instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Not on your Nelly! Nightmare neighbour kept ELEPHANT in flat

Trunk calls: An 18th century illustration of Abraham and his elephant PICTURES: SWNS

A NEIGHBOUR from hell kept an elephant in his upstairs flat in Edinburgh, according to a complaint found in archives.

The letted, dated 1705, was written by a baker who owned a shop near Fishmarket Close in the old town.

He wrote to the Dean of Guild Court horrified that his shop was being damaged by falling dung and water.

Too close for comfort: The Edinburgh street had an exotic lodger

Adam Kerr’s letter has been discovered in the Edinburgh city archives.

He asked the court to visit upstairs tenant Abraham Sever, a Dutchman who was keeping the elephant.

A month earlier, Mr Sever had been granted permission to show his animal in the city.

This just won’t poo: The letter of complaint about the elephant ruining the baker’s shop below

It had spent 20 years being toured around Europe by its previous owner Bartel Verhagen, who died in 1703. His will stipulated it should be passed into the care of assistant Jan Janszoon, who rented it to Mr Sever.

Transcripts from the manuscript read that the dung and water ‘comes doun in great quantities upon the vault [shop] and spoyle and abuses the concerned goods’.

The baker urged: ‘if not prevented will altogether rowan said vault, beseeching your lordship and councill to visit the said vault to remove the said eliphant.’