The Royal Mile and Deacon Brodie


Just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is a courtyard entrance by the name of Deacon Brodie’s Court – and, just a few yards on, a pub also bearing the same name (pictured below). Deacon Brodie lived in the 18th century and was a respected cabinet-maker in the Lawnmarket area. He was also a member of the town council – but Brodie had a reputation as a playboy and a gambler. With several mistresses and five illegitimate children, Brodie soon began to run out of money – and, to finance his lifestyle, turned to crime.

Brodie’s modus operandi was to make wax impressions of keys in houses where he was working as a carpenter, returning later to steal items he had previously identified as valuable. His downfall reportedly came after he teamed up with accomplices, one of whom turned traitor and reported Brodie to the police. Brodie fled to Amsterdam and was on the verge of sailing to America when he was caught. He was extradited back to Britain and received what is colloquially known as a ‘suspended sentence’ – that is, he was hanged.

Find out more about The Royal Mile on our Edinburgh tour. Click here for more information

Leave a comment