The History of Leith

March 17, 2011

Ancient Streets of Leith

Immediatley to the eastward of the Kirkgate, and opening off” it, lie three ancient thoroughfares—St.Giles Street, St Andrew’s Street, or la Deux Bras as it was named Ijy the garrison of Marchal Strozzi; and the Tolboolh Wynd.
The first of these winds in its progress, and is fully a thousand fest in length, to its intersection on the westward by Kapple’s (or Cable’s) Wynd,
Amid the new erections here at its eastern end, and bordering on Kemp’s Close a narrow alley, doomed by the Improvement scheme of 1880 is a great public school, an edifice with a frontage of nearly a hundred feet, by an average depth of seventy.
The custom of affixing divers legends to the lintels of their dwellings appertained quite as much to the denizens of Leith as to those of Edinburgh ;and Wilson records that he found the