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Canongate Map

Maltese Cross

The Maltese Cross marked in the road here denotes where a property owned by the Order of St John once stood. The Order of St John was established in Jerusalem in around 1070. Today, the Order's Scottish headquarters is nearby in St John's Street.

The World's End

The World's End pub marks the point where the burgh of Edinburgh ended and the separate burgh of Canongate began. For many Edinburgh people this was the end of their world!

Chessels Court

Chessels Court is one of the places where the architect Robert Hurd who is buried in the Kirkyard worked. The buildings on the far side and on the right date from the 18th century. On the left of the Court and along part of the Canongate side, the buildings were put up in the 1960s. Learn about the Court's darker history which inspired the famous tale 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.

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Old Playhouse Close

A plaque marks the entrance to Playhouse and Old Playhouse Close where between 1747 and 1769 a theatre once stood. Among the people who worked there were the musician John Frederick Lampe who is buried in Canongate Kirkyard.

Freemasons Lodge

Also down St John's Street is the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge of Freemasons. Robert Burns attended a meeting here in February 1787. A painting inside the building suggests that Burns was even the Lodge's Poet Laureate!

Tobias Smollett

A plaque through the archway to St John's Street explains that the author Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) stayed here in 1766. Smollett was considered by George Orwell to be 'Scotland's best novelist'.

Lothian Hut

Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) rented the Marquis of Lothian's small mansion, known as the Lothian Hut, which stood on the site of the Scottish Parliament. 'Hut' in local usage being the secondary residence of a family who normally had a larger and more imposing mansion elsewhere.

Panmure House

Panmure House, which dates from the late 17th century, is where Adam Smith (1723-90) lived from the 1770s until his death in 1790.

Dunbar's Close Garden

Dunbar's Close Garden is a hidden gem laid out in 17th century style. This arrangement and the plants used would have been familiar to the botanists Charles Alston and John Walker whose memorials are in the Kirkyard.

Coopers Close

Coopers made and repaired barrels. Coopers Close reminds us how Canongate's many breweries would have needed a constant supply of barrels for their beer. The last brewery to operate in Canongate stood very close to here, on the site now occupied by the Scottish Parliament.

Cordiners

Here you can find a second plaque decorated with the arms of the cordiners, or shoemakers, which is also inscribed 'Blessed is he that wisely doth the poor man's case consider'.

Bible Land

This cartouche, dated 1677, is the last trace of an earlier building here, known as 'Bible Land', which was built by the Incorporation of Cordiners or shoemakers.

Sugarhouse Close

In the 18th century, British colonies in the West Indies were major producers of sugar. In 1752 a house for baking sugars was set up in the Canongate, here in Sugarhouse Close.

Bakehouse Close

The buildings on either side of Bakehouse Close date from the 16th and 17th centuries. These are some of the oldest surviving buildings in the Canongate and give a sense of how the Burgh would have looked before the major rebuilding programmes of the 19th and 20th centuries.

George Chalmers

George Chalmers, plumber, whose gravestone is in the Kirkyard, lived and worked near here.

Holyrood Abbey

Three brass letters 'S' are set into the cobbles where the Abbey Strand joins the Canongate. Until 1880, debtors could shelter from their creditors within the historic abbey boundaries which was marked by these brass letters. Learn about a Royal debtor who took sanctuary here.

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Palace of Holyrood House

The oldest part of the Palace of Holyrood House is the tower on the left, which was built for James IV in the early 1500s. This is where Mary Queen of Scot's apartments were and where David Riccio was murdered.

Scottish Parliament wall

The following quotation from Sir Walter Scott's Heart of Midlothian is set into the wall of the Scottish Parliament: 'When we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude bairns - But naebody's nails can reach the length o' Lunnon'.

Golfer's Land

Golfer's Land, which once stood on this site, was built in the 17th century by John Paterson, shoemaker. He is said to have met the cost from money he won in a golf match during which he partnered the future King James VII of Scotland.

Thos Moodie

A plaque above the church door records that 'In 1688 King James VII ordained that the mortification of Thos Moodie... should be applied to the erection of this structure'. Mortification is an old Scottish term for lands given for charitable uses.

Morocco’s Land

A memento of exile

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Canongate Tolbooth

Every Scottish burgh possessed a tollbooth, which acted as a courthouse, prison, meeting place and the means to collect tolls from travellers entering the town. Today Canongate Tolbooth houses the People's Story Museum.

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Museum of Edinburgh

Discover Edinburgh’s fascinating history through the Museum of Edinburgh’s wide and varied collections. In exploring the Museum’s maze of 16th century buildings, you will see iconic items, beautiful objects and learn fascinating facts and gruesome tales.

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White Horse Close

White Horse Close takes its name from an inn that used to stand at its north end. Journeys to London would start from its courtyard. The close was also once home to William Dick who founded the Royal School of Veterinary Studies.

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Click on the numbered circles to learn more about the people and places that helped to shape the Canongate. Explore the area using the map above, or click on the thumbnail below to enter the kirkyard.