Broughton, Edinburgh

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The village of Broughton in 1850

Broughton (/ˈbrtən/) is an ancient feudal barony, today within the City of Edinburgh, Scotland that was once known for its witchcraft.[1]

Ancient barony[edit]

The feudal barony of Broughton in the 16th and 17th centuries was in the hands of the Bellenden family, who had made their money in the legal profession. Sir John Bellenden of Broughton, Knt., (d. October 1, 1576) who was present at the Coronation of King James VI in 1567, possessed the barony of Broughton, with the additional superiorities of the Canongate and North Leith, having therein nearly two thousand vassals, according to Sir John Scott of Scotstarvit, writing in 1754.[2] Broughton passed to his son, Sir Lewis Bellenden, Knt., (d. August 27, 1591) Lord Justice-Clerk and a Lord of Session, who is cited as one of the Ruthven Raiders[3] and ultimately to William Bellenden, 1st Lord Bellenden of Broughton (d. September 6, 1671).[4]


Scattered houses on the farmlands which originally made up Broughton eventually gave way to more general housing in the century prior to the formation of Edinburgh's New Town which adjoined the parish of Broughton. Its modern borders are defined, approximately, as being Leith Walk in the south east, Broughton Street in the south west, Broughton Road in the north west and McDonald Road in the north east. Moving clockwise from south east, Broughton is bordered by Greenside and Calton, the New Town, Canonmills, and Pilrig.

Tenements in Broughton Street

Broughton's main thoroughfare is Broughton Street. The street has many independent speciality shops.

Broughton is today at the centre of Edinburgh's "pink triangle", an area of the city with a number of gay bars and clubs.

The Broughton Spurtle: Broughton's Independent Stirrer is a community newspaper for Broughton [1]. It has been running since February 1994.

Broughton High School was formerly located in Broughton, but is now located further west in Comely Bank. The Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid undertook part of his formal education at Broughton High. Schools still located in Broughton include Drummond Community High School, Broughton Primary School and St Marys RC Primary School.

The Scottish folk band Silly Wizard were based for some time in a flat located at 69 Broughton Street. Phil Cunningham, member of Silly Wizard and younger brother of the band's founder, Johnny Cunningham, still lives in Broughton.

Gayfield Square Police station, which is featured in the Inspector Rebus stories written by Edinburgh-based writer Ian Rankin, is located on Gayfield Square in the south east of Broughton.

Edinburgh's first traffic lights were installed in Broughton Street in 1928.



Lothian Buses[edit]

  • 8 (Bellevue /Broughton Street)
  • 7, 14, 49 (Leith Walk)
  • 1, 4, 19, 26, 44 (York Place)
  • 10, 11, 12, 16, 22, 25 (Leith Walk /York Place)


Edinburgh Trams operate services to & from York Place tram stop, near the top of Broughton Street. This is currently the eastern terminus for the route.

Preceding station   Edinburgh Trams   Following station
Terminus   York Place - Edinburgh Airport   St Andrew Square
towards Airport


  1. ^ Grant, J. Old and New Edinburgh, vol. III, Cassell, Edinburgh, 1880s, p. 181
  2. ^ Balfour Paul, Sir James, The Scots Peerage, Edinburgh, 1905, vol.ii, p.64/5.
  3. ^ Balfour Paul, 1905, p.68-70.
  4. ^ Cokayne, G. E., edited by the Hon. Vicary Gibbs & H. Arthur Doubleday, The Complete Peerage, vol. iii, London, 1913, p. 19.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°57′28.97″N 3°11′18.19″W / 55.9580472°N 3.1883861°W / 55.9580472; -3.1883861