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Edinburgh, Leith, St Ninian's Chapel

Bridge Chapel (15th Century), Chapel (Period Unassigned), Granary (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith, St Ninian's Chapel

Classification Bridge Chapel (15th Century), Chapel (Period Unassigned), Granary (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Quayside Mills

Canmore ID 52007

Site Number NT27NE 8

NGR NT 2684 7647

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Digital Images

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 8.00 2684 7647

NT27NE 8.01 NT 2685 7648 Manse

(NT 2684 7647) Granary (NAT)

Formerly St Ninian's Chapel (NR) (1493)

OS 6"map, Edinburghshire, 1st ed., (1853)

In 1493 Robert Bellenden, Abbot of Holyrood, founded and endowed a chantry chapel for two secular canons on the N bank of the Water of Leith, dedicating it to St Ninian. The fabric fell into ruin after the Reformation, was restored in 1595 and became the church of a new parish of North Leith in 1606. It was considerably rebuilt in 1736. When a new parish church was built (at NT 2627 7652) in the early 19th century, the building was let to other congregations, and in 1825, it was converted into a granery which, in turn, has been rebuilt as a mill. The only remains of the older masonry now left exposed are in the lower part of the S side-wall.

RCAHMS 1951.

NT 2683 7647 Recording of standing buildings and exploratory excavations in the surrounding yards were carried out at the site of St Ninian's Chapel (later church and manse) and the N end of the 1430s 'Old Bridge of Leith' (NT27NE 7)

The standing building complex on the site contains the remains of a 6 x 5m, cellared, three-storey building. The W and N walls of this tower house-style structure survive to a height of over 10m and pre-date the surviving ashlar W wall of the original St Ninian's Chapel, built by the Abbot of Holyrood in 1493. The chapel was replaced in 1600 by a basically rectangular church building, 19.8 x 15m, of one storey, applied to the W face of the cellared building (which became the session house) and incorporating the W wall of the chapel. To the E of the kirk, and S of the session house, a four-storey manse was built in 1606. A garden was reclaimed from the banks of the Water of Leith in 1613, with waterproofed perimeter walls. The manse was extended to the S by a three-storey building, now demolished, in the late 17th century. The session house was extended to the E, with a turnpike stair in the NE corner, surmounted by an ogival steeple, in 1675, using stone from the demolished English Church in the nearby Cromwellian citadel. Substantial alterations were carried out on the church fabric in 1735 and, in 1751, the original manse building was extended to the E, with a chamfered SE corner to avoid impinging on the road from the 'Old Bridge'. In 1816 the minister and congregation moved to a new site and the building complex was given over to industrial uses; a substantial four-storey mill building was constructed in 1825, using the N and S walls of the church as foundations, and retaining the manse and session house as offices. Several subsidiary industrial buildings were constructed around this complex during the 19th and early 20th centuries, which have been demolished during the current conversion of the buildings to domestic accommodation and office space.

Sponsor: City of Edinburgh Council.

D Henderson 1999


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