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Edinburgh, Leith, Coburg Street

No Class (Event)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith, Coburg Street

Classification No Class (Event)

Alternative Name(s) East Cromwell Street

Canmore ID 51970

Site Number NT27NE 52

NGR NT 2669 7651

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/51970

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

NT27NE 52 2669 7651

Three out of four machine trenches encountered only modern demolition deposits, but in the south-west corner of the site mortared rubble was located at a depth of 4-5m. The limitations of the machine prevented further investigation.

N M M Holmes 1976; N M M Holmes 1979; A T Simpson, S Stevenson and N Holmes 1981.

NT 2669 7651 Observation of engineering test pits over this site demonstrated the existence of a large linear feature running NW-SE across the site, 3.50m deep and at least 10m wide. The E edge of the feature lay within the site but its W limit was beyond the site boundary. Cut into boulder clay, the feature was filled with waterborne silts; mortared rubble was revealed at the base of the feature, apparently in situ.

The alignment and position of the feature suggest that it is probably the defensive ditch of the French fortifications erected around Leith in the 1550s (NT27NE 2).

Sponsor: City of Edinburgh District Council.

M A Collard and J A Lawson 1994.

NT 2669 7651 In March 1998 three trenches were excavated across the projected alignment of the SW bastion and defensive ditch for the Cromwellian citadel at North Leith, constructed by General Monck in 1655, previously identified by trial trenching (Collard and Lawson 1994, 48).

The excavation results show that the SW bastion defences ran parallel (c 10m) with the western side of the site and survived to a depth in excess of 3.8m below present ground surface. The lowest recorded fills of the defensive ditch comprised waterlogged organic silts containing quantities of macro-plant remains. The bastion wall itself survived to a minimum height of 1.64m and was constructed from two distinct masonry styles - the upper 0.66m of random rubble construction, and the lower section from ashlar blocks. The outer face of the wall was inclined at 12 degrees - a deliberate design effect to defend against artillery bombardment

The excavation results demonstrate that the southward return of the citadel's SW bastion lay to the S of the site, probably following the northern line of the present Coburg Street, and the eastward return occurred somewhere to the N of the site. The results indicate that the defensive ditch was deliberately backfilled within 30 years of its excavation, while the SW bastion remained upstanding for a period of less than 150 years after its construction, as the surviving bastion wall was demolished, along its entire length, during the 18th century. The area was finally levelled and landscaped with a substantial deposit of compact riverine silts and clays during the late 18th century, prior to the construction of a series of buildings along both street frontages.

Sponsor: City of Edinburgh Council.

J A Lawson 1999

Activities

Field Visit (1976 - 1981)

Three out of four machine trenches encountered only modern demolition deposits, but in the south-west corner of the site mortared rubble was located at a depth of 4-5m. The limitations of the machine prevented further investigation.

N M M Holmes 1976; N M M Holmes 1979; A T Simpson, S Stevenson and N Holmes 1981.

Watching Brief (1994)

NT 2669 7651 Observation of engineering test pits over this site demonstrated the existence of a large linear feature running NW-SE across the site, 3.50m deep and at least 10m wide. The E edge of the feature lay within the site but its W limit was beyond the site boundary. Cut into boulder clay, the feature was filled with waterborne silts; mortared rubble was revealed at the base of the feature, apparently in situ.

The alignment and position of the feature suggest that it is probably the defensive ditch of the French fortifications erected around Leith in the 1550s (NT27NE 2).

Sponsor: City of Edinburgh District Council.

M A Collard and J A Lawson 1994.

Excavation (March 1998)

NT 2669 7651 In March 1998 three trenches were excavated across the projected alignment of the SW bastion and defensive ditch for the Cromwellian citadel at North Leith, constructed by General Monck in 1655, previously identified by trial trenching (Collard and Lawson 1994, 48).

The excavation results show that the SW bastion defences ran parallel (c 10m) with the western side of the site and survived to a depth in excess of 3.8m below present ground surface. The lowest recorded fills of the defensive ditch comprised waterlogged organic silts containing quantities of macro-plant remains. The bastion wall itself survived to a minimum height of 1.64m and was constructed from two distinct masonry styles - the upper 0.66m of random rubble construction, and the lower section from ashlar blocks. The outer face of the wall was inclined at 12 degrees - a deliberate design effect to defend against artillery bombardment

The excavation results demonstrate that the southward return of the citadel's SW bastion lay to the S of the site, probably following the northern line of the present Coburg Street, and the eastward return occurred somewhere to the N of the site. The results indicate that the defensive ditch was deliberately backfilled within 30 years of its excavation, while the SW bastion remained upstanding for a period of less than 150 years after its construction, as the surviving bastion wall was demolished, along its entire length, during the 18th century. The area was finally levelled and landscaped with a substantial deposit of compact riverine silts and clays during the late 18th century, prior to the construction of a series of buildings along both street frontages.

Sponsor: City of Edinburgh Council.

J A Lawson 1999

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