Our followers have often heard us explain how important it is to remain flexible in our daily plans. Today, we started out with a destination in mind, but were quickly sidetracked by one of the most incredibly unexpected finds of this trip. While walking the Royal Mile between Edinbugh Castle and Holyrood Palace, we happened upon the former church-turned-market, "Tron Kirk". During the "Bishops' War" of the mid-1600's, construction of this church (in Scottish known as a Kirk) began. It was completed in 1649. The original wooden steeple was replaced in 1829 following a fire. After 50 years of disuse, the structure was officially closed as a church in 1952 and reopened as a small marketplace. As remarkable as the story of this church is, the more incredible part was what we found under the church.
In 1550, stonemason John Marlouin was commissioned to pave the Royal Mile. His design included the first sophisticated drainage system of vertical chutes off of the "Wynd" ( a public thoroughfare perpendicular to the Royal Mile large enough to accommodate wagons -as opposed to a "Close" which was a private alleyway) leading to sewage areas. The remains of the original "Marlin's Wynd" -named after the stonemason - can be found under the church, accessed only by a small doorway near the back of the present structure. Tax records of 1635 indicate that a lawyer, merchants, a surgeon, a shoemaker, and a writer, all rented space along this Wynd, for the sum of 56 Pounds per year, when the average rent for the rest of the town was only 41 Pounds per year.
These ruins are not generally open to the public. By happenstance, we made the acquaintance of a local merchant who had her clothing stall within the Tron Kirk and she introduced us to a local historian who took us on a private tour of the ruins. The area was small, cramped, and dirty, but extremely interesting. A portion of the original Wynd, part of the intricate drainage system, and ruins of the rented "apartments" were clearly visible. We were able to climb down into the ruins and wander around to our hearts' content. It was a fabulous time!