10 Morsels of Trivia About Edinburgh, Scotland
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10 Morsels of Trivia About Edinburgh, Scotland

A look at 10 bits of trivia about the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Here we will take a look at 10 bits of trivia that are linked by the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Sometimes in history, it is the small bits of trivia that really give away the truth about how life must have been!

In the 17th century, in many places in Scotland, once cure for baldness was to bury mice in a pot beside a fire, leaving them to decompose for a year before applying the resulting ‘mess’ to the bald spot. In Edinburgh though they had a quicker way of doing it – the application of the burnt ashes of dove’s dung!

The mound in the heart of Edinburgh that links the Old and New Towns is not a natural mound. Work began on the construction of the mound in 1783 and it contains over 1.5 million cartloads of earth.

Some things never change! One would think that rioting in prisons over the standard of food was quite a recent thing, but that is not true. Way back in 1692, prisoners at the Tolbooth in the Canongate, Edinburgh rioted and actually managed to take full possession of the prison; all because the food wasn’t good.

During an archaeologist dig at Fort Apache in Arizona a somewhat odd discovery was made. Not the remnants of a body, but stone bottles that had been imported from Edinburgh. The bottles once had contained McEwen’s ale – someone must have had a decent bevy that night.

The building named Morocco’s land, in the city of Edinburgh, commemorates the story of Andrew Gray. Gray was a rogue who managed to flee from justice. He made his fortune under the Sultan of Morocco. He returned to Edinburgh in 1645; with his knowledge of Arabic ways he cured the Provost’s daughter of the plague. Subsequently, he married the girl and settled down.

In the year of 1624, the promotion of settlement was high on the minds of some. It was in this year that the so-called Nova Scotia baronets were created. The esplanade at Edinburgh Castle was declared as being a legal part of the Atlantic edge of Canada just so the baronets could claim their territory (by setting their buckled shoes on Canadian land). No need for them to take the arduous sea journey to the real thing then!

Maggie Dickson was one lucky woman. She had been hung in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket but, somehow, came back to life because of the jolting of the cart on the rough tracks on the way to her burial. The Scottish legal system does not allow someone to be tried twice for the same crime, so Dickson was home free. There is currently a pub named after her in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh.

Be thankful that we now get the news as soon as it happens. In the late 17th century, Thursday became a very important day for anyone from Edinburgh who was interested in politics. It was the day that news of the previous weekend’s English parliamentary business finally reached Edinburgh from London – it was delivered by a ‘fast’ horse.

In the 1820’s, Welsh poet Hugh William Williams was the first to describe Edinburgh as the ‘Athens of the North’. High praise indeed, but at the tale end of the previous century, Erasmus Darwin (Grandfather of the more famous Darwin) claimed he was guided to his lodgings by the glow from the rotten fish-heads that lined the street.

Civil un-rest between the noble lords broke out in Edinburgh during June 1587. King James VI of Scotland soon came up with an idea to try and force an end to the hostilities; he ordered the ‘foes’ to march hand-in-hand from Holyrood up the Royal Mile. It is claimed that the walking hand-in-hand had the desired affect – for about 20 minutes or so!

 If you enjoyed this one, be sure to check out 10 Morsels of Trivia about Glasgow & 10 Morsels of Trivia about Aberdeen

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Comments (1)

I loved this article! Too bad James VI's idea didn't work out. It was a good try!