The History of Leith

January 28, 2011

How Leith became a Parliamentary Burgh

The story of how Edinburgh acquired the superiority of Leith, in order the more effectually to enforce and maintain her trade privileges as a royal burgh, has now been told. The burgesses of that much favoured burgh, through their trade monopoly, had obtained possession of the harbour in the days of Alexander III., if not even much earlier. To this they added part of the Shore in 1414, Newhaven in 1510, Logan’s town of South Leith in 1567, North Leith in 1639, the Citadel in 1663, and Calton barony in 1724. The only part of the town remain in the hands of the Leithers was the barony of St. Anthony.
Each of these different districts had its own baron Bailie, and thus, although they were all immediately adjacent and in some cases even intermingled, they were each under separate jurisdiction. However much such a state of matters may have suited those earlier centuries
when overlords were the arbitrary masters of their own lands and their inhabitants, it was altogether unsuited to modern times and the needs of a growing town and increasing population. The conviction of the common interests and needs of these separate but contiguous
areas became so strong that in 1833 their antiquated system of government was swept away, and Leith became a separate parliamentary burgh.

source-The Story of Leith

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