Chapel Street Edinburgh

Chapel street, Potterrow to Buccleuch Street Edinburgh was once positioned where West Nicholson Street stands now (map by John Ainslie 1580 – 1919). 

  Chapel of Ease

The Church that stands in Chapel Street at the junction of the Cross Causeway was originally called the Chapel of Ease as St Cuthbert’s in Lothian Road had become too small for its congregation. The congregation of St Cuthbert’s Church had the Chapel of Ease built in 1754 and it opened its door in 1756. The most significant factor is the graveyard as there are a number of important people of the period buried in the graveyard here due to the overcrowding of St Cuthbert’s graveyard in Lothian Road Edinburgh. 

Chapel of Ease Chapel Street Edinburgh


William Deacon Brodie, (master craftsman and robber), famous in Edinburgh History. William Deacon Brodie’s grave is in the north west corner of the graveyard but due to time and the weather the writing on the stone has worn away.

 Chapel of Ease Graveyard Chapel Street Edinburgh    William Deacon Brodie's Grave Stone Chapel of Ease Chapel Street Edinburgh

CHARLES DARWIN (1758–1778)

Charles Darwin’s Uncle of the same name, (1758–1778), died at the age of 20 why studying at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He is buried in the Duncan family vault in the Chapel of Ease. The Plaque to is nephew Charles Darwin Author (The Origin of Species) is on the wall in Lothian Street where he lived while at the University Medical School. Unlike his Uncle Charles Darwin was a brilliant student but his life was cut short. The words on his headstone read; Charles Darwin | was born at Lichfield | September 3rd 1758 | and died at Edinburgh | May 15th 1778 | Possessed of uncommon abilities and activity | He had acquired knowledge in every department | of medical and philosophical science much beyond | his years. He gained the first medal offeredby | the aesculapian Society for a criterion | to distinguish | MATTER FROM MUCUS; | and had prepared a thesis for his graduation | on the Retrograde Motions of the | Lymphatic Vessels in some deseases. | He cultivated with success the friendship of ingenious men, and was buried by favour of |  Dr A Duncan in his family vault.| ” Fame’s boastful chessel fortune’s silver plume | mark but the mouldering urn, or deck the tomb! ” |

 Tombstone of Charles Darwin Chapel of Ease Graveyard Edinburgh  Charles Darwin Author Plaque Lothian Street Edinburgh

DR ANDREW DUNCAN (Pioneer of mental health)

The Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum was founded by Doctor Andrew Duncan in 1809 and opened in 1813. Which he founded in Morningside Terrace Edinburgh. The Asylum was previously on the site where the Bedlam Church Theatre stands now at Forrest Road and Bristo Place Edinburgh. Dr Andrew Duncan was a pioneer in mental health.Andrew Duncan Medallion on wall at Hospital in Morningside Terrace Edinburgh


Dr Thomas Blacklock a Minister in a Borders town church was better known as “The Blind Poet”. Due to illness as a baby he lost his sight before he turned 1 year. He lived on the corner of Chapel Street and West Nicholson Street now a public house named (The Blind Poet) where on the walls can be seen many poems written by Dr Thomas Blacklock, the blind poet.


Mrs Alison Cockburn was born in 1710 and died in 1794. She was a Scottish poet and socialite always in the company of the names of the Edinburgh enlightenment. Names she could call friends Robert Burns, Walter Scott and David Hume. The plaque reads; Mrs Cockburn 1710 -1794 Who wrote “The flowers O the forest ” lies buried near here.


Link to Buccleuch Place