Gladstone's Land

Gladstone's Land PLEASE NOTE: GLADSTONE'S LAND WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 2021 DUE TO REFURBISHMENTS WITHIN THE PROPERTY. Mary Queen of Scots has irrevocably changed Scotland forever and her son, King James VI, is now on the throne.
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The country is experiencing a magnificent Renaissance as Scotland emerges from the turbulent 1500s. Step back into a colourful and exciting world, where the wealthy and privileged live side by side with the poor, in unfathomably cramped living conditions. Accused witches are being rounded up and drowned in the nearby Nor Loch; hangings and beheadings are a regular occurrence on the Royal Mile; and pigs roam freely, scavenging from the filth ridden street. Wealthy ladies wear clothing of fine imported silks in a beautiful array of colours and wear special over shoes to elevate their skirts out of the muck! They tie a chicken bone to their ankle to encourage the fleas away from their head when they visit the Assembly rooms looking for a husband. People rarely bathed; living and sleeping in the same underclothes they were sewn into each year. At the beginning of the 1600s, Thomas and Bessie Gledstanes, a wealthy business man and his wife, purchase 477 Lawnmarket. A typical Royal Mile building, it towered seven stories high and stood just a stone's throw from the Castle. They rent out the basement as a Tavern, the ground floors to merchants, the coveted first floor to the wealthiest of Edinburgh's elite and the subsequent floors to the less well off. They decorate the main rooms in the height of fashionable interiors – luscious tapestries on the walls and stunning hand–painted ceilings depicting exotic fruit, roses, Greek pillars, an array of birds and and, best of all, a monkey! Discover the highs and lows of one of the busiest streets in the world, experiencing how people lived day to day through this enigmatic and atmospheric property. Learn about this magnificent period through dramatic storytelling and experience the awe-inspiring technicolour interiors. Let yourself be immersed in Thomas and Bessie's world and you will have discovered the real Royal Mile.

Operating as usual

A close neighbour of some of our past residents of Gladstone's Land in the 1670s, was Major Thomas Weir. On his death be...
06/11/2020

A close neighbour of some of our past residents of Gladstone's Land in the 1670s, was Major Thomas Weir. On his death bed, the major began to confess to a life of crime and witchcraft (involving bestiality and incest), and he and his sister were taken to the Tolbooth for questioning. They were both found guilty, and sentenced to death, although their house was said to be haunted by strange apparitions, long after they had departed the world.

04/11/2020
Sneak peak of Gladstone's Land

A sneak peak of Gladstone's Land from this morning. The Wooden frontage installed in the 1970s has been removed, and you can see through to the arches as the front of the building!

In 1645, a large outbreak of plague hit Edinburgh, killing thousands of people. According to one account, "Edinburgh suf...
03/11/2020

In 1645, a large outbreak of plague hit Edinburgh, killing thousands of people. According to one account, "Edinburgh suffered so severely... so much so, that it was said there were scarecely sixty men left capable of defending the city."

Beautiful 😍
01/11/2020

Beautiful 😍

Looking up an empty Cockburn Street in Edinburgh at twilight.

Prints available to buy on my website! (Link in comments)

If you like this image, please check out my page at > Philip Stewart Photography

Today marks Samhuinn or All Hallows Eve. There has long been a tradition of celebrations on this date marking the end of...
31/10/2020

Today marks Samhuinn or All Hallows Eve. There has long been a tradition of celebrations on this date marking the end of the harvest season. In the Middle Ages, the 31st october became a day to celebrate the dead, with bells being rung by churches to comfort the souls of the dead stuck in purgatory. Today's trick or treating evolved from the traditional dispersal of alms to the poor of a community, and children would often beg for food, offering a prayer for the soul of the donor in return.

In October 1579, James VI returned to Edinburgh and processed down the mile. The buildings lining the route were said to...
27/10/2020

In October 1579, James VI returned to Edinburgh and processed down the mile. The buildings lining the route were said to be hung with flowers, tapestries and effigies of noblemen and women. We can just imagine how Gladstone's Land would have looked decked out in it's finery! The closest to this we can experience now, is a Royal sighting at the Edinburgh Tattoo or the annual procession down the Mall in London.

