Grange footpaths in the 1760s – public access or enclosure?

Isobel Dick, wife of Sir Andrew Lauder
Isobel Dick “heiress of Grange” and mother of Andrew Dick. She and her parents all died at Grange House not long before Andrew Dick started a number of law suits.

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 Grange[ref]Later known as Sir Andrew Lauder Dick of Fountainhall and Grange, he did not live at the Grange.[/ref] had reckoned without the rich merchants living on the eastern fringes of his estate. They were outraged by his demand that they close up the doors in their garden walls, and by his attempt to stop people using paths that had been there “immemorially”. Legal action went on for nearly four years, from 1765-1769. The surviving evidence is often one-sided, bad-tempered, and overloaded with repetitive detail, but it still gives an interesting view of the area at that time.

Grangegateside map
The red paths are the ones explicitly named in the dispute. The red north-south route runs alongside a green patch where the merchants’ houses were, with the much-contested back doors in their garden walls. Turquoise lines are routes that have not changed for centuries: Grange Loan and Causewayside, Sciennes and Sciennes Road. Blue indicates the old “cart road” that gave access to Grange Farm and a track that turned off to the west past Grange House. Dotted lines show today’s Cumin Place, Grange Road and Lauder Road. More about this below.


The merchants who challenged Andrew Dick’s plans lived in fine houses facing “the Street”, known as Causewayside today.  They were “feuars” (proprietors) of properties on the eastern fringe of the Grange estate in an area called Grangegateside.[ref]Their feus were on a strip of land 40 yards wide. Grangegateside included more land too, on the eastern side of the road, and down towards the Grange Toll.[/ref] The back doors in their garden walls were a key element in the access row.

A 1766 plan of the “lands of Grange” shows a path leading westward from the “high stone and lime dyke” at the back of the feuars’ gardens. It crossed a “cart road” before passing the northern entrance of Grange House and then meeting another track. The eastern part of this path was labelled “Dean of Gild’s [sic] Walk”.

Alongside the garden walls was a north-south road parallel to Causewayside, but this had been interrupted by a wall since the 1730s, though the feuars claimed there was a way round. Wider than the east-west path, the north-south route had been constantly in use as far back as anyone could remember, and “the back doors which [gave access] were all made a great many years ago indeed past memory of man” said the householders. Meanwhile the laird of Grange said the road had been of no use since Mr. Bayne built a wall round his property and furthermore it encroached illegally on Grange land.[ref]Surprisingly for readers who know Edinburgh today, the documents sometimes mention the “village of Causewayside”. The road that goes by that name now was generally referred to as “the Street” or sometimes the high road.[/ref]

Dean of Guild’s Walk

Sheens Walls, the remains of the Sciennes convent, source of stone for the Dean of Guild's Walk.
Sheens Walls, the remains of the Sciennes convent, source of materials used for the Dean of Guild’s Walk and seat.

This walk was gravelled in the 1720s or 30s, and named for Dean of Guild Thomas Dick, a merchant burgess, who had moved out to Grangegateside in 1725. The path was laid upon an older track, according to some evidence.[ref]Some people said it followed the line of an old stone dyke that had been taken to build McLellan’s Land in the Cowgate.[/ref] Mr. Dick used it for his morning and evening walks, and had a seat made near it for his pleasure.[ref]Thomas Dick died in 1739 “…in an advanced Age. An honest, well-meaning Gentleman.” said the Caledonian Mercury, 1 Feb. 1739″[/ref] One witness said he had helped make the path when “the Rubbish which was laid upon this walk was brought from the Sheens Walls [the old Sciennes convent]…as also the stones for building the Dean of Guild’s seat.” The feuars claimed they or their predecessors had shared the expense of the project. Andrew Dick said “the family of Grange” had given “a particular concession” to the Dean of Guild alone.[ref]Thomas Dick may have been a distant cousin to Andrew Dick, but this is not clear.[/ref]  A few witnesses backed his case, though some of them were accused of being under his thumb, as his tenants or employees. One of these claimed the walk was used by “drunken washerwomen and smugglers” in winter and regularly ploughed up in spring.

