|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2011)|
The modern district of Bruntsfield lies east of Bruntsfield Links park and golf link, beyond which lies the district of Marchmont; Merchiston is to the west and Tollcross to the north. To the south and east lies the former estate of Greenhill, and to the south Morningside. The estate around the grand Bruntsfield House is now called Marchmont (which the Warrender family began feuing in 1872, many of the street names reflecting associations with that family). The whole area lay within the Burgh Muir of Edinburgh, from which a former farm Burghmuirhead took its name which passed eventually to a small area within Bruntsfield. The Burgh Muir stretched all the way through the valley of the Jordan Burn to the slopes of the Pentland Hills. The junction beyond Burghmuirhead on the road to Morningside became known in the twentieth century as Holy Corner from its cluster of Victorian churches.
Bruntsfield Links is home to a nineteenth century pitch and putt golf course. The links continue north east to Melville Drive where it meets The Meadows, a park formed when the old Burgh Loch was drained. At the southern end of the links, near Bruntsfield House, a distinct indentation formed by a former quarry is known locally as Tumbler's Hollow.
The original name for the area had been "Brounysfelde" or Brown's Fields, after an early feuar. A note in appendix 2 (number 1878) of the Great Seal of Scotland, 1306–1424, records a 1381 charter from the reign of Robert II which grants to William Lauder the lands of "Burrowmure in Edinburghshire", which had previously belonged to Richard Broun of Boroumore (sic). He was the elder brother of Alan de Lawedre of the Haltoun House family, and in a further charter of the Great Seal of June 4, 1382, Alan succeeded his brother ["fratrem dicti Alani"] William de Lawedre in the lands of "Boroughmuir". It appears from subsequent charters that the Lauders acquired "Bruntisfield" at about the same time, unless it was all part and parcel of the 1381 acquisition. Sir Alexander Lauder of Blyth, Provost of Edinburgh, acquired from his father, Sir Alexander Lauder of Haltoun, Knt., in August 1497 "the lands of Brounisfeld, with the manor-house and gardens, park, herbarium, etc., except for one perticate of land at the east end, adjoining the ditch therefo, in the common muir of Edinburgh."
J.Stewart-Smith states that "Bruntsfield Manor", or as it is known today, Bruntsfield House, had been the dower house of each successive bride of the Lauders of Haltoun for 226 years.
Sir William Lauder of Haltoun (d. Nov 1596) invested his son, Sir Alexander Lauder, Knt., younger of Haltoun and Sheriff Principal of Edinburgh, and his mother in life-rent in Bruntsfield in 1587, and they resided in Bruntsfield Manor, being then estranged from the laird of Haltoun, and significantly rebuilding the mansion house. In 1603 Sir Alexander Lauder sold it to John Fairlie, of the family of Braid. Fairlie carried out extensive work to the original building, which is incorporated in the present mansion. His great-grandson, William Fairlie of Brounsfield, was still in possession after the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. He sold Brounisfield to George Warrender of Lochend – then Baillie and afterwards Lord Provost of Edinburgh – in July 1695, and that family were still in possession in 1900. Until just before the second World War the union jack flew regularly over the house whenever the family were in residence. By 1915 the feuing of the Bruntsfield Estate Marchmont was complete and no more than seven acres around the house remained. The carriage drive from Whitehouse Loan which swept round the now demolished Victorian wing and along the Lime Walk to the stables with their own entrance close to the twentieth century putting green. Bruntsfield House was categorised as a Listed Building by Historic Scotland in the early days of that agency.
Bruntsfield was home to other mansions not least that of Wrights House or Wrychtishousis on the site of what is now the Golf Tavern and Viewpark. later Boroughmuir School and then James Gillespie's high School for Girls. Earlier, James Gillespie's Hospital which in the twentieth century became the Royal Blind Asylum and is now a Viewpoint Housing Assosciation apartment development.
Demographics and facilities
The area is relatively affluent, with several restaurants and various shops which tend to sell luxury goods rather than practical items (a good example being the Pooh Bear shop). The housing is mostly in the form of relatively high-quality tenements, interspersed with some large villas. The area is served by Bruntsfield Primary School while Boroughmuir High School secondary is nearby. The area is also quite popular with students, partly due to its proximity to a major campus of Napier University.
A column in the Edinburgh Evening News calls itself Bitching from Bruntsfield.
The area is served by a number of bus routes operated by Lothian Buses including the 11, 15, 16, 23 & 45.
In 2006 Bruntsfield was brought into the "S2" (southern zone 2) controlled parking zone, making much of the available roadside parking available only to residents paying Council Tax and purchasing a permit. Other bays are pay-and-display.
The Eric Liddell Centre, a local charity, named after the 1926 Olympic 400m gold medalist athlete, immortalised in the 1981 Oscar Award-winning film "Chariots of Fire" is situated in Bruntsfield.
Bruntsfield falls primarily within the EH10 postcode district, and most of the area's telephone dialling codes (within the Edinburgh 0131 area code) are 228, 229, 447, 477 or the newer 452 (introduced in the 1980s).
Bruntsfield in fiction
Bruntsfield is home to the character Isabel Dalhousie in the Alexander McCall Smith books, The Right Attitude to Rain and The Careful Use of Compliments. Isabel is a philosopher-turned detective, who lives a "lady of leisure" lifestyle in a Bruntsfield townhouse. She frequents the quaint shops of the district, often visiting her niece who works in the local delicatessen.
- Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke (1912 – 2011), Rajah whose grandson educated at Bruntsfield Primary School
- Andrew Geddis (1886 – 1976), Bombay businessman
- Alison Grieve, CEO of Safetray Products Ltd (2009 – present)
- Sophia Jex-Blake, (1840 – 1912), English physician, teacher and feminist who established Bruntsfield Hospital for Women
- Alexander Lauder of Blyth, 1506 Great Seal of Scotland charter confirmed Bruntsfield to Alexander
- Chic Murray (1919 – 1985), Scottish comedian/actor that owned eccentrically decorated 1980s Nova Hotel (or Chic Murray's) in Bruntsfield Crescent.
- Muriel Spark (1918 – 2006), award-winning Scottish novelist
- The Grange of St. Giles, by J.Stewart-Smith, Edinburgh, 1898.
- The Buildings of Scotland - Edinburgh, by John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, Penguin Books Ltd., London, 1984, p. 496-7. ISBN 0-14-071068-X