The History of Leith

July 19, 2010

A Sunday walk at South Leith

If you visit the Churchyard at South Leith scan the tombstones and it must be admitted that the South Leith Churchyard has no great attractions. However we are impressed by the large families which were so common a feature of former times and the ravages of infectious disease which carried of children in batches at a time. One of the pathetic inscriptions is as follows “Lyeth here two children dear in life united, when dead not parted. One stone tells us of a certain lady who was the mother of 21 children and died at the early age of 45, John Pew the maltman, whose stone is shown on the video, gave his name to blind pew in Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”,had 25 children and outlived them all but a a few of his family.

There is also the type of inscription which details in long phrases the numerous virtues of a deceased friend and there are others which point a moral or warning to the careless reader “As I am now,so shalt thou be”. There is an interesting stone which bears to be erected by a lady, the daughter of a soldier “who fell in the Royal cause at the Battle of Preston 1745”

The Tombstones bear the names of many Gentlemen who were famous in Leith in their day. Beginning at the east gate and passing up the walk which runs along Constitution Street we note the tomb of Adam Whyte, the first Provost of Leith, near to this is the tomb of the Lixmount family who were largely concerned with Leith Hospital,near to which are the ministers tomb, Dr Dickson, Mr Duff and others are buried. Going from East to west we pass the neglected tomb of Hugo Arnot, the Historian, the John Pattison stone who was Town Clerk and Duncan Matheson the only Sheriff leith had to itself

Along the Kirkgate wall are the tombs of Mr Macfie, Leith MP,Dr Smart of St Andrews Church, near to which is the large monument to the Pilrig family.

On the North side other well known names occur, such as Hardies, Hutchisons, and in a small annex Provost William Lindsay is buried, Dr Maxwell Williamson, Medical Officer of health

Some Text