High Street

Upper Southside

Royal Mile

 All About Edinburgh

High Street History

High Street was the most populated part of Edinburgh, with tenement buildings up to 11 stories high. On November 15th 1824 a tenement of 11 stories on the upper or High Street West, southside caught alight and was the beginning of the worst fire in the history of Edinburgh. Starting at around 10 pm that evening the fire spread from the tenement in Assembly Close to buildings in Old Fishmarket close. Down to the Tron Kirk in the east. It also spread south along the Cowgate. The fire was finally extinguished the next morning 12 hours from when it had started. That was not the end, as another fire started at 10 pm that evening which destroyed what was left on the south side of the High Street. All but St Giles Cathedral and the Parliament buildings were saved. Over four hundred families were left homeless.

High Street

Upper Southside

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The High Street in the Royal Mile can be found between the Royal Mile Lawnmarket and the Royal Mile Canongate. The first part of the High Street, the upper High Street or High Street West is from the junction of St Giles Street and the cross roads at the North and South Bridges. In this section you will find  West Parliament Square, the Signet Library, Parliament House, Charles II Statue, Heart of Midlothian, St Giles Cathedral,  John Knox Statue and grave, Mercat Cross, Advocates Close, Edinburgh City Chambers, Real Mary Kings Close, Tron Kirk and many close's and courts. Which are all below.

High Street Royal Mile (Upper) Edinburgh
High Street  Upper  Royal Mile  Edinburgh

West Parliament Square

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

West Parliament Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh is the Square on the west of St Giles Cathedral. A statue of the 5th Duke of Buccleuch stands in the middle with the houses of Parliament, Signet library, St Giles Cathedral (west entrance) and the County Building on three sides. In the cobbles are the Heart of Midlothian, dates on cobbles near the statue and brass cobbles showing the outline of the old Tolbooth. Above the the door to St Giles Cathedral are statues of kings and bishops.

Lothian Chambers

West Parliament Square

Royal Mile Edinburgh 

The Lothian Chambers Building was built in 1904 and was used for the administration of Midlothian Council. The building is now used as a venue for marriages. On the corner of the building at the Lawnmarket is a plaque showing the place where the last person in Edinburgh was hanged. A man in his early 30’s battered and slit the throat of a 23-year-old girl in a crime of passion. The brass cobbles in the street show where the gallows were

lothian chambers West Parliament Square

5th Duke of Buccleuch Statue

West Parliament Square

Royal Mile Edinburgh 

The statue of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott (1806 – 1884) the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and the 7th Duke of Queensbury was erected in West Parliament Square Edinburgh High Street in 1888. The Duke of Buccleuch was born in Dalkeith House Midlothian and was a very wealthy land baron. He became the Duke on the death of his father at the age of 13. He was knighted in 1835 and served in Prime Minister Peel’s government in the 1840s. There is still a Duke of Buccleuch to this day, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch and the 12th Duke of Queensbury lives in Drumlanrig Castle. He is also the Chief of Clan Scott. Drumlanrig Castle is home to the world renowned Buccleuch Art collection.

The Castle and Estate can be found south of Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire off the A76.  

 5th Duke of Buccleuch high street Royal Mile edinburgh

Signet Library

West Parliament Square

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Signet Library building was completed in 1822 for the historic visit to Edinburgh and Scotland of King George IV. On his visit he described the upper library as “the finest drawing room in Europe”. The Signet library is the home of the Society of Writers to her Majesty’s Signet an association of Scottish lawyers. Which is believed to be the oldest professional society in the world. The earliest recorded use of the Signet was in 1369.

