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Edinburgh, Leith Wynd, Trinity College Church And Hospital

Church (15th Century), Hospital (15th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith Wynd, Trinity College Church And Hospital

Classification Church (15th Century), Hospital (15th Century)

Canmore ID 52414

Site Number NT27SE 37

NGR NT 2599 7394

NGR Description NT 2599 7393 and NT 2605 7388

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

Treasured Places (2 August 2007)

In 1460 Mary of Gueldres founded Trinity College and Hospital in memory of her late husband, King James II. By 1585, the original buildings had deteriorated and the hospital moved into College buildings that had become redundant following the Reformation. In 1845 the hospital was still in use when it was demolished to make way for an extension to Waverley Station.

Information from RCAHMS (SC) 2 August 2007

Holmes, N M McQ 1988

Archaeology Notes

NT27SE 37 2599 7393 to 2605 7388 removed to NT 2604 7373

For current (rebuilt) location, see NT27SE 224.

Trinity College. (RCAHMS 1951). This consisted of Trinity College church, Trinity Hospital, and the Manses of the Prebendaries. The college included a provost, 8 prebendaries and 2 cloisters, the priests being bound to make 'personal residence.'

Trinity College Church was founded in 1460 by Mary of Gueldres in memory of her husband James II and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin, St Ninian and All Saints It was begun in the lifetime of the foundress but operations were broken off in 1531, when only the choirs and transepts had been completed, and was not resumed. Queen Mary was buried in the Church. After the reformation the church fell to the Crown and was thence conveyed in 1567 to the Provost and Magistrates of Edinburgh. About 3 centuries later (ie. c.1867) the property was acquired by the North British Railway Company who, in spite of opposition, demolished the Church with the intention of rebuilding it elsewhere. But during a 30 year delay caused by litigation the unprotected stones were gradually robbed. (and the Church was never rebuilt).

The Manses of the Prebendaries were destroyed in 1558.

The Hospital, which was out of repair in 1576 was removed in 1585 to the site previously occupied by the Manses. The Church was situated in the hollow below the SW shoulder of the Calton Hill' where it immediately adjoined the Town Gate that was originally named after St Andrew but which latterly became known as Lith Wynd Port'. It occupied the site of a former Chapel of St. Ninian (which is wrongly sited by Arnot (1788) in 'The History of Edinburgh').

The Manses of the Prebendaries stood on the S side of the Church.

The Hospital stood originally on the opposite side of the street, facing the Manses. Church and Hospital are both illustrated on Gordon of Rothiemay's map of 1647.

(Sited as follows from Gordon of Rothiemay's map, dated 1647, (reprint in RCAHMS):-

Trinity College Church:- NT 2597 7394.

Manses of Prebendaries:- NT 2598 7393.

Hospital, pre 1585:- NT 2601 7393 - post 1585:- NT 2598 7393)

H Arnot 1788; RCAHMS 1951.

The site of St. Ninians Chapel is at the NW Corner of Regent Bridge. St Ninians Chapel was situated to the SE of the present Register Office. (Both these sitings appear to be rather north of the site indicated on Gordon of Rothiemay's map. They may be connected with the 'History of Edinburgh' siting which RCAHMS says is wrong.

Name Book 1852; NSA 1845; D Wilson 1891.

Similar information as above.

M E C Walcott 1874; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896-7.

No traces of these buildings remain today. Most authorities tend to place the site of St. Ninian's Chapel a little north of the College Buildings; therefore it has been considered preferable to card this site separately. (please see NT27SE 67)

Visited by OS (J D) 26 December 1953.

St. Ninian's Chapel stood considerably further north of the Church (Trinity College Church) and its ruined walls disappeared in 1814 in clearing the ground for the erection of the Waterloo (now Regent) Bridge.

D Wilson 1884; Visited by OS (J D) 1 June 1954.

Architecture Notes

See also site NT27SE 224 for notes on Trinity College Church. The Church was removed stone by stone from this site, and rebuilt on its present site in 1848.


Antiquarian Observation (April 1836 - May 1845)

Field Visit (26 December 1953)

No traces of these buildings remain today. Most authorities tend to place the site of St. Ninian's Chapel a little north of the College Buildings; therefore it has been considered preferable to card this site separately. (please see NT27SE 67)

Visited by OS (J D) 26 December 1953.

Publication Account (1981)

Trinity Church was founded by Mary of Gueldres, widow of James II, and stood on the site now largely occupied by Waverley Station. On its south side stood the manses of the prebendaries and standing opposite was the hospital, Trinity House, founded as part of the same benefaction for the support of thirteen poor people (RCAM, 1951, 36). The church consisted of a choir with north and south side aisles, north and south transepts, but no nave. It is assumed that the death of the foundress in 1463 hindered progress on the structure (MacGibbon and Ross, 1896, iii, 89-90). In 1848, the church was carefully demolished stone by stone to make way for Waverley Station and as it was intended to rebuild the structure, each stone was diligently numbered (Gray, 1940, 55). Alas, the stones lay dormant for years in Regent Road, and only a small number were used in constructing the hall of Trinity Church in Jeffrey. Street in 1872.

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


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