Anna Seton, wife of William Dick
Anne Seton, Lady Grange (d.1764), who went shopping in Causewayside with two of her sisters, according to a witness in her grandson’s legal action.

The feuars had dozens of supportive witnesses reminiscing about past usage of the east-west path and the supposedly constant traffic on the north-south one. Lady Grange and her two sisters used to come along the Dean of Guild’s Walk to get to a local shop via one of the controversial back doors, said one witness. Two children living at the mansion-house were taken to school that way. These paths were indispensable for anyone walking from Grangegateside to the parish church: the West Kirk, St. Cuthbert’s. The north-south path was regularly ridden by Provost Drummond when he lived at Liberton, and it was the “common way which washerwomen took with their burdens”. It was essential to have an alternative to the main road. Since the “Turnpike was made” (c1754) the Street was “for at least one half of the year made impassable”. Walking on it then meant “wading up to the ancles”. It had become “so crowded with Horses and Carriages that foot passengers [could] not travel upon it.”

The West Kirk, St. Cuthbert's, parish church for a lot of the southern outskirts of Edinburgh.
The West Kirk, St. Cuthbert’s, parish church for the Grange and much of the southern outskirts of Edinburgh.

The laird’s “sworn measurer” said the north-south path was not part of the land feued out for houses in the 1680s. A surveyor produced a plan of the land that left out paths for getting around Mr. Bayne’s enclosure, according to the feuars.  An early ruling by a sheriff said the back doors should be shut up, at Andrew Dick’s expense. The indignant feuars, “Robert Tennent, Thos. McGrugar and George Boyd all merchants in Edinburgh and Mary Heron spouse to James Pinkerton likewise merchant in Edinburgh”, went to a higher court, generating a series of argumentative documents.[ref]Andrew Dick himself was annoyed by the ruling. He did not want to pay for shutting up the back doors.[/ref]

The laird made accusations that people using the back doors were stealing his corn and “cutt grass”. He also asserted that the disputed paths were neither needed nor well-established. The feuars said his ancestors had allowed these ancient paths to be freely used, and they themselves – wealthy merchants – could not possibly be stealing crops in the middle of the night. Indeed, any damage was more likely to be from Andrew Dick’s “tenant’s servants going betwixt the Causewayside and the Grange Farm”.[ref]Tenant meaning tenant farmer.[/ref]

The Outcome

It appears Andrew Dick got his way sooner or later, as maps in 1817 and 1825 do not show the paths, although the field boundaries still follow their lines. There is no record in the bundles of documents referenced below of the finale to this process. Maybe they agreed things between themselves. Maybe a ruling has been lost – or maybe someone will find it.


Two bundles of documents and a plan, all held by the National Records of Scotland and covering 1765-1769:

  • Robert Tennant & others (Feuars at Grangegateside) v Andrew Dick of Grange (Court of Session: Bill Chamber Processes, Old Series, 1765)
  • Andrew Dick v Robert Tenant (Court of Session: Unextracted processes, 1st arrangement, Innes-Mackenzie office, 1768)
  • Sketch plan of the lands between Grange Loan and the Meadows, 1766. (Unattributed)


  • Miller and Grainger’s 1825 map of the Grange, held by the National Records of Scotland. Also see the smaller version in Smith’s The Grange of St. Giles.
  • Robert Kirkwood’s 1817 map of Edinburgh, in the National Library of Scotland map collection.

All quotes are from the documents above. It should be clear which side produced which remark, except for the second quotation about the Rabble. This was the feuars’ side arguing that they could not possibly be responsible for any damage since the land was open…to the Rabble etc. etc.


Please note the illustrative “map” above is based on documentary evidence and early 19th century maps, as well as on the 1766 sketch plan. On that plan the east-west route is a straight line crossing the “cart road from the Grange to Edinburgh” almost at right angles. It shows the “Dean of Gild’s Walk” starting just north of the boundary between the feus of Mr. Cook and Mr. McGrugor. Cook’s one-acre property had belonged to Thomas Dick, Dean of Guild who bought it from the Black family in 1725. (The line the path took is also suggested by the 1764 Plan of the Ground of Sheens in Malcolm Cant’s Sciennes and the Grange, John Donald, 1990, p.41.)