Signet Library West Parliament Square
Signet Library. West Parliament Square R

West Parliament Square

High Street Royal Mile

Edinburgh Dated Cobbles

There are two sets of cobbles in West Parliament Square one set has dates 1386, 1610 and 1678 in the Cobbles beside the statue of 5th Duke of Buccleuch. the other set are near the Heart of Midlothian cobbles with dates 1386, 1430, 1610. The date 1386 represents The rebuild of St Giles and the Tolbooth after Richard II had Burnt Edinburgh in 1385. In 1610 an extension was built to the tolbooth for prisoners. In 1678 a further extension was built to the tolbooth where an older part had been previously demolished. The only historic fact that I can relate 1430 to is on the 16th October 1430,  James I of Scotland son was born at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh later to become James II

Cobbles West Parliament Square

Heart of Midlothian

Royal Mile High Street Edinburgh

The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic built into the pavement next to St Giles on the High Street. Together with brass markers set into the pavement, it records the position of the 15th-century Old Tolbooth demolished in 1817, which was the administrative centre of the town, the prison and one of several sites of public execution. Some people spit on the heart. Although it is now said to be done for good luck, it was originally done as a sign of disdain for the former prison. The brass cobbles mark where the Tolbooth stood.

St Giles Cathedral

High Street Edinburgh

There are records that show a parish church being in Edinburgh in 854 A.D. The parish church of Edinburgh was formally dedicated by the bishop of St Andrews on 6 October 1243. The parish church of Edinburgh was subsequently de-consecrated and named in honour of the patron saint of Edinburgh, St Giles. St Giles a Greek Holy man who settled in the south of France in the 7th century and was said to be associated with the early Frankish Kings, in particular Charles Martel (688–741). St Giles is seen in the carving above the west door of St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh (pictured below).He is said to have stopped a hunter’s arrow with his hand and saved a deer. There are many stories of St Giles and his miracles throughout history. St Giles later became the patron saint of both Edinburgh and the Cathedral now known as St Giles Cathedral. He died on the 1st September 721 A.D

 
allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral

There are two doors to St Giles Cathedral the West Door which is now the main entrance and has statues of Kings and Bishops above it and the East Door once the main entrance but now seldom used.  Above the the east door can be seen one of very few statues of St Andrew, who is the patron saint of Scotland. The west door of St Giles Cathedral was originally the back door, but over time with more space in West Parliament Square for the people to congregate before and after services the  west door was adopted as the main entrance. Above the door there are a number of statues and in the centre a carved stone of St Giles with a Roe that he had saved from a lethal arrow with his hand. The many statues are of Kings and clergymen of St Giles Cathedral. 

allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral doorway
allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral carved wall tablet of St giles

BISHOP WILLIAM FORBES.

Left of picture Bishop William Forbes In 1634 William Forbes became the first bishop of Edinburgh, with St Giles as his Cathedral. Bishop Forbes Died on the 12 April 1634 shortly after becoming the first bishop of Edinburgh.Bishop William Forbes is buried in St Giles Cathedral.

ALEXANDER HENDERSON

Right of picture Alexander Henderson a Presbyterian minister moved from his parish in Leuchars, St Andrews to become the minister of the High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh.  When King Charles visited Scotland in 1641 Alexander Henderson 

was appointed Dean of the Chapel Royal at Holyrood. He was also instrumental in the writing of the National Covenant and became the Moderator of the general assembly on more than one occasion. He died in Edinburgh in 1646 and is buried in Greyfriar’s Churchyard Edinburgh. 

allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral statues

KING JAMES I 

(centre of picture)

James I became King on the death of his father in 1406 but he was not crowned at Scone Palace until 1423. The reason for the 17 years’ delay in his being crowned was that he was imprisoned in London.  While in prison his uncle Robert of Albany ruled Scotland and was happy for James to remain in prison hoping that one day he or his son Murdoch would become king. When James was released at age 30 he took over as king. He then began restoring  the monarchy and forfeited the lands of the rebellious nobles including the Dukes of Albany. He was a strong leader and introduced social and economic legislation and founded the Scottish Court of Session. In 1437 James was killed in a Dominican Monastery in Perth.

allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral statues

KING JAMES VI of SCOTLAND

AND I OF ENGLAND 

(right of picture)

