Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Edinburgh, 195 - 197 Canongate, Shoemakers' Land

Hall (17th Century), Tenement (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 195 - 197 Canongate, Shoemakers' Land

Classification Hall (17th Century), Tenement (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Bible Land; Shoemakers' Hall; 213-217 Canongate; 215 Canongate

Canmore ID 52516

Site Number NT27SE 52

NGR NT 26333 73759

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

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 52 2633 7375.

Shoemaker's Hall (AD. 1667) An old house four stories high in which the shoemakers used to hold their meetings. Over the entrance door is the shoemakers arms cut in stone and the figures 1667 inscribed. Situate on the north side of Canongate.

Name Book 1852.

Shoemakers Lands. Bought in 1677 by the Guild of Cordwainers of the Canongate.

J H Cockburn 1936.

Shoemakers' Land. The hall of the Incorporation of Cordiners was e rected in 1682. Reconstructed in 1725. Totally demolished in 1882...An L-shaped doubl e tenement called the "Bible Land" was built by this Incorporation in 1677. (187-197 Canongate)

RCAHMS 1951.

(NT 2633 7375) A plain unpretentious building now being renovated by the City Authorities.

Visited by OS (J D) 26 December 1953.

Still known as Shoemakers' Hall. Only the frontage is original.

Visited by OS 8 February 1953; Information from R F Landon, City Architect's office.

As described in previous information

Visited by OS (S F S) 2 December 1975.

Architecture Notes

Shoemarkers' or Bible Land. Large five-storeyed tenement with two gables facing the street and closely-spaced windows. Turnpike stair near centre of the front ends and an ogee roof.


City Architect's Collection

Photostat of drawing of Bible, Morocco and Shoemaker's Lands as in 1677 by A A MacCulloch 1943


Publication Account (1951)

112. Shoemakers' Land, 213-217 Canongate.

This property once included a double tenement, through the centre of which, at ground level, ran a passage giving access from the Canongate, on which it fronted, to Shoemakers' Close. In the court formed by the Close stood the Hall of the Incorporation of Cordiners, erected in 1682. In 1725 the brethren reconstructed the front buildings, leaving the lower part of the passage walls untouched. In time the Hall disappeared; the surviving fragments of other contemporary buildings standing on the site were reconstructed; and finally, in 1882, the E. half of the tenement facing the street was taken down and rebuilt. The surviving W. half of the front tenement, containing in all five storeys, a cellarage and an attic, is built of rubble with back-set and chamfered ashlar dressings, but the wall-head and the cornice are both modern. At the E. end is the entrance to a newel-stair which was originally common to both halves of the tenement but which now serves the W. half only. The entrance to the Close adjoins this stair and the remainder of the street floor is occupied by two shops. The four upper floors have each five large windows facing the street, and also, beside the W. gable, a narrow light which served a closet. Since the stair is a turnpike its windows are not in alinement with the others. A panel, removed from the demolished part of the front, has been inserted into the centre of the portion that survives between the windows ofthe first and second floors. This panel is carved with a niche in shallow relief and is dated 1725 in the spandrels; in the arch-head is a cordiner's rounding knife surmounted by a crown, and below runs the inscription




The Close still retains some interesting features, survivals of late 16th- or early 17th-century buildings. For example, the N. end of the W. wall is set out on chequered corbelling to carry the masonry above it, the corner opposite is chamfered for easier passage, and corbelling for the newel-stair projects near the S. end of the E. wall. The existing stair is partly that of the earlier building although its outer side dates only from the 18th century; contrary to the usual practice, it turns from right to left. Each floor of the surviving tenement was a separate flat, apparently of four rooms in the first instance. Several of the rooms still retain their wall-panelling, but with two exceptions the fireplaces are of later date than this.


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 (20 December 2000)

Two-tone metal cut-out of coffee pot (the body in beaten (?) brass, the spout and handle in steel). Supported on a metal bracket from which hangs a painted sign. Makes a pair with pot and ladle sign next door.

Inspected By : D.King

Inscriptions : Sign underneath (painted green letters) reads: THE / FUDGE HOUSE / OF / EDINBURGH

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : c1997

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0538)

Field Visit (13 December 2000)

Inset rectangular panel with cordiners' emblem of a rounding-knife below a crown, carved in relief. Date in top corners either side of shallow arch.

Crown and shoemakers' rounding-knife are cordiners' emblem.

Inspected By : K M W / D. King

Inscriptions : In top corners of panel: 17 and 25

Either side of and below rounding-knife (incised gilded letters): Blessed is he / that do / the poor man's / case consider

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : c1725

Year of unveiling : 1882

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0541)


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions