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Edinburgh, High Street, Dickson's Close

House (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Edinburgh, High Street, Dickson's Close

Classification House (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) 80 High Street

Canmore ID 52334

Site Number NT27SE 308

NGR NT 2600 7355

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 308 2600 7355

About halfway down Dickson's Close, on the W side, is the fragmentary skeleton of a fine late 16th or early 17th century house, four storeys in height. The ground floor was entered from the Close as was possibly the first floor also, but access to those above was through a moulded doorway in a stair-tower projecting from the NE corner.

RCAHMS 1951.

Architecture Notes

Dickson's Close is named on Rothiemay 1647, but there are indications that by then the Dickson connection was in decline, for the only owner occupier of the name listed in 1635 is the widow of John Dickson, and the sale of a house in the close by a Charles Dickson (mentioned in a title deed of 1724) may have been a winding up of the widow's estate, if the Thomas Leishman mentioned as its purchaser was the merchant of that name who flourished in the 1640s. A title deed of 1749 mentions a Thomas Dickson, son of John Dickson, as an early owner: the father may have been John Dickson, burgess, mentioned in Town Council Minutes 1514 as quartermaster in this part of town, and the son the Thomas Dickson who was a burgess in 1537. Other possible connections might have been with Thomas Dickson, furrier deacon 1578-99, or John Dickson, flesher deacon 1606-28. In deeds of 1717 and 1724 the close is noted as having also been called Aikman's Close, which certainly goes back to James Aikman, resident in it in 1538, who was probably the James Aikman who was made burgess in 1530, and possibly descended from the James Aikman who was made burgess in 1487 in right of his late father of the same name. The same deeds also give the close as formerly Bruce's Close, but although there are over fifty Bruces on the burgess role prior to 1700, no connection has yet been traced. The name Halyburton's Close, listed in 1635, seems to have belonged to the subsidiary close on the East side of the main one (as shown on Ordnance Survey 1852) and evidently originated with Maister James Halyburton, advocate, who built himself a house here in about 1500-10, described in Wilson as on the East side of Dickson's Close and bearing the Halyburton arms. (from Stuart Harris, "Place Names of Edinburgh", 1996, page 232)


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