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High Street 4

Lower Northside

Attractions Edinburgh

The Gates of Old Edinburgh at the Nether Bow up to the Tron Kirk which was the centre of old Edinburgh.

The High Street Lower area on the northside all the closes and attractions, from the oldest house and the renovated Trunk's close area there is much to see.  

High Street Lower North side Royal Mile

Nether Bow Brass Cobbles

High Street

Lower North Side

Attractions Edinburgh

The outline of the Nether Bow Port can still be seen by the way of brass setts (cobbles) in the crossroads of St Mary's Street, Jeffrey Street the High Street and Canongate.

Nether Bow Gate Setts High Street Edinbu

Nether Bow

High Street Royal Mile

Edinburgh City Gates.

There were walls around the city of Edinburgh with gates known as Ports, 6 in all. The Nether Bow was the most important gateway as it stood at the foot of the High Street. The port (Gate) access to and from the Canongate, which was at that time a separate Burgh. The walls were built originally for defence against invading armies into Edinburgh after 1513 the battle of Flodden. The Nether Bow, was rebuilt many times, the last time it was rebuilt was in 1606. In the 1700s the demolition of sections of the wall began. The Nether Bow was pulled down in 1764, and demolition of the wall continued into the 19th century. Today, a number of sections of the three successive walls survive, although none of the ports remain. You can see and find out more about Edinburgh’s history in the Museum of Edinburgh in the Canongate.

Nether Bow Gate Plaque High Street Royal

Nether Bow Clock

The clock that was centre of the Nether bow gate tower was preserved and moved to orphans hospital (Dean Gallery) near Dean Church in the Ravelston area of Edinburgh.

Nether Bow Gate Clock on Dean Gallery Ed

Baron Maule’s Close

High Street Royal Mile


Baron Maule’s Close, Baron John Maule also Baron of Panmure and Benvie purchased a house in the close circa 1710 as all closes and courts in old Edinburgh the family name would determine the close or court name.

Baron Maule's Close High Street Edinburg

Nether Bow Bell

Nether Bow Stone Carved Plaque

The great bell being hung originally in 1621 was cast in Holland and can be seen at the top of the bell tower above the main entrance of the Story Telling Centre. The Stone carved tablet on the wall of the centre was originally on the Nether Bow Gate.

Nether Bow Bell High Street Royal Mile E
Nether Bow Tablet High Street Edinburgh

Storytelling Centre

High Street Royal Mile


The Scottish Storytelling Centre allows access to John Knox House, the oldest house in Edinburgh, the Nether Bow Theatre, and is the headquarters of the Scottish Storytelling Network. The Storytelling Court is open to the public, and has an exhibition for children. There is a book shop, gift shop and Licensed Café for all to use.

Story telling Centre
Storytelling Centre High Street Edinburgh

John Knox House

High Street Royal Mile


The house John Knox lived in can be found at the Nether bow in the High Street Edinburgh next to Mowbray House.

This is one of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh built in the 1470s. John Knox House was first the residence of the Abbot of Dunfermline George Durie. John Knox was born in 1510 and was a Scottish clergyman and leader of the Protestant Reformation and was also considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination. There is a statue of John Knox in the inner quadrangle of the Assembly Hall on the Mound. He also had a house in Warriston’s Close and his grave is in the car park No.23 at the back of St Giles Cathedral.

John Knox House
John Knox House, High Street Edinburgh

 Nether Bow Wellhead

High Street Royal Mile


The final Wellhead in the Royal Mile or you could say in Edinburgh as the gates to Edinburgh were a short distance away at the Nether Bow Port (Gate). The first drinking water to be distributed to the people of Edinburgh was by the way of Wellheads which were supplied by pipes that came from the reservoir at Castlehill, now the Edinburgh Weaving Mill. The water supply was connected in 1676. The spring water came from Comiston Springs in the south near the Blackford Hill to the reservoir (storage tank) at Castlehill and from there it was pumped through pipes to the wellheads in the streets of Edinburgh. You will see on the Wellheads at the Nether Bow, Grassmarket and Lawnmarket were the water came out of the Wellhead the spouts were of ugly faces. The Nether Bow Wellhead was originally the Fountain Wellhead as is stood outside Fountain Court and then it was moved to its present position in 1813 due to heavy traffic (coach and horses). This is the oldest Wellhead that has survived and was built in the late 1600s.