On this day in 1684, Alexander Monteith, surgeon, asked the council for a supply of bodies for dissection from the Corre...
24/10/2020

On this day in 1684, Alexander Monteith, surgeon, asked the council for a supply of bodies for dissection from the Correction House, as well as a place to dissect said bodies. The council granted his request but stated that the only bodies he could used were those of people who had been sent to the Correction house for more serious crimes, as well as the bodies of foundling children who died while still suckling. The dissections could only take place between the two equinoxes, over the winter season, and other stipulations included the fact that the intestines should be buried within 48 hours, and the entire body burnt within 10 days- all to be paid for by Monteith!

In 1687, Alexander Hay, a carpenter and Burgess of the city petitioned the council for a monopoly on Sedan chairs. He ha...
21/10/2020

In 1687, Alexander Hay, a carpenter and Burgess of the city petitioned the council for a monopoly on Sedan chairs. He had constructed 6 chairs to be carried between the castle and Holyrood Abbey by two liveried men for the cost of 7 Scottish shillings per hour. His buisness pitch was that he would be able to carry the nobility and gentry everywhere that coaches could not go. The council granted him his monopoly and he was even allowed to build a sedan chair "garage" attached to the Council buildings.

In 1621, Parliament enacted that ‘the houses in Edinburgh, instead of being composed of straw, deals or boards, should t...
18/10/2020

In 1621, Parliament enacted that ‘the houses in Edinburgh, instead of being composed of straw, deals or boards, should thenceforth be covered with slates, lead, tiles, or thack-stones.’ We have this act to thank for the continued existence of Gladstone's Land today.

In 1584, Edinburgh town council organised for "forty strokes on the great city bell’ at ten o’clock in the evening, ‘aft...
15/10/2020

In 1584, Edinburgh town council organised for "forty strokes on the great city bell’ at ten o’clock in the evening, ‘after which no person to be on the streets under the penalty of twenty shillings Scottish and imprisonment." The gates that separated the heads of each close from the High Street would be shut and locked, ensuring that anyone still out after 10 p.m. would be caught red handed!

The Scottish Witchcraft Act was passed in 1563, making the practice of witchcraft and the consulting of witches a crime ...
12/10/2020

The Scottish Witchcraft Act was passed in 1563, making the practice of witchcraft and the consulting of witches a crime punishable by death! It was repealed after the Act of Union (1707) in 1735, changing the language to reflect the changes in beliefs. It was now illegal to pretend to be a witch, and "witches" were punished as either vagrants or con artists. This act remained in place until it was repealed by the Fradulent Mediums Act on 1951, which was not repealed until 2008, when it was replaced by Consumer Protection Regulations!

While Gladstone's Land is being refurbished, we have taken up residence at The Georgian House, and are lucky enough to h...
09/10/2020

While Gladstone's Land is being refurbished, we have taken up residence at The Georgian House, and are lucky enough to have this as our view everyday- it is a wonder we get any work done at all!

An extract from Edinburgh Merchants and Merchandise by Robert Chambers in 1859 explains the origins of the name Lawnmark...
06/10/2020

An extract from Edinburgh Merchants and Merchandise by Robert Chambers in 1859 explains the origins of the name Lawnmarket: "The central line of the street between the West Bow and the Nether Bow was the chief place of merchandise in Edinburgh, the Cowgate and Canongate being more specially the residence of the nobility, gentry, and great ecclesiastics. There were two chief classes of goods dealt in, each mainly confined to a particular section of the street. What was called Inland Merchandise, or Inland’sh Goods—namely, yarn, stockings, coarse cloth, and other such articles made at home—were, by a charter of 1477, ordained to be sold in the upper part of the street, then without a special name, but which is subsequently referred to as the Land-market" (Picture copyright NLS)

Do you dare walk through the eerie Newhailes House and Gardens Woodland in the darkness, and await to see what might jum...
04/10/2020

Do you dare walk through the eerie Newhailes House and Gardens Woodland in the darkness, and await to see what might jump out on you?

If you are brave enough then book tickets to the scariest night of the year, this event is not for the faint hearted!!!