James son of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Darnley, was born in Edinburgh Castle in 1566. James became the youngest King of Scotland at the age of thirteen months. In 1603, he also became king of England and Ireland. He continued to reign  in all three kingdoms for 22 years. In 1605 a small group of Catholics, led by a man called Robert Catesby, devised a scheme to kill James and as many members of Parliament as possible. Catesby's plan involved blowing up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November as in the Guy Fawkes rhyme, “Remember Remember the 5th of November gunpowder treason and plot”, Catesby being Guy Fawkes. The 5th of November was chosen because James was due to open Parliament on that day. At 57 years and 246 days, his reign in Scotland was the longest of any previous King. James died in 1625 at the age of 58 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

ROBERT THE BRUCE

King Robert I

(left of picture)

Robert I, known as Robert the Bruce, became King of Scots on 25 March 1306. At the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, he led a Scottish army and defeated the English army lead by Edward II. To confirm an independent Scottish monarchy in 1320 a letter was sent to Pope John XXII declaring that Robert the Bruce was their rightful monarch. This letter was the 'Declaration of Arbroath' and it asserted the antiquity of the Scottish people and their monarchy.  In 1324 Robert the Bruce received papal recognition as king of an independent Scotland. Robert died on 7 June 1329. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey.

GAVIN DOUGLAS  

(left of picture)

Gavin Douglas was born in 1474 at Tantallon Castle, Dunbar East Lothian. Gavin Douglas was a Scottish Bishop,royal court poet, courtier and translator. Gavin Douglas was appointed provost of St. Giles Church, Edinburgh, around 1501 and is best known for his translation of Virgil's Aeneid into Scots, the English language of the lowlands of Scotland. He was made bishop of Dunkled in 1516 and died in London in 1522.

JOHN KNOX

(right of picture)

John Knox was born in the Haddington area of East Lothian in approximately 1514. He was appointed minister of the Church of St. Giles in 1560.  John Knox was married twice and his second marriage in 1564 was not looked upon favourably because John Knox was 50 and his new wife was only 17. He was considered to be the greatest Reformer in the history of Scotland. Knox died on 24 November 1572 in Edinburgh, his epitaph: "Here lyeth a man who in his life never feared the face of man, who hath been often threatened with dagger, but yet hath ended his dayes in peace and honour."

allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral statues

KING DAVID I.

(Below-centre of picture)

David was born in 1084, he spent many years in the court of Henry I, which gave him a good education. David became King of Scotland in 1124 on the death of his brother. He established the feudal system in Scotland. He also introduced many novel ideas such as silver coinage and promoting education. He also carried on his brother’s quest to build many Abbeys which included Holyrood Abbey and Inchcolm Abbey. David died peacefully in Carlisle in 1153 at the age of 69 and is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. During his reign he founded The Abbey of Holyrood  in 1128 and built the Chapel in Edinburgh Castle a memorial to his mother Queen Margaret who died in 1093. Later becoming Saint Margaret in 1250.

allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral statues

KING ALEXANDER I.

(Above-left of picture)

Alexander I was born in 1078 and was the eldest brother of three David I and Alexander III his brothers. Alexander I established an Augustinian priory at Scone sometime between 1114 and 1122. In 1123 Alexander I on a journey had to shelter on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth during a storm, he promised to build a monastery in thanks for being saved from the storm but died in 1124 before being able to keep his promise. His brother David I kept his brothers promise and invited Augustinian canons to establish a priory on the island and it later became an Abbey in 1235. Alexander I died in Stirling on the 23 April 1124 and is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. 

KING ALEXANDER III  

(Above-right of picture)

Alexander was born on the 4 September 1241. He was King at the age of 7 from 1249. At 21 he formally approached the Norwegian King Haakon for the Western Isles which Haakon rejected. In 1263 King Haakon died and his successor agreed to the Treaty of Perth by which he gave the Isle of Man and the Western Isles to Scotland in return for a large sum of money. Norway kept control of Orkney and Shetland. Alexander died when he fell from his horse in Kinghorn in Fife on 18 March 1286. Travelling on his way from Edinburgh to visit his Queen on her birthday, which was the next day. In 1886, a monument to Alexander III was erected at the approximate location of his death in Kinghorn. Alexander was buried in Dunfermline Abbey in 1286.