Written evidence said there was “a road leading westward from the back of James Cook’s garden passing the north side of the house of Grange leading to an avenue which leads down to Mr. Forrest’s House.” (West Grange)  This track joined a north-south route at a stile, according to the 1766 plan, but it has not been possible to work out exactly where the stile was. It is shown at a T-junction between a path from West Grange to the West Kirk – “the Kirk Road thro Bruntsfield links”- and the path running past the entrance to Grange House.

Some evidence said access to Dean of Guild’s Walk was often through Mr. McGrugor’s back door which “was rarely more than sneckered”. Using the NLS georeferenced version of Kirkwood’s 1817 map, which shows the relevant properties and owners’ names, helps anyone exploring this. By 1817 Cook’s property had passed to Mr. Cowan. Miss McGregor is probably one of Thomas McGrugor’s four daughters.

A lot of argument centred on whether Professor Bayne’s interruption of the old, straight north-south path harmed the feuars’ case or not. The surveyor who sketched the 1766 plan mis-represented the reality on the ground, said Dick’s opponents, who claimed their back doors still led to a useful route into town, even if less direct than before.

On the 1766 plan the north-south route was labelled “old foot road to Edinburgh” north of Dean of Guild’s Walk, and “foot path behind the Garden walls” on the other stretch.

(An 1825 map has been used as a framework for this illustration so some background details will not apply. It includes roads planned for later in the 19th century.)


  • 1724 portrait of Anne Seton, daughter of Lord Pitmedden, wife of William Dick 3rd baron of Grange, by Richard Waitt
  • Ruins of Sciennes Convent, Edinburgh, in the Hutton collection, c1800, CC license, NLS
  • St. Cuthbert’s West Kirk from Views in Edinburgh and Its Vicinity by J. and H.S. Storer , Vol. 2, 1820
  • Isobel Dick in 1731, from Grange of St. Giles, by Jane Stewart Smith. (Smith’s book is also the source for the 1825 map.)

The Hewits of Pennywell, Grange Loan

Thomas Hewit was an Edinburgh leather merchant, tanner and, in his early days, a shoemaker. He, his second wife, and three of his sons built up a substantial leather business, and acquired property over two generations. The last of them had a £100,000 fortune by the time of his death in 1887. Newspapers were impressed by his wealth, and commented on what a large proportion would go to charity. The Hewit leather business, which continues to this day, went to one of the descendants of the first marriage.[ref]George Lawson had been working in the business and was bequeathed first chance to own it, if he paid for the physical assets, valued without adding in the “good will” of a going concern. His uncle David left him and his brothers legacies of six thousand pounds each.[/ref]

First marriage and becoming a burgess

Through his first wife, Mary Moir, daughter of a burgess, Thomas Hewit got burgess status himself.[ref]Roll of Edinburgh Burgesses and Guild-brethren 1761 – 1841, ed. Charles Boog-Watson, Scottish Record Society 1933[/ref] This gave him civic responsibilities and rights, including the right to run a business in Edinburgh. The marriage record says that Thomas Hewit, shoemaker, of no. 20 Simon’s Square, married Mary, daughter of John Moir, shoemaker [of 39 Candlemaker Row], on 24th January 1822. Mary died in August 1828.

