The History of Leith

January 26, 2011

Preceptory of S.Anthony of the Knight Templars

Religious Foundations in Leith and Newhaven, and Liberties thereof. King James YI. 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, “LAVS DEO,” to show that they held the superiority, but not, as is generally supposed, indicating that they themselves occupied the Premises.
The Monks of the Order were in the custom of rearing Pigs. In the Extract from Sugar’s ” Life of Louis le Gros,” given in the Note to Neander’s “Life and Times of S. Bernard,” Prince Philip having been killed, A.D. 1131, in consequence of a collision with a Hog, in one of the Faubourgs of Paris, which caused him to be thrown from his horse, it is added—”An Order was issued forbidding Pigs in future to be kept in the streets ; but the Monks of S. Anthony remonstrating against it, were allowed the exclusive privilege for theirs, on condition of their hanging a Bell round the neck of each.” The Pigs, indeed, made an important item in the Revenues of the Order. “

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