John Knox House

A Brief History

John Knox House dates back to 1470, which makes it and Moubray House attached, the oldest, original medieval building surviving on the Royal Mile. The house is associated with one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in Scottish History – The Scottish Reformation – which resulted in the outbreak of civil war and the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Although John Knox only stayed in this house for a short time before his death in 1572, it was his association with the house that saved it from demolition in the 1840s.

During an excavation of the house, time-capsules were found buried in the gable wall and to commemorate the moment the building was saved. One of these time capsules is displayed in the window.

Who's house is it anyway?

James Mosman – jeweller and goldsmith to Mary, Queen of Scots – lived in the house from the 1550s until his execution in 1573. He was extremely loyal to Queen Mary and was part of the ‘Queen’s Men’ who seized Edinburgh Castle in an attempt to restore her to the throne after her forced abdication in favour of her protestant son, James VI.

• Walk in the footsteps of its famous inhabitants
• Hear the drama unfold in every room
• Look out for the tricks and traps to fool intruders
• Hunt for the devil hiding in The Oak Room ceiling
• Pit yourself against our portrait puzzles

Explore the house to find out the fate of James Mosman.

Audio Guide

Our audio guide is only £1 and really brings the house to life. It points out interesting parts of the building you may otherwise miss and tells you stories about past goings on in the house.

Written translations of our audio guide in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese are available at reception.

We also have written guides in the above languages.

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