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The Lawnmarket

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The Lawnmarket is a short, steep street, primarily occupied by tourist shops. Originally it was part of the High Street. The West Bow, a Z-shaped street branches off to the right. Formerly a winding, precipitous thoroughfare lined with tall, quaint houses, the West Bow has been shorn of its glory. In olden times there stood a great gate, the principal avenue into the medieval city.

Up this street came Margaret Tudor in 1503 to marry James IV., who was slain at Flodden; likewise Mary Queen of Scots on her return from her visit to the North; and it was down the West Bow that Captain John Porteous was dragged to his doom, as related by Scott in the Heart of Midlothian. In this street resided Major Weir, the wizard.

The massive buildings on the left, with the date 1690 inscribed above the entrance, were built by Robert Mylne, Royal Master - Mason, hence the name Mylne's Court.

Adjoining is James's Court, where, in a tenement now gone, lived David Hume, philosopher and historian, and James Boswell. On the other side of the street is Riddle's Court, containing a fine seventeenth - century mansion, with an outer and an inner courtyard, each provided with strong gates for security in tumultuous times.

Note, in the inner courtyard, the dormer windows, the gargoyles, the oaken shutter, and, high up, a bust of Socrates. In this mansion were entertained James VI. and his Queen, Anne of Denmark.

Farther down, on the same side, is Brodie's Close.

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