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Edinburgh, 140 Canongate, Acheson House

House (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, 140 Canongate, Acheson House

Classification House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) 146 Canongate; 142 Canongate; 144 Canongate; Bakehouse Close; Aitcheson's House; Hammermen's Close

Canmore ID 52525

Site Number NT27SE 60

NGR NT 26466 73761

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/52525

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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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 60 26466 73759.

(NT 2647 7376) Acheson House: In 1633, Sir Archibald Acheson of Clonekearney, Co. Armagh, and Secretary of State, built this house, one of the remaining interesting survivals in the City. A doorway bears the date 1679.

RCAHMS 1951.

As described above; in good condition. Door lintel on garden wall bears the date 1679 - an inscription states "Doorway taken from Elphinston House (Carberry Tower) in 1927 and placed here in 1938". (Carberry Tower - NT36NE 4)

Visited by OS (J D) 26 December 1953.

Still known as Acheson House.

Visited by OS 8 February 1954; Information from R F Landon, City Architect's Office, Edinburgh.

No change from previous information.

Visited by OS (S F S) 26 December 1953.

Architecture Notes

NMRS Print Room

140 Canongate

3 prints of entrance doorway (2 of them together)

Inglis Photograph Collection

Acc No 1994/90

REFERENCE:

Restoration architect Robert Hurd, c1947

See also Country Life 7th January 1939

SMT Magazine March 1938

REFERENCE:

Sources: Dean of Guild. Bundle 1812. January-June. 20.2.1812.

Pet. Richard Young, Brewer.

Hammermen's Close, 146 Canongate.

To build a Brwery & Malting.

Plan and east and west elevation. Unsigned.

Activities

Watching Brief (6 October 2010)

NT 2646 7376 A small 1m2 test pit was excavated in the centre of the ground floor kitchen of Acheson House on 6 October 2010 in advance of proposed refurbishment. The excavation results confirmed that the present floor, dating to the 1930s refurbishment of this historic building, was constructed on a base of c0.45m of mixed rubble. This deposit, containing a brick-lined service track, directly overly a dark grey-brown layer presumed to be the post-medieval ground surface pre-dating the construction of Acheson House in 1633.

Archive: CECAS

Funder: City of Edinburgh Council

John A Lawson – City of Edinburgh Council Archaeology Service

Watching Brief (30 August 2011 - 31 August 2011)

The excavation of a service trench to the rear of Acheson House, 140 Canongate, Edinburgh. The site is part of the Museum of Edinburgh and is currently being refurbished. The site lies within the medieval core of Edinburgh, within the bounds of the World Heritage Site. Workmen had already collected numerous finds from the soil overlying an existing pipe. Further excavation revealed two thirds of the trench comprised backfill from two separate pipe trenches. Natural bedrock was overlain in the west half of the trench by a layer of light brown clayey silt. A feature filled with stone rubble was cut through this deposit but was not excavated. The feature was overlain by a thin band of midden deposit. At the east end of the trench were the remains of a wall cut into the natural slope, with midden deposits abutting it. These deposits are thought to pre-date the construction of Acheson House in 1633. A thick layer of post-medieval midden debris overlay these features. The remains of a brick path were found in the centre of the trench, truncated by the two pipes. Map evidence suggests demolition of structures to the rear of the house took place in the first half of the 19th century; a brick path in the new open yard or garden may have been added at this time.

Headland Archaeology 2011 (E. Jones) OASIS ID: headland1-108926

Excavation (30 October 2011 - 25 November 2011)

Headland Archaeology undertook the hand excavation of two discreet areas at Acheson House, 140 Canongate, Edinburgh. These comprised a service trench to the rear of the house and an area of ground reduction within the building. The excavation of the service trench showed that two-thirds of the trench comprised backfill from two separate pipe trenches. Natural bedrock was overlain in the west half of the trench by a layer of light brown clayey silt. A feature filled with stone rubble was cut through this deposit but was not excavated. The feature was overlain by a thin band of midden deposit. At the east end of the trench were the remains of a wall cut into the natural slope, with midden deposits abutting it. These deposits are thought to pre-date the construction of Acheson House in 1633. The remains of a brick path were found in the centre of the trench, truncated by the two pipes. Map evidence suggests demolition of structures to the rear of the house took place in the first half of the 19th century; a brick path in the new open yard or garden may have been added at this time. The area within the house was excavated to a maximum depth of 0.6 m below the floor surface. A large area of garden soil that pre-dated the house was recorded. A cut and clay fill through this layer may represent the line of an earlier wall. The remaining areas had been disturbed by more modern features relating to the 19th and 20th century.

Elizabeth Jones and Don Wilson, Headland Archaeology Ltd. December 2011. OASIS-id: Headland1-114679

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