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January to December 1793

The Court Officers from 11 October 1792:

Dean of Guild
William Gillespie

Robert Young
, Old Dean of Guild
John White, merchant

Malcolm Wright, merchant
William Scott
, plumber?

James Ranken, wright
Alexander Reid, mason

Procurator Fiscal, William Sprott
Clerk of the Court, Thomas Alves or his clerk, John Ogill
Court Officer, Charles Rhind

BOX: 1793/1
WARRANT GRANTED: 10 January 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 31 July 1792.
PETITIONER: Procurator Fiscal.
SITE: High Street, Lawnmarket, James’ Court.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about ruinous tenements.
NOTES: Refers to a timber fronted tenement to the east of the lands belonging to Mr Gowan, glazier, that has been taken down. Report here on Mrs Janet Murray’s [relict of Adam Murray, baker] tenements in James’s Court adjoining a tenement in the High Street by Alex Ponton, John Clark, Robert Kay, Thomas Hamilton and Robert Burn. Her tenement is sound with the exception of the south gavel and part of the west wall. Further report with same conclusion by William Jameson but he notes that the tenement adjoins a fore tenement recently taken down.
    Further documents relating to the condition of four tenements belonging to Thomas Tod, William Gowan, glazier and others, on the east of Milne’s Court at the head of James’ Court, opposite the head of the West Bow.
    This matter taken to the Court of Session by Mrs. Murray who refers to ‘The rage for improvement which so much prevails in the Town of Edinburgh, having unfortunately extended itself to the Lawnmarket…’ She blames the proprietors of the recently demolished houses fronting the High Street for stirring up the idea that her tenement is dangerous so that they can extend their properties backwards.
    See petitions of 16 February/8 March 1792, 11 July, 15 August, 5 November and 12 December 1793.

BOX: 1793/2
WARRANT GRANTED: 24 January 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 24 December 1792.
PETITIONER: David Deas, baker in the Cowgate.
SITE: Cowgate, foot of Libberton’s Wynd.
PROPOSAL: To build an oven on an area at the rear.
NOTES: In answers for James Webster, residing in Canal Street and proprietor of the tenement to the north of the petitioner he refers to a servitude dated 18 March 1554 over the area on which the oven is to be built. Copy of the servitude here which is about preventing any building that would interfere with his lights [windows].
    The elevation at a. was provided at request of the Court on 3 January 1793 to satisfy this question.
DRAWINGS: 2 sheets.

Description: a. Section of the oven and elevation of the gable of the tenement to the north.
Size: 35.3 x 23.7 cms.
Watermark: J Whatman

Description: b. Plan of the shop fronting the Cowgate.
Size: 33.5 x 22.0 cms.
Watermark: S & I

BOX: 1793/3
WARRANT GRANTED: 31 January 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 17 January 1793.
PETITIONER: James Ranken, merchant and Alexander Reid, mason.
SITE: Foulis Close, head, east side
PROPOSAL: Cognition of expences of repair.
NOTES: See petition of 3 March 1791.

BOX: 1793/4
WARRANT GRANTED: 31 January 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 24 January 1793.
PETITIONER: Captain Thomas Dallas of the Hon. East India Company Service at Madras and William Dallas, WS, his factor
SITE: 58 Princes Street.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about encroachment.
NOTES: Complaint is about John Crooks, builder who is building a tenement on a lot in South Frederick Street and is encroaching on the petitioner’s back area.
    In answers for Crooks he states that he feued two lots from the Town Council.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Sketch plan in pencil.
Size: 31.0 x 19.0 cms.

BOX: 1793/5
WARRANT GRANTED: 14 February 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 6 February 1793.
PETITIONER: Dr. Frances Home, physician.
SITE: Foulis Close, at the foot.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a blocked sewer or drain.
NOTES: Petitioner is proprietor of a lodging.

BOX: 1793/6
WARRANT GRANTED: 21 February 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 14 February 1793.
PETITIONER: Magistrates and Kirk Session of the Canongate.
SITE: Canongate, New Street, west side.
PROPOSAL: To build a church.
NOTES: This was the Canongate Chapel of Ease which opened on 16 March 1794. James Grant described it as hideous, suggesting that the petitioners opted for a less elaborate design, as explained in their petition. On the Plan of the Regality of Canongate comprising the Liberties of Pleasance, North Leith, Coal-hill and Citidel thereof
, (Edinburgh 1813) the building is shown with a simple rectangular plan. The Index to the Dean of Guild Court in the City Archives and the front of the petition itself, erroneously give the address as Plainstones Close.
REFERENCES: James Grant,
Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh (Edinburgh 1884) Vol III, p. 19.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Elevation.
Size: 23.7 x 32.3 cms.

BOX: 1793/7
WARRANT GRANTED: 28 February 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 6 February 1793.
PETITIONER: Harry Gardner, merchant in Leith.
SITE: Leith, between the lands of James Mitchell and Robert Sheriff, merchants.
PROPOSAL: To build a house.
NOTES: Refers to the land lately feued from Peter Forrester, merchant in Edinburgh although the coach house is marked as being already built on the plan at b. See petition of Robert Sheriff to build a villa, 16 June 1785.
DRAWINGS: 2 sheets.

Description: a. Elevation.
Size: 29.5 x 22.5 cms.
Architect: [Robert Kay?].

