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Edinburgh, Anderson's Close

Alley (18th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Anderson's Close

Classification Alley (18th Century)

Canmore ID 120896

Site Number NT27SE 1702

NGR NT 25549 73442

NGR Description NT 25560 73407 to NT 25541 73479

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

Architecture Notes

NT27SE 1702 25549 73442

Anderson's Close is so listed in P.O.Directory 1827 and took this name from Alex Anderson, deacon of the Hammermen, who built Deacon Anderson's land at the head of the close in the West bow in 1678. It is recorded as Stinking Close in 1635 and still given this apparently insalubrious name on Kirkwood 1817. (The Stinkand or Stinking Style was a short pend giving access through the Luckenbooths on the High Street to the north porch of St Giles kirk. Its alternative name of Kirk Style, recorded in 1463, was sometimes varied to Old Kirk Style after St Giles was altered in the 1560s to house five separate congregations, since the Style then led directly to the Old Kirk in the middle of the group. In Scots, "style" means a pedestrian access, not necessarily with the steps implied by English "stile". As regards the label "stinkand", it is not altogether obvious why this entry or the two Stinking Closes should have been notably smelly, and the objection raised in William Dunbar's "Address to the Merchants of Edinburgh" (written around or soon after 1500) was simply that the Style formed a dismally dark approach to the kirk. It seems likely that the word is from Scots "stank", to make a ditch, and that it referred to a drainage channel in or beside the passageway.) The "Haunted Close" in Wilson is not a name for the close but the descriptive caption of his drawing of it, and refers to the tale of the apparition of a giantess looking for the warlock Major Weir in 1670. (from Stuart Harris, "Place Names of Edinburgh", 1996, page 61)


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