Nether Bow Wellhead High Street Royal Mi
Nether Bow Wellhead Plaque, High Street

Mowbray House

High Street Royal Mile


George Jameson born in Aberdeen in 1588 was recognised as the best portrait painter of his time from the British Isles. He lived in Mowbray House and died in 1644 in Edinburgh and is buried in Greyfriars Churchyard. His work can be seen in the National Gallery of Scotland on the Mound. Mowbray House is on the left side going down Trunk’s Close.      

George Jameson Mowbray House High Street
Mowbray House Trunk's Close, Edinburgh
Mowbray House in Trunk's Close High Stre

Trunk’s Close

High Street Royal Mile


This Trunk’s Close has had many names including Purvis, Stirling’s and Bryson’s Close and its name derived from the Turing’s of Foveran from Aberdeen. James Turing built a tenement in the Close. Stirling’s Close was William Stirling and Bryson’s Close was a rebuilt tenement owned by Andrew Bryson. The owners of tenements in closes usually called the close after their family name.

Trunk's Close High Street Royal Mile Edi
Cockatoo Sculpture Hope's Court Trunk's

Sir Patrick Geddes

Trunk's Close Edinburgh

In Trunk’s Close is a monument to Sir Patrick Geddes and a modern art sculpture of a Cockerel with a garden named Sandeman House Garden where the Scottish Book Trust is housed.  The rear of the Trinity College Apse can also be seen.  The families that lived in the close previously were named Turning, Bryson, Purvis and Stirling and Hope which evidence is still visible between circa 1450 and 1750. Ashley Buildings were also in the close now demolished. On the way down Trunk’s Close from the High street on the east (right) side of the close is the main wall of Mowbray House which has been standing over 500 years. 

Sandeman House Gardens Trunk's Close Roy
Sir Patrick Geddes Statue, Trunk's Close
Hope's Court Back Door. High Street Edin
Hope's Court slab High Street Royal Mile

Monteith’s Close

High Street Royal Mile


Monteith’s Close was named after the owner John Morrison (Moriesone) who built a large house on the east side of the close. Monteith’s Close was also known as Fleming’s land where Patrick Fleming and his family lived circa 1520 for over 200 years.  Names of lands and closes were named by the owners of the property and a Monteith had a booth / shop at the head of the close and named the close after himself. Now it is Monteith’s Restaurant.   

Monteith Close, High Street

Carrubber’s Mission

High Street Royal Mile


Carrubber’s Close Mission is a non-denominational Evangelical church in the High Street Edinburgh.  The Atheist Meeting House was founded in 1858 in Carrubber’s Close to be found a few yards up the High Street towards Edinburgh Castle. The American Evangelist D.L Moody came to Edinburgh and was successful in raising funds to open the present mission hall in 1883. To this day Carrubber’s Christian Mission continues to have strong trans-Atlantic links. 

Carrubber's Mission Hall High Street Edinburgh

Chalmer’s Close

High Street Royal Mile


Chalmer’s Close This close was named after a Patrick Chalmers a craftsman and belt maker in 1682. It is the place the Trinity College Church was to be rebuilt as a concession to being removed to allow the Edinburgh railway station and rail lines to be built. However all that was completed was the apse of the Trinity College Church in circa 1876 almost 30 years after being taken down from its original site. This is the only surviving area of the Trinity College Church founded in 1460 which was moved brick by brick from its original site where the Waverley Station is now. Inside are the Pictish standing stones and medieval church brasses, also a shortcut to Jeffrey Street Edinburgh and the Waverley Rail Station.

Chalmer's Close High Street
Chalmer's Close Trinity Apse Plaque
Chalmer's Close High Street Royal Mile E
Trinity Apse Church Chalmer's Close Hih Street Edinburgh

Paisley Close

Royal Mile High Street


Paisley Close once known as East Bailie Fyfe’s Close stood for over 250 years and then fell down into itself and a new close was built named Paisley Close this was originally East Bailie Fyfe’s Close which would coincide with the reason the ornate entrance dedicated to the survivor of when the tenement fell down. On 10 November 1861 a building that had stood for 250 years sunk into the ground (107 High Street Edinburgh) burying the residents of the building.35 were found dead and on clearing the rubble the rescuers heard a voice from beneath the collapsed building.  “Heave awa lads I’m no deid yet”. The rescuers pulled the boy (Joseph McIver) to safety and the town had the sculpture placed above the new named close in his memory, with the inscription which has been modified to read. “HEAVE AWA CHAPS I’M NO DEAD YET”

Paisley Close High Street Royal Mile Edi
Paisley Close East Bailie Fyfe's Close.J

Bailie Fyfe’s Close

Royal Mile High Street


Bailie Fyfe’s Close was named after Gilbert Fyfe, an Edinburgh merchant and Bailie of the City circa 1680, who lived in a house in the Close. Previously named Barry’s Close, and Trotter’s Close after John Trotter Laird of Mortonhall from 1635 when he acquired the Barony of Mortonhall.

Bailie Fyfe's Close Lintel High Street E
Bailie Fyfe's Close High Street Royal Mi

Window Lintel

above Bailie Fyfe’s Close  

Look up to above the window on the 2nd Floor and you will see a carved lintel (marriage stone) with the initials of the couple that would have lived here at that time, the initials JT (John Trotter) and JM (Janet MacMath) and the date 1612. The Land (tenement) was once called Trotter’s Close in 1635 John Trotter became laird of Mortonhall, John Trotter was born in 1553 and died in 1641. He had 2 children, when John Trotter died he was buried in the Greyfriars Kirkyard where the Trotter of Mortonhall family mausoleum stands. Later William Fettes Grocers occupied a building at the top of Bailie Fyfe’s Close circa 1789.

Lintel Marriage Stone High Street Edinbu

Morrison’s Close Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

Morrison’s Close in 1783 was where women of position could have their clothes made

by a London fashion House “Chemize de Lorraine”.

Morrison's Close High Street Royal Mile
Morrison's Close High Street Royal Mile

Window Lintel above

Morrison’s Close  

The initials on the lintel above the window read; JS and CS with the date 1902 are the initials of the developers and petitioners J & G Stewart Ltd and the date of renovations completed on the tenement. The developers using an old Scottish tradition of who owned the property. This was usually, the husband and wife’s initials on the taking ownership or their marriage date.

high street marriage stone Royal Mile Ed

North Gray’s Close

High Street Royal Mile


North Gray’s Close was associated with the Edinburgh merchant Sydserf who lived here with his family and in 1581 he had a son who became a well-known figure in the church He graduated from Edinburgh in 1602 and joined the ministry in 1611 later becoming the Bishop of Brechin and later of Orkney.

North Gray's Close High Street Edinburgh
North Gray's Clos High Street Royal Mile

Bishop’s Close

Royal Mile High Street


Bishop’s Close was also part of Bishop’s Land, a large mansion house could be access from either close.  Henry Dundas was born 28 April 1742 in the house known as 'Bishop's Land' and a Dr Demainbray lived in the close and had a boarding school for girls in 1746 after fighting for the English at Prestonpans. He was also said to have found the way to accelerate growth in plants by electrical current being applied.

Bishops Close High Street Royal Mile Edi

Carruber’s Close

High Street Royal Mile


Carrubber’s (Carruber’s) ( Carruthebber’s) Close many spellings but originally named after William De Caradris a Bailie of Edinburgh in 1454 also a James Hay of Carruber owned land and a coal yard on the east side of the present Carrubber’s close. This is a part of Bishop’s Land as this is where the Archbishop of St Andrews (John Spottiswood) resided in 1615. Henry Viscount Melville was born here in 1741. A fire destroyed 4 tenements in 1758 and then the area was destroyed by fire in 1814. The Tailor’s Hall was also present in Carrubber’s Close whose charter was granted in 1531. At the foot of the close was a theatre. On the land is now the Old St Paul’s Church. Carrubber’s Close was also the Last stronghold of the Jacobites.

Carrubber's Close High Street
Carrubber's Close High Street.JPG
Carruber's Close High Street Royal Mile
Spottiswoode House Carruber's Close High
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