Home > Areas > The Castle Hill

The Castle Hill

Previous page: The Royal Mile

Leaving the Esplanade, we enter the Castle Hill, up which state processions passed when the Castle was a royal residence and the meeting-place of the Old Scottish Parliament.

Most of the old houses have disappeared. The one at the top, on the right, is Cannonball House, so called from the lodgment in the western gable (below the centre window) of a ball said to have been fired from the Castle during the second Jacobite rebellion. Above the dormer window are the date 1630, and the initials of the builder and his wife.

Farther down, on the same side, is Boswell's Court. Here resided Dr. Boswell, the uncle of the immortal biographer, and here he entertained Dr. Johnson.

Nearby is Sempill's Close which has the remains of the mansion of the Sempills of Renfrewshire, one of whose members married Mary Livingston, one of the "four Manes" of Mary Queen of Scots.

Lower down, on the same side, is the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall, where formerly stood what is believed to have been the palace of Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots.

The imposing edifice with tall spire opposite is the Tolbooth Church, which was used as the Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland prior to the Union of the Churches in 1929. Here met annually the supreme court of the Established Church, at which the King was usually represented by a nobleman, styled the Lord High Commissioner.

Next page: The Lawnmarket