Description: b. Plan of the area.
Size: 22.5 x 16.5 cms.

BOX: 1793/8
WARRANT GRANTED: 7 March 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 22 March 1787.
PETITIONER: George Fyfe, coppersmith in Leith.
Leith, the head of Baillie Muckle’s Close, in the Yardheads there.
PROPOSAL: To cognose expences.
NOTES: The petition refers to a warrant granted on 2 August 1775 to George Clapperton, writer as factor for David Wilson, ship carpenter, sometime in Leith, to demolish and rebuild a tenement and have the expences cognosed by the Court. See warrant of 31 August 1775 with a plan there. David Fairlie, mason in Leith now deceased had outstanding accounts for £26 8s 4d for mason work and Alexander Henderson, smith in Leith was also owed a small sum. The petitioner is acting for his spouse, Jean Fairlie, daughter of David by a settlement dated 29 September 1779. There are accounts here from William Hunter, wright, (died March 1778) which includes accounts for mason and slater attested by other tradesman at £153 8s 1d. here is a further petition here from Messrs. Todd and Stoddart, merchants in Leith , creditors on Hunter’s estate dated 6 April 1787. George Clapperton had agreed to pay Hunter £10 pa. until his account was settled but this had ceased on Hunter’s death. The Court ordered the accounts in both petitions to be inspected by members of the Court on 14 June 1787 but the matter seems not to have been resolved until the date of the warrant here.

BOX: 1793/9
WARRANT GRANTED: 14 March 1793 [expences].
PETITION LODGED: 8 November 1790.
PETITIONER: The heritors of Fogo’s land and others.
SITE: Carruber’s Close, Fogo’s land.
PROPOSAL: Complaint against John Lamond, wright for storing large quantities of timber.
NOTES: Refers to a recent fire that originated in a carpenter or wright’s shop, chiefly in old wood collected from buildings recently taken down. Lamond has his premises in Carrubers Close on land belonging to the heirs of William Reoch, wright, on the north end of the large tenement called Fogo’s land, where he has built timber shades and is storing wood. Refers to a great fire in Carruber’s Close in 1758

BOX: 1793/10
WARRANT GRANTED: 14 March 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 23 January 1793.
PETITIONER: John Ritchie, slater.
SITE: Foulis Close.
PROPOSAL: Cognosing accounts.
NOTES: Refers to warrant granted on 3 March 1791 (Ranken) for repairs. Account here from Ritchie which includes; ‘mending several holes on the roof of Da. Hume's [David Hume?] stable there’

BOX: 1793/11
WARRANT GRANTED: 21 March 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 26 January 1793.
PETITIONER: John Beaddie, merchant in Leith.
SITE: Leith, Sherriff Brae.
PROPOSAL: To build a warehouse of 4 floors.
NOTES: ‘That in case the said area or back ground at the back of his fore tenement should anyway interfere with the City’s plan of widening the harbour, your petitioner apprehends it will be necessary that the City of Edinburgh and John Cundell, brewer in Edinburgh…. Should be called…’. The City complained that it could not understand exactly where he was going to build and in response the petitioner noted that he was going to demolish an old house presently possessed by the petitioner and Alexander Henderson, lint dresser. ‘Any additional breadth the intended building may occupy is to the south and not towards the river’.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Elevation and ground floor plan.
Size: 48.0 x 37.5 cms.
Watermark: T Vallance

BOX: 1793/12
WARRANT GRANTED: 21 March 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 31 January 1793.
PETITIONER: John McIntyre, tenant in Letter Walton, Parish of Ardhattan, Argyll.
SITE: Bell’s Wynd, head, Brown’s land.
PROPOSAL: Cognosed expences.
NOTES: Refers to a warrant dated 18 February 1790 for rebuilding the shop floor and cellars. There are detailed accounts here from William Jamieson and James Crighton, masons, David Alexander, painter (simple oil painting of windows and shutters), Alexander Ponton and William Wright ‘for measuring & delineating Mr. McIntyre’s property also plans to be considered for rebuilding of which proportion of Mr McIntyre is £2 8s.’ Payment made 16 December 1790 to Thos Ponton, ‘for my father’. Wright work by (Thomas?) Murray & (William) Falconer.

BOX: 1793/13
WARRANT GRANTED: 11 April 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 30 March 1793.
PETITIONER: William Crawford, merchant in Leith.
SITE: Leith, Baltic Street, north side.
PROPOSAL: To build a warehouse.
NOTES: Property bounded on east and west by the property of Robert and Alexander Sherriff.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Plan and elevations to Baltic Street and internal courtyard.
Size: 44.5 x 35.8 cms.
Watermark: R Williams

BOX: 1793/14
WARRANT GRANTED: 25 April 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 30 January 1793.
PETITIONER: James Gordon, brewer.
SITE: Close immediately to the west of Heriot’s Bridge Street.
PROPOSAL: Complaint against Samuel Watson, solicitor and to erect a small building.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Elevation and plan.
Size: 44.6 x 28.3 cms.
Inscriptions, recto: Signed, William Sibbald.
Architect: William Sibbald.

BOX: 1793/15
WARRANT GRANTED: 25 April 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 19 November 1792.
PETITIONER: John Spence, painter, Alexander Smith, baker, John Gray WS and the Procurator Fiscal.
SITE: West Bow, blocked drain.
PROPOSAL: Division of expence of repairs.
NOTES: Refers to a warrant granted on 29 September 1791. Account from John Paton, mason.

