The History of Leith

February 5, 2010

Rev Dr James Scott Marshall

With regret, we record the death on 8 January at the age of 96 of Rev Dr James Scott Marshall, former minister of Kirkgate Church and Associate Minister of South Leith Parish Church.

On 21 January last year Dr Marshall was acknowledged as a very special Leither when the people of Leith voted for him as one of the 12 Pillars of Leith.He was born in Leith in 1913, was Dux of Leith Academy and studied at Edinburgh

Choosing his calling to the church over a career in agriculture his first charge
was in the mining village of Twechar in East Dunbartonshire. Returning to Leith in1947 as Minister of Kirkgate Church, he quickly established his relationships with the wider Leith community. He became involved in local politics, music
and helped to set up a drama group that still runs to this day under the name Leitheatre.

With the prosperity of Leith always firmly in mind James was involved in many schemes to try and halt its decline in the postwar years.

In 1973 South Leith Parish Church and Kirkgate Church reunited, after 233 years apart, and Dr MarshalI became Associate Minister, working with Rev Jack Kellet and the combined congregation. His knowledge of Leith’s history was prodigious and, through his writing and lecturing, he was, in fact, Leith’s historian. Among other books he wrote the histories of South Leith and Kirkgate Church, ‘The Church in the Midst’, the Story of North Leith Church and after retiring to St Andrews continued the theme by writing the history of his church there.

For many of us in Leith, writes Joyce Armstrong, apart from the church we had known him as the inspired founder of a dramatic club along with one of his elders who together wrote, directed and played in so many productions over 64 years and still going strong.

James retired in 1990 and moved, with Mary, to St Andrews where this devoted and dedicated couple could, at last, share a less busy Iife. During the last years as he became frailer and in need of more care he moved into a nursing home near
Freuchie close to his daughter Morag. His son Donald still lives in Eskbank. Sadly his wife Mary, for so long a devoted companion is also in a nursing home in Fife.

He is survived by his wife, daughter and son, six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

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