Children of Thomas and Mary Hewit:

  • Jane Gilchrist Hewit b. 27 Oct 1822,  m. Robert Lawson, corn merchant in the Grassmarket, in 1844. In 1851 they had 2 children: William 3 and John 1. A nurse for the children and a general servant lived with them in Lauriston Place. Other Lawson children were George (b.1862), Jane and Sarah.
  • John More/Moir Heriot Hewit b. 14 Sep 1826. In 1851 he was a journeyman optician living with wife Margaret (Caw) in Davie Street. He was “last heard of in New York”, according to David’s 1887 will.
  • Mary James Moir Hewit b. 2 July 1828

Second marriage and a move to Grange Loan

Thomas was already married to his second wife, Janet Murray, when he bought Pennywell House in Grange Loan. Their sons grew up there, and Janet’s sister, Ann Murray (see bottom of page), lived with them, and outlasted them all. They housed a few asylum patients there, as the previous owners had done. Janet’s sons Thomas, David, and Charles worked in the family leather business, with their mother playing a key role after she was widowed. The business was re-named J. Hewit and Sons after Thomas Senior’s death. Thomas, the oldest of Janet’s sons, was sixteen when his father died. Those three boys inherited equal shares of the family assets after their mother died, but Jane and John, Mary’s children, got nothing. Their father’s will said the children of his first marriage were already “amply and sufficiently” provided for.[ref] Possibly via their maternal grandparents whose children did not survive them.[/ref]

Janet’s will left her sister Ann a life interest in her house, which by this time was at number 7 Argyle Square, the “westmost lodging on the north row”. (Part of the site of today’s Chambers Street museum.) Ann stayed in Grange Loan till her death.

Janet had moved on from Pennywell, though she and her sons retained the ownership of all their Grange Loan property. In 1865 Janet Murray was owner of houses, workshops, and shops at 4, 6 and 8 Niddry St., houses at 191 Cowgate, 7 Argyle Square and 12-17 Grange Loan, and a garden at 17 Grange Loan.

Thomas Hewit, leather merchant, Niddry Street, married Janet Murray 21 June 1829, and died 30 December 1846. Janet Murray or Hewit died 20 May 1868, age 61, in Argyle Sq.. Her mother was Janet Murray or Gilchrist, and her father John Murray, broker, according to her death certificate. On her sister’s death certificate, John Murray’s profession was furniture dealer.

Children of Thomas and Janet Hewit:

Their three adult sons – Thomas, David, and Charles – expanded the business to London.

  • Thomas Hewit born 29 April 1830, died at Musselburgh in 1886. His will says he was a “tanner and currier, Edinburgh and London”, “residing at Langton Villa Grange Loan” and also occupier of Rosehall, Musselburgh.
  • Janet Gilchrist Hewit b. 22 Aug 1831
  • William Cox Hewit b. 19 Feb 1835
  • David Gavin Hewit  3 Dec 1836, In 1881 he was living in Bride Lane, London. He married Eliza Augustine Bourgois[ref]Daughter of the founder of the Bourgois Hotel, Fleshmarket Close[/ref] in Edinburgh in April 1886[ref]Scotsman 9 April 1886[/ref]. Their son, David Thomas, was born at Endsleigh, Highfield Hill, Upper Norwood in May 1887, but died on 24 August 1887 in Melville Street, Edinburgh. David Gavin Hewit died before his baby son, on 1st August 1887 at Upper Norwood, Surrey. He left about £100,000: a house and annuity to his widow, legacies to his nephews, aunt Ann Murray and other relatives, and the residue to a variety of hospitals and leather trades charities.[ref]Edinburgh Evening News, 24 September 1887[/ref]His nephew George Lawson, Jane’s son, was to be given first chance to buy the leather business.
  • Ann Murray Hewit b. 16 Mar 1838
  • Charles Murray Hewit  born 6 Aug 1842, died in 1875. His will says he was “residing at Langton Villa, Grange Loan, of Edinburgh”.

The lodgers in the Pennywell House asylum:

According to the 1841 census of Public Institutions in the Parish of St Cuthbert, there were two patients, neither born in Midlothian:

  • Marion Brown, 55
  • Thomas Orchardson, painter, 40

Also recorded:

  • Thomas Hewit, 40,  proprietor and keeper
  • Janet Hewit, 30, matron
  • Ann Murray, 25, female servant [Janet’s sister]
  • Live-in servant, Mary Muir
  • Thomas 10
  • David  4

In 1851 the patients were:

  • Miss MB, 66, Minister’s daughter, born Fifeshire Largo
  • Miss JG, 61, Captain’s daughter, born Morayshire
  • MR WR, 51, Journeyman Compositor, born Lanarkshire Glasgow

One of the women was able to go out alone and “make small purchases”. The other was said to be dirty and was kept in a “ground floor room, which she made “offensive”. The other two slept in attic rooms with clean and comfortable beds, and they all had their meals separately. A medical attendant was paid £5 a year to visit once a week. The patients’ families each paid £40 a year for this arrangement.

