Pitcairne, which may be seen in the courtyard | to the rear. Links the Paterson family with the | building and the name of golf.

The Plaque with the coat of arms that shows a hand holding a golf club above a helmet and shield with three stars and three Swans the Paterson Coat of arms and an inscription that reads:

(Top) Far and Sure (Foot) I HATE NO PERSON, an anagram of "John Patersone."

Paterson Coat Of Arms Golfers' Land Canongate Edinburgh

Whitefoord House


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Whitefoord House ids part of Galloway's Entry where the Earl of Winton’s’ town mansion, better known as

Lord Seytoun’s lodging in the Canongate. In front of the mansion, in which

Sir Walter Scott lays some of the scenes of the “Abbot”.

There was a tavern built chiefly of lath and plaster, known as “Jenny Ha’s”. The landlady was famous for her claret. Gay,

the poet, is said to have frequented the tavern during his short stay in Edinburgh. It was a custom for the merchants and distinguished gentlemen of Edinburgh to adjourn after dinner parties, to enjoy claret and merrymaking at Jenny Ha’s.

Whitefoord House Canongate Edinburgh
Galloway's Entry Canongate Edinburgh

Forsyth’s Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Forsyth’s Close was a Coach Maker’s Yard owned by Alexander Forsyth who purchased the land in 1719 and passed on to his son also Alexander who was a coach maker in London. Forsyth’s Close now gives entry to Whitefoord House.

Forsyth's Close. Canongate Edinburgh

Galloway’s Entry


Royal Mile Edinburgh

John Galloway owned land and had a stable, Alexander Galloway also had Stables. The land of Forsyth’s Close and Galloway’s Entry with a now missing Ramsay’s Close all seem to have had stables on the land with two main Houses Callendar House to the west and Whitefoord House on the east both now veterans residence Whitefoord House being the site where the Earl of Winton had a mansion house which became known as Lord Seytoun’s Lodgings. The Plaque at the main entrance to the building reads; In memory of Charles M Pelham Burn First Chairman of this institution to whose personal influence and exertions is mainly due to the successful establishment of this residence for Veterans of the Navy and Army to whom its hospitality might be acceptable in the days of their old age and necessity.

Galloway's Entry Canongate Edinburgh
Charles Pelham Burn Plaque Canongate Edinburgh

White Horse Close


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The original owner of the land where White Horse Close stands was a Laurence Ord who built houses stables and a tavern (Ord’s Tavern) in a courtyard that was gated to the south and was named Laurence Ord’s Close. This was once where the Royal Mews was situated and Queen Mary kept her Horse which was a palomino (White Horse). The origin of the close being called White Horse Close. Laurence Ord sold the land and buildings to a John Mitchell in 1695 and he then sold it on to Nicol Graham in 1745 who in turn sold it on to John Davidson in 1752. On the walls in White Horse Close look for the plaques of William Dick founder of the Edinburgh veterinary college (The Royal Dick Vet) and Ord’s Tavern. The plaque can be found on the wall of the house at the back of the courtyard where the Inn was. This area was also said to have been used in 1745 by the officers of the Jacobite army prior to the battle of Prestonpans lead by Bonnie Prince Charlie.

White Horse Close Canongate Edinburgh

White Horse Close

Ord's Inn (Tavern) 

The White Horse Inn at the back of White Horse Close (Ord’s Tavern) in the Canongate is where a plaque denotes that this was the first point when leaving by coach to London. This is not correct as records show that the coaches left from the Head of the Canongate, there is a White Horse Inn at the top of the Canongate which is connected to Boyd’s Entry and Boyd’s Close in

St Mary Street or White Horse Close as it was often Called. There once was an entrance in the Canongate Boyd’s Close now Gullan’s Close and an entrance from Boyd’s Entry as there had to be stables for the horses and a place for the coaches. 

Boyd’s Entry is the original starting point for the coach and horses. There are a number of plaques that have been put up stating this, also when Boyd advertised the Inn for sale, it was advertised with stables for 100 horses and 20 coaches.

The first coaches set of for London in 1712.

Ord's Tavern White Horse Close

William Dick (Plaque)

White Horse Close



The founder of the Edinburgh Veterinary College William Dick was born in 1793 in White Horse Close in the Canongate. William Dick was educated at Mr Kesson’s school in Shakespeare Square which was located at the east end of Edinburgh at the foot of the North Bridge. The square was demolished in 1860. The first veterinary College was in Clyde Street on the site of where the present bus station is now. The College moved to the site of Summerhall, William Dick the Veterinary Science department is now at the Bush Estate. In 1906, the College was named the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College and became part of the University of Edinburgh in 1951.

William Dick Plaque White Horse Close Ca

The Girth Cross


Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Girth Cross just like the Mercat Cross in the High Street, was a place for public proclamations, and executions. One of the most famous to take place here was that of the beautiful Jean Livingston (Lady Warriston), daughter to the Laird of Dunipace and wife of John Kincaid of Warriston. On the 2nd July 1600 she had Robert Weir, a servant of her father, batter her husband to death, an idea given to her by her nurse.  Both the nurse and Lady Warriston were arrested and convicted of the murder of her husband, John Kincaid of Warriston. The nurse was burned on the Castlehill at 4 o’clock in the morning and at the same time Lady Warriston was beheaded by the “Maiden” (early type of guillotine) at the Girth Cross at the foot of the Canongate. This device, which can still be seen at the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, Edinburgh, claimed over 150 victims during its period of use, including, Regent James Douglas 4th Earl of Morton, who originally introduced the “Maiden” from France. The servant Robert Weir was broken on the Breaking Wheel in 1603 for his crime (a brutal and agonising death).

Setts showing the position of the Girth

Russell House


Royal Mile Edinburgh

Russell House was named after Sir Robert Russell for all the effort he took to have the building saved for posterity.

This is an example of a 17th Century tenement that the local Edinburgh people of the time would have live in.

The Canongate was founded in 1140. King David I gave permission to the Canons of Holyrood Abbey to create the Burgh and it became part of Edinburgh in 1856. Above the doorway on the lintel is inscribed WL MA 1697

this could be from another building as it was common for reuse of stone work.

The initials would represent the name of the owner of the property and his intended wife and the date of their marriage). 

Russell House was built on what was the site of St Thomas’s Hospital built in 1541 by George Crichton.

Russell House Canongate Edinburgh.JPG
Russell House Canongate Edinburgh
Russell House Door Lintel Canongate Edin
royal mile canongate edinburgh russell h



Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Water Gate (Water Yett) was found at the foot of the Canongate on the north side near to White Horse Close. It was named the Watergate as a pond for watering horse dominated the area. There was a gated archway that stood across the road adjoining the buildings on the Canongate to the ones at the Abbey, some called Abbey Gate.

The gate was locked at night for security.

Watergate Access to Canongate

This is a list of the closes, entry's and courts that were in the Canongate prior to 1600.

Some of the closes could have up to 250 people living in them.

There are many different name signs in the Royal Mile each with a specific meaning.



 A narrow roadway open at both ends with housing on each side


A Wynd that has been widened.


 A passageway to a courtyard or to another street  which had housing of both sides


A way into a closed courtyard which had housing around the open courtyard


A closed area with housing around the open courtyard


A Gateway

Canongate Northside

Close's of the past and the ones that still remain

Flesh Market Close  

Couls Close

West Common Close

Mid Common Close

East Common Close

Rae’s Close

Morrocco’s Close

Seton’s Close

Kinloch’s Close

Ayr Bank Close

Jack’s Close

Jack’s Court

Shoemaker’s Close

Bowling Green Close

Aitken’s Close

Tolbooth Wynd

Bakehouse Close

Dunbar’s Close

Panmuir Close

Brown’s Close

Monro’s Close

Lochend’s Close

Reid’s Yard

Campbell’s Close

Sommervile’s Close,

Malloch’s Close

Forsyth’s Close

Galloway’s Close

Ramsay’s Close

Duncan’s Close

 White Horse Close

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