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Edinburgh, 57 Lauderdale Street, Bruntisfield House

Drain (Post Medieval), Icehouse (Period Unassigned), School (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval), Wall (Post Medieval)

Site Name Edinburgh, 57 Lauderdale Street, Bruntisfield House

Classification Drain (Post Medieval), Icehouse (Period Unassigned), School (Period Unassigned), Tower House (Medieval), Wall (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Marchmont; Bruntsfield House; James Gillespie's High School; Whitehouse Loan

Canmore ID 52541

Site Number NT27SE 75

NGR NT 25097 72184

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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 75.00 25097 72184

Bruntisfield House (NR)

OS 6"map, (1931)

Bruntsfield House: (NT 2509 7218): A 16th century tower-house on the site of an earlier structure. It is Z-shaped in plan, having two rectangular tow ers projecting from diametrically opposite corners of the main oblong block. In 1605 John Fairlie of Braid reconditioned the old fabric and extended the main block eastwa rds, and at the same time rebuilt the E. end of the old S. wall. He also formed a courtyard on the South. (Full architectural description given).... Bruntsfield takes its name from Richard Browne, Kings Sergeant of the Muir, "Browne's Field having become "Bruntsfield. In 1381, Browne resigned the property to Sir Alan de Lander...(RCAHMS 1951).

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; RCAHMS 1951.

Presented by Charles II to the Landers of Holtoun. Sold to George Warrander in 1695. Acquired by Edinburgh Corporation in 1935 and used as a children's home. At present occupied by James Gillespie's Preparatory School, Bruntisfield House.

Information from revised Name Book 1947.

Bruntisfield House:- As described above. Still in use as a School, and in state of good preservation.

Visited by OS (J D) 29 December 1953.

It is confirmed that the name of this building is Bruntisfield House, not Bruntsfield House.

Visited by OS 4 January 1954; Information from R F Landon, City Architects' Office, Edinburgh

As described in previous field report

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

Architecture Notes

NT27SE 75.00 25097 72184

NT27SE 75.01 Centred NT 25130 72175 School

NT27SE 75.02 NT 25011 72170 School (Primary)

16th Century Z-plan Additions of 1605 and modern times.

OWNER: James Gillespie's School

2 slides in NMRS (missing at time of upgrade, 3.4.1998)

See also:

NT27SE 96 Edinburgh, Lauderdale Street, Bruntsfield House, Grave Slab

NT27SE 440 Edinburgh, Lauderdale Street, Bruntsfield House, Ice-house

NT27SE 2273 Edinburgh, Warrender Park, General

In DC/6631 and DC/6632, Bruntsfield House is the name used for View Park.

See NT27SW 986 Edinburgh, View Park

NMRS Print Room

W Schomberg Scott Photograph Collection, Acc no 1997/39

Exterior view.


Photographic Survey (February 1964)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record/Ministry of Work in February 1964.

Test Pit Survey (8 August 2011 - 9 August 2011)

Five test-pits with a total of 10m² were excavated adjacent to Bruntsfield House within James Gillespie's High School. Structural remains consisting of two walls and a box drain or culvert were recorded in Test-Pit 3 to the south of the house and a wall with associated paving was recorded in Test-Pit 5 to the east of the house. Undated or modern negative features were recorded in other Test-Pits. No finds were recovered.

CFA Archaeology 2011 (I. Suddaby) OASIS ID: cfaarcha1-106571

Excavation (23 February 2013 - 22 March 2013)

NT 2509 7216 A programme of archaeological work was undertaken, 23 February – 22 March 2013, prior to and during redevelopment of the school. Deposits had been removed almost to bedrock across most of the site, and the area with the highest archaeological potential was a zone of raised ground close to the current school buildings. An excavation focusing on the ridge of higher ground recorded features relating to the 17th-century designed landscape surrounding the tower house of Bruntsfield House. These garden features consisted of a parallel pair of retaining walls, which would have formed a raised path/track and the base of a flowerbed. Set into one of the walls facing Bruntsfield House was a recessed niche or grotto. Preserved below the garden features was an earthen bank, part of an estate or field boundary. Underlying this was the badly truncated remains of a medieval structure comprising two walls along with pits cut into the natural subsoil.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Services for Communities and The City of Edinburgh Council

Martin Cook, Jamie Humble, Hana Kdolska, AOC Archaeology Group, 2013

(Source: DES)

Excavation (November 2013 - December 2013)

NT 25071 72171 A programme of archaeological work was undertaken, November – December 2013, prior to and during redevelopment of the school. An evaluation had established that the Bruntsfield House ice house would be affected by the proposed development. A subsequent excavation revealed that the ice house survived with minimum truncation and consisted of an almost intact circular sandstone structure, 5.5m in diameter with a corbelled roof and an elongated entrance-way running in from the N. The structure was 4.0m deep and contained a sloping sandstone flag floor with a central iron grate. The ice house had been infilled to roof level with demolition debris.

A later ancillary structure or garden feature, consisting of a flag-stone floor, blocking wall and existing boundary walls was found to be integrated with the entrance of the ice house. The remains of a heavily truncated brick-built well were observed during groundworks. The well had been infilled with demolition material and survived to a visible depth of 2.5m.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Morrison Construction

Martin Cook and Kevin Paton – AOC Archaeology Group

(Source: DES)

Standing Building Recording (11 November 2015)

NT 25064 72149 A historic building survey was carried out, 11 November 2015, of a newly exposed area of the Avenue Wall at James Gillespies High School, prior to its being faced with concrete as part of development work. The exposure of c 0.8m at the base of the stone rubble-faced wall revealed

no features. Cartographic evidence suggests that a small projecting section to the E was added 1897–1909.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Morrison Construction Scotland Ltd

Diana Sproat – AOC Archaeology Group

(Source: DES, Volume 17)


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