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Edinburgh, Jeffrey Street

Building(S) (16th Century), Cellar(S) (Period Unassigned), Cess Pit (Period Unassigned), Cobbled Road (Period Unassigned), Culvert (Period Unassigned), Midden (17th Century), Paving (Period Unassigned), Pit(S) (Medieval), Tannery (Period Unassigned), Tile (16th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Jeffrey Street

Classification Building(S) (16th Century), Cellar(S) (Period Unassigned), Cess Pit (Period Unassigned), Cobbled Road (Period Unassigned), Culvert (Period Unassigned), Midden (17th Century), Paving (Period Unassigned), Pit(S) (Medieval), Tannery (Period Unassigned), Tile (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Jury's Inn Hotel

Canmore ID 240262

Site Number NT27SE 5192

NGR NT 260 737

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 5192 260 737

NT 260 737 An archaeological evaluation was carried out in April 2002 of land formerly occupied by a tannery and other buildings to the rear of Jury's Inn Hotel, Jeffrey Street, comprising trial trenching, a photographic survey of upstanding remains and a preliminary analysis of the map evidence.

Until the late 19th century the site was occupied by a series of closes running back from the High Street, a street plan with probable medieval origins. Major redevelopment of the site accompanied the creation of Jeffrey Street, with demolition of the closes and construction of a tannery and other buildings.

The late 19th-century redevelopment was found to have heavily truncated the ground surface over parts of the site, making archaeological survival in these areas unlikely. However, two areas were identified in which the remains of earlier structures and deposits, apparently relating to properties of 16th- to 18th-century date, survived. Although no stratified medieval deposits were identified, substantial quantities of residual medieval pottery were recovered.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: Carl Fisher Sibbald Partnership.

P Masser (Headland Archaeology) 2002

NT 2599 7374 Tannery is depicted on OS 1:1250 plan NT2573NE (1970)

RCAHMS 2003 (SO)


Excavation (28 May 2008 - 2 September 2008)

NT 2601 7372 An excavation carried out from 28 May–2 September 2008 between the High Street and Jeffrey Street, produced evidence for the development of the Old Town from the 15th–19th centuries. The work followed a previous evaluation in 2002 (DES 2002, 50) which had identified two areas where pre-19th-century structures and deposits survived.

Area A consisted of buildings on either side of Paisley Close, which originally extended through the site from the High Street. A small number of truncated medieval pits were identified in the W half of the area, between Paisley Close and Bailie Fyfe’s Close. The earliest buildings post-dated these and are thought to have been built in the late 16th or early 17th centuries.

Part of a cellar was excavated at the N end of the site, to the W of Paisley Close. Another building to the S of this

cellar had been divided along its length into three rooms, all of which contained floor deposits of ash and cinders. The central room contained hearth structures that appear to be related to metalworking. Floor deposits in the cellar and the adjoining building indicate that they were occupied into the early 18th century. Two adjoining cellars were accessed by a single flight of steps to the E of Paisley Close. The cellar to the N contained midden deposits dating from the 17th century that may have accumulated while the building was occupied. Fragmentary remains of paving were identified in Paisley Close overlying a culvert which ran the length of the close.

Comprehensive redevelopment in Area A, probably in the mid/late 18th century, produced the layout recorded on the town plan of 1854. The late 16th- to early 17th-century buildings to the W of Paisley Close were levelled and replaced by a yard to the S, with a building to the N with its floor at ground level. To the E of Paisley Close, a building constructed over the backfilled cellar to the N, contained cobbled floor surfaces and deposits of cinder and slag that suggest it may have functioned as a workshop. The cellar to the S seems to have been retained for coal storage.

A further phase of redevelopment had occurred by the time the revised OS town plan of 1881 was produced. A single building, probably a large tenement, replaced the earlier buildings to the E of Paisley Close. The 1881 map shows that by this date the buildings to the N of Area A had been demolished.

Area B consisted of the area between North Greys Close on the W, and Morrison’s Close on the E. A medieval soil horizon was preserved throughout the northern half of the area, and at the extreme N end medieval property boundary walls had been sealed by later medieval landscaping activity. There were a number of pits of medieval and 16th-century date associated with the medieval ground surface, some of which were filled with midden-like deposits. There was also an isolated cluster of medieval pits in the extreme S of the area.

Area B does not appear to have become built up until, at the earliest, the 17th century. Two cellars in the N of the area were probably 18th-century and were backfilled in the early 19th century. An area to the S of this appears to have been open land until the 18th century, and contained a cesspit. In the central part of the area the 17th-century wall footing of a substantial N/S-aligned building and the cobbled surface of a narrow lane running alongside it survived. This structure appears to have remained in use until the 19th century, although probably with some rebuilding on old wall footings. At the very S end of Area B another cellar survived, probably

originally 18th-century, although it had been used up until the early 20th century. Abutting this structure were industrial structures, probably kilns or ovens, of 18th- or 19th-century date.

Much of the earlier archaeology was disturbed by the construction of a tannery within the site. This construction began in the 1830s, with a group of tanning pits being built into the backfilled cellars in the N of the area. Further expansion of the tannery in the 1860s seems to have incorporated the wall footings of earlier structures, and added more tanning pits in the central part of the site. Later modern development resulted in the terracing of the area, resulting in the truncation of the 19th-century tannery and earlier deposits.

Funder: Capital Land (Holdings) Ltd

Paul Masser (Headland Archaeology Ltd), 2008

Information also reported in Oasis (headland1-49423) 16 April 2013


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