The History of Leith

October 9, 2008

The Advocates Close-High Street,Edinburgh


(c) John Arthur

From the house of Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Lord Advocate of Scotland, 1692-1709 and 1711-13. Reek. Index: Sir James Stewart of Gutters, Queens Advocate. Prot. A. W. 2, 25/3/1704. It stood on the west side of the close, at the foot thereof, and was occupied later by Andrew Crosbie, the accepted original of Counsellor Pleydell in ‘Guy Mannering’. ‘Men of the Covenant’ 144. Sir James returned from exile on the landing of the Prince of Orange, 1688; he was hated by the Jacobites, who attacked him in lampoons, and nicknamed him James Wylie. He inherited the house from his father, Sir James Stewart of Coltness, Provost of Edinburgh 1648-49, at the time of Cromwell’s first visit to the city, and again 1658-59. It was rebuilt by the Lord Advocate soon after the Revolution. In 1769 his grandson, another Sir James, sold the house to David Dalrymple, Lord Westhall. The Rev. Hugh McKail, so miserably caricatured as Ephraim Macbriar in ‘Old Mortality was at one time tutor in the family of Provost Sir James Stewart, and was almost caught by the hunters in the house at Goodtrees, now Moredun, but escaped for the time to Holland; ‘Men of Covenant’, 144. Edgar. Ainslie. Kirkwood. Kerr. The close was also known as Stewart’s Close, Prot. W. F. 7, 25/4/1748. Sir James Stewart’s Close, Prot. W.F. 7, 27/,5/1755, and Provost Stewart’s Close, Prot.A. W. 3, 21/3/1711 , from the Lord Advocate his father. Its original name was Cant’s Close, Prot. A. W. 3, 21/3/1711, from property of Henry Cant of Over Libbertoun, Prot. G.H. 12, 26/7/1737. It was one of the bewildering closes of this name. The Advocate’s Close was formerly Home’s Close, Reg. 17/11/1760. A tenement in Home’s close, owned in succession by Adam Rae of Piteddie: Sir Wm. Dick of Brade: his creditors: Mr. John Mitchelson of Midleton: John Spotswood of that Ilk: Sir Jas. Stewart senior: Mr. Henry Barclay, looked into Home’s Close on the east and Byres’ Close on the west. Henry Home of Kaims, Senator of the College of Justice, possessed a house in the Advocate’s Close. He died 1782, aged 87, living latterly in New Street, Canongate, Kay, i. 14, 323; P. W. 1773, 1780.

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