Finding the builders: Sources lost and extant for Edinburgh’s incorporation of Mary’s Chapel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whilst the field of urban history has done so very much to broaden our understanding of Edinburgh’s role as a European capital city, certain aspects of the royal burgh are yet to be studied. An excellent example is the Incorporation of Mary’s Chapel, or the Edinburgh building trades; a diverse community of craftsmen hidden within the capital’s history. Whilst numerous volumes have been published on notable architects, there has never been a full study of the building trades as a corporate body. This seems rather odd, being that Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with examples of fabric reaching back to the 1100s, and is arguably one of the finest collections of Georgian architecture in the world. Yet despite the archaeological and architectural treasures in Edinburgh, very little attention has been paid to the builders themselves. Fortunately, manuscript and printed records survive considerably well, despite being scattered across numerous repositories. By considering what types of records and objects survive in Edinburgh’s various archives, libraries and museums, this paper will highlight both the challenges and the opportunities for finding the builders of the Scottish capital.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Archives
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • craft guilds
  • guilds
  • building trades
  • incorporated trades
  • corporatism
  • Mary’s Chapel
  • artisans
  • craftsmen
  • masons
  • carpenters
  • coopers


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