Age 10 and above only, £8.00 per ticket.

***SOLD OUT***

Are you daring enough to venture into the dark woodland at Newhailes.
This event is not for the faint hearted!
Age 10 and above
Get your tickets here ⬇️ Hurry they’re going fast👻
https://nts.cloudvenue.co.uk/nighttimenightmareatnewhailes1

Thomas Gladstone (our namesake) was admitted as a burgess of Edinburgh in 1610, and 7 years later as a guild brother, bo...
03/10/2020

Thomas Gladstone (our namesake) was admitted as a burgess of Edinburgh in 1610, and 7 years later as a guild brother, both by right of his wife, Bessie Cunningham. All evidence (particularly his proclivity to sell off part of Gladstone's Land) suggest that he wasn't a particularly successful merchant. We doubt he would have expected to be remembered and talked about 400 years later!

In 1924, the Edinburgh Evening News reported that George Mackay, resident of Gladstone's Land was arrested for disorderl...
30/09/2020

In 1924, the Edinburgh Evening News reported that George Mackay, resident of Gladstone's Land was arrested for disorderly conduct. When policemen arrived on the scene Mackay, "fought like a madman", knocking of a policeman's helmet, kicking their legs and biting on of them on the hand. He was fined £2 with an alternative of 20 days imprisonment- a tall order for someone whose profession was registered as "scavenger"! The photo shows the Lawnmarket in the 1920s where the incident took place, as well as a smartly dressed policeman in the centre (hat still in place).

Between 1820 and 1853 R Reynold lived or worked on the 2nd storey of Gladstone's Land. His legacy is some wonderfully se...
28/09/2020
The Word on the Street - Broadsides at the National Library of Scotland

Between 1820 and 1853 R Reynold lived or worked on the 2nd storey of Gladstone's Land. His legacy is some wonderfully sensationalist broadsides bearing titles such as "Female Foot-boy!" and "Melancholy Suicide!" Broadsides are a wonderful source of social history, and can be explored further using the NLS resource: https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/

Online collection of nearly 1,800 broadsides. These single sheets carried public notices, news, speeches and songs that could be read or sung aloud. Crime, politics, romance, emigration, humour, tragedy, royalty and superstitions..

26th September, 1506On this day in history:The provost and council of Edinburgh ruled that no pigs were to be kept in th...
26/09/2020

26th September, 1506
On this day in history:

The provost and council of Edinburgh ruled that no pigs were to be kept in the burgh. If any pigs were found out of doors and untether they could be confiscated and slaughtered by the city’s public executioner!

Maybe that’s what happened to the pig that so many people used to associate with Gladstone’s Land!

#OnThisDay #OTD #GladstonesLand #EdinburghHistory #Pigs #NationalTrustForScotland #ForTheLoveOfScotland

When John Riddoch died, he left an estate worth £3666 15s 4d, including the following: including 344 pounds of raisins, ...
24/09/2020

When John Riddoch died, he left an estate worth £3666 15s 4d, including the following: including 344 pounds of raisins, 112 pounds of ginger, 268 pounds of sugar, 56 pounds of sugar candy, 32 pounds of pepper, 150 pounds of stiffing, 40 pounds of blue stiffing, three pounds of cloves, 50 pounds of rice, 20 pounds of almonds, five pounds of indigo, 14 pounds of saffron, 90 pounds of licorice, 34 pounds of tobacco, 10 tobacco pipes, and various amounts and types of cloth.

Want to know more about what is going on at Gladstone's Land? All being well (covid-wise) we should be re-opening our do...
23/09/2020

Want to know more about what is going on at Gladstone's Land? All being well (covid-wise) we should be re-opening our doors early next year! In the mean time, take a sneak peak around the building mid-refurbishment and hear more about our plans for re-opening when we go LIVE this Sunday at 3 p.m. as part of this year's digital Doors Open Days! It is your chance to ask all of those burning questions!

