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St. Triduana's Aisle, Restalrig
Lochend Park with Lochend Castle doocot

Restalrig is a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland (historically, an estate and independent parish). It is located east of the city centre, west of Craigentinny, and to the east of Lochend, with which it overlaps. Restalrig Road is the main route through the area, running from London Road, at Jock's Lodge, to Leith Links.

History and buildings[edit]

The place name Restalrig means 'ridge of the miry land' (from lestal, a northern dialect term meaning 'mire' and Old English hrycg, meaning 'ridge'). It is first attested as Lastalri(c)k(e) in 1166, becoming variously Lestalryk, Restalric or Rastalrig.[1]

There has been a church at Lestalrig as far back as 1178.[2] Restalrig church housed the relics of Saint Triduana, and her cult prospered under the patronage of James III of Scotland. The parish church of Restalrig was rebuilt in 1487 into a collegiate establishment called the Deanery of Restalrig. It was ordered to be removed in December 1560 at the time of the Scottish Reformation. Some parts of choir walls survived, however, until re-building of the church by William Burn in 1836. The adjoining building, originally built on two levels, known as St Triduana's Aisle was begun before 1477 with payment for the roof being made in 1486-7. Endowed by James III, it became the King's Chapel. The surviving lower level was an undercroft for the chapel above. Sometimes referred to as a "well-house", this is probably a misnomer, the flooding being accidental. The lower aisle was used as a burial chamber for the Logans of Restalrig.[3]

The church is a category A listed building. St. Triduana's Aisle is further protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[4]

According to Raphael Holinshed, Richard III of England camped at Restalrig in August 1482 after capturing Berwick upon Tweed.[5] James IV of Scotland was a frequent visitor; giving offerings for masses before the altars of Our Lady and Saint Triduana and for keeping Our Lady's Light in September 1496, while his gunners assembled the royal artillery nearby for his mission to England with the pretender Perkin Warbeck.[6] During the Siege of Leith in Spring 1560, the headquarters of the English army was located at Restalrig Deanery near the kirk.[7]

The castle of the Logan family stood on the site of Lochend House, overlooking Lochend Loch. The castle was largely destroyed by fire in the late 16th century. The present house on the site incorporates fragments of the pre-existing tower house. Visually it is now dominated by an 1820 villa built on the foundations of the older buildings. It is now owned by the City of Edinburgh Council, and is a category B [listed building.[8]

Lochend Loch below it was for many centuries the main water supply for Leith. The park which occupies the site of the now much reduced loch contains a 16th-century doocot at its northern end, sometimes speculated as having served as a kiln for burning infected clothing and belongings during the plague of 1645.[9] It was later used as a boat house, and is now also category B listed.[10]

Around 1604, the Logans sold part of their estate to Lord Balmerino and the Craigentinny part to Edinburgh merchant James Nisbet.[2] By 1857, Restalrig had become what the ordnance gazetteer of Scotland called “a decayed village". The area was mostly farmland and dairies. Around 1925, public housing was built to the north and east. Restalrig House whose entrance was at Restalrig Drive/Restalrig Road South was demolished in 1963.[2]

Piershill Square at the head of Smokey Brae was built by the City Architect, Ebenezer James MacRae in 1937.[11] It replaced Piershill Barracks, the former home of the Royal Scots Greys, the cavalry regiment most famous for their charge at Waterloo, and the subject of the well-known, and much reproduced, head-on view painted by Elizabeth Thompson, "Scotland Forever!". The parish church at Waterloo contains several monuments specifically to various soldiers "of Restalrig".

St Ninian's RC Church on Marionville Road was designed in 1929 by Giles Gilbert Scott.[12] Within Restalrig are two multi-storey flats, Nisbet Court and Hawkhill Court. Both are owned by City of Edinburgh Council.

In 1784, the first British manned hot air balloon landed in Restalrig after taking off from nearby Abbeyhill.[2]


  1. ^ Dixon, Norman (1947). The Placenames of Midlothian (Ph.D.). University of Edinburgh. p. 70. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Restalrig & Lochend". Edinburgh Past & Present. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  3. ^ MacIvor, Iain. "The King's Chapel At Restalrig and St Triduana's Aisle" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Historic Scotland - St Triduana's Aisle,chapel and wellhouse". Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  5. ^ Holinshed, Raphael, The Scottish chronicle or, a complete history and description of Scotland, Arbroath (1805), pp.108-110
  6. ^ Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 1, Edinburgh (1877), 296, 366.
  7. ^ Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 366.
  8. ^ "Lochend House, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Lochend - Loch, Doocot and Plague Kiln". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  10. ^ "Lochend Castle Doocot, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Piershill Square, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  12. ^ The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Colin McWilliam.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°57′35″N 3°09′02″W / 55.95972°N 3.15056°W / 55.95972; -3.15056