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Architecture Notes

Event ID 770797

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Architecture Notes


World's End Close is recorded in 1725 and shown on Edgar 1742. The name may well be, as is generally assumed, a whimsical reference to the position of the close at the very foot of the High Street; but the even more curious name "Endmyleis well", mentioned in the evidence at the trial of the murderers of Henry Darnley in 1567, possibly belongs in this general vicinity (see 24, 26 and 28 High Street, Fountain Close at NT 27SE 1161). The close is recorded in 1762 as "formerly" Swift's Close, but although it is possible that there was a connection with the Swift family of Old Fishmarket Close, the references given in "Old Edinburgh Club XII" seem to be misreadings, and the point remains obscure. The alternative Sweit's Close, recorded in 1750, is either in mistake for Swift's Close, or else obscure. The close was also Sir James Stansfield's Close, for Sir James Stansfield of Newmills, who had a house in it prior to his death in 1687 and whose son Philip, as related in Wilson and Grant, was convicted of his supposed murder, chiefly on the ground that the corpse bled when he touched it -according to superstition, a sure sign of guilt of secret murder. The close is listed in 1635 as Andro Purves's Close, for Andrew Purves, merchant, who had his house on the High Street frontage and owned other property in the close and in the little close off it, which may be the Stewart's Close listed in Williamson's Directory 1779 and 1799 and perhaps connected with Neil Stewart, merchant at the Netherbow, listed in the Directory 1780. (from Stuart Harris, "Place Names of Edinburgh", 1996, page 645)

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