The History of Leith

March 5, 2005

Symson the Printers House, Horse Wynd

Symson the Printers House 1873
There is unfortunately no trace of the man who built the house,but it is known that the upper floors were occupied about (before?) 1700 by the worthy Andro Symson, who having been ousted from his charge as an Episcopal minister at the Revolution [1688], continued to make a living here by writing and printing books. Symson had been curate of Kirkinner, in Galloway, a presentation to him by the earl of that title, and was the author an elaborate work, and mysterious poem of great length, issued from his printing- house at the foot of the Horse Wynd, entitled,Tripatriarchicor; or the lives of the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, extracted forth of the sacred story and digested into English verse. However before this he acted for the Lord Advocate, Sir George McKenzie of Rosehaugh and of Bloody memory and in 1699 he edited an published a new folio edition of Sir Georges work on the Laws and Customs of Scotland which bears on its title page that it is printed by the heirs and successors of Mr Andrew Anderson printer to the Kings most excellent Majesty for Mr Andrew Symson and are to be sold by him in the Cowgate, near the foot of the Hose Wynd, Anno Dom. 1699.
The Horse Wynd which once connected the Cowgate with the open fields on the south of the city, and was broad enough for carriages in days before such vehicles were known, is supposed to have derived its name from an inn which occupied the exact site of the Gaelic church which was erected there in 1815, after the building in the Castle Wynd was abandoned, and which ranked as a quoad sacra parish church after 1834, though it was not annexed to any separate territory. It was seated for 1166, and cost £3,000, but was swept away as being in the line of the present Chambers Street.
From James Grants Old and New Edinburgh 1883

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