BOX: 1793/16
PETITION LODGED: 24 April 1793.
PETITIONER: Francis Sharp, merchant and Robert Burn, architect.
SITE: South Bridge, west side, southmost tenement.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a drain for carrying off water.
NOTES: Their tenement was built on Lot 17, purchased from the Trustees for the South Bridge.

BOX: 1793/17
PETITION LODGED: 23 October 1792.
PETITIONER: James Thomson, WS and the Procurator Fiscal.
SITE: North Castle Street.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about lack of a drain.
NOTES: Alexander Crawford and James Williamson, in company as builders are erecting a tenement to the south of the petitioner but they are neglecting to put in a drain. Thomson’s property has been flooded.

BOX: 1793/18
PETITIONER: Henry Jeffray, Provost of Stirling.
SITE: Canongate head, south side.
PROPOSAL: To divide a large shop.
NOTES: The petitioner owns a large shop presently occupied by Messrs. Chrystal, auctioneers.

BOX: 1793/19
WARRANT GRANTED: 13 June 1793.
PETITIONER: John Forbes, weaver in Portsburgh.
SITE: The Vennel, west side at the foot.
PROPOSAL: To demolish a ruinous tenement as required by the Court, and rebuild.
DRAWINGS: Mentioned but not here.

BOX: 1793/20   
WARRANT GRANTED: 20 June 1793.
PETITIONER: William Dalzel, WS.   
SITE: North Frederick Street, west side.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about encroachment.
NOTES: The petitioner purchased two houses from Edmund Butterworth, writing master on 18 February 1792. It is bounded on the south by the house belonging to Mr. Campbell of Fairfield, on the north by houses belonging to Messrs Reid and Thomson, builders and on the east by a meuse lane. The complaint is about an entrance to the cellars in the sunk area of his southmost house, constructed while the petitioner was in the west during the last vacation. In replies for Edmund Butterworth he relates that in the missive of sale it was agreed that the two houses would be finished equal in manner to two houses in Queen Street, specified. When it came to the division of the sunk area, the petitioner was away and he decided to copy the arrangement in Queen Street. He notes that the cellars had been built before the houses, by Mr. Howden, builder. The problem had been raised between them and Mr. Laing, builder had been agreed as an arbiter. The Court eventually ordered the removal of the encroachment. Expences of 1 Guinea settled on 18 July 1793.

BOX: 1793/21
WARRANT GRANTED: 27 June 1793.
PETITIONER: John Thomson, blockmaker in Leith
SITE: Leith, Queen Street
PROPOSAL: To demolish and rebuild a ruinous tenement.
NOTES: The property to be demolished is an old tenement contiguous to another belonging to Samuel Johnston, farmer at Niddry.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Elevation and plans of four floors.
Size: 57.5 x 41 4 cms.
Watermark: Countermark, J Whatman

BOX: 1793/22
PETITION LODGED: 26 June 1793.
PETITIONER: William Coulter, William Butter [wright], Dugald Masterton [writing master] and John Mylne [architect].
SITE: High Street, Peacock’s land.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a vent [chimney] in adjoining gable.
See further petitions of 8 August 1793 and 23 November 1793.

BOX: 1793/23   
PETITIONER: The Procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: Lawnmarket, James’s Court
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a ruinous tenement.
NOTES: See previous petition, 10 January 1793 (Procurator Fiscal)

BOX: 1793/24
WARRANT GRANTED: 18 July 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 25 June 1793.
PETITIONER: William Beaddie, stabler.
SITE: Grassmarket, north side.
PROPOSAL: To demolish old stables, cut away some earth and rebuild.
DRAWINGS: Mentioned but not here.

BOX: 1793/25
WARRANT GRANTED: 22 July 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 8 July [1793].
PETITIONER: Anne Abercromby, wife of Alexander Pedden, wright in Auchenleck and William Scott, brewer in Leith.
SITE: Leith.
PROPOSAL: To demolish some buildings and erect stables over vaults.
NOTES: The petitioners have lately sold part of their property in Leith to William Scott.
DRAWINGS: 2 sheets.

Description: a. Elevation and plan of vaults.
Size: 38.6 x 24.7 cms.
Watermark: J Whatman

Description: b. Elevation and plan of stables.
Size: 37.5 x 26.0 cms.

BOX: 1793/26
WARRANT GRANTED: 6 August 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 24 July 1793.
PETITIONER: Christopher Moubray of the Friendly Insurance Office.
SITE: Friendly Insurance Office – back stairs area.
PROPOSAL: Alteration to and repair of windows.