A rather different way of dealing with contagion from 1497. A proclamation was issued in Edinburgh declaring that anyone...
22/09/2020

A rather different way of dealing with contagion from 1497. A proclamation was issued in Edinburgh declaring that anyone infected with syphilis was to leave the burgh and "gather on the Sands of Leith at 10 am where they will find boats ready and stocked with food to take them to the nearby Inchcolm Island in the River Forth. They will remain on the island as long as God provides for their well-being. All persons who are being treated for the disease will accompany them. Anyone found within the burgh after sunrise on Monday will be branded on the cheek. If they remain in the burgh after this punishment, they will be placed under the threat of banishment." (Extracts from the Records of the Burghs of Edinburgh 1403-1680) (IC Visit Scotland)

73 year old George Russell is cycling across America to raise money for the NTS. George was inspired to do this by his l...
21/09/2020
George's Cycle across the USA

73 year old George Russell is cycling across America to raise money for the NTS. George was inspired to do this by his longstanding family connections with NTS, as his grandfather was the Trust’s original Treasurer, and his father was the Trust’s legal adviser – together they were involved in NTS’ first purchase in Glencoe. George himself served on NTS Council some years ago
George is almost halfway through his cycle, having made it through extreme heat to western Texas. You can follow his progress via his blog
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=23005&v=dz
and donate to support his incredible effort, using the below:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-russellcycleacrossusafornts

Help George Russell raise money to support National Trust for Scotland

In 1912, The Orcadian reported a story about an Orkney seaman, and Gladstone's Land resident, Jasper Heddle, who had bro...
19/09/2020

In 1912, The Orcadian reported a story about an Orkney seaman, and Gladstone's Land resident, Jasper Heddle, who had brought an action against his previous employers Thomas and Co Shipowners, and F Hastie, Master of the steamer Petersburg. Heddle had deserted the ship some days previously leaving his personal effects on board, and his employers had seized his possessions in forfeiture for his desertion. The judge ruled that the employers had acted unlawfully, and that the value of his possessions (£5) should be returned to him. However, the judge also ruled that Heddle was in breach of his contract with his employers, and was liable for damages of £5. As a result of this, no expenses were due to either party! (IC: http://canmore.org.uk/collection/1401983)

When William Struther (resident of Gladstone's Land), died in 1633 he left an estate worth £16,733  6s 8d in his will- r...
16/09/2020

When William Struther (resident of Gladstone's Land), died in 1633 he left an estate worth £16,733 6s 8d in his will- roughly equal to around £170,000 in today's money, including a bequest of nearly £60,000 to the colleges of Edinburgh and Glasgow for the study of divinity. (Photo credit Kim Traynor)

It is a bit of an Edinburgh myth that a Duchess and a pauper would have shared the same tenement properties, one living ...
13/09/2020

It is a bit of an Edinburgh myth that a Duchess and a pauper would have shared the same tenement properties, one living above the other. However, we know from the records that most tenements would have been occupied by people from broadly the same social class. In 1635, Gladstone's Land was occupied by merchants, Thomas Gladstone, and John Riddoch, a feudal baron, Sir James Crichton, a Church of Scotland Minister, William Struther, and a guild officer, James Nicholsone. All of these men would have been reasonably wealthy. The only truth to the old myth, is that the nicest apartments would have been on the middle floors!

The Sunday Post reported in 1925, that Hugh Cowan, miner and resident of Gladstone's Land was involved in a court case f...
10/09/2020

The Sunday Post reported in 1925, that Hugh Cowan, miner and resident of Gladstone's Land was involved in a court case for failing to send his wife money for the support of their two children. In February of that year, he entered a defence that he had paid money for the support of his children until December of 1924 while they lived with his wife's mother, but when the mother had died he had ceased payments, as his wife was now living with another man! The judge declared that he could well afford the payments, as his earnings were £3 19s 5d per week, and he was sentenced to 2 months in prison for neglect of his children.

