Today, 4 July, sees the anniversary of the date the Mary Erskine School was ‘signed’ into existence with the Merchant Company. We would usually join the FP Guild in commemorating this occasion by a visit to the graveside of Mary Erskine at Greyfriar’s Kirk. As we are not able to commemorate in the usual way, our Mary Erskine School Archivist, Dorothy Sharp, prepared the below piece to celebrate the annual anniversary of the founding of the school, prior to being furloughed.  If you would like to make an enquiry or if you have items of interest to give to our archives, please contact Dorothy on and she will reply to you when she is back at work.

Inspired by the fact that the foundation stone at Ravelston was due to be laid, Mrs Caroline Batt and Mrs Helen Louden (both FPs) undertook the search for the grave. From a record of internment an entry was found “on July 4, 1707 the internment of Mary Erskin, relic of James Hair, Droggist”. The spot was traced to the part now named the Covenanters’ Prison near the high wall.  To the right lies the grave of Hugh Cunnigham, a friend and co-founder. of the school.

The following two photographs come from a celebration of the Centenary of the FP Guild in 1984 at the grave of Mary Erskine.

In 2014 the Edinburgh Trades Company added a plaque below the plaque for the Merchant Maiden Hospital to commemorate Mary Erskine as cofounder of the Trades Maiden Hospital.

June 2018.​
Rachel Scott FP president, Linda Moule Vice-Principal of the school and senior prefect at Greyfriars Kirk to lay wreath on Mary Erskine’s grave

One thought on “Anniversary of Mary Erskine School

  1. Dear ESMS Community,
    This is a lovely email but I think there may be a mistake because where it says “Broom, the symbol of the merchant company” there is a picture of some gorse. Gorse is spiky and smells like coconut but broom is smelly and the branches grow vertically.
    Best wishes,
    Thea Thomas


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