The History of Leith

July 29, 2004

The Green Lady

By tradition one of the most frightening places in Leith was supposed to be St Anthony Lane just at the rear of the present day Church Halls for South Leith Parish Church.
The reason for this fear was for many generations it was believed to be the haunt of the “Green Lady” or “Green Jenny” This spirit had been seen on a number of occasions and one is related by an honest shoemaker who passed St Anthony Lane on his way home in the Yardheads and near to the gate of the Tan-yard a mort cloth suspended in mid air (Editors note. The tan-yard originally was on the site of the present day Church Halls and the Mort Cloth was used to cover coffins in the past). Then the cloth twisted itself around his face and he was in complete darkness and panic was slowly setting in. Then the air what little there was smelt of the Charnel House and death. Then this atmosphere changed and he seen a beautiful angel in White. This was enough for him and he ran home in terror and fright.

Unfortunately before ghost busters appear. The fact of the matter is St Anthony lane is not haunted and never was. Many years ago a lady’s husband died insolvent and she took over the Brewery business and turned it around and not only this but became very wealthy. Many people thought she was fiddling the excise and she probably was. It was known at the time that barrels were leaving the Brewery late at night though secret passageways and that she would stand in the lane wearing a green cloak to keep look out for her workers. If someone came too close she would open up her cloak and underneath was a white apron and in the darkness this was enough to startle anyone especially if it wasn’t expected.

After her death the “Green Lady” was never seen again. but the story lingered on.

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