The History of Leith

January 26, 2011

The earliest mention of Leith

The earliest mention of Leith which has been traced is made in the
Charter of the Abbey of Holyrood, founded by David I. in which it is called ” Inverleith.” On the 28th of May 1329, the city of Edinburgh obtained from Robert I. a grant, by charter, of the port and mills of Leith, with their appurtenances. Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, by a charter dated 31st of May 1398, granted to the Burgesses and community of Edinburgh a right to roads and quays on his lands close to Leith, with the liberty of breaking up his ground for the service of navigation, and of having shops and granaries, and with other privileges; and in February 1413, certain other rights were granted by him. James I., by a charter dated 4th November 1454,granted to Edinburgh “haven-silver, customs, and duty of ships, vessels, and merchandize coming to the road and harbour of Leith.” And James III. on 16th November 1482, granted to them a charter containing a detail of the customs, profits, exactions, commodities, and revenues of the port and road of Leith. By a grant of James IV., dated 9th March 1510, a right was given to the city of Edinburgh to the new port denominated Newhaven, lately made by the said King on the sea-coast, with the lauds thereunto belonging, lying between the chapel of St Nicholas and the lands of Wardie Brae, with certain faculties and privileges. By a charter bearing the same date, James IV. confirmed the charter by Logan of Restalrig, already mentioned. On 8th October 1550,
Mary ratified an act and decreet of the Lords of Session against the
inhabitants of North Leith, ” adjudging the provost and bailies of
our said town of Edinburgh to be proper judges for the said inhabitants
in the petty customs of Leith, belonging to our aforesaid town of Edinburgh.” The superiority of the town of Leith was granted to Edinburgh by a charter of Henry and Mary, dated 4th October 1565.

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