The History of Leith

July 9, 2004

The “Quarters”

The areas of Leith which were the responsibility of individual Elders or Elders was called a quarter and they were the “Sands”, “Hill”, “Lees”, “Craigend”.

The Sands quarter was Bernard Street District, The Hill was Coalhill. The Lees was St Anthony and Yardheads, Craigend was Calton. The ends of the Barony of Restalrig were Lochend and Craigend. The part with the Loch and the part with the craig or hill.. The population of South Leith was 4000 and the greater part of the population lived in the Lees quarter.

The story of how these areas were effected by the plague of 1645 ends with the Kirk Session entry of 3rd February 1646 which mentions how many people had died in each area the total of deaths was 2736. Plague effected leith in 1497, 1530, 1568, 1585, and 1588. However the plague of 1645 was worse because of the bad harvest and hunger.

Of the plague of 1645 there isn’t a memorial in Leith however in Edinburgh one can be seen in the Canongate on the side of a building called “Morocco Land”. The story goes that a Morocco Pirate attacked Edinburgh. The captain of the Pirates cured the provosts daughter of the plague and then married her and then revealed himself to be Andrew Gray a younger son of the Master of Gray, a family now merged with that of Stuart, Earl of Moray.

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