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Sheep Heid Inn, The

An inn quietly located on The Causeway in Duddingston village, the Sheep Heid was established in 1360 and is said to be the oldest in Edinburgh, if not the country. The building is 18th century, built around a courtyard, with what is claimed to be the country's oldest surviving skittle alley at the rear. The name most-likely comes from an ornate ram's head snuff-box presented by King James VI in 1580. James was a regular visitor en route from Holyrood Palace to Craigmillar Castle and is known to have enjoyed playing skittles here. Further notable regulars included Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) and Rev. John Thomson (1778 - 1840), who was Parish Minister at Duddingston. Other visitors included Maggie Dickson, who made her remarkable return from death in a cart outside the inn in 1728 and, most-likely, Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-88), who stayed nearby in 1745 before the Battle of Prestonpans.

The current skittle alley was built in 1882 on the site of the former stable block, but the Sheep Heid Inn is thought to be the world's oldest venue for playing skittles which is still in regular use for this purpose. The Trotters Club has met here every month since the same year to play the game.


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