BOX: 1793/27
WARRANT GRANTED: 8 August 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 10 November 1790 and 3 April 1792.
PETITIONER: John Gloag, merchant.
SITE: Hunters Square.
PROPOSAL: To build a tenement.
NOTES: The petitioner owns an area lying behind and to the west of a tenement lately built by him. The area is intersected by Stevenlaws Close. The petition of 10 November 1790 is for the demolition of an old gable behind his new tenement in Hunter’s Square. There is a reference in the answers for the Merchant Company to a measurement [drawing?] by George Callander which was produced but is not here. The petition includes a letter from Robert Kay to William Scott, solicitor dated 18 April 1792. He understands that the Dean of Guild have ordered Mr Gloag to produce a copy of the plan by the trustees for the South Bridge, conform to which he and the Merchant Company purchased their lots on Hunters Square. He certifies that he has the plan but that he cannot release it without an order from the Trustees for South Bridge and ‘I believe the Trustees will not allow the plan to be produced in any process.’
    In an inventory of processes it refers to a sasine for subjects on the south side of the High Street in favour of Reuben Mackrabie dated & registered 17 June 1703, Further, a disposition to his son, Alexander and others dated 8 August 1729 and a sasine for the same registered 8 November 1739 and an instrument of cognition and sasine for Mrs. Elizabeth Macrabie, alias Frances, spouse of Phillip Frances Esq. of London and only child and heir of Alexander, dated and reg. 8 February 1791.
    In a petition by Adam Bruce and John Taylor, writers in Edinburgh, presented on or before 13 December 1792 they refer to Gloag’s intention to knock through an entry from a part of his house which he intends for an oyster cellar, into new Assembly Close. Gloag was allowed to make the entry.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet. A plan and elevation is mentioned in the petition of 3 April 1793 but they are not here.

Description: a. Plan of the area of Macrabie’s land Stevenlaw’s Close.
Size: 36.5 x 24.0 cms.
Watermark: T Bodgen
Draughtsmen: Robert Hunter and William Wright, ordained surveyors.

BOX: 1793/28
WARRANT GRANTED: 8 August 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 27 June 1793.
PETITIONER: John Reid, John Pettigrew and [blank] Walker, proprietors.
SITE: Shakespeare Square, east side.
PROPOSAL: Complaint.
NOTES: The complaint is against Mrs. Mackenzie, proprietor of the sunk floor and her tenant, William Shaw ‘who keeps a house of bad fame’. Shaw has fixed a sign on the tenement belonging to John Reid and another sign which he hangs on the railing in front of their joint tenements. Ordered to remove the signs and pay a fine of 15s.

BOX: 1793/29
WARRANT GRANTED: 8 August 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 20 June 1793.
PETITIONER: William Coulter [hosier], William Butter [wright] and Dugald Masterton [writing master].
SITE: High Street, north side, Peacock’s land [Lyon's Close]

PROPOSAL: To demolish a tenement and rebuild.
NOTES: The tenement is being demolished by order of the Dean of Guild. In answers from neighbours, including Mr. Fotheringham, David Bridges and Mr. Cunningham, they request sight of a ground plan.
See other petitions by Coulter for this site; 4 July 1793 and 23 November 1793 and the plan by William Sibbald (c.) with the petition of Charles Ritchie, 3 September 1795, which indicates the position of Coulter's shop. Also an unextracted petition dated 14 September 1795.
William Coulter [1754-1810] was a very wealthy hosier who built a large villa in Morningside in 1780. He became Dean of Guild in 1806 and was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1808 until his death. He was honoured with a public funeral and a parade that was 'gratefully overdone'.
Thomas Aitchison, A Directory for Edinburgh, Leith, Musselburgh and Dalkeith July 1794 to July 1795, p. 59 'Coulter William hosier, opposite the Cross, manufactory in Selby's court, Baillie Fyfe's close'. By 1800 he was 'at the top of Jackson's Close' with a house in Greenside.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet. A plan of the area was borrowed on 13 August 1793 and 17 March 1795 but it is not here.

Description: a. Elevation of a 5 story tenement.
Size: 41.7 x 27.3 cms.
Inscriptions recto: Wm. Butter 20 June 1793
Draughtsman: William Butter.

BOX: 1793/30   
WARRANT GRANTED: 15 August 1793.
PETITIONER: The Procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: Lawnmarket, James’s Court
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a ruinous tenement.
NOTES: See previous petition, 10 January 1793 (Procurator Fiscal)

BOX: 1793/31
WARRANT GRANTED: 28 May 1793 and 15 August 1793 [expences]
PETITION LODGED: 7 December 1792.
PETITIONER: The Procurator Fiscal.
SITE: Anchor Close, head of on the east side.
PROPOSAL: To demolish four ruinous tenements.
NOTES: The proprietors of two tenements challenged the order. Petition includes a report by William Jameson, Alexander Laing, John Read and John Mylne, all masons in Edinburgh dated 17 December 1792 stating that the two lands west of Anchor Close are not dangerous or hazardous. The properties belong to or are factored by Frederick Fotheringham WS, William McIntosh, chairmaster, Harry Jamison, banker, David Bridges, merchant and Peter Cunningham, jeweller, and Dugald Masterton [writing master] all in Edinburgh.
    This is a very long process with at least 50 papers and the argument went to the Court of Session. A jury of 17 tradesmen was appointed, spokesman, John Baxter, architect, who decided that the tenements were a danger. In an interlocutor of 24 January 1793 the Dean of Guild ordered the demolition of the two tenements at the head of the Close. Jameson, Laing, Read and Mylne maintained their opinion on 27 May 1793 but noted ‘Yet from some discourses made this day by ripping off the plaster and taking down the lining, which could not appear either to the jury or us before these operations…’ they change their view and the Dean of Guild confirmed his opinion in a warrant of 28 May 1793. In a Bill of Advocation for Frederick Fotheringham WS acting for James Wright ‘presently in the East Indies’ he noted that ‘Reform, in one denomination or other, seems to be the prevailing spirit of the times, and one species of it, the improvement of the Old Town of Edinburgh and particularly the High Street by pulling down every house which has an old or antiquated appearance, in order that new and elegant houses may be erected in their room for the ornament of the Town…’. See further petiton of

