The History of Leith

June 4, 2004

The Last Lord Balmerino

The Balmerino family had long connections with Leith. However it is with the sixth Lord that the family connection with Leith came to an end.

He was born in 1688 and held a captain’s commission under Queen Anne in Viscount Shannon’s foot the 25th or the Regiment of Edinburgh. This he resigned to take up arms under the Earl of Mar and fought at Sheriffmuir, after which he entered the service of the French. He remained until the death of his brother Alexander who died in 1733. He received a free pardon from the King and after twenty years he returned to Scotland.

But his fighting day weren’t over because as soon as Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in 1745 he was the first to volunteer and was appointed Colonel and captain of the Life guards under lord Elcho. He was at the capture of Carlisle and was in the advance into England and in the retreat from Derby and took part in the Battle of Falkirk. His end came at Culloden in 1746 when he was captured, committed to the Tower of London and executed with the Earl of Kilmarnock in August 1746.

His conduct at his death was marked by the greatest courage which impressed a lot of people at the time. His estates were confiscated and the patronage of the first charge at South Leith Church passed to the Crown.

By his wife Margaret he didn’t have any children; she was the daughter of Captain Chalmers of Leith, the family line ended. Balmerino House in the Kirkgate became a Catholic School and in time St Mary’s Star of the Sea.

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