Most of what we know about the Penny Well stems from a newspaper article of 1887. Headlined “Interesting ‘Find’ at the Penny Well, Grange Loan”, it describes the discovery of an old stone basin dug out from five feet down in a garden, just near a dried-up drinking fountain called the Penny Well. This got Edinburgh residents … Continue reading The old Penny Well in Grange Loan: fact and fiction →
As soon as Jane Stewart Smith (c1839-1925) settled in Edinburgh, as a young woman, she started sketching the historic Old Town. More than fifty years later she said she wanted to “catch the reverberating echoes of the past as they linger around the old historic buildings”.[ref]Quote from Historic Stones. JSS “settled in Edinburgh after her marriage”, said … Continue reading Jane Stewart Smith, artist and writer →
Look on the back of a painting framed in 19th century Edinburgh and you may see John Douglas Smith’s name. He (b. c1795) and his nephew, John Stewart Smith (b. c1832), were carvers, gilders, picture framers, restorers and dealers who also sold artists’ materials. They came from a family of craftsmen. John D. Smith’s father and elder brother … Continue reading John Douglas Smith & John Stewart Smith →
John Douglas Michie (c1828 – 1893) was an Edinburgh artist who exhibited and sold paintings for most of his adult life. At first he was known professionally as John Michie or John M. Michie, and later as John D. Michie.[ref]Comparing addresses from lists of exhibitors with addresses in genealogical records etc. proves this is one single person. In the 1840s/50s … Continue reading John D. Michie, artist →
John Mackenzie, an Edinburgh gardener, was baptised on 15 July 1805 in St Ninian’s near Stirling. His parents were James Mackenzie, a weaver, and Christian Hosie, living in Weaver Row. He had brothers: Peter baptised 1802, Andrew baptised 1808, Robert baptised 1815, and David Stewart born 25 April 1817. David, the youngest of these, was the one who … Continue reading The Mackenzies of St. Ninian’s, Edinburgh and New Zealand →
When John Mackenzie, an experienced gardener, bought a patch of land in the Grange, Edinburgh in 1852 he was choosing an area which would soon fill with potential customers. Mr. Mackenzie planned to cultivate seedlings and flowers, so he put glasshouses on his south-sloping plot. Here he could grow bedding plants for the bright displays that were part of Victorian garden style. … Continue reading John Mackenzie, gardener at Drylaw House and Grange Loan →
Should the 18th century Grange estate be an enclosed area of “fine fruitful corn grounds” or “open upon all quarters and resorted to by the Rabble from Edinburgh”? In the 1760s the owner wanted to limit access to his estate. Like other lairds of the time he planned to improve his agricultural land by keeping people away. Andrew Dick Esq. of … Continue reading Grange footpaths in the 1760s – public access or enclosure? →
Members of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt who liked a good day out on horseback also enjoyed meeting up at hunt dinners. After an evening’s drinking and eating at a Linlithgow hotel a few of the diners rounded things off with some window-smashing fun. Two of them ended up in court. Sir William Henry Don faced charges in a Linlithgow court of malicious … Continue reading Boozy hunt dinner leads to trial for laird of Grange →
When James Ferrier, Farmer at Grange, died in 1789, there was a detailed inventory made of his household goods.[ref]James Ferrier: Testament Dative and Inventory, 2nd December 1789, with Eik dated 20 Oct 1790[/ref] He and his wife Margaret, or Peggy, Paxton were tenants on the “lands of Grange”, just to the south of Edinburgh.[ref]In the last few years of his … Continue reading Scottish farmhouse furnishings in 1789: Grange Mains →
Grange Loan today has a Victorian look, with stone walls and 19th century houses on both sides. But two centuries before these were built, there was a mile of open ground between Grange Loan and the nearest gate in the city wall. Edinburgh started to stretch southwards in the 18th century, while Grange Loan was still little more than a cart track. Away from the … Continue reading Pennywell House and grounds, Grange Loan →
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