The History of Leith

April 15, 2005

Carstairs Monument.(South Leith Parish Church)

(On Wall of South Aisle.)
This unobtrusive but tasteful Memorial, of a fine sandstone, occupies a position in the extreme east end of the wall in the South Aisle. It is at right angles to the Mitchell Monument. It bears tile following inscription
born at St Andrews 30th July 1776
died at Leith 1st December 1836
born at Howlams Berwickshire 16th Feb. 1783 died at Leith 1st Feb. 1819.
A token of filial regard.
The. Kirk Session Records contain the account of the admission of George Carstairs as an Elder in 1832. George Carstairs was a wine merchant in Leith, and the name of the firm
appears in the Edinburgh Evening Courant of July 27th 1797 as Coldstream & Carstairs. His Will shows that he had a son, Drysdale Carstairs. of whom nothing is known. But more is known of his daughter Jane. She married the Rev. G. D. Cullen, minister of the Congregational Church in Leith. Miss Mansfield Thorburn remembers him quite well. He was a man of means in his own right and a very fine minister. He remained in Leith until about 1856. Giving up the active duties of the ministry, he removed to 33 Royal Terrace. His home was the centre of many religious and philanthropic activities. He became a Vice-President of the National Bible Society of Scotland. It is interesting to record that our senior Elder, Sir Malcolm Smith, is at the present time the Chairman of that old and ever vigorous Society. Miss Thorburn rememhers a son and two daughters of Mr and Mrs Cullen.
1 am tempted to think that George Carstairs assumed as his partner a. nephew, George Stewart Carstairs. The firm afterwards became known as Carstairs & Robertson. If my surmise is right, this second Mr Carstairs became Session Clerk of North Leith Parish Church. Late in life he married a widow, Mrs Gemmel, whose daughter is the wife of Dr. Rae Arnot, the scholarly Laird of Lochieheads, Auchtermuchty, Fife. Other nephews were Fergus Carstairs and James Carstairs, The father of this George S. Carstairs, and presumably the brother of George Carstairs commemorated in South Leith, was Rev. Andrew George. Carstairs, D,D., minister of the Parish of Anstruther Wester, Fife.
source-South Leith Records


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