The History of Leith

February 28, 2011

Ferries of Leith in the Past

By an Act of James in 1425 was ordained that all ferries where horses were conveyed, should “have for ilk boate a treen brig,” or wooden gangway, under the pain of ” 40 shillings of ilk boate;” and again, by an Act of James III., 1467, the ferries at Leiih, Kingdom, and Queensferry are ordained to have ” bcigges of buirds,” under penalty
of the ” tinsel” or forfeiture-of their boat*. In 1475 the charge for a passenger was twopence, and for a horse sixpence; at Queensferry one penny for a man, and twopence for a horse. (Scots Acts,
Glendoick.)
Nicoll records that in 1650 the ferrymen at Leith and Burntisiand (taking advantage probably of the confusion of affairs) became so exorbitant in their charges that complaints were made to the Deputy
Governor of Ieith, who ordered that the fare for a man and horse should be only one sniffing sterling, and for a single person onegroat, “quhairas it was tripled of befoir.”
In July, 1633, a boat at thr ferry between Bumtisiand and Leith foundered in a fair summer’s day, according to Spilding, and with it perished thirty-five domestic servants of Charles I, with his silver plate and household stuff, “but it foretokened great trouble* to fall out betwixt the king and his subjects, as after does appear.” Balfour
states that there was a great storm, that the king crossed ” in grate jeopardy of his lyffe,” and that only eight servants perished.

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