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Edinburgh, 174 Canongate, Moray House

Bank (Financial) (19th Century), College (19th Century), House (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 174 Canongate, Moray House

Classification Bank (Financial) (19th Century), College (19th Century), House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Free Church Normal School; Institute Of Education; Regent Murray's House; 173, 173-174 Canongate; Music Department

Canmore ID 52312

Site Number NT27SE 29

NGR NT 26375 73747

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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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

NT27SE 29 26379 73739

Moray House (NR)

OS 1/1250 plan

Built in 1618 for Margaret, Countess of Home.

J H Cockburn 1936.

Moray House: Built by Mary, Dowager Countess of Home, daughter of Lord Dudley, between 1618 and 1633. Became the property of her elder daughter, Margaret, Countess of Moray in 1643, and thenceforth became identified with the Moray Family in whose possession it remained until 1845. Cromwell lived here in 1648 and 1650. Built on L-plan. Additions on East were made during 18th century.

RCAHMS 1951.

(NT 2638 7374) As described above; now in use as School Training College.

Visited by OS (J D) 25 December 1953.

Currently known as 'Moray House' now incorporated in the Training College and under the auspices of Edinburgh Educational Authority. Visited by OS 8 February 1954; Information from R F Landon, City Architects office, Edinburgh.

Architecture Notes

Depicted on the coloured 1st edition of the O.S. 1:1056 scale map (Edinburgh and its Environs, 1854, sheet 36).

Built about 1628. Large house whose forecourt is entered from the Canongate between two high gateposts with sharp pyramidal finials. Main part of the hosue has a gable to the street, and ar first floor level is a balcony supportd by bold corbels. At the side is a semi-octagonal turnpike tower. Interior contains several magnificent plaster ceilings.

REFERENCE - Scottish Record Office

Sale at the Linen Hall.

Advertisement of the sale is decorated with a drawing of Moray House, at that time occupied by The British Linen Bank. (The Linen Hall was in John Street.)



Free Church Normal School building now demolished.


Volume 3 of water colour sketches by Thomas Brown Advocate -1 engraving and sketch showing Moray House


Publication Account (1951)

107. Moray House, 174 Canongate.

About the time of Charles I's accession, Mary, Dowager Countess of Home and a daughter of Lord Dudley, built an elegant residence on the S. side of the Canongate, and laid out extensive gardens and orchards in the open ground behind. There is some doubt as to the year in which she began building, as two writers give it as 1618 and a third as "before1633," while none of them cites authority for his statement. The place at any rate became the property of her elder daughter, Margaret, Countess of Moray, in 1643, and thenceforth became identified with the Moray family in whose possession it remained until 1845. Cromwell lived here in 1648 on his first visit to Edinburgh. Two years later it was again the family home, when the eldest daughter, Lady Mary Stuart, was married to Archibald, later9 th Earl of Argyll.* But after defeating Leslie at Dunbar in September, 1650, Cromwell returned to winter in Moray House, and here his levees were held. The gardens at this time were said to be "of such elegance and cultivated with so much care as to vie with those of warmer countries and perhaps even of England itself. Scarcely anyone would believe it possible to give so much beauty to a garden in this frigid clime." Half a century later, when occupied by the Earl of Seafield, the place once more became a stage for political events. The Union of the Parliaments was being hotly debated and the Articles drawn up by the Commissioners for the consideration of both Parliaments had proved far from popular, with the result that feeling ran high in Scotland; but the Duke of Queensberry, Lord High Commissioner, and his neighbour the Earl of Seafield, the Lord Chancellor, both supported the proposal strongly, and their mansions in the Canongate afforded opportunities for informal parleys and negotiations. Tradition has it that the final arrangements were agreed to and the Articles signed in the secluded garden-pavilion of Moray House, which is still extant; but in point of fact the Articles were signed at Whitehall. In 1845 the property passed into the possession of the North British Railway Company and in the following year it was sold to the Free Church of Scotland; three years later it became a Normal School after the buildings had been altered for the purpose. Once more greatly extended, they are to-day the Edinburgh Provincial Training College and Demonstration School; classrooms have arisen on the S. of the old house and of its earlier additions, and the terraced gardens and orchards are no more.

[see RCAHMS 1951 174-177 for a full architectural description]


*For the tradition of the confrontation of the wedding party with the captive Montrose, as he passed up the Canongate to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, see Napier, Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose, ii, pp. 778 f.

Cf. C. B. Boog Watson, Alexander Cowan of Moray House, etc; Chamber’s Journal, 21st Jan. 1837, p.415; Wilson, Memorials, i, pp.95, 108 and ii, p.74; Cast. And Dom. Arch., ii, pp.529 f.

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 (16 August 2002)

Crowns couched in strapwork, one above each of the three windows. Above the central window, below the coronet, is a lozenge shield with two lions rampant. There is also a three-dimensional rose on top of the main gable.

The building was built for Mary, widow of the first earl of Home, in the 1620s.

The lions rampant are those of Home and Dudley.

Inspected By : D. King

Inscriptions : None Visible

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : c.1625

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0532)


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