Countless prisoners were publicly executed by hanging. Creative sentences included the stocks (a variation of pillory in which the feet were restrained), cucking stools (ducking and drowning those suspected of witchcraft in North Loch), nailing the ears of the culprit in the Mercat Cross, hanging, and burning at the stake. His biography and assassination. Edinburgh city, home of the gorgeous Christmas market, the bad weather, kilted bagpipers, a Zoo, bonnie glens, and… Mel Gibson’s buttocks in Braveheart. I spat once, and I’m still here, settled down and studying in the university of Edinburgh three years later. The body parts and severed heads of the recently executed were impaled nearby — a likely deterrent for any lingering persons with a craving for criminal activity. It wasn’t a whisky shop, sorry visitors. The heart marks the location of the entrance to Edinburgh's Old Tolbooth which was demolished in 1817. This Praetorium was divided in two sections: the first, the Belhouse, hosted local, public and national transactions; the other, the Tolbuith, was where the town council met. This relocation marked the beginning of the darkest period for the Tolbooth. Unless you’ve taken the city tour of Edinburgh, you probably think the Scots are very romantic. "The 'Heart of Lothian', full name 'Heart of Midlothian', is a mozaic heart inlaid into the pavement (i.e. And so, the moral of the story goes that it is indeed okay to spit away like the locals on this unassuming historic heart. But why a heart, why it’s called the Heart of Midlothian? And amidst all the Edinburgh attractions, there’s one that hides a dark secret…. This is indeed very interesting. Praetorium, in this context, was a building of public use. A building stood there for four centuries. Not to mention, the heads mounted on spikes above the entrance, scaring away the postman. At that time, prisons weren’t top-notch facilities for tattooed criminals to bulk up in the gym, but rather a place to ward them off, until the magistrate or authorities disposed of them. A heart shaped in stone, a history of tears, blood and politics behind the Heart of Midlothian in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Like the souls trapped inside its deathly walls, this midden of a place was obliterated in 1817 after years of abhorrent goings-on. Years later, in 1639, the Scottish Parliament moved to Parliament House, a new building south of St Giles’. Executions and torture still existed on the regular. Burns. But in truth the name comes from a novel, The Heart of Midlothian, by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1818. In 1736, a riot broke out in Edinburgh over the execution of two smugglers. By 1560, the Tolbooth was deemed too small to meet the public necessities. Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email. In 1784, the last execution was carried out in the Grassmarket, and the Tolbooth replaced it as the spot for locals to enjoy their favourite pastime: watching criminals and innocents alike hanged, kicking at the end of the noose. I’ve spent lots of times in Edinburgh but never spit on this heart. Parting the street, you can spot brass bricks running parallel to the north wall of St Giles’ Cathedral. Many believe the spitting tradition actually derives from people expressing their loathing for the dastardly deeds associated with such a perilous place. If lucky, you’ll catch sight of one venturing down the Royal Mile, lubricating the heart as they head along to the city offices. EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION TO THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN. The heart is traditionally spat into when you walk past it, and is a symbol of local pride. Prisoners and tax payers didn’t like the Tolbooth customer service, and alongside other locals, spat in the doors. From 1481, historical records tells us that part of the Tolbuith was used to lock up bad guys. Inmates spanned the whole gamut, from petty thieves to cold-blooded killers and innocent souls. The Tolbooth origins remains obscure, but in 1403 we first hear of a Praetorium of Edinburgh, in this spot. Midlothian was the name of the old county, and the city of Edinburgh was its chief town. Or perhaps Hearts fans salivate for luck. Some theorise the heart symbolises the centre, highlighting where the scaffold stood. But why? Facts about Rasputin. — whose crest is based on The Heart of Midlothian — spit as an act of spite! Midlothian was the name of the old county, and the city of Edinburgh was its chief town. The Heart of Midlothian is a mosaic located outside St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. Either If you’ve taken a ride in the iconic double-decked Edinburgh bus, choose the intimate taxi, or walked the thousand-year-old Royal Mile, linking Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace, you haven’t failed to notice something eerie. Some were tortured and left for dead. It is the most complex of all Scott's narratives. As for why it’s a heart, there’s no definitive explanation. Bullshit. Finally, in 1817 the Tolbooth was demolished, leaving a nicer, tourist-friendly street to roam. It's free! Others were publicly ridiculed wearing iron collars clenched around their necks. View all posts by bernatroig. A sad heart indeed. These gallows were used until 1817. The story behind the Heart of Midlothian, as it is called, is much darker and more… unsanitary, than you could conceive. The state of the prison was so nauseatingly repugnant that Mary, Queen of Scots stepped in and so a New Tolbooth was built.