Record-keeping did not meet the legal standards: at all asylums in the area, not just this one. A doctor reporting in 1855 felt this asylum was not adequate to cope with the ground-floor patient who got excited and violent at times, and was put in a strait-jacket.

Also listed in 1851:

  • Janet Hewit, 42, Mistress of the Establishment
  • Ann Murray, her sister, 36, Housekeeper. In 1881 she was a retired housekeeper living with Charles Hewit at no. 13 Grange Loan, where she stayed until her death in 1899. One census gave her birth parish as Canongate, Edinburgh.
  • Thomas, 21, Keeper
  • David, 14
  • Charles, 8
  • Servant Agnes Bell, 22, born Glasgow


Charles Murray – with Janet, a trustee of Thomas Hewit’s estate. Described as “sometime printer in Edinburgh and thereafter in Bombay, now residing in Edinburgh” (1850).

Sources: parish registers, statutory records, censuses, street directories, newspapers, the wills of Thomas Hewit Sr., Janet Hewit, and David Gavin Hewit, the Hewit leather website, report of parliamentary inquiry into asylums.

Some of the children presumably died before reaching adulthood.

Charles Jackson, Merchant Burgess of Edinburgh, c1650-1722

Money and power

17th century Edinburgh
Edinburgh around the time Jackson became a burgess.

Charles Jackson was a well-connected, well-to-do Edinburgh merchant. From this distance in time he might seem rather like all the other wealthy citizens who traded, litigated and inter-married, but for one distinguishing quirk. He believed he had a special connection with royalty. When he laid on an outdoor party to celebrate a royal anniversary, the unusual occasion was reported in the press. Read about it here.

Charles jackson merchant burgess
1671 entry for Charles Jackson in the Edinburgh Burgess Roll.

You could think of him as “Charles Jackson Merchant Burgess” since he is so often referred to that way. Born in Perth around 1650, he seems to have settled smoothly into the trading and civic elite of Edinburgh. Before he became a burgess around the age of twenty he was a “servitor” to James Currie, burgess, who later became Provost of Edinburgh. In his early twenties he married Rachel Wilkie, daughter of the Dean of Guild.[ref]There is no record of the marriage but records of christenings of their several children start in 1773.[/ref] Later, several prominent citizens were witnesses at the christening of his son, Andrew, by his second wife Isobell Wood, herself the daughter of a bailie.

Records of his dealings are patchy but it is clear that he lent money, chased debts, acquired property, and had funds to spend on an open-doors party, and on a “vanity” edition of a book to which he wished to add a foreword. (See below.) At one time he paid tax on sixteen hearths[ref]Late seventeenth-century Edinburgh: a demographic study, Helen M. Dingwall, Scolar Press, 1994, p.104[/ref], though there is no reason to assume these were all in his family home. He invested in the unlucky Darien scheme without apparently finding the £300 loss disastrous, was involved in various complex legal-financial proceedings, and when he died an inventory showed his heirs were due to collect £2000 (Scots pounds) from various debtors.