BOX: 1793/32
WARRANT GRANTED: 29 August 1793 and 12 September 1793 expences.
PETITION LODGED: 20 August 1793.
PETITIONER: Proprietors of Lady Lawsons Wynd: Richard Learmond, wright in Portsburgh and the Procurator Fiscal.
SITE: Lady Lawson’s Wynd, Portsburgh.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about the state of the Wynd and request to causeway at the expence of the residents.
NOTES: Includes an estimate from William Millar dated 13 August at Castle Barns to carry out the work for £38 5s 4d. See petition of 22 May 1794 (Steele).

BOX: 1793/33
WARRANT GRANTED: 24 October 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 14 October 1793.
PETITIONER: James Gillespie of Spylaw and the Procurator Fiscal.
SITE: Anchor Close and Jackson’s Close.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about potential damage to Richardson’s land.
NOTES: ‘That certain wooden fronted tenements of land lying between the head of Anchor Close and Jackson’s Close on the north side of the High Street of Edinburgh were lately condemned by a jusy as hazardous , ruinous and dangerous…’

BOX: 1793/34
WARRANT GRANTED: 31 October 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 28 September 1793.
PETITIONER: John Martin, ship master, South Queensferry.
SITE: North Leith, Citadel.
PROPOSAL: To build a tenement.
NOTES: The petitioner’s property adjoins that of John Campbell WS.
DRAWINGS: 1 sheet.

Description: a. Elevation and plan of a three story tenement.
Size: 45.5 x 26.3 cms.

BOX: 1793/35   
WARRANT GRANTED: 31 October 1793.
PETITIONER: William Sibbald, merchant in Leith and Robert Grieve, merchant there.   
SITE: Leith, Shore and Weigh house Wynd.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about condition of tenement.
NOTES: The petitioner refers to a tack of 14 years entered into on 13 July 1779 between James Tod, Esq. and the now deceased Thomas Waugh for the property in question. On the death of Thomas Waugh at the end of 1788 or early 1789 the remainder of the tack was purchased by William Glover, wright who agreed, along with William and James Glover, grocery merchants in Leith, to undertake all the necessary maintenance of the property. They then took a tack of 20 years from 1 July 1792. The property is now in disrepair and requires work. Thomas Tod, in replies from his factor, Charles Livingston has been assured that the structure is perfectly sound. There is an estimate here from Alexander cairn and John Thomson, wrights in Leith for the repairs to the building under the headings of the occupants: James Glover, Stuart Nairn, Mrs. Auld, Mrs. Reid and Mrs. Lillie. Also a report from Walter Bruce dated 13 July 1793 on the condition of the property ‘on the corner of the Shore of Leith and St. Bernard Street’ and from John Crocket, slater in Leith. The petition had been refused on 18 July 1793 but after further argument the work was undertaken by Walter Bruce under a warrant.

BOX: 1793/36
WARRANT GRANTED: 5 November 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 28 November 1792.
PETITIONER: Rev. Walter Young, minister of the Gospel at Erskine.
SITE: Lawnmarket, north side, to the west of and adjoining Whitslaid’s land.
PROPOSAL: To rebuild a tenement demolished by order of the Court.
NOTES: The petitioner is given to understand that the line of the street is to be altered and allowance given to the proprietors of the three lands taken down to bring the fronts of their houses forward. He asks that the new line be determined by the Court and this was done on 7 February 1793.
    The Rev. Young made a second petition on 24 October 1793, having purchased the area behind his proposed tenement from Mrs. Murray. He states that he paid £20 to the proprietors of James’s Court to allow him to extend his property over the entry into the Court on the east [west on plan]. He submits a [new?] plan and previous elevation, a. and b. below. There does seem to be some discrepancy between the plan and the elevation with regard to entrances. There is an argument here about mutual gables.
    In answers from the proprietors of James’s Court dated on or before 4 November 1793 they state ‘In the year 1727 James’s Court the largest building in Edinburgh was erected, and from that period down to the present, the proprietors have been at the sole expence of laying and paving the fore closes or entrys leading to the court. When the fore lands were demolished, the respondents were in hopes by giving up some of their fore entrys that they might be accommodated with one more commodious and large in the centre; but from the variety of clashing interests in the fore tenements, this is found somewhat impracticable ’ They dispute that they agreed to accept £20 and ask instead, if he will not widen the entry by 3 feet, for £25. He agreed.
    See petitions of
16 February/8 March 1792, 10 January 1793 and drawings with 12 December 1793 (Andrew) which suggest the entry was on the east.
DRAWINGS: 4 sheets.

Description: a. Elevation of a 5 story tenement with attics.
Size: 36.0 x 25.2 cms.

Description: b. Plan of the ground floor with a close on the west.
Size: 30.4 x 23.4 cms.

Description: c. Plan of the stair at the west side of Gladstones’ land.
Size: 32.2 x 20.0 cms.
Draughtsman: William Sibbald.