Parliament Square

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Parliament House was completed in 1639. The inauguration of the supreme court of Scotland was by King James V in 1532. On the east of Parliament Square was previously where Parliament Close (1816) once stood prior to the great fire of 1700 and where the Bank of Scotland opened and incorporated by royal charter in 1695 before burning down 5 years later. Now the square has the law courts and St Giles Cathedral east door which was the original front entrance. A carved statue high above the door to the south depicts St Andrew. To the right stands the Mercat Cross. The Statue opposite is of James Braidwood father of the Fire Service, further to the rear of St Giles is the oldest lead statue of Charles II on horseback and further round is the grave of John Knox.

 

Saint Andrew

(above the east door)

When visiting St Giles Cathedral take a walk round the exterior and see the many carvings. High above the east door of St Giles Cathedral stands a carved statue of St Andrew holding two fish. Below the statue an angel holds a scroll with his name carved on it and above two angels hold a shield with the cross of St Andrew. You will also see a number of other carvings above and around the doorway which dates from the late 1380s. You will find shields with the crosses of St George and St Andrew, and decoration of Thistles, Roses and Fleur de Lis. Also shields with coats of arms that include James VII and Queen Anne.

allaboutedinburgh royal mile high street Saint Gile's Cathedral statue of Saint Andrew

John Knox

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The small stone above the number 23 in a council parking space marks the position of John Knox grave, in the once graveyard of St Giles Cathedral. (Now a council car park). John Knox was a very important part of the history of the church in Scotland and was behind the Government in 1560 severing contact with the Pope and catholic faith. He was the head of the Scottish reformation and from 1559 till his death in 1572 was the minister of the High Kirk of St Giles, in Edinburgh. The statue of John Knox can be seen in the quadrangle in the New Library on Mound Place. 

 john knox statue New College Mound Place
john knox grave saint giles cathedral High Street Royal Mile car park

King Charles II

(May 1630 –Feb 1685)

Royal Mile

High Street Edinburgh

King Charles II Statue dressed as a Roman Emperor on horseback is the oldest lead cast statue in Great Britain. The statue of King Charles II stands in Parliament Square behind St Giles Cathedral and was first erected in 1685.              

Charles II Parliament Square High Street

JAMES BRAIDWOOD 

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

James Braidwood 1800 – 1861 is known as the father of the British Fire Service, James Braidwood was born in Edinburgh and founded the world’s first municipal fire service in Edinburgh in 1824. A statue of James Braidwood can be seen in Parliament Square and is dedicated to his memory.  He was a pioneer of the scientific approach to fire-fighting, an approach that has saved lives all over the world.

James Braidwood 1800 – 1861 Father of the British Fire Service

This statue is dedicated to the memory of James Braidwood, a pioneer of the scientific approach to fire-fighting. It also recognises the courage and sacrifice of fire-fighters, not only in Lothian & Borders Fire and Rescue Service, but all over the world. In 1824 Edinburgh suffered two disastrous fires which destroyed much of the old city. As a result the city council decided to create the world’s first municipal Fir Brigade and  James Braidwood was appointed to take command. Quickly establishing an effective service, he developed new techniques, many of which are still used today. In 1832 he left his native Edinburgh to establish London’s first full-time Fire Brigade. Always to the front of the action He died Fighting in London’s Tooley Street in 1861. 

 royal mile James braidwood statue high street edinburgh
Braidwood Plaque High Street Royal Mile

Barrie's Close | Steil’s Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

This close has had many names and changed after the 2 separate fires of 1824 and 1700. Known as St Monan’s Wynd after a chapel that stood in the Wynd, Also Hangman’s Close as the city’s Hangman lived here and Steil’s Close after Patrick Steel a merchant, Later to be New Bank Close and Barry’s Close and Back of Parliament Close. This close still survives as it stood from the 1600s from the south east corner of Parliament Square previously Parliament Close in an L shape into Old Fishmarket Close which previously had two entrances from the High Street in a Y shape and one entrance from the Cowgate.  

Adam Smith Statue

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Adam Smith's 1723 – 1790 statue stands beside the Mercat Cross in the High Street, Royal Mile Edinburgh. 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.

