5 legends that haunt Edinburgh’s pubs

Edinburgh is a beautiful city with very curious, not to say strange, histories. The capital of Scotland is reputed to be the most haunted city in the world – and the legends that spread through the streets of the historic center are there to maintain the title. Some of the most curious ones gave rise to the names of pubs and bars (as it couldn’t be in the UK!) that are worth a visit:

The World’s End

One of the most traditional pubs in Edinburgh, the World’s End was built where the Netherbow gate was, one of the few passages of the stone wall that was erected after the Battle of Flodden, in 1513, when King James IV and a good part of the nobility Scottish were killed by the English. For over 30 years, no one could cross that point – for the citizens of Edinburgh, the world ended there. Parts of the Flodden Wall foundation can still be seen where the pub was built.
// Address: 4 High Street

Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

William Brodie, elected alderman of the city of Edinburgh in 1781, was a respectable and exemplary citizen who worked installing locks and cupboards. At night, however, Brodie would indulge in gambling and do all sorts of shameless things. To support his vices, Brodie would copy keys to the homes of his wealthy clients to steal from them at dawn. In 1786, he tried to flee to Holland after being caught in the act, but ended up hanged from the Edinburgh Tolbooth two years later. They say that Brodie bribed the executioner to prevent the hanging from being fatal and that he was seen years later in Paris… It is also said that his story served as inspiration for the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson to create, in 1886, the characters Dr. Jekyll and Mr. .Hyde.
// Address: 435 Lawnmarket

Maggie Dickson’s Pub

Maggie Dickson was a fishmonger who, after being abandoned by her husband, went to work at a boarding house in Kelso. It was 1723 when she became pregnant after having an affair with her boss’s son and, afraid of being fired, she hid her belly as much as she could. The delivery was premature and the baby did not resist. Maggie was convicted (not for the death of the child, but for concealing the pregnancy) and hanged in the Grassmarket, in Edinburgh. On the way to Musselburgh, the girl’s hometown, where her burial would be, people heard noises from inside the coffin and – surprise! – she was alive. Justice understood that it was God’s will and that Maggie, having already been hanged, could not pay twice for the same crime. She lived for another 40 years, known as Half-Hangit Maggie. A toast to her!
// Address: 92 Grassmarket

The Last Drop

As the Grassmarket was the scene of the most famous public executions in Edinburgh (hundreds and hundreds of people gathered to watch, it was a real spectacle!), many people think that the name of this pub refers to the last drink of the condemned before going to prison. strength. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, but the name really came as a tribute to the end of public executions that took place for more than a century there. The rope tied to the gallows forms the shape of a drop, hence it became a slang term in Edinburgh. The “last straw” was around 1750 – you can see a memorial in front of the bar with a drawing of a gallows on the ground in the square. But what is really bizarre about this pub is the legend that it is haunted by the ghost of an Irish girl. I asked the waiter if he has seen anything,
// Address: 74-78 Grassmarket

Greyfriars Bobby Bar

Bobby was the dog of John Gray, a night watchman who died in 1858 of tuberculosis and was buried in the churchyard of Greyfriars Kirk. Bobby is said to have spent 14 years at his master’s graveside, until his own death in 1872. The little dog was buried near the church gate, where it reads “May your loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.” ”. The following year, Baroness Burdett-Coutts had a statue erected in Bobby’s honor. Originally, the statue was facing the cemetery, but the owners of the pub had a great idea and rotated the little animal so that the bar appeared in the tourists’ photos 🙂 Very clever

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