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Edinburgh, 131 And 133 High Street

Public House (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, 131 And 133 High Street

Classification Public House (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Bishop's Close; Carrubber's Close; Mitre Public House

Canmore ID 113527

Site Number NT27SE 859

NGR NT 25975 73689

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 859 25975 73689

NT 2600 7370 An analytical assessment was undertaken of the standing buildings occupying the 123-133 High Street frontage, and the structures lining Bishop's Close and North Grey's Close behind to the N, the whole site consisting of three tenements. This revealed that, while incorporating early remains, the two W tenements had been substantially reconstructed at the beginning of the 19th century, including a single pedimented frontage, while the E tenement retained a frontage that dates to c 1700. All had been substantially reduced in height following fire damage. The relative alignments of the cellarage and pends to the closes suggested that the frontage had been successively extended into the High Street in two stages.

North Grey's Close contained the only substantial surviving remains of back tenement structures, in this case well preserved and including the substantial ruin known as Bishop Sydserff's House. The North Grey's Close W frontage, including these structures, was recorded in detail, as was a ground plan of Sydserff's. General architectural analysis identified at least three phases within this group of structures including two, possibly three, within Bishop Sydserff's House itself, the last associated with a datestone of 1581. It is possible that these constructions came in the wake of the destruction of parts of the city in the mid-16th century.

A 1m wide evaluation trench was excavated across the width of the central sub-division of Bishop Sydserff's House in order to examine ground conditions therein. Below a series of 19th-century earthfast floor joists and associated make-up, natural subsoil was exposed within the majority of the trench. Only at the N end were construction deposits encountered, producing a small quantity of medieval East Coast Red Ware. It appears that the construction of the existing structure, which was heavily terraced into the natural slope of the hill, had obliterated all earlier townscape remains in this area.

Sponsor: Cockburn Conservation Trust.

T Addyman 2001


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