The History of Leith

January 30, 2012

The Parliament Hall

The Parliament Hall, which was finished in 1639, at the expense of the citizens, costing £11,600 of the money of that time, occupies a considerable portion of the old churchyard, and possesses a kind of simple grandeur belonging to an anterior age. Its noblest feature is the roof, sixty feet in height, which rests on ornamental brackets consisting of boldly sculptured heads, and is formed of dark oak tie-and-hammer beams with cross braces, producing a general effect suggestive of the date of Westminster or of Crosby Hall. Modern corridors that branch out from it are in harmony with the old hall, and lead to the various court rooms and the extensive libraries of the Faculty of Advocates and the Society of Writers to the Signet. The hall measures 122 feet in length by 49 in breadth, and was hung of old with tapestry and portraits of the kings of Scotland, some by Sir Godfrey Kneller. These were bestowed, in 1707, by Queen Anne, on the Earl of Mar, and are now said to be among the miscellaneous collections at Holyrood. Begun in 1632, the hall with its adjacent buildings took seven years to erect; but subsequently the external portions of the edifice were almost totally renewed. Howell,. in his ” Familiar Letters,” writing from Edinburgh in 1639, says, “there is a fair Parliament House built here lately,” and regretting that Charles I. did not inaugurate it in person, he adds that ” they did ill who advised him otherwise.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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