Anchor Close High Street Royal Mile Edinburgh
Anchor’s Close was named after a tavern that was at the top of the close in 1714. The Close ran from the High Street to Market Street before Cockburn Street was built and dissected it. In 1718 it change Landlords to and Dawney Douglas’s Tavern which was a meeting place of the Crochallan Fencibles, a club with a membership of a number of the most distinguished men of the town. The Crochallan Fencibles Club was founded by William Smellie, a printer who founded the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He also printed the first Edinburgh edition of Burns in 1787.
On the east side of the Close there are two 17th-century buildings, originally of four storeys. A doorway on the west side of the Close has a 17th-century inscription ”LORD BE MERCIFUL TO ME” and was the entrance to Dawney Douglas’s Tavern where the Crochallan Fencibles Club met.
Anchor Close has had many names as the name would change by the owner at the time. The Crochallan Fencibles was a convivial club for gentlemen which met in Dawney Douglas’s Tavern. William Smellie’s Printed Burns Poems and Allan Masterton wrote the music for Burns songs were also members of the club. Dawney Douglas’s Tavern was a very popular place as it served very good food at a very affordable price.