The History of Leith

February 11, 2005

Kirk of Restalrig

By Act of Parliament passed in 1609 South Leith became the Kirk of the parish, the Kirk of Restalrig was declared to be suppressed and extinct for ever, and the benefice thereof with the manse and glebe were made over to South Leith.

There were in the older establishment certain rights and securities of prebendarys, to one of which there was attached an annuity of £20 Scots and to another an annuity of £8 Scots both out of the Kings Wark at Leith. The published Records of South Leith make frequent mention of the Kings Wark, sometimes under the name of Bernards Nook, a name derived from a personage well known in Leith history, namely, Bernard Lindsay, groom of the Chamber to King James V The property was acquired by the Edinburgh town council from Lindsays heirs, and in point of fact the Corporation still continue to make this annual payment to the Kirk session. According to Maitland, King James III granted out of the Kings Wark a perpetual annuity of 12 merks for the support of a chaplain to officiate at the altar of the upper chapel in the collegiate church of Restairig founded by the said King. Elsewhere we find it stated that the annual rents now in question were granted by King James IV to Restalrig, apparently in connection with the music of the church, and it now appears from the titles that the right to this endowment had passed to our Kirk session before the date of the Act of Parliament referred to.
In 1587 a Decree was obtained before the Lords of Session at the instance of one Robert Foulis who had been lawfully provided to the prebendary of Redwalls Isle situate within the College Kirk of Restalrig, the Decree confirming his right to the emoluments of this prebendary. In 1598 this Robert Foulis assigned to the Kirk session of Leith the emoluments of his prebendary, including an annual rent of £8 due furth of the Kings Wark. Again in 1595 a Decree of Court was obtained by one William Cumming, a prebendary of Restairig, which carried certain rights, among them the annual of £20 furth of the Kings Wark. The rights had been obtained by a Gift from the King, and were assigned shortly afterwards to John Anderson, who resigned them into the Kings hands for a new Gift to any person he pleased; and accordingly at Holyrood House on 7th March 1598 the surrender was made to the King who delivered the subjects again to Mr David Lindesay in name of the Kirk of Leith.
The town council of Edinburgh wan not always prompt in paying what is called the ground annual of £28, as the Records of the Kirk session indicate. From these Records we learn that in 1696 the clerk was instructed to go to the town clerk of Edinburgh and get an extract of the Act of the town council appointing the town treasurer to pay all bygones due upon Barnies Nook. We now know that this act of the town council was dated 14th March 1694, and had followed upon a petition from the Kirk session, speaking in name of the poor of Leith. The town council in very modern fashion had remitted the claim to a committee which reported that the payments ought to be made. This was duly approved and John Warrander, the town treasurer, was instructed to pay the sums due to Alexander Mathieson, Kirk treasurer of South Leith. Another act of council on the same subject was made on 21st July 1699 and a third on 2nd August 1700, so that this ancient endowment seems to rest upon an entirely secure foundation in law.

Source-South Leith Records

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