Regent Morton's House, Edinburgh
4th earl of Morton's town house in Edinburgh is now a
Four storeys of 16th-century date, raised by a floor in the 17th
century. Stair-tower at N end. Timber galleries shown in a drawing
of 1857 projecting into Blackfriars Street have been removed. Other
Ogee-pedimented door piece. In the
tympanum is the coat of arms composed of a seated unicorn on left
and right, front legs holding central shield which is topped by a
crown. Nothing on shield. All carved in low relief.
The building that High Street Hostel is located in is a very famous
building and was first built by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton
who lived from 1525 – 1581. He acted as Regent of Scotland, becoming
Lord Chancellor of Scotland in 1563.
High Street Hostel first opened its doors in 1985 and was,
originally, the first independent youth hostel in Edinburgh. Since
that time it has been home to thousands of guests from all over the
The building is more traditionally known as Morton
House. According to the framed piece of masonry in the main
reception area, 1564 is the likely date of original construction,
but considerable rebuilding seems to have been undertaken c. 1600.
Until the 19th century, projecting timber galleries overhung the
street and the tower above the doorway outside used to be the
Blackfriars Street outside, would have been
considerably narrower and was known as Blackfriars Wynd, after the
Dominican Monastery that once stood at the foot of the slope. In
1520 Blackfriars Wynd witnessed a vicious ‘tulzie’ or steet fight
between the warring Douglas and Hamilton, involving over a thousand
spearmen. The incident is remember by tradition as
‘Cleanse-The-Causeway’, because of the bloody mess that had to be
mopped up afterwards.
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