#Onthisday in 1736 during an execution in the Grassmarket, the Captain of the City Guard, John Porteous, fired his gun a...
07/09/2020

#Onthisday in 1736 during an execution in the Grassmarket, the Captain of the City Guard, John Porteous, fired his gun among the gathering mob. He ordered his men to do the same, and 6 people were killed and 11 severely injured. Porteous was prosecuted for his actions and found guilty. However, before his sentence could be carried out Queen Caroline issued a reprieve. When the citizens of Edinburgh discovered this, they began to riot, burning down the doors of the prison to reach Porteous. They dragged him out, and down to the Grassmarket where they promptly hanged him for his crimes. (Picture, The Porteous Mob, James Drummond 1855 NGS)

In 1871 The Scotsman published an advertisement on behalf of some of the residents of Gladstone's Land: "Girl (stout cou...
04/09/2020

In 1871 The Scotsman published an advertisement on behalf of some of the residents of Gladstone's Land: "Girl (stout country) wanted as general servant. Age from 16 to 18 years." Other adverts show that employers were very age specific- it seems 14 was the ideal age for a maid, and jobs ranged in specificity from "wash straw hats" to "learn fancy box making".

Our friends at the Georgian House are re-opening their doors on the 10th September!
02/09/2020

Our friends at the Georgian House are re-opening their doors on the 10th September!

🎉 We are reopening! 🎉

🗝️ We are delighted to announce that the Georgian House will reopen on Thursday 10th September!

🕰️ The house will be open from 10am - 4 pm (last admission 3pm) from Thursday to Monday

✔️ Our team have been busy working hard to make sure that you and our staff feel safe during your visit, so we have introduced some changes

🎟️ Tickets need to be booked in advance via our website to help us maintain social distancing and to manage visitor numbers - members can book for free whilst non-members will be asked to pay online

😷 Visitors will need to wear a facemask whilst inside the property, in line with government guidelines

🤲 Hand sanitising stations will be available throughout the house

🛍️ Our shop will be open for you to enjoy

👇 To book your tickets follow the link below

📜 For more information please visit our website!

🌟 We can't wait to welcome you back to the Georgian House soon!

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/georgian-house/planning-your-visit

#ForTheLoveOfScotland #thegeorgianhouse #edinburgh #reopening

Today is the feast day of St Giles, the patron saint of Edinburgh. In 1558, tensions between Catholics and Protestants w...
01/09/2020

Today is the feast day of St Giles, the patron saint of Edinburgh. In 1558, tensions between Catholics and Protestants were running high. Michael Fry describes the "first sectarian brawl in Scottish history". During the annual procession, carrying the figure of St Giles down the High Street to the Canongate, "a mob stole the image, bore it to the Nor’ Loch and ritually drowned it, then fished it out again and threw it on a fire." It must have been quite terrifying to watch the mob at work.

In the 1630s Gladstone's Land had a tavern in the basement. It was operated by Issobell Johnstone, who also worked as a ...
30/08/2020

In the 1630s Gladstone's Land had a tavern in the basement. It was operated by Issobell Johnstone, who also worked as a servant to the merchant tenants, John Riddoch and Margaret Nobill. She would have sold basic foods such as pies, bread and meat, as well as beer, ale and wine. Taverns were meeting places for men of all classes, and men would have conducted business meetings, gambled and drank in them. When Riddoch died Issobell owed him £122 for beer and wine she had borrowed from him to sell on to her customers- a very common practice in 17th century Scotland!

#Onthisday in 1607 Thomas Gladstone married Bessie Cunningham in Edinburgh. 10 years later they would go on to purchase ...
27/08/2020

#Onthisday in 1607 Thomas Gladstone married Bessie Cunningham in Edinburgh. 10 years later they would go on to purchase what we now know as Gladstone's Land! Their descendants would keep the building in the family for nearly 200 years, ensuring that the name Gladstone stuck!

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477B Lawnmarket, Royal Mile
Edinburgh
EH1 2NT

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Comments

I was playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on my Xbox, when I happened upon a muckle wheel similar to the one I remember from my time guiding at Gladstone’s Land. I got a picture to prove I was not imagining it. Rockstar Games have a base in Edinburgh. I wonder if Gladstone’s Land‘s muckle wheel was an inspiration for this.
Mïchelle
Thank you for giving my children the opportunity to hold these beautiful birds and for sharing your knowledge !
Many thanks yesterday for the informative tour and for the postcards - I really appreciated it and a sense of what life might have been like in 17th Century Edinburgh. Am working on a musical set in that time and it really helps to get a sense of the feel of a place. Thanks for all your help.