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Architecture Notes

Event ID 771872

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Architecture Notes


Riddle's Close was named for George Riddell, wright and burgess, who rebuilt the foreland in 1726. It was in a flat in theis Riddal's Land that the forty-year-old philosopher David Hume first set himself up as a householder. In 1730 the close was referred to as "Sir James Smith's Close, now Royston's Close"; the first referring to Sir James Smith of Groathill, Provost 1643-46, who lived in the cross house between the two courtyards; while the later name was for Sir James Mackenzie, who lived in the lower part of the MacMorran mansion and sat as Lord Royston in the Court of Session 1710-44. Yet another name for the close was Shaw's Close, evidently for Bernard Shawe, one of the resident owners in 1635. While the northern courtyard is modern, created by clearances in 1893, the buildings round the North, West and South sides of the south courtyard (Riddle's Court is a misnomer) were built about 1587 by John MacMorran, merchant burgess.

(from Stuart Harris, "Place Names in Edinburgh", 1996, pages 527-8).

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