Description: d. Outline of the north side of the High Street from the stone land opposite the Weigh house to the entry to the Mound.
Size: 28.2 x 45.7 cms.
Draughtsman: William Sibbald.

BOX: 1793/37   
WARRANT GRANTED: 21 November 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 11 June 1793.
PETITIONER: Alexander Thomson, merchant and others.   
SITE: High Street, between Geddes Close and Lyons Close, Peacock’s land.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about tradesman’s materials.
NOTES: The complaint is against William Coulter, John Mylne, founder, William Butter, wright and Dugald Masterton, teacher. Speaks of mounds of materials three stories high, lifted pavement, large pits for lime and stances for masons all outside the adjoining properties. In replies for the defenders they state that they began pulling down Peacock’s land on the 11th June.

BOX: 1793/38
WARRANT GRANTED: 23 November 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 20 November 1793.
PETITIONER: William Coulter, hosier.
SITE: High Street, north side, Peacock’s land.
PROPOSAL: To alter the shop front in a previous petition.
NOTES: Coulter is applying for a modification because the proprietor of the tenement immediately to the west is allowing his property to lie waste. This may be a reference to the tenement
in Anchor Close in the petition of 28 May and 15 August 1793 above which went to the Court of Session. Note on front of petition that the elevation was borrowed on 17 March 1795. Also that William Butter, wright and Dougal Masterton, writing master be summoned immediately. See previous petitions by Coulter of 4 July 1793 and 8 August 1793.
DRAWINGS: Elevation of the shop front is not here.

BOX: 1793/39
WARRANT GRANTED: 5 December 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 27 November 1793.
PETITIONER: Andrew Crombie & Son, dyers.
SITE: Hume’s Close, ground floor, occupied as a dyehouse.
PROPOSAL: Minor alterations, windows and doors.

BOX: 1793/40
WARRANT GRANTED: 5 December 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 1 November 1793.
PETITIONER: William Steedman, carter in Leith.
SITE: Leith, Kirkgate, Brickwork Close.
PROPOSAL: To raise the walls of his stable and to built to the east of the area to the east of it.
NOTES: The petitioner signs himself William Steadman.
DRAWINGS: 3 sheets.

Description: a. Elevation to the lane from the Kirkgate and plan.
Size: 19.0 x 25.0 cms [irregular].

Description: b. Sketch plan.
Size: 18.0 x 30.0 cms [irregular].

Description: c. Plan.
Size: 19.0 x 31.0 cms.

BOX: 1793/41
WARRANT GRANTED: 12 December 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 4 December 1793.
PETITIONER: John Andrew, merchant, Andrew Murray, wigmaker and John Allan, builder.
SITE: Lawnmarket, Elliot’s land James’s Court.
PROPOSAL: To rebuild a tenement demolished by order of the Court.
See petitions of 16 February/8 March 1792, 10 January 1793 and 5 November 1793 .
DRAWINGS: 2 sheets.

Description: a. Elevation for a tenement of 5 floors and attics.
Size: 46.8 x 27.2 cms.
Inscriptions recto: Edinr 1st Octr 1793 / Robt Kay.
Architect: Robert Kay

Description: b. Plan of the shop [ground] floor with indications of the plan of the previous tenement.
Size: 54.0 x 21.0 cms.
Inscriptions, recto: Edinr 1st Octr 1793 / Robt Kay.
Architect: Robert Kay.
Watermark: Countermark, J Larking

Unextracted petitions [ECA: SL91/24]

BOX: 1793/1*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 24 January 1793 [no warrant, dismissed].
PETITION LODGED: 4 January 1793.
PETITIONER: Colonel Robert Rickhart, Hepburn of Rickarton.
SITE: North Castle Street, corner with Queen Street.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about removal of a wall.
NOTES: The petitioner, who lives in Queen Street, refers to a previous complaint against Andrew Neil, mason who was ordered to pull down two feet of wall, last Spring. The mason has now raised a [new?] wall which obstructs the light to the petitioner’s kitchen and back bedroom.

BOX: 1793/2*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 31 January 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 26 January 1793.
PETITIONER: David Hay, builder and the Procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: Charlotte Square, north side.
PROPOSAL: To coordinate work on a mutual gable.
NOTES: The petitioner’s lot is bounded on the west by the feu belonging to Adam Russell, builder and on the east by the ‘stance of a tenement’ belonging to Robert Inglis, mason and builder.  The petitioner began his tenement about March last and now has the jointing in place above the ground or sunk floor. He wished to continue the ashlar work but needs the cooperation of Robert Inglis, who has not yet begun to build, to supply a section of the vents in his gable. He also needs Inglis to begin so that they can tie their respective facades together.

BOX: 1793/3*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 14 February 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 2 February 1793.
PETITIONER: Thomas Wilson, advocate.
SITE: No. 5 South Frederick Street.    
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a carpenter’s shop.
NOTES: The petitioner owns two stories of the tenement and below the first story [ground floor] is a shop owned by the heirs of Thomas Walker, vintner and occupied by James Hardy, cabinet maker. He is not using the shop for retail but as a workshop where he has shavings lying about and stored timber. The petitioner gave Mr. Hardy notice nine months ago that he should find more appropriate premises but allowed him to store timber in the back area.

