Moray House

Moray House
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Moray House

One of the grandest mansions on Edinburgh's Canongate is Moray House, built in 1625 by the Dowager Countess of Home and named after her daughter Margaret, Countess of Moray, who inherited the property in 1643. The house has featured significantly in historic events. It was visited by King Charles I (1600-49) and Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1654) lodged in the house in 1648 and 1650. Its balcony, which overhangs the Canongate, was where the Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll (1598 - 1661), along with the guests at his son's wedding, hurled abuse at his enemy James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose (1612-50), who was being carried to his place of execution. Through a twist of history, the inconsistent Argyll was himself carried below the same balcony to his own execution in 1661. Moray House was also where the Act of Union of 1707 was to be signed by the commissioners, but the street riots were such that a change of venue to a cellar on the High Street was necessary.

The fine Cromwell and Balcony Rooms are found up a turnpike stair, both featuring elaborate original plaster ceilings and 18th Century panelling. The yard is entered through gates supported on two unusual gateposts, supporting oversized pyramidal obelisks.

Previously part of Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh's teacher-training college, when the original was crowded by several rather more modern buildings, the college has subsequently been incorporated as the School of Education within the University of Edinburgh.

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