The History of Leith

October 18, 2010

South Leith Gravestones

We have all scanned the tombstones in passing by looking for something of interest, and it must be admitted that in this respect
South Leith churchyard has no very great attractions. We are impressed by the large families which were so common a feature of
former times and by the ravages of infectious diseases which carried off 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 worth visiting, had 25 children and outlived
all but a few of his patriarchal 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, e.g., ” As I am now, so shalt thou be.” There is an interesting stone which bears to be. erected to a lady, the daughter of a soldier ” who fell in the royal cause at the battle of Preston 1745 “.
The tombstones also 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 the building of Leith Hospital; and there is also the Ministers’ tomb where Dr Dickson, Mr Duff and others are buried. Going on from east to west we pass the neglected tomb of Hugo Arnot, the historian; there is an elaborate stone to John Pattison, a former town-clerk, and an inconspicuous one to Duncan Matheson, the one and only Sheriff whom Leith had all to itself. Along the Kirkgate there are tombs of Mr Macfie, M.P. for Leith, Dr. Smart of St. Andrew’s Church ; and near this last there is an enclosure belonging to the Pilrig family. On the north side other well-known names occur, such as the Hardies and the Hutchisons ; and
in a small annex Provost William Lindsay is buried and Dr. Maxwell Williamson, Medical Officer of Health. This ground was brought into use recently, and is not part of the churchyard proper but forms an addition to it.

source-South Leith Records

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