BOX: 1793/4*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 25 April 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 22 March 1793.
PETITIONER: Thomas Tod, merchant, John Allan, builder and John Andrew, merchant.   
SITE: Lawnmarket, fronting James’s Court.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about non demolition of the back tenements.
NOTES: The petitioners were ordered to demolish their tenement and they did so. In another verdict in October last, the back tenements were also to be demolished but this has not occurred, delaying any rebuilding. The complaint was repeated in June 1793.

BOX: 1793/5*   
PETITIONER: Edward Simpson, barber and the Procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: North Bridge, two upper floors and garrets.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about the tenants of the shop below.
NOTES: The petitioner has occupied his property for six years and the shop floor belongs to Thomas Tod, merchant. The complaint is against Nicoll Sommerville and Andrew Hay, painters who hold a lease on the shop floor from Thomas Brown, cloth merchant, the previous tenant, from Whitsunday 1791. The petitioner considers the new tenant to be a nuisance and a danger to the building. In replies for Sommerville & Hay they state that they only use the premises to keep and mix colours, receiving messages and painting sign boards. They refer to the shops of ‘Mr. Bonnar, Messrs Taylor and the Nories occupying occupying oil and colour shops in lands fronting the High Street…’. They go on ‘Indeed, the smell of the paint is not so disagreeable to the respondents or to many others as the smell of some of the petitioner, Mr. Simpson’s perfumes and dust of the powder which he uses…’. In replies for Mr. Brown he states that he thought he was leasing the shop to one who would sell pictures. As the argument develops it is noted that Messrs. Taylor and the Nories have their shops in a meuse lane in the New Town and Mr. Bonnar has his work and painting shop at the foot of a Close in the Canongate and a sale shop in the High Street. There are depositions here from lodgers including from Mrs. Mary Fergus at Kinnaird House dated 7 November 1792, aged 20 years and upwards, governess to Miss Bruce of Kinnaird (aged 14) who briefly rented accommodation from Mr. Simpson in April 1792 but had to leave because of the smell. Also from James Bruce of Kinnaird, aged 58, a widower. There is a copy here of the Edinburgh Advertiser for 22 to 26 July 1791 drawing attention to a case in London; Ryder versus Alexander, for nuisance.
    This is a very long process with nineteen numbered documents including proofs from others with much interesting material on other painters in the City in addition to those mentioned above; Michael Young, painter, aged 30, unmarried, who has traded for 14 or 15 years; John Ross, painter aged 20, married who has traded for 6 years; Mr. Donaldson, painter is mentioned; John Bonnar, painter aged 64, married, master painter for 34 years, served his apprenticeship with Robert Norie, painter; George Norie, painter, deceased is mentioned; Robert Norie, painter aged 25, married, master painter for 4 years and William Deas, painter is mentioned; Charles Baillie, journeyman painter, aged 22, unmarried employed by the defenders; John Symington, journeyman painter, aged 19, unmarried, also employed by the defenders, Somerville & Hay for about 2 years; James Watson, painter aged 60, married, has been a master painter since 1768 and that he served an apprenticeship with Messrs. Reoch, Cochran & Miller, painters from age 13 or 14. [William Reoch was a stuccoist - for accounts here] The Court found in favour of the petitioner and ordered that the defenders should only use their shop for the sale of prepared paints and receiving orders and prohibited them from preparing paints, oils or varnishes and also from painting chairs and other articles in the shop. The case rumbled on over expences until July 1793.

BOX: 1793/6*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 13 June 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 10 June 1793.
PETITIONER: Adam Bruce and John Taylor, writers.   
SITE: High Street, New Assembly ‘or Snowdowns’ Close.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about an alteration to steps.
NOTES: The complaint is against Abraham Newton, tea and spirit dealer who occupied shops at the head of the Close with a dwelling house behind. He has constructed a new step that projects into the Close.

BOX: 1793/7*
WARRANT GRANTED: 13 June 1793 [No warrant here].
PETITIONER: Procurator Fiscal versus Andrew Mein, son of deceased William Mein, merchant.
SITE: Fleshmarket Close, east side.
PROPOSAL: Complaint, working without a warrant.
NOTES: Mein was creating an entrance into the Close with access through the site of a ruinous tenement, sometime ago purchased by the City for public uses. Mein makes the case that the waste area, between his tenement and Bulls Close, belongs to him, has a wall or dyke and the east and a door for which he has a key. During the demolition of nearby tenements in 1789 the workmen laid stones in his area. Mein produced titles: Margaret Blair and George Hewit to James Johnston of 10 May 1707, registered 1731; disposition by Harry Davidson WS, commissioner for Lt. Robert Mein to the petitioner, Andrew Mein of 26 April 1785

BOX: 1793/8*
WARRANT GRANTED: 15 June 1793 [remit to the Lord Ordinary regarding expences].
PETITIONER: Miss James Ann McDowall and Thomas Walker Baird, advocate, her factor loco tutoris.
SITE: Portsburgh, on the south side of high street leading from the West Port.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about condition of upper floors.
NOTES: This process may have begun in response to a petition by the Procurator Fiscal before 27 December 1792. From the numbering, there are some papers missing. Report from Alexander Purdie and John Clark, builders dated 27 May 1793 stating that the property was not ruinous. Report enclosed from James Brown and James Salisbury, architects and Andrew Irvine, mason, declaring the entire tenement to be ruinous. Jury appointed.

