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Edinburgh, 357 High Street, 2 - 8 Advocate's Close

Tenement (18th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 357 High Street, 2 - 8 Advocate's Close

Classification Tenement (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Roxburgh's Close

Canmore ID 52300

Site Number NT27SE 279

NGR NT 25707 73638

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 279 2570 7363

Built by Nicol Edgar at some time between 1610 and 1620, originally 3-storeyed, altered in the 18th century, one floor (now removed) being added.

RCAHMS 1951.

Architecture Notes

Depicted on the coloured 1st edition of the O.S. 1:1056 scale map (Edinburgh and its Environs, 1854, sheet 35).

West side now demolished. Original name was Cant's Close. Simple front to the street, but a fine stair tower on the West side although most of the Close has been demolished. On the East there are two doorways.

The Advocate's Close was also known as Stewart's Close or Provost Stewart's Close or Sir James Stewart's Close, all four names arising from Sir James Stewart of Coltness, provost of Edinburgh in 1648 and 1658, who bought a tenement in the close, and from his successors. His son, Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Lord Advocate of Scotland 1692-1709 and 1711-13, rebuilt the house soon after 1688 and lived in it until his death in 1713; and thereafter it belonged to the family until 1769, when it was sold off by the Lord Advocate's grandson, also Sir James Stewart. Before the advent of the Stewarts, the close had been Cant's Close -one of several closes confusingly named for property belonging to the Cants of Liberton. At some time before 1749, it was also Home's Close, probably for John Hoome, vintner, owner and resident within it in 1635. Yet earlier, as recorded in 1635, it was Clement Cor's Close, named for Clement Cor or Cer (Ker or Kerr?), merchant, son of Andro Cor, burgess, and himself made a burgess in 1566. Active in the town council 1588-98 and three times bailie, Cor built or rebuilt his house near the head of the close in 1590, and its door heads, inscribed with his initials and HB for his wife Helen Bellenden, are still extant. (from Stuart Harris, "Place Names of Edinburgh", 1996, pages 53-4)


Drawer No 89-Date 18th July 1884-Block plan, showing tenement on the West side to be cleared;

Contract plan dated 1888-Plan and Sections of new "Thoroughfare" with new paving etc;

Public Works Office, signed by Adam Currie-4 sheets of Plans of second, third, fourth and fifth floors, showing alterations to make more fit for habitation;

Plans of the same on two sheets "as executed";

Photoprints of Plans and Elevations of proposed St Salvador's House, and street elevation with new dormer gables.


Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (30 September 2002)

Door lintel combines the initials of Clement Cor for whom the tenement was built, and those of his wife, Helen Bellenden. The initials flank a shield carved with a heart in the 1st and 4th quarters and a rose in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Below is the inscription.

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : Either side of shield (raised letters): C.C H.B

Below shield (raised letters): SPES . ALTERA . VITAE . 1590

Signatures : None

Design period : c1590

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0752)

Field Visit (30 September 2002)

Door lintel carved with the above inscription.

The initials C. C. are those of Clement Cor, for whom the tenement was built.

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : C [symbol] C . 1590


Signatures : None

Design period : c1590

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0753)

Photographic Survey (13 April 2010)

Photographed by the Threatened Buildings Survey post the exposure of a C17th painted ceiling uncovered during renovation.


Standing Building Recording (1 June 2010 - 1 October 2010)

NT 2570 7363 A standing building survey and watching brief were undertaken 1 June–1 October 2010 prior to and during groundworks associated with redevelopment of the site. The documentary evidence indicated that the complex of buildings between Roxburgh’s Close and Advocate’s Close have been extensively modified during the last 500 years, with major episodes of building, demolition and rebuilding. Originally high status homes and work places for merchants and tradesmen, the condition of buildings in this part of Edinburgh declined, particularly after the building of the New Town. It is likely that some properties were used for industrial purposes and by the 1860s parts were described as slums, and were subsequently demolished and rebuilt.

The work undertaken established a preliminary phasing for some elements of the buildings. The basement rooms along the High Street could potentially be of 15th-century date, but the buildings along Advocate’s Close contained substantial 16th- and 17th-century elements. It is probable that the rooms of the N Flat (Rooms F2 and F3) are substantially of this date and are part of what was once a much higher tenement with jettied overhangs and painted ceilings. The current High Street frontage has been significantly modified

and the building was severely truncated in the 1930s, when the extension to the City Chambers was constructed. Much of the surviving masonry fabric is probably 18th century. To the rear (N) of the property, fronting Roxburgh’s Close, the rooms forming the current sub-basement, basement and ground floors are comparatively recent, probably dating to the late 18th or 19th century, and appear to abut the older building to the W.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Mark and Sylvia Hamilton

Tim Holden – Headland Archaeology Ltd


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