drawing represents the picturesque tenements at the north end
of the Close, with the covered entrance from the High Street.
Two of these have the front wall of the lower floor of stone,
and those above of timber.
west side, is the entrance to a stair leading to the house
supposed to have been the residence of Thomas Bassendyne, the
old Scottish typographer, who, in conjunction with Alexander
Arbuthnot, printed and published the famous folio known as
Bassendyne's Bible, the first Bible printed in Scotland.
New Testament portion was finished and dated 1576, but its
issue was delayed till the Old Testament was finished in 1579.
Arbuthnot and Bassendyne were both Burgesses of Edinburgh, the
former a man of means, the latter a practical printer, who had
learned his business in Paris and Leyden.
Towards the end of last century, this Close was the principal
entrance from the High Street to the Episcopal Chapel in the
Cowgate, which at that time, was the most fashionable place of
worship belonging to that body.
Episcopacy, after having been for some time established in
Scotland, was abolished in 1689, but its adherents enjoyed the
privilege of assembling in meeting-houses.
were small, exceedingly plain in appearance, and ultimately
they did not afford the accommodation required. A committee of
gentlemen was therefore appointed to make arrangements for
erecting a commodious place of worship.
was obtained near the Cowgate, upon a portion of the garden
attached to the Marquis of Tweeddale's mansion, and the
building commenced on 5th April 1771.
rapidly did the work proceed, that public worship was
celebrated in it on the 10th October 1774. The chapel is
large, containing 1700 sittings. Upon the ceiling, over the
altar, was a fine painting of the Ascension by Runciman.
sold early in the present century, and after being used as a
church by several dissenting bodies, was ultimately acquired
by the Roman Catholics, and is now occupied as one of their
places of worship.
view shows the west side of the Close from the interior,
the high Street.