The History of Leith

January 18, 2011

The property of the Knight Templars in Leith

King James -YL Granted and Confirmed the same by Charter in 1614 for the use of the Poor.” King James’ Hospital stood on the South side of the Kirkgate, nearly opposite the Giles Street of the present day, on the Site now occupied by what is called The New Tombs. The Funds of this Preceptory, and the new Endowment of James, were vested in the Session of South Leith, and were for many years appropriated for the
purposes designed by the original Donor. They now appear to have merged into the general Parochial Fund. In the Charter granted by King James, is mentioned—”All the Croft of Arable Land contiguous to S. Anthony’s Garden, and also all that place and piece of ground whereon the Church and Preceptory of S. Anthony of the Knight Templars stood,”—sufficient evidence that the Property between Merrylees’ Court, S. Anthony’s Lane, and the Port in the Kirkgate—which, during the Siege in the Regency of Mary of Guise, bore the same name—was held,in common with Property in most Parishes in Scotland, by the
Knight Templars. The origin of the Order dates from David I., 1124-53. Some Houses in Edinburgh, and one in Leith, bore the Badge of the Order—a Cross shaped in fashion of the letter T, with the motto, “LAYS DEO,” to show that they held the superiority, but not, as is generally supposed, indicating that they themselves occupied the Premises.

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