History of Leith, Edinburgh

December 20, 2003

The Life and Times of David Lindsay

Part 5 South Leith Records 1925. A record of a Commemoration Lecture given by Rev. William Swan.

David Lindsay returns to Leith to die but first he was involved in the Gowrie Conspiracy. One of the most mysterous in Scottish history.

After the Gowrie Conspiracy, James crossed from fife and landed in Leith in August 1600. Lindsay had taken an important part in the thanksgiving for the Kings deliverance from this mysterious and inexplicable danger which was held at the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh. He seems to have place implicit faith on the story related to him by the King at Falkland “ Mr David taketh him to the Kirk (South Leith Parish Church) exhorted him after thanksgiving to perform his vows made aforetimes for the performance of Justice, at which times he smiled and talked with those that were around him, after his unreverent manner of behaviour at sermons” if he was a courtier, he was still able evidently to point out to the King the principles which were the “habitation of his throne” and which he was in danger of forgetting. David Lindsay was now a very old man but he seems to have been I residence for the purposes of his work as a Bishop in the neighbourhood of Dundee, while still superintending his Parish of Leith and no doubt sometimes occasionally officiating there. When James went to London in 1603 to ascend the throne of England, Lindsay was one of those who went with him in state.

David Lindsay was twice married first to a daughter of Ramsay of Clattie and next to a Helen Harrison who survived him. His son Jerome was of some note, becoming a Knight and Laird of Annatland and occupying the honourable position of Lyon, King at Arms from 1621 to 1639. He married a grand niece of the famous Sir David Lindsay of the Mount and is said to have descendents in the United States. Another son became a clergyman of the Church of England in Southwark in this resembling the two sons of John Knox himself who crossed the border and served in the Southern Church (Editors note he means here the Church of England). He afterwards became colleague to his father occupying the Second Charge. The names of his other sons are known but nothing is known about them. His daughter Rachel married Spottiswoode who built the beautiful church of Dairsie near Cupar. Spottiswoode became well known as an Archbishop and also as the historian of the Scottish Kirk on the Episcopal side as Calderwood is of that of the Presbyterians.

The corpse of David Lindsay was interred in Leith by his own direction as desiring to rest with that people on whom he had taken great pains in his life.

(Editors note. The Gowrie conspiracy. 5th August 1600 James VI enticed by Alexander Master of Ruthven into Gowrie House, the King alleged that he was threatened with death, and when his followers came to his help the Master and his brother were killed. Recent opinion tends on the whole to believe that there was a real plot and that it was not an invention of the King. David Lindsay was buried in South Leith Parish a few feet from the present day pulpit)

The life and Times of David Lindsay

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