The History of Leith

July 19, 2010

The Incorporation of Mariners

The eldest and wealthiest of the Incorporations of Leith was that of the mariners (The Masters and Mariners of Trinity House). From time immemorial they had received certain dues called the “Prime gilt” on each ton of goods from all vessels unloading at the port. These dues were abolished in 1872 but out of the funds thus obtained they erected a seamen’s hospital or almshouse for the keeping of “poor,old,infirm and week mariners”.This hospital like mainers guilds in other ports they dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The hospital was demolished in 1816 and the present Trinity House erected on te site as a guild hall for the meetings of the Masters of the Inorporation.

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The convening room of the Incorporation is a very handsome and stately apartment and contains an interesting collection of objects, all more or less associated with those who “who go down to the sea in ships”. Among these areRaeburns fine portrait of Admiral Duncan the hero of Camoersown abd next to that of Captain Brown the master of Trinity House who sailed the Admirals flagship the Venerable throughout the sea fight

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Facing Admiral Duncan’s portrait at the opposite end of the hall is the huge picture of Vasco da Gama passing the Cape of good Hope. Along with an ancient painting of Mary of Guise

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The carved stones which once adored the front of the old building are now built into the gables of the present Trinity House.

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