The History of Leith

May 22, 2007

Leith the Capital of Scotland!

In 1623 Vice-Admiral Sir William Monson a distinguish English Naval Officer who had served with Raleigh in Elizabeth’s Reign in many expeditions under James VI and who survived till the Reign of Charles I wrote in his book “Naval Tracts” that Leith should be made the Capital of Scotland!

Instead of Edinburgh” he wrote “ which is the supreme city and now made the head of Justice, whither all men resort as the only spring that waters the Kingdom. I wish his Majesty did fortify, strengthen, and make impregnable, the Town of Leith and there to settle the seat of Justice and all other privileges Edinburgh enjoys referring it to the choice of the inhabitants whether they will make their dwelling where they do or remove to Leith. Where they would enjoy the same liberties they did in Edinburgh.

His Majesty may do it out of these respects; Leith is a maritime town and with some great labour and charge conveying their merchandise to Edinburgh which no man but will find conveniency in: Leith is a sea town whither ships resort and mariners make their dwelling and Trinity House being settled there lies more convenient for transportation and importation it being the Port Town of Edinburgh and in time of war may cut off all provisions betwixt the sea and Edinburgh and bring Edinburgh to the mercy of it”

Sir William took a seaman’s view in this suggestion. However what Edinburgh thought of the suggestion is unfortunately not recorded

Some Text