The Tron Kirk

The building of the Tron Kirk on High Street (The Royal Mile), Edinburgh was ordered by Charles I to accommodate the congregation of St Giles when it became Edinburgh Cathedral.
It was built between 1636 and 1647 to a design by Royal master mason John Mylne.
John is one of my my ancestors.

Tron Kirk: Overview of Tron Kirk

 I have a further ‘connection’ to the Tron Kirk. My 3xgreat grandfather, Leslie Fleming wrote about his life as a Printer in Edinburgh (An Octogenarian Printer’s Recollections) and recalls this as a child:


My father’s house, and where I lived until twenty-two years of age, was half-way down Libberton’s Wynd, on the west side, and some three tenements below the famous Johnnie Dowie’s Tavern.                                      

Still farther down the wynd, on the same side, resided another celebrity, Ebenezer Wilson, brassfounder, who rang the Tron Church bell, being bell-ringer from 1788 till his death in 1823. He was a well-known character, from his continuing to wear the old-fashioned three-cornered cocked hat, knee breeches and shoes with large buckles. I often accompanied him at night, during my boyhood, at the eight o’clock bell-ringing, and have frequently seen the clockwork and the bells in the old steeple.

 The small bell was the one used for ringing, while a hammer struck the hours on the large one: though this latter bell was hung for ringing also, it was never used for that purpose, lest it should injure the steeple. This old wooden steeple was burnt in the great fire of November 1824, and was rebuilt in 1828, the principal bell being recast, and again hung. I have never noticed any statement in print to the effect that there were two bells in the old steeple, but having seen them so often, I feel confident in the matter. The short biographical sketch of Ebenezer Wilson, or “Eben,” as he was usually called, which is given in Kay’s ‘Edinburgh Portraits,’ is very correct, and I am tempted to extract from it an anecdote about the old bell-ringer. “Although in general very regular,” it is stated, “Eben committed a sad mistake on one occasion, by tolling the curfew at seven o’clock in place of eight. The shops were shut up, and the streets consigned to comparative darkness, when the clerks and shopboys discovered with delight that they had gained an hour by his miscalculation. This occurrence afterwards proved a source of great vexation to him – ‘It’s seven o’clock, Eben, ring the bell!’ being a frequent and irritating salutation on the part of the laddies.”