Tucked away in Edinburgh’s Old Town is the delightful Tweedale Court. The Old Town has an extensive network of closes and wynds and Tweedale Court is one of the best examples. Tweedale Court is located across from the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the World’s End pub.
It is accessed by a narrow passageway from which you come through a pair of wrought iron gates and a shelter for sedan chairs which were used to carry the more wealthy citizens of Edinburgh above the filthy streets of the past.
The history of Tweedale Court
The stone building that is Tweedale Court is one that has changed and developed over the centuries. The exact date that Edinburgh stonemasons first built the delightful Tweedale Court is unclear, but there is the remains of a carved doorway which which has the date of 1576 and the initials of a Neil Lang and his family, thought to be the original owners of the house.
Neil Lang was one of the country’s most senior legal officers and held the office of Keeper of the Signet. The location of Tweeddale Court points to the wealth of Neil Lang and his wife Elizabeth Daniels Tune as the wealthier members of Edinburgh society always lived in closes tucked away from the hustle and bustle Edinburgh’s High Street.
The building is constructed from stone and it is testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the Edinburgh stonemasons who built this wonderful building that it is still standing today.
When did it become Tweedale Court?
The building was not known as Tweedale Court until 1670 when it was purchased by a senior advisor to to King Charles II, the Marquess of Tweeddale. Although the general stonework of the building remained in place, he made changes internally to the house and also added a personal touch to the garden by adding a lime tree plantation.
Tweedale Court: The British Linen Bank
The house sadly declined through the 1700s with calls for its demolition in 1750. Thankfully this didn’t happen and the house was bought by the British Linen Bank who used it as their head office. Stonemasons added a porch to the entrance and for security, bars were added to Tweedale Court’s windows.
It was during this time that a notorious murder occurred here, uncovered when a little girl came across the body of bank messenger William Begbie who had been stabbed in the chest. The case remains unsolved to this day.
Tweedale Court: 1800s – today
Tweedale Court was bought by Oliver and Boyd, a printing company in the early 1800s and to this day their name s still displayed over the door. Other remnants of their business still remaining include the hoist on the first floor that was used for hauling up supplies.
The link with publishing still exists today with part of the building being occupied by The List, Edinburgh’s essential what’s on guide. Other parts of the building are residential.
The next time you are wandering up the Royal Mile, take the time to explore some of the sidestreets of this wonderful city as there are some delightful sights to behold giving you a real glimpse of ancient Edinburgh.