The North Face

The Hospital was designed to be approached from the town of Edinburgh, with its "show front" towards the town. To make the ascent from the Grassmarket more Persp View of Frontaccessible for transport, Heriot Bridge, the narrow street leading to the Hospital had an arch constructed upon it which projected into the middle of the Grassmarket.

In the north face is the impressive main door leading into aMain Door vaulted entrance known as the Pend. On either side of the door are two Doric pillars, standing on massive pedestals and supporting an entablature, the cornice of which is sixteen feet high. The frieze, containing four panels, is enriched with ornaments illustrating the origins and purposes of the Hospital.

The first compartment (on the left) represents George Heriot as a goldsmith at his forge in the act of blowing First Compartmentbellows, with an antique seat and table. Over his work bench, with its receptacles of leather for the filings of the precious metal, are the tools of his craft arranged in orderly fashion on a rack. There is also the motto FUNDENDO FUNDAVI (By founding, i.e. the metals, I have founded i.e. the Hospital).

In the second compartment appears an altar with a heart on it and above the name ofSecond Compartment God in Hebrew, surrounded by a halo. On the right stands a female figure (a widow) with a baby in her arms with two naked children clinging to her. On the left side of the altar is another figure (representing Charity). The Motto in this compartment is HIS COR INCALUIT (For these my heart has glowed).

The third compartment has five boys dressed in the uniform of Christ's Hospital Third CompartmentLondon (the model chosen by Heriot for his own Hospital). Two of their guardians (governors) are also depicted. Above them a hand, with the Founder's initials, points from the clouds, and bears the motto SIC VOS DEUS, UT VOS EOS (So may God treat you, as you treat them).

In the fourth compartment, are several pupils and their teacher at lessons. The mottoFourth Compartment in this panel reads DEUS NOBIS HAEC OTIA FECIT (God has given us these calm enjoyments).

Four small and richly-carved obelisks surmount the cornice above the Doric pillars. Over the door an arched recess, between the windows of the first floor, contains the armorial bearings of George Heriot, namely:

Argent (shield), on a fess (horizontal band) azure, three cinquefoils (five-petalled flowers) of the field, in base a mullet (five-pointed star) sable.Heriot's Crest

The motto, IMPENDO, has been translated into I DISTRIBUTE CHEARFULLIE (or I spend on others). Below the Arms is the inscription INSIGNIA GEORGII HERIOTI FUNDATORIS PIETAS LIGAT ASTRA TERRIS (The Arms of George Heriot, the Founder, Piety binds Heaven to Earth).

The recess is flanked by Corinthian columns with spiral flutings. The cornice is surmounted by a tablet with the initials G.H.; on it are seated two cherubs supporting a pedestal crowned with the figure of a boy working on an anvil. This Corinthian order Buckle Quoinsrests on the more massive Doric below it. In the centre of the Doric frieze is a monogram in raised letters containing the name of George Heriot. The soffit is decorated with a laurel branch, charged with three roses and a star, again referring to the arms of Heriot.

Other noteworthy features are the tidy Mannerist corner designs, for the "best known example of a building decorated with buckle quoins is the fantastic Heriot's Hospital". Perhaps these were an addition by John Mylne, the master mason of the Hospital from 1643 until its opening in 1659.