Jackson’s contacts with well-placed citizens may have helped with deals like this one in 1687:

Charles Jackson, merchant burgess of Edinburgh, is granted a tack [lease] of a piece of waste ground on the south side of Parliament House to  make a yard, free of duty, on his offering to keep it in a clean and handsome condition.[ref]Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh[/ref]

Charles Jackson and royalty

Jackson had a special interest in royalty. His sense of a personal connection to Charles II is partly explained in an introduction he wrote for a book about the king. He addressed himself to Queen Anne in a special extra edition published in 1709 and paid for by Jackson himself.[ref]The book was Boscobel: or The compleat history of Charles II. most miraculous preservation, after the Battle of Worcester, 3d September 1651. The fourth edition. Edinburgh: printed by James Watson, for Charles Jackson Merchant. 1709.[/ref]

The Design of my Re-printing this Book, was upon several Accounts; but chiefly, that I might have an Opportunity of Addressing Your Majesty, for Relief in an Affair of my Grand-father’s, who was a Faithful Subject to King Charles the Second, as may be seen by His Majesty’s Letter. I had the Honour to have His Majesty stand my god-father at Perth: also the King in his Troubles assumed the Name of Jackson.[ref]For part of his escape, Charles used the name William Jackson, according to the king’s own account dictated to Samuel Pepys.[/ref]

Queen Anne
Queen Anne

This “explanation”, disappointingly not accompanied by details of his grandfather’s story, came after a reference to the queen’s “Royal Unkle”, and many complimentary flourishes, as would have been expected then. It ended:

Your Majesty is of such a Gracious, Generous and Benign Temper, that I Hope and Pray, That You would be pleased to take my case into your Royal Consideration. That Your Royal Majesty may long Prosper and Reign to be a Continual Blessing to the World, is the Sincere Prayer, Great Madam, of Your Majesty’s most Dutiful and Loyal Subject and very Obedient Servant, Charles Jackson

Was he really Charles II’s godson?

Archibald Tod's tomb
Charles Jackson lies somewhere here at the foot of Tod’s tomb of 1656. To the right is part of the tomb of his first wife’s grandfather, John Jackson.

He died in 1722, according to Edinburgh parish records, which also say he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard in March, “at the foot of the north through stone of Tod’s Tomb”. He was said to be either 72 or in his 72nd year. His christening could possibly have overlapped with Charles II’s time in Scotland, which included stays at Scone Palace near Perth. One small reason to believe the king was at the christening is that several of the king’s godchildren were called Charles, or Charlotte. And would Jackson have published that message to Queen Anne unless he believed himself to be Charles’ godson?

The Perth connection[ref]Some reports say he was christened in Keith, but this must be a mistake, as his own edition of Boscobel says Perth.[/ref] is reinforced by written records showing connections between Charles Jackson and people from Perth,[ref]”David Jackson merchant in Perth” was a witness at Charles’ second son’s baptism. One chunk of Jackson’s investment in the Darien scheme was on behalf of John Threpland, merchant in Perth.[/ref] including his own “prentis” (apprentice), John Jackson, son of David Jackson, deceased bailie of Perth.

References and pictures

  • The Darien papers: being a selection of original letters and official documents relating to the establishment of a colony at Darien by the Company of Scotland trading to Africa and the Indies. 1695-1700. pub. Constable, 1849
  • Boscobel: or The compleat history of Charles II. most miraculous preservation, after the Battle of Worcester, 3d September 1651. The fourth edition. Edinburgh: printed by James Watson, for Charles Jackson Merchant. 1709.
  • Testament Dative and Inventory for Charles Jackson, 4 May 1726
  • Feu Charter by William Dick of Grange, with consent of Anna Seton, his spouse, to Charles Jackson, merchant in Edinburgh, March 1713
  • Late Seventeenth-century Edinburgh: A Demographic Study , Helen M. Dingwall, Scolar Press, 1994
  • Edinburgh Parish Records
  • Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh: 1681-1689, ed. Wood and Armet, Scottish Burgh Records Society, 1954
  • Roll of Edinburgh Burgesses 1426-1700, ed. Charles Boog Watson, Scottish Record Society, 1898
  • Register of Edinburgh Apprentices, 1666-1700, ed. Charles Boog Watson, Scottish Record Society, 1929
  • The Citie of Edinburgh from the South (detail) by Wenceslas Hollar (1670) – from Wikimedia
  • Portrait of Queen Anne by Charles Jervas, date approx. 1702-1714 – from Wikimedia