The Quadrangle

Drawing of Quad

The Quadrangle, which is entered from the Pend, is bounded on the north and east by a cloistered piazza with rounded arches. This piazza was used by the boys as a shelter in bad weather.

Statue of the Founder

Over the archway within the Quadrangle on the north side is a decorated niche, in which appears a statue of George Heriot, 5 ft. 10 in. in height, standing on a richly carved corbel. This figure was completed by Robert Mylne and the likeness was taken from an original painting by Paul Van Somer, a copy of which, by Scougal, hangs in the Council Room. The shafts of the column are totally ornamented with diamond facets. On the frieze is inscribed CORPORIS HAEC, ANIMI EST HOC OPUS EFFIGIES (This statue represents my body, this work my soul). A group of cherubs above the entablature points to various emblems around them.

Quadrangle decorated for the Buskin Ceremony

A view of this north range from within the courtyard is, as Alistair Rowan states, "one of the finest architectural ensembles in the whole of Scotland".

Over the range of windows in the Quadrangle on the north side is a series of medallion portraits, in high relief, suggesting the loyalty of the masons to the crown. In the upper range are Henrietta Maria, Charles II, Anne of Denmark, James VI, Princess Elizabeth, Elector Palatine, and young Prince Henry; on the lower range are smaller heads and the Founder's arms. Pediment over window in Quadrangle

On the east side of the Quadrangle there are many carved figures. The four Evangelists are represented over the central upper windows. David, with his lyre, appears over the north window of this row, and Solomon is over the south. On the lower storey there is represented the Tree of Life, with two babes watering it. On the north comer of the row are mermaids; on the south comer, supposedly scorpions. On the middle of the east side is a stone tablet with the inscription "Honour the Lord with thy riches and with the first of all thine increase, so shall thy barnes be filled with abundance. To doe good and to distribute forgett not, for with such sacrifices God is pleased".

Carving over window in QuadrangleOn the west side, above the windows of the top storey are carved allegorical figures of the four continents then known -Europe, Asia, Africa and America. (Australasia had yet to he discovered). Of the remaining two windows, one represents Death, with the hand on the skull, and the other, supposedly, Adam and Eve.

Numbers in QuadrangleThe entrance to the former Refectory is on this side. Above the door are the arms of the Founder, within a square tablet, in a carved frame of raised stone, with the motto "I distribute cheerfully", and underneath "George Heriot Jeweller". The door appears to have been copied from Vignola's design of the main portal of the Farnese villa at Caprarola, south of Rome.

Balls used for game in Quadrangle

Altogether there are 202 sculptured windows in the Hospital and 18 finely carved initials of the Founder. Only two of the decorations above the windows are the same; they are the ground floor windows on either side of the midway external turret on the west side. The interior of the Quadrangle was laid with pavement in the late 17th century, and the numbers 1-180 were inscribed on the surface. Each boy had his own number and used it for roll-call every morning. The numbers are closely spaced, indicating the small size of the boys of the period. The windows of the inner court were protected by wire trellis to prevent damage to the glass when the boys were engaged in their favourite game of ball (the balls were made by the boys from tailors' clippings and sheepskins). There was from 1649 a well of stone-carved work in the middle of the Quadrangle; this was removed in the early nineteenth century.