 Adam Smith statue high street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Edinburgh Mercat Cross 

Parliament Square 

High Street Royal Mile

The Mercat Cross was first mentioned in 1365 when the cross stood in the middle of the High Street down from St Giles Cathedral. In 1885 the cross was placed on a new octagonal drum substructure at its current location. The use of a Mercat Cross in Scotland was for important civic announcements. In Edinburgh government proclamations that affected all of Scotland were also publicly read at the cross, for example, announcements concerning successions to the monarchy and the calling to parliament. Which are still announced to this day from the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. The only Mercat Cross that remains in its original form and position can be found in Prestonpans East Lothian. The Unicorn is the ancient emblem of Scotland and stands at the top of the Mercat Cross.

 
mercat cross prestonpans
 mercat cross high street Royal Mile Edinburgh
mercat cross selkirk

Edinburgh Mercat Cross

Door

The door that can be seen in the picture above is the entrance to the steps that take you to the platform that is surrounded by a parapet where the announcements are made. Above the door of the Cross there is a Latin inscription which was  written by  William Gladstone.

Mercat Cross Parliment Square High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh

Medallions

Edinburgh Mercat Cross

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Medallions that are around the Edinburgh Mercat Cross are not the originals. The original medallions can be seen in Sir Walter Scott's House in Melrose.  Abbotsford House where Walter Scott lived and created master pieces.

Mecat Cross City of Edinburgh Coat of Arms Medallion

CITY OF EDINBURGH

COAT OF ARMS

Mecat Cross Irish Coat of Arms Medallion

IRISH

COAT OF ARMS

LEITH COAT OF ARMS

Mecat Cross Coat of Arms of Britain Medallion

ROYAL COAT OF ARMS

OF BRITAIN

Mecat Cross English Coat of Arms Medallion

ENGLISH

COAT OF ARMS

 mercat cross medalion high street edinburgh

SCOTTISH COAT OF ARMS

Mecat Cross University of Edinburgh Coat of Arms Medallion

UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

COAT OF ARMS

Mecat Cross Canongate Coat of Arms Medallion

CANONGATE

COAT OF ARMS

Unicorn on Mercat Cross Edinburgh

UNICORN OF SCOTLAND 

Mercat Cross Cobbles

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The location of the Edinburgh Mercat Cross between 1617 and 1756 can be seen in an octagonal arrangement of cobble stones on the pavement outside the entrance to Old Fishmarket Close in the High street Edinburgh. This was the second position in which the Mercat Cross had stood, the first being in the centre of the road further down the High Street.

 mercat cross Royal Mile cobbles high street edinburgh

Old Fishmarket Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The location of the Edinburgh Mercat Cross between 1617 and 1756 can be seen in an octagonal arrangement of cobble stones on the pavement outside the entrance to Old Fishmarket Close in the High street Edinburgh. This was the second position in which the Mercat Cross had stood, the first being in the centre of the road further down the High Street. Adam Smith stands to the right of the close. Old Fishmarket close was one of the casualties of the Great 1824 fire as it was destroyed. Other facts about the Old Fishmarket Close are Edinburgh’s residents would buy their fish and poultry. George Heriot known as “Jinglin’ Geordie”, the kings Jeweller and the founder of George Heriot’s Hospital (school), the school J K Rowling described as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books and Films. This was also a close that housed the first firefighting appliance.

Barrie's Close Old Fishmarket Close Edin
Old Fishmarket Close High Street Royal M

Lothian & Borders Police

Information Centre & Museum

This is the place for people to report crime get directions and information on all aspects of the Police force and their duties. There is also an exhibition of the history of the Police in Edinburgh the criminals like William (Deacon) Brodie the raffles of his time. Burke and Hare the serial Killers for money.

Borthwick’s Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

 

Borthwick’s Close originally called Lord Borthwick’s Close who built a house here circa 1450 to be close to the Scottish Parliament building and the signet  being and advocate and siting in the parliament. The Borthwick clan were related through marriage to Henry VIII and were close to the royal courts of the kings of Scotland and England. Also see Borthwick Castle in Midlothian where the Borthwick’s lived over the centuries. 

