The History of Leith

November 19, 2008

Anchor Close


(c) John Arthur

Also known as Fowlar’s or Fuller’s Close, Fisher’s Close, Fordyce Close. Named from the ‘Anchor Tavern in Fuller’s Close’ kept by George Cumming, Prot. G.H. 10, 17/10/1734, where the Lord High Commissioner was long in the habit of holding his levees, o.e.c. iv. 36, and where the Crochallan Club met, and entertained Burns, Wilson,ii.25. Edgar. Ainslie. Kirkwood. Kerr. The older name, Fowler’s or Foular’s Close, is mentioned in 1521, o. & n.e.ii, 241, and is attributed to its containing the house of Wm. Fowler, merchant, burgess, supposed author of “The Triumph of Death”, o. & n.e. i. 236. The house of Wm. Fowler, merchant, burgess, at the head of former Fowler’s, now Anchor Close, was inherited by his son John, and acquired later by Sir Alexr. Ogilvie of Forglen, from whom it took the name of Forglens, Prot. W.P.5, 28/11/1751, or Forgulan’s Prot. W.F.2, 24/2/1749 Land. It is called, misleadingly, Foulls Close, Prot. W.F.9, 7/9/1759, but must not be confounded with (north) Foulis Close, which Edgar names Fowler’s Close. It is once Reg. 14/1/1859 named Fisher’s alias Fowler’s, now Anchor Close-derivation unknown. A close, Fordyce Close, may be the same as Anchor Close, but it has no clear alias. It was on the north side of the High Street, and derived its name from the property of James Fordyce, ‘fecialls scriba’ in Foullis Close, Reg. 11/12/1740. John Fowler owned property in Fordyce Close, Reg. 20/9/1856; Prot. J. W.3, 29/12/1752. Wm. Fowler owned property in Fordyce Close, which was inherited by his son and heir John,Prot. G.H.4, 28/12/1711 . The various bounding lands tend to the identification. The close seems to have enjoyed other names also, Brown’s and Dickson’s being on the north side of the High Street, containing the tenement of Agnes, Sibella, and Elizabeth Dickson, Prot. J. W.8, 7/5/1767; A. W. 7, 26/11/1723. The lands of the late Wm. Fowler were on the east and west: that of Thomas Brown, merchant, on the North, whence Brown’s Close: it contained the lands of Thomas Dickson,Prot. A. W. 7, 26/11/1723. The lands of the late John Dickson were in Dickson’s Close, north side of the High Street, Reg. 10/2/1864 The tenement of Thomas Dickson was in or close to Fowler’s, now Anchor Close,Prot. W.F.11, 26/8/1762. Thomas Dickson’s land was on the east side of Fordyce Close, mentioned above, Prot. J. W. 3, 29/12/1752. Brown’s, now Dickson’s Close, Prot. J. W. 8, 7/5/1767; A. W. 7, 26/11/1723.

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