Culture Vultures, Family Friendly, First Timers
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John Knox House dates back to 1470, making it together with the next attached Moubray House the oldest, original medieval building surviving on the Royal Mile.
The house is associated with one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in Scottish History – The Scottish Reformation. This resulted in the outbreak of civil war and the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots. Imagine how life was, while a professional storyteller takes you back through the centuries to relive the dramatic events that unfolded in Edinburgh’s oldest surviving medieval building.
On the ground floor you can see the remnants of medieval ‘luckenbooths’, or locked booths, once rented out as shops. The Oak Room on the top floor is very characteristic, with wood panelling. This room has a painted ceiling from the early 17th century. The exterior of the John Knox House gives a romantic image. Timber galleries project out from the first floor, and forestairs give access from the street directly into the upper rooms. These features would have been a common sight along the High Street during the 16th and 17th century.
John Knox only stayed in this house for a short time, just before his death in 1572. However, it was his association with the house that saved it from being demolished in the 1840s. During an excavation of the house, time-capsules were found buried in the gable wall and to commemorate the moment the building was saved. One of these time capsules is displayed in the window.
Explore the oldest surviving medieval building in Edinburgh!