The History of Leith

April 23, 2008

Timeline of Leith History

Some of the highlights of Leith History

80 Agricola invades Scotland and marches into Leith from Inveresk
208 The Emperor Severus encamps at Cramond
211 The Romans leave Leith
1128 David I founds the Abbey of Holyrood
1296 The Abbot of Holyrood, Sir John de Lestalric and the Dean of
Restalrig swear fealty to Edward I
1296-1314 There is a English garrison in Leith
1314 Randoph captures Edinburgh Castle and the English leave Leith
1314 Edward II encamps at Leith on the way to Bannockburn
1329 The Charter of Robert the Bruce to the Burgesses of Edinburgh. This
is a Charter of confirmation not of donation
1335 The English rebuild Edinburgh Castle and occupy Leith
1341 A Raid from Leith retakes Edinburgh Castle
1382 The Logans became Barons of Restalrig
c1382 The Preceptory of St Anthony Founded (However the date is
probably c1320. Originated in a Templar Hospice of 1128)
1414 Sir Robert Logan grants two Charters for access to the Shore to the
Burgesses of Edinburgh
1434 James I founds the Kings Wark on the Shore
1439 Sir William Logan builds Cotefield Lodging in what is now
Cotefield Lane.
1475 Sir James inherits the land of the Sheriff Brae
1476 John Barton and the Juliana are captured by the Portuguese
1483 The supposed date for the founding of South Leith Church however
according to documentary evidence South Leith formed part of the
Preceptory of St Anthony and was the earliest ecclesiastical building in Leith possibly founded by the knight Templars in 1128. By 1320 the Knights of St John came into Leith having united with the Templar Knights by 1312
1486 Robert Ballentyne builds the first stone bridge over the Water of
1489 Sir Andrew Wood defeats the English at Dunbar
1490 Sir Andrew Wood captures and defeats Sir Stephan Bull
1493 Robert Ballentyne, Abbot of Holyrood build St Ninians Church in
North Leith.
1504 James IV founds Newhaven
1505 The Margaret is built in Leith
1510 Newhaven is sold to Edinburgh
1511 The Great Michael is launched at Leith. It was the largest Tudor
Warship built in Britain.
1513 James IV along with the Dean and Baron of Restalrig are killed at
1544 Hertford destroys Leith and Edinburgh
1546 George Wishart preaches in Leith
1547 The Battle of Pinkie and Leith is again destroyed
1555 The supposed date of the founding of Trinity however it was
founded in 1380 in North Leith in the St Nicholas Hospice.
1559-60 The Siege of Leith
1560 The Treaty of Edinburgh and the French leave Leith
1561 Mary, Queen of Scot’s arrives in Leith from France
1567 Edinburgh acquires the Superiority of Leith
1571-73 Morton and the supporters of James VI occupy Leith
1588 The Alarm of the Spanish Armada
1593 The start of the Trials and executions for Witchcraft.
1600 Craigentinny House built by the Nisbet family
1604 Lord Balmerino takes over Restalrig
1609 South Leith Parish Church erected into a Parish
1631 Balmerino House built in the Kirkgate
1638 The National Covenant is sworn to at South Leith Church
and St Ninians.
1639 Edinburgh buys North Leith
1643 The Solemn league and Covenant sworn to at South Leith Church
1645 The Great Plague
1650 Leslie defends Leith and Edinburgh against Cromwell
1650 The Battle of Dunbar, Leith occupied
1656 The Citadel built
1675 Conventicle at Leith Mills
1685 Robert Mylne enlarges the harbour and builds the signal tower
1685 Declaration of Indulgence
1698 The Darien Scheme
1705 Captain Green of the Worcester hanged in Leith
1707 The Union of Parliaments between Scotland and England
damages trade in Leith
1715 Brigadier Macintosh occupies the Citadel
1718 The Balfours purchase the property of Pilrig
1724 Edinburgh purchases Calton and Yardheads from Lord Balmerino
1734 Leith Trade Incorporations recognised by Edinburgh
1746 execution of Lord Balmerino
1751 Turnpike Act, Bonnington Toll erected
1754 Leith gets its Water Supply from Lochend
1755 Edinburgh Trade monopoly ends
1779 John Paul Jones Scare
1788 Abbot Ballentynes bridge demolished and replaced by the bridge
at Tolbooth Wynd.
1806 The Old Dock opened, The Queens Dock 1817, The Victoria 1852,
The Albert 1869, The Edinburgh 1881, the Imperial 1904
1809 The Martello Tower Built
1816 North Leith Church erected and Trinity House rebuilt
1821 Chain Pier constructed
1826 The Docks come under the Dock Commission
1827 Leith Town Hall built
1833 The Burgh Reform Act and Leith becomes a Parliamentary burgh
1846 Edinburgh, Leith, and Granton Railway opened
1848 The Newhaven Ferry is transferred to Granton
1880 The Leith Improvement Scheme in which thousands of slum houses were demolished
1915 The Gretna disaster
1916 Zeppelin Raid on Leith
1920 Leith united with Edinburgh

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