Chessel's Court

Chessel's Court  -  September 2003

Chessel's Court in Edinburgh's Royal Mile  -  photographed September 2003

  For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk                         Photograph taken:  1pm:  6 September 2003

 

Edinburgh Royal Mile

Chessel's Court

Chessel's Close lies on the south side of the Royal Mile, almost opposite New Street.   New housing can be seen on the east side of the square at the left-hand side of this picture. 

A corner of the old housing can be seen straight ahead on the south side of the square.  In the eighteenth century, Edinburgh's Excise Office was on the south side of the square.

Cassell's Old & New Edinburgh, published in 1890 refers to an incident in Chessel's Court:

Chessel's Court

"Chessel's Court, numbered as 240, exhibits a very superior style of architecture, and in 1788 was the scene  of that daring robbery of the Excise Office which brought to the gallows the famous Deacon Brodie and his assistant, thus closing a long career of secret villainy.

It was then customary for shopkeepers of Edinburgh to hang their keys upon a nail at the back of their doors, or at least to take no pains in concealing them during the day.

Brodie used to take impressions of them in putty or clay, a piece of which he used to carry in the palm of his hand.  He kept a blacksmith in his pay, who forged exact copies of the keys he wanted, and with these it was his custom to open the shops of his fellow-tradesmen during the night."

Cassell's Old & New Edinburgh, Publ.1890, Vol 2, p.23.

 

 

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