History has a song to sing in walls of city landmark

ITS ancient walls once held the sound of plain prayer murmured by persecuted exiles.

Three hundred years later they rang to the first airing of a simple folk song that was to become an anthem uniting Scots the world over.

More recently they have reverberated with water-cooler chit-chat as the 17th century Huguenot Temple in New Town's Hart Street Lane has been home to local architects and engineers. Now with the property back on the market the chance to write the building's next chapter is on offer.

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Its origins would have been unique as a selling point - but its claim as an icon on the Edinburgh cityscape is strengthened by being the recording venue at which the strains of Flower Of Scotland were first heard.

In the early 70s, the song was no more than a number in The Corries' songbook.

But its adoption by a group of Scotland rugby players on the Lions tour to South Africa in 1974 was the start of a worldwide phenomenon.

It will open proceedings as usual tonight when Scotland host the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie, and hopefully give Craig Levein's team the tingle up the spine that is claimed for this commemoration of a 14th century battle with England.

Although now called The Monastery the building is unlikely to have been a monastery as the Huguenot Church was Protestant. But its architecture suggests a religious use at some point in time.

Title deeds show that the ground floor was used as a chapel and the upper two floors, which are now for sale, were used as a dwelling house.

The temple stood at the heart of the Huguenot community, who in 1730 had been granted the land at Broughton Head by the city's Town Council, which had been given it by the Trustees of George Heriot's Hospital "for the behoof of refugees or their descendents who had come from France, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes..."

Picardie village was built in 1809 for French and later Dutch linen weavers who were brought in by the Scottish Board of Manufacturers to improve the quality of linen production in Scotland. Economically unsuccessful, some left for the Huguenot Church in Spittalfields, London, others, for Ireland.

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They left behind the French placenames, Picardy Place, and Bordeaux _ Burdiehouse, along with the temple.

Later, in around 1948, the name The Monastery was adopted. From the 1960s to 1997 the building served as a recording studio.

The conversion property, which agents Graham & Sibbald say is suitable to continue as an office or become a residence, has ben placed on the market for offers over 220,000.

Sandy Halliday, principal and engineering team leader at Gaia Architects, the current owners, who are moving offices, said that those who have worked there since 1997 have felt a sense of privilege.

She said: "We've done quite a bit of looking into the history and it appears to have been a Huguenot temple, not a monastery, and we think the only Huguenot temple in Scotland.

"It's a lovely peaceful and calm place to work but it also has the potential to be converted into a nice home.

"It's clearly had a lot of lives and will no doubt have many more."