Borthwick's Close Land High Street Royal
Borthwick's Close High Street. Royal Mil

Old Assembly Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Old Assembly Close Edinburgh was the first place for the high society of Edinburgh to have formal dances to met the opposite sex. The founder of the University of Edinburgh Library,  Clement Little lived here as did his brother William Little who was Lord Provost of Edinburgh in 1591. Scene of the great fire of 1824. When a fire started and raged for over 3 days spreading down to the Tron and up to Parliament Square which destroyed over 400 family homes.    

Old Assembly Close Dancing Assemblies were held in the hall from 1720 to 1766. (Described by Goldsmith) Residence of Clement Little Founder of The University Library. And his brother Provost William Little.

Advocates in Old Assembly Close
Bronze Plaque Old Assembly Close Royal Mile Edinburgh

Covenant Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Covenant Close was named after a mansion house where the national covenant was kept for signing.

The Scots people wishing to keep their identity both religious and national. Started a movement against Archbishop Laud and his beliefs to reform the church. A ceremony took place in Greyfriars Kirk Edinburgh In February of 1638 which all the Scottish Noblemen, Hierarchy, Ministers and Officials attended and signed the National Covenant, which committed them under God to preserving the purity of the Kirk. The National Covenant was a protest against interference with the religion of the free people. The mansion later became a Tavern.

Covenant's Close High Street Royal Mile

Burnet’s Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

 Burnet’s Close was named after Samuel Burnet, a brewer and wealthy merchant of Edinburgh, The close was also Johnston’s Close, after Bailie James Johnston, deacon of the Hammermen also lived here. The Close has changed name many times through the years as the properties changed hands.

Burnet's Close High Street Royal Mile Ed

Bell’s Wynd

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Bell’s Wynd known as Clam shell Land, named after John Bell a brewer who lived and had a tenement in the wynd circa 1529, later George Crichton, Bishop of Dunkeld stayed in the house of John Bell who had Bell’s Brewery in the Pleasance. 

Bell's Wynd  High Street Royal Mile Edin

High Street Wellhead

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

The High Street Wellhead can be found up from the Tron Kirk in the High Street Edinburgh. The High Street Well Head is where the people of Edinburgh would collect their water as the only water came from the reservoir at Castlehill and was piped to the cisterns (well heads) one in the Lawnmarket, two in the High Street and one in the Grassmarket then later one in the Canongate. 

New Assembly Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

New Assembly Close in the High Street, Royal Mile was where the mansion of Murray of Blackbarony circa 1580 Ancestor of the Lord’s of Elibank. It was also where the commercial Bank of Scotland was housed The Assembly Hall moved here in 1766 – 1784 and the Edinburgh Waxworks Museum from 1976 – 1989.   

Assembly Hall New Assembly Close High St

Stevenlaw’s Close

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Little is known about this Close as it was demolished due to Edinburgh’s Great Fire of 1824 when the south side of the high street was almost all completely burned in the fire. The fire started in a tenement in Old Fishmarket Close and spread quickly down to the Cowgate and to the Tron Kirk. The Blaze lasted over two days and hundreds of families were made homeless. It is said the close was named after a follower of Queen Mary in 1571 who she honoured with the Close being given his name Steven Law. Over time names were changed due to miss spelling.

Stevenlaw's Close High Street Royal Mile

City Guard House 

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Edinburgh City (Town) Guard was constituted by the Edinburgh Town Council in 1648 however an armed guard was not in place until 1679. The City Guard House was situated in the High street across from Stevenslaw Close. The Guard House was demolished in 1817 after the disbandment of the guard in the same year. In the cobbles on the high street is the outline of the old Guards House opposite Stevenslaw Close. 

