Edinburgh, High Street, World's End Close

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Alternative Names Heriot Close; Preston's Close; Sir Simon Preston's Close; Stewert's Close
Canmore ID 52328
Site Number NT27SE 302
NGR NT 2613 7367
Former Region LOTHIAN
Former County MIDLOTHIAN
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Architectural Notes

World's End Close is recorded in 1725 and shown on Edgar 1742. The name may well be, as is generally assumed, a whimsical reference to the position of the close at the very foot of the High Street; but the even more curious name "Endmyleis well", mentioned in the evidence at the trial of the murderers of Henry Darnley in 1567, possibly belongs in this general vicinity (see 24, 26 and 28 High Street, Fountain Close at NT 27SE 1161). The close is recorded in 1762 as "formerly" Swift's Close, but although it is possible that there was a connection with the Swift family of Old Fishmarket Close, the references given in "Old Edinburgh Club XII" seem to be misreadings, and the point remains obscure. The alternative Sweit's Close, recorded in 1750, is either in mistake for Swift's Close, or else obscure. The close was also Sir James Stansfield's Close, for Sir James Stansfield of Newmills, who had a house in it prior to his death in 1687 and whose son Philip, as related in Wilson and Grant, was convicted of his supposed murder, chiefly on the ground that the corpse bled when he touched it -according to superstition, a sure sign of guilt of secret murder. The close is listed in 1635 as Andro Purves's Close, for Andrew Purves, merchant, who had his house on the High Street frontage and owned other property in the close and in the little close off it, which may be the Stewart's Close listed in Williamson's Directory 1779 and 1799 and perhaps connected with Neil Stewart, merchant at the Netherbow, listed in the Directory 1780. (from Stuart Harris, "Place Names of Edinburgh", 1996, page 645)

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Archaeological Notes

NT27SE 302 2612 7366

Early 19th-century, 5-storey, 4-window ashlar fronted; ground floor as shops. The traceried head of a late Gothic two-light window has been inserted in this building.
J Geddie 1927; RCAHMS 1951.

Books and References

Geddie, J (1927) 'Sculptured stones of the "Royal Mile": II', The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, vol.15
Page(s): 113, No. 130

RCAHMS (1951) The Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland. An inventory of the ancient and historical monuments of the city of Edinburgh with the thirteenth report of the Commission, Edinburgh
Page(s): 123, No. 63 Held at RCAHMS A.1.1.INV/13

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