The History of Leith

January 25, 2012

Dingwall’s Castle

BUILT no one knows when, but existing during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there stood on the site now occupied by (What was) the new General Post Office, an edifice named Dingwall’s Castle. In 1647, Gordon of Rothiemay, in his wonderfully distinct and detailed bird’s-eye view of the city, represents it as an open ruin, in form a square tower with a round one at each angle, save on the north-east, where one was fallen down in part. All the sloping bank and ground between it and the Trinity College church are shown as open, but bordered on the west by a line of houses, which he names Niniani Suburbium seu mendicorum flatea (known latterly as the Beggar’s Row), and on the west and north by high walls, the latter crenellated, and by a road which descends close to the edge of the loch, and then runs along its bank straight westward.
This stronghold is supposed to have derived its name from Sir John Dingwall, who was Provost of the Trinity College church before the Reformation ;and hence the conclusion is, that it was a dependency of that institution. He was one of the first Lords of Session appointed on the 25th May, 1532, at the formation of the College of Justice, and his name is third on the list.
Of him nothing more is known, save that he existed and that is all. Some fragments of the castle are still supposed to exist among the buildings on its site, and some were certainly traced
among the cellars of Shakespeare Square on its demolition in 1860.

Source-Old and New Edinburgh
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