The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Bonaly Tower is located on the site of the 17th century farmhouse that once stood at the centre of the village of Bonaly, on the south-western outskirts of Edinburgh . On the directions of Lord Cockburn, the farmhouse was extended, and the village cleared to create his country residence. In 1839, the architect William Henry Playfair added an imitation peel tower to the building. It was further extended by David Bruce in 1870, who added a western wing. The original farmhouse was visible until 1886, when the library wing was constructed in 1888, by architects Sydney, Mitchell and Wilson.

Bonaly Tower was the venue for frequent meetings of the 'Friday Club', a group of leading Edinburgh literati, which were hosted by Lord Cockburn. It is now subdivided into flats.

In the gardens is a decorative wrought-iron gate to enclosed garden. An arched rubble gateway with key-blocked arched recesses contains statues of Sir James Douglas (to the left) and Robert The Bruce (to the right). Inscriptions over recesses read "My King And Country Ever Claimed / Those Marshall Deeds For Which I'm Famed" and "I Scotland's Glorey Made Returne / Victoriously At Bannockburn".

There is also a statue of Shakespeare in curved recess in boundary wall at W end of garden. The only statue of Shakespeare in Edinburgh, it was salvaged from the demolition of the Theatre Royal in Shakespeare Square in 1860. Numerous other pieces of decorative stonework are in the garden, including several urns, 2 decorative bird-baths and a plaque depicting Edinburgh Castle.

A flat in Bonaly Tower is currently for sale.

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