BOX: 1793/9*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 18 July 1793 [no warrant, petitioners to see the complaint].
PETITIONER: Charles Brown of Coalstoun, advocate.   
SITE: High Street, head of Old Assembly Close.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about a blocked vent.
NOTES: The petitioner recently purchased a cellar from Alexander Fraser of Torbreck in that great tenement built by John Moubray. He has let the cellar to a china burner who has found that the vent is blocked at a level above the cellar, owned by Mrs. Watson, relict of Samuel Watson, tobacconist in liferent and Janet Watson, daughter of said Samuel Watson and spouse to William Gillespie, merchant, in fee. On 11 July 1793 the Procurator Fiscal petitioned the Court and complained that the vent was a danger to the tenement. It appears that nothing happened.

BOX: 1793/10*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 18 July 1793 [no warrant, parties to produce drawings].
PETITION LODGED: 11 July 1793.
PETITIONER: Andrew Murray, barber and John Andrew, merchant.   
SITE: Lawnmarket, front of James’s Court, Elliot’s land.
PROPOSAL: Argument about valuation of a demolished property .
NOTES: The various parties appointed tradesman to make a valuation and the names of Robert Kay, architect, William Wright, surveyor and Robert Burn, architect are mentioned here.

BOX: 1793/11*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 25 July 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 25 July 1793.
PETITIONER: John Haggart, advocate.   
SITE: Merchant Street, eastmost tenement.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about work without a warrant.
NOTES: The petitioner owns the 1st floor, John Crombie the second and mr. Keir the third. The complaint is against Mrs. French, widow of [blank] French of the general Post office, Edinburgh, who has made an opening in the westmost gable of the tenement in the upper story.

BOX: 1793/12*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 22 August 1793 [no warrant]
PETITION LODGED: 15 August 1793.
PETITIONER: Alexander Storie, candlemaker.   
SITE: North side of street from the Infirmary to College Wynd.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about an ‘office house’ [toilet].
NOTES: The complaint is that an office house was erected about two years ago when the building of the new College [University] began which was to have been temporary. It is not cleaned and has become a nuisance.

BOX: 1793/13*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 5 September 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 31 August 1793.
PETITIONER: Robert Clark, tailor in Geddes Close and Mrs. Watson, with the procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: High Street, Geddes Close, Richardson’s land.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about an exposed gable.
NOTES: Their east gable is exposed to the elements due to the demolition of the neighbouring tenement. The Court decided that the tenement was unsafe and that they should all move out.

BOX: 1793/14*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 10 October 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 30 July 1793.
PETITIONER: The Procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: Grassmarket, north side, and part of West Bow, pavement.
PROPOSAL: To repair the pavement.
NOTES: There is a list of proprietors and or factors here for properties on the north side of the Grassmarket and the west side of the West Bow, between Baillie Grant’s Close and Nicholson’s Close.

BOX: 1793/15*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 17 October 1793 [no warrant, appointed a visit].
PETITION LODGED: 15 October 1793.
PETITIONER: The Procurator Fiscal.   
SITE: South and North, St. David’s Street, St. Andrew Street, George Street, Hanover Street and Princes Street.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about the condition of the pavement.
NOTES: The complaint is against seven named individuals but the complaint is a more general reminder about the obligations of owners; Alexander Fraser, grocer in St. Andrew Street, Matthew Sandilands WS and Miss Laurie in Queen Street, Lt. General Horn Elphinstone in George Street , Alexander Learmonth, tanner, John Tawse, WS, in St. James’s Square and Thomas Sanderson, treasurer to the Assembly rooms in George Street.

BOX: 1793/16*   
WARRANT GRANTED: 5 December 1793.
PETITION LODGED: 13 November 1793.
PETITIONER: James Forrest, merchant.   
SITE: High Street, head of Geddes Close.
PROPOSAL: Complaint about removal of lead.
NOTES: The complaint is against Alexander Thomson, builder at he foot of Leith Wynd who was employed to demolish has cut away the lead on the roof of the petitioner’s tenement. The lead was returned but the petitioner was not allowed expences.

Plan of the Regality of Canongate comprising the Liberties of Pleasance, North Leith, Coal-hill and Citidel thereof, (Edinburgh 1813). The Chapel is shopwn on the left (west) side of New Street.

OS Map of Edinburgh 1852 Sheet 17. Harry Gardener's villa may have occupied the front part of the space marked in dark green here. This would have been in imitation of the arrangement on the east side of St Andrew Square where the Dundas house (1771, now Royal Bank of Sotland) was framed on either side by giant order houses in 1769 and 1819. The villa marked in blue was almost certainly built by Robert Sheriff in June 1785 - see his warrant of 16 June 1785. For the other buildings coloured here see the warrant of 26 January 1804 (Sheriff).


This tenement on the north side of the High Street, standing between Old Stamp Office Close on the west [left] and Lyons Close on the east, may be 'Peacock's land'. There are some differences; the narrow stair window on the west and the first floor windows, while not resting on the shop front cornice as in the drawing, do have a greater space above them. The pilastered shop front is now missing a pillar on the east, possibly removed by the neighbouring owner, but this too may not have been erected. Coulter had to modify his design, as we know from his petition of 23 November 1793, complaining about the lack of progress on rebuilding the tenement to the west.