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Edinburgh, High Street, South Gray's Close, Royal Mint Of Scotland

Mint (Post Medieval), Mint (Medieval)

Site Name Edinburgh, High Street, South Gray's Close, Royal Mint Of Scotland

Classification Mint (Post Medieval), Mint (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Cowgate; The Old Scottish Mint

Canmore ID 52336

Site Number NT27SE 31

NGR NT 2608 7358

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/52336

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

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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 31 2608 7357.

(Name: NT 2608 7357) Mint of Scotland (NR) AD 1574 (NR) (site of)

OS 25" map, (1968)

The last in succession of five buildings used as the Royal Mint stood, until 1877, on the N side of the Cowgate between South Gray's Close on the E and Todrick's Wynd on the W. It consisted of workshops, offices, and houses for officials, arranged about a courtyard and enclosed by a high, massive wall with a turret at the NW corner. The building was begun in 1575 and ready for use in 1581. Its hall was used for important banquets and functions.

D Wilson 1891; RCAHMS 1951.

No trace. Site is now built up.

Visited by OS (J L D) 26 December 1953.

Contractor's excavations for the laying of sewage pipes produced a quantity of domestic midden material, including medieval and post-medieval pottery, and two bronze-working crucibles.

N M M Holmes 1978.

Trial-trenching by machine on this site revealed a section of mortared wall running E-W which probably belonged to the mint building, but no other structural remains were located. Further sherds of medieval and post medieval pottery were recovered, but in small quantities, and it was concluded that the landscaping work proposed for the site did not constitute a threat to archaeological deposits.

N M M Holmes 1979.

This paper traces the history of the Mint from the post-Union recoinage of 1707-9 to its eventual aboltion between 1817 and 1836, and looks at abortive proposals for resuming coinage between 1711 and 1761 and its last production, the Revolution Club Medal of 1753. A postscript refers to the attempts to bring the Royal Mint to Scotland, 1963-7.

A L Murray 1999

Architecture Notes

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

Now demolished.

South Gray's Close is shown on Rothiemay 1647. The name occurs in a charter of 1512 which also mentions a deceased John Gray as a previous owner -probably the John Gray mentioned in RMS (Register of the Great Seal of Scotland Vols I-XI) 1492 as owner of property in this vicinity, and possibly the man of the same name mentioned in Town Council Minutes 1500 as a master waulker and cloth shearer. There is no connection with North Gray's Close: the North and South, coming into use in about 1779 and appearing on Kirkwood 1817, were merely added to distinguish between the two addresses. The close was also the Cunyiehouse Close, from the "cunyie house" or mint built on its West side near the Cowgate in 1574, although the name was also used (and probably originated) as that of the Close or courtyard within the cunyie house itself. Edgar 1742, giving the Close as Gray's Close or Mint Close, shows the distinctive Scots term displaced by its English equivalent. (from Stuart Harris, "Place Names of Edinburgh", 1996, page 307)

REFERENCE: SCOTTISH RECORD OFFICE

Mason work carried out at the Mint Account from Thomas Miln, mason in Edinburgh, for ?320.6.1. It includes work in the Earl of Lauderdale's lodging (The General) and the Master's (James Bruce).

1732-1738 GD1/51/79

Cross reference GD1/51/84 and GD1/51/85

Petitions 1. Thomas Mylne, mason in Edinburgh (his son)

2. Robert Mylne, architect.

to H.M. Treasury for payment of work on The Mint. It had been carried out by Thomas Mylne 1732-33.

1763 GD1/51/84

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