A Lecture on Bridgend Medieval Chapel, Edinburgh at the ELL & BAC Conference

Rubicon’s Louise Baker caught up with news from recent archaeological projects at the Edinburgh, East Lothian and Borders Archaeological Conference (ELL and BAC) last Saturday. An exciting range of projects were presented including community archaeology projects at Eyemouth Fort, Leith Fort, Grenrath (Peebleshire), Tantallon Castle and of course Bridgend, Edinburgh (presented by Louise and Dr Margaret Collingwood of the Greater Liberton Heritage Project). Other talks focused on the use of archaeological visualisation on Scotland’s national forest estate (Forestry Commission Scotland), a re-assessment of burials from Cramond which had been excavated in 1976 (ECCAS), recent work by the National Trust and an excavation carried out in the Cannongate in advance of development. An interesting array of stands were located in the dining hall with displays of interactive computer models and apps to explore and even a 3-D printed model of Eyemouth Fort to examine (from the SCAPE trust and Friends of the Fort, Eyemouth)! The more traditional books and archaeological equipment were also there to buy.

Below is a synopsis of the presentation by Louise and Margaret. You can see a video of the talk recorded by Doug Rocks-Maqueen by clicking here.

Rubicon's Louise Baker, Edinburgh City Archaeologist John Lawson and Greater Liberton Heritage Project's Dr. Margaret Collingwood at the Conference

Rubicon’s Louise Baker, Edinburgh City Archaeologist John Lawson and Greater Liberton Heritage Project’s Dr. Margaret Collingwood at the Conference

‘Local knowledge and historical and cartographic references suggest a chapel with Royal connections was located at Bridgend adjacent to Craigmillar Castle Park on the south side of Edinburgh. A local history group – The Greater Liberton Heritage Project – have been researching this site. Their research showed that a chapel was built at Bridgend in 1518 and that there is a possibility that one of the upstanding buildings on the site, which is part of a disused farm steading, may incorporate some of the original chapel structure.

In 2013 Margaret Collingwood (chairperson of GLHP) approached Rubicon Heritage Services to carry out archaeological work to try to establish the location of the chapel and survey of the possible chapel structure was undertaken. Subsequently Heritage Lottery Funding from the sharing heritage scheme allowed archaeological test trenches to be excavated in June 2014. The excavations attracted much interest from the local community with some making it a daily stop off on their dog walking route in the adjacent park. The local scout group lent a hand to solve a treasure hunt while learning about the history of the site.

The excavations uncovered evidence which points to the chapel being located in the area but also shows pre-chapel activity. This tantalising glimpse of the past at Bridgend possibly raises more questions than it answers!’

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