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Edinburgh, Greenside Row, Carmelite Friary

Chapel (Period Unassigned), Friary (Medieval), Hospital (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Site Name Edinburgh, Greenside Row, Carmelite Friary

Classification Chapel (Period Unassigned), Friary (Medieval), Hospital (Period Unassigned)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Rude Chapel; Greenside Hospital

Canmore ID 52403

Site Number NT27SE 36

NGR NT 2621 7440

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 36 2621 7440

Site of Monastery (NR)

(NT 2621 7440)

OS 1/2500 map, (1931)

Monastery of Carmelite Friars (1526) subsequently Greenside Hospital for lepers (1591) (Site of) It appears that this institution stood on a flat piece of ground at the NE. end of the street now called Greenside Row. When the Hospital was in existence the field in which it was situated was called 'The Hangman's Acre'. This name arose in consequence of a Gallows being placed at each corner of the building on which the keeper had the power without trial to hang any leper whom he found escaping (Chalmers 1887-94). The monastery was built in 1526 (NSA 1845). At the north end of Greenside Row is a pump which was formerly Rood Well of Greenside belonging to 16th century Carmelite Friars.

NSA 1845; Name Book 1852; Name Book 1853; G Chalmers 1887-94.

Rude Chapel, Greenside: This chapel stood on the W side of Calton Hill. Dedication unknown, but name may be taken to signify that it stood near a "rude" or cross, or connected with Holyrood Abbey. It may have been founded in or about, 1456 when James II gave Greenside to the town as a playing field. In 1520, the magistrates gave it to the Carmelites. After 1543, the chapel is not heard of....(RCAHMS 1951)

H Arnot 1788; J Stark 1820; M E C Walcott 1874; RCAHMS 1951.

(NT 2621 7440) No trace of this building remains today.

Visited by OS (J D) 28 December 1953.


Publication Account (1981)

A third order of friars, that of the Carmelites, was shortlived in Edinburgh. Founded in 1520 x 1525 on a site in Greenside, by 1529/30 there was friction with Holyrood Abbey which led to the 'downcasting of the house in which the friars lived' (Cowan, 1976, 136).

Information from ‘Historic Edinburgh, Canongate and Leith: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).


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