Before the Tron Kirk: Mount Parnassus & a miraculous tree at the Salt Tron

Wed, 29 March 2023

Discover the fantastical public spectacles that were staged at the Salt Tron on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the 16th and 17th centuries.

By Scottish Historic Buildings Trust


During the 16th and early 17th century, the Salt Tron – the weighing beam and public house that stood where the Tron Kirk was later constructed – was one of a selected handful of key locations which repeatedly enjoyed a central role in public ceremonies. In striking opposition to its utilitarian, everyday commercial identity, the Salt Tron area became the location for the staging of fantastical spectacles, where performers impersonating mythological figures, historical heroes, or celebrated ancestors amazed the crowds, accompanied by skilled musicians and often in eye-catching settings. An analysis of the various events staged at the Salt Tron by the civic authorities to publicly celebrate the successes of the Stewart monarchs, reveals the richness of the cultural life in Edinburgh at this time, and the complexity of the relationship between town and Crown. It also establishes the remarkable importance of the Salt Tron area to outline and display the burgh’s identity and aspirations, both in everyday circumstances and during exceptional public events

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