The History of Leith

November 17, 2008

Riddle’s double court-High Street,Edinburgh

(c) John Arthur

Sir John Smith’s Close, Royston’s Close, Shaw’s Close, McMorran’s or John McMorran’s Close. Giving entrance to Riddle’s double court, Edgar. Ainslie. ‘Court’ Kirkwood. Kerr. Takes its name from ‘Riddal’s land’,. built by George Riddell, wright, burgess, Prot. G.L 2, 7/6/1733. Fisher’s land and close lay on the east; the tenement of David Home of Grange on the south; the area and tenement of (blank) Johnston, glover, on the west,Prot. G.L.2, 22/8/1764. George Riddell had a large family-George, Andrew, James, John and Robert, also Katherine and Barbara. James seems to have inherited the property, in which his sisters continued to reside, while he emigrated to England, being known later as Riddell of Caisters, Norfolkshire, Prot. W.F.10, 17/12/1760; Wilson, i. 217. He enjoyed a servitude over the house of the notorious Major Weir, or Wear, formerly owned by his father, George Riddell, Prot. J. W. 7, 28/1/1764; W.F.6, 6/12/1753. James Riddle, son of the occupant of Riddle’s Court, succeeded Patrick Maule, one of the Panmure family, as a soap boiler in Leith, giving his name to Riddle’s Close, 50 Tolbooth Wynd, now misnamed Market Street, jr.s.l 321, 347. It was also called Sir John Smith’s, now Royston’s Close, Prot. G.H.8, 18/2/1730, from the property there of Sir John Smith of Grothan, or Gortham, owned formerly by George McMorran, merchant, burgess, and his son George: thereafter by David Home of Grange, Reg. 8/7/1743. Royston’s Close,p.w. 1773, p.4, formerly Sir John Smith’s, and now Riddle’s Close, Reg. 23/5/1857, took its name from Sir James Mackenzie of Royston, senator of the College of justice, who died 1744, having owned two dwelling houses in the close, Prot. W.F.3, 30/3/1749, 25/5/1749. It was also called Shaw’s Close, trad. 74, but no derivation suggested. The name M’Morran’s Rom. Edinr. 69 or John M’Morran’s Prot. G.H. 3, 6/12/1708 Close, comes from John M’Morran, to whom the property there was disponed by his brother, Ninian M’Morran of Newhall. This John seems to be Bailie John M’Morran, City Treasurer 1589-91, 2nd bailie 1594, and shot in 1595 by Wm. Sinclair at a barring-out of the High School, o.& n.e. i. 110. In his house, yet extant, James VI, his queen, Anne of Denmark, and her brother, the Duke of Holstein, were entertained, March 1593, o.& n. e. i. 110. The protocols are a little confused as to the relationships of John M’Morran, senior, John, junior, Ninian, George, and perhaps William, who was 1st bailie 1607. They were probably father and four sons. There was a throughway from Riddell’s or M’Morran’s Court by Alison’s, alias Wardlaw’s, Close to the Cowgate. jas. Wardlaw’s, property lay to the east, Prot. G.H.3, 19/11/1706, and we find mention of Wardlaw’s Close, south side of the Lawnmarket, Reg. 28/7/1767, which arrangement is most clearly shown by Kerr. Another entrance was from the West Bow, through Major Weir’s Close, Wilson, ii. 162, into Johnston’s Close, and to the back of Riddell’s Court, See Edgar, Ainslie, Kerr.

Some Text