 

The Cobbles show the outline of where the the old guard House stood in the High Street prior to 1817

Edinburgh Old City Guard House High Stre

Marlin’s Wynd

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Marlin’s Wynd is below the level of the present streets as Mary King’s Close is. Marlin’s Wynd was to the west of the Tron Kirk and ran down to the Cowgate. Named after John Merlyoune (Marlin), who was in charge of paving the High Street. He requested in memory of his work that he would be buried underneath the paving stones. He was buried at the head of the Wynd (which was named after him) by paving stones in the shape of a grave. Other writings mention that the High Street was paved in 1532 by two brothers John and Bartoulme Foliot. Also a John Merlyoune was paid for building Register House in Edinburg Castle in 1542 giving foundation to the first writings.

Hunter Square

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh, 

Sir Chris Hoy Gold Mail Box

Sir Chris Hoy MBE, won his first Olympic gold medal in 2004. He won 3 Olympic gold medals in Beijing and was knighted by the queen in 2009. In the London Olympics of 2012 all British gold medal winners also received a post box painted gold in their home city/town. Sir Chris Hoy won 2 gold medals and there are 2 post boxes in Edinburgh one in Hunter Square of the Royal Mile and the other in Hanover Street across from the Art Galleries at the foot of The Mound. Chris Hoy is Scotland’s most successful Olympian. Sir Chris Hoy was educated at George Watson and Edinburgh University. With 6 Olympic gold medals and 11 world championships he is most definitely a world sports superstar.

Hunter Square Royal Mile Edinburgh Gold Post Box
Hunter Square Royal Mile Edinburgh.JPG

Blair Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Blair Street was formed when the South Bridge was being built in 1768. To give access to the Cowgate from the High Street, at that time Marlin’s Wynd and  Pebble's Wynd were demolished in 1785 with the west side of Niddry Street. Blair Street as Hunter Square was named after Lord Provost Sir James Hunter Blair.

Blair Street Royal Mile Edinburgh.

Tron Kirk

High Street

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Looking from the North Bridge and down the High Street during the Edinburgh Festival in August with the Tron Kirk in the distance. The Tron kirk was founded by King Charles I as the congregation at St Giles require a church due to St Giles now being a cathedral. The Tron Kirk was built circa 1644. Due to the Great fires in 1824 the Tron’s Steeple was burnt down and rebuilt in 1824 The Tron was closed as a church in 1952. The area beside the Tron was the original place for bringing in the bells (celebrating the changing of the old year to new). The Inscription on the wall tablet tells of the spire being burnt and rebuilt.

 
allaboutedinburgh royal mile Tron Kirk high street edinburgh
Tron Kirk Plaque High Street Edinburgh.J

Advocate's Close Royal Mile

Allan's Close Royal Mile

Anchor Close Royal Mile

Bell's Wynd Royal Mile

Borthwick's Close Royal Mile

Burnet's Close Royal Mile

Byre's Close Royal Mile

Craig's Close Royal Mile

Covenant Close Royal Mile

Fleshmarket Close Royal Mile

Geddes' Entry Royal Mile

Jackson's Close Royal Mile

Lyon's Close Royal Mile

North Foulis' Close Royal Mile

New Assembly Close Royal Mile

Old Fishmarket Close

Old Assembly Close Royal Mile

Old Stamp Office Close Royal Mile

Roxburgh's Close Royal Mile

Stevenlaw's Close Royal Mile

Warriston's Close Royal Mile

Writer's Court Royal Mile 

Advocate's Close Royal Mile

Allan's Close Royal Mile

Anchor Close Royal Mile

Bell's Wynd Royal Mile

Borthwick's Close Royal Mile

Burnet's Close Royal Mile

Byre's Close Royal Mile

Craig's Close Royal Mile

Covenant Close Royal Mile

Fleshmarket Close Royal Mile

Geddes' Entry Royal Mile

Jackson's Close Royal Mile

Lyon's Close Royal Mile

North Foulis' Close Royal Mile

New Assembly Close Royal Mile

Old Fishmarket Close

Old Assembly Close Royal Mile

Old Stamp Office Close Royal Mile

Roxburgh's Close Royal Mile

Stevenlaw's Close Royal Mile

Warriston's Close Royal Mile

Writer's Court Royal Mile 

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© 2020 by All About Edinburgh. 

started 16 / 03 /2017

About East Lothian Attractions