Archaeologists investigate lost medieval chapel built to rest souls of kings in Edinburgh

By Ben Miller | 24 June 2014

Archaeologists are analysing medieval finds following an intriguing community excavation at an Edinburgh farm

A photo of two red and white archaeological measuring poles at a grey stone brick site
A medieval well cut through by modern pipe trench at Bridgend Farm in Edinburgh© Rubicon Heritage Services
Archaeologists in Edinburgh have found a fragment of floor tile from high status medieval Scots and a circular, stone-lined well while searching for the remains of a chapel built almost 500 years ago.

Extensive research suggests the chapel, built by Sir Simon Preston in 1518 and created to rest the “souls” of James III and IV, still lies beneath the "unassuming" buildings of Bridgend Farm.

A medieval church font was found by a former owner of the land, and an archaeological survey last year resulted in a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for a fuller investigation.

“The excavations unearthed clues which prove there was activity in the area at the time the chapel was constructed and in use,” said a spokesperson for Rubicon Heritage, who collaborated with an enthusiastic group of volunteers from the Greater Liberton Heritage Project.

“A fragment of possible medieval floor tile indicates a building of high status in the area – showing that it is not just a farm building.

“Pottery from one trench shows even earlier activity during the 13th and 14th centuries, demonstrating the area was utilised before the establishment of the chapel.

“One of the most exciting features discovered was located in Trench 2 – a circular stone-lined medieval well which could pre-date the chapel.”

The trenches have now been backfilled ahead of analysis work on the finds by experts, with the team hoping to conduct future excavations at the site.

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A photo of an outstretched hand carrying fragments of brown stone pottery
Pottery from as far back as the 13th century is thought to have been found© Rubicon Heritage Services
A photo of people circling a stone archaeological dig
The Fund awarded a Sharing Heritage grant to the project© Rubicon Heritage Services
A photo of a woman crouching within a watery stone site
A puddle containing pottery at the site© Rubicon Heritage Services
A photo of people crowding around brick walls within an archaeological site
An open day at Bridgend proved extremely popular© Rubicon Heritage Services
A photo of people looking at archaeological artefacts on a table outdoors
Volunteers played an important role during a week of excavations© Rubicon Heritage Services
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