Edinburgh City Wall Route

The Flodden Wall and Telfer Wall

Edinburgh City Wall Route

 The Flodden and Telfer Walls and where the Ports (Gates) into Edinburgh stood.


The Edinburgh City Wall, The Flodden and Telfer Wall, plus where the Ports or gateways into Edinburgh stood.
The first Edinburgh city wall was erected circa 1450 (The King’s Wall) and then was fortified and extended in 1513 after the Battle of Flodden. A further extension to the Edinburgh city wall was built to include Heriot’s Hospital (school) circa 1630. There was also a wall that extended to the Palace of Holyrood to surround the Canongate area, but this was not considered as a protection as was outwith the city wall. There were a total of 6 gates (gaits or Ports)  The first Port (gateway) in the wall from Edinburgh Castle where the wall started, was the West Port the road from the west into the Grassmarket at the foot of the Vennel Steps. The second Port on the wall was the Bristo Port which stood at what is now Forrest Road a plaque denotes its position, the next gateway was Potterrrow Port which would have stood at the south west corner of Edinburgh University building across Lothian Street. The next Port (gateway) was the Kow gate (Cowgate Port) which stood from the pleasance to St Mary's Wynd (Street) at the end of the Cowgate. The Main Port (Gate) into Edinburgh the Nether Bow Port was next at the foot of the High Street and the final port was Leith Wynd Port that stood next to Trinity College Church which was at the edge of the Nor Loch.  Below the Calton Hill in line with the Governor's House. for a look at what Edinburgh looked like go to the National Library of Scotland website maps.  This is a great link https://maps.nls.uk/view/74400070 come back to https://www.allaboutedinburgh.co.uk 

The Edinburgh city wall started at Edinburgh Castle went straight down (Granny Green Steps) to the west end of the grassmarket. Continued up The Vennel to join the Telfer Wall and continued on to Lauriston Place, turn left along Lauriston past Heriot’s Hospital (school) and continue along Teviot Place past the Medical School on your right. On the corner of Bristo Place above Napier's can be seen a carved tablet (Site of Town Wall 1513).  Cross the road, continue straight forward on to Lothian Street across from Bristo Square and the McEwan Hall. On your right is a tunnel under the road named Potterrow Port across from where the  south gate into Edinburgh stood. Continue down South College Street where you will see a plaque with Charles Darwin on it and at No.5 the house of the world's worst Poet William McGonnagll, on the north side of the street is the walls of Edinburgh University where the first University building stood in 1583.  Cross the road which is South Bridge you come to Drummond Street on the south corner is the cafe where J K Rowling would write her Harry Potter stories.  Continue down Drummond Street and you will pass the original gates to the first Edinburgh Infirmary and then the Flodden Wall which continues to the foot of Drummond Street turn left at the foot and the wall continues down the Pleasance hill (This is the last remaining part of the Flodden Wall). to where the Cowgate Port stood at the junction of Pleasance and St Mary Street. The Flodden Wall then continued up St Mary Street to the Nether Bow Gate at the foot of the High Street (Brass cobbles in Road outline the Port. This was the main gate into Edinburgh. The Edinburgh city wall continued Over to The foot of Calton Hill at  the back entrance to Waverley Station. This is where the Nor Loch and the Trinity College Church were situated. The Trinity College church was moved brick by brick to its present position in Chalmers Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh. The Flodden Wall ended at the edge of where the Nor Loch shore and Trinity Church stood wher the final Port (gateway stood at Leith Wynd near the Church. 

Where the Flodden Wall was Joined to the walls of Edinburgh Castle at David's Tower now the Half moon Battery.

David's tower Edinburgh Castle Half Moon Battery Flodden Wall and King's Wall

House at top of Granny Green Steps on Johnston Terrace (First City Wall) and steps to the Grassmarket route of Flodden Wall. Inscription; Erected on a site near the extremity of the ancient town wall built in the reign of James II King of Scots A.D. 1450 for the protection of Edinburgh against invasion.

Granny Green Steps Grassmarket to Johnston Terrace

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Johnston Terrace House King's Wall Plaque

The paving stones mark where the Flodden Wall stood at the foot of Granny Green Steps and poem by Sir Walter Scott.

Walter Scott's Poem (Marmion) about The Battle of Fodden 1513

From Flodden ridge,

   The Scots beheld the English host

   Leave Barmoor Wood, their evening post

   And headful watched them as they crossed

   The Till by Twizell Bridge.

High sight it is, and haughty, while

   They dive into the deep defile;

   Beneath the cavern’d cliff they fall,

   Beneath the castle’s airy wall.

By rock, by oak, by Hawthorn tree,

   Troop after troop are disappearing;

   Troop after troop their banners rearing

   Upon the eastern bank you see.

Still pouring down the rocky glen,

   Where flows the sullen Till,

   And rising from the dim-wood glen,

   Standards on standards, men on men,

In slow procession still,

   And sweeping o’er the Gothic arch,

   And pressing on in ceaseless march,

   To gain the opposing hill.

  Sir Walter Scott

   1771 - 1832

Paving Slabs highlighting where the wall stood, across the Grassmarket between Granny Green Steps and the Vennel

Flodden Wall Marker Grassmarket Edinburgh

The marker where the Flodden Wall stood at the foot of the Vennel Steps

The Vennel Steps, now been named Miss Jean Brodie Steps, that access to the Flodden Tower

Miss Jean Brodie Steps Vennel Grassmarke
The Vennel West Port Gate.JPG

The Flodden Wall this is the only remaining lookout tower of the flodden wall 

The window in the Flodden Tower

flodden wall window

The Telfer Wall in Heriot Place with Edinburgh Castle in the background

The Telfer Wall at the corner of Heriot Place and Lauriston Place

Telfer wall lauriston place and Vennal access to Grassmarket

The last part of the Telfer Wall still standing (Lauriston Place).

Town Wall Tablet Bristo Edinburgh Floddeanding Wall

Wall Tablet above Napier's The Herbalist Bristo Place

Flodden Wall Marker at Bristo

The Potterow Port stood across Lothian Street opposite the underpass

Potterrow Port Flodden Wall Route Edinburgh City Wall

The origin Infirmary Gates that stood in High School Yards at the foot of Infirmary Street 1830.

Royal Infirmary Gates Flodden Wall Route Edinburgh City Wall

The Flodden Wall in Drummond Street turning into the Pleasance Edinburgh.

Flodden Wall Drummond Street Edinburgh City Wall.

The final part of the Flodden Wall that still stands at the foot of St Mary's Street Edinburgh. The Cowgate Port stood across the entrance to the Cowgate one of the six Ports (Gates)

Flodden Wall Plaque Last remaining section of Edinburgh City Wall
Flodden Wall Corner Drummond Street and Pleasance                                                         Pleasance
Flodden Wall Pleasance Last remaining part of City Wall

The brass cobbles showing the outline of where the Nether Bow Port (Gate) stood

on the boundary of Edinburgh and the Burgh of the Canongate.  

Edinburgh's Trinity Apse Church stood below the Calton Jail Wall. It was moved when the Waverley Rail Station was built. The dismantled it brick by brick and rebuilt it in Chalmer's Close in the High Street Royal Mile.

Trinity Apse Church Nor Loch now Chalmer's Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Calton Hill from Jeffrey Street looking over where the end of the Flodden Wall stood and the shore of the Nor Loch beside the Trinity Church which is now in Chalmer's Close.

Flodden Plaque shows where the route of the Flodden wall was and where the Bristo Port once stood. 

Flodden Wall Plaque Bristo Port

This section of the Flodden wall pictured below that still stands in Grayfriars burial ground was original attached to the Flodden Tower (In Vennel up from Grassmarket) and Bristo Port which is no longer there. The Telfer Wall is now attached to the Flodden Tower and is now the main route of the Flodden Wall. 

Flodden Wall section from Vennel Tower to Bristo Port

The lines in purple are the parts of the Flodden wall and Telfer Wall still standing. The Black line shows where the wall stood to protect Grayfriars Church and Heriot's Hospital (School)

Flodden Wall West Port to Bristo Port at Grayfriars.

© 2016 by All About Edinburgh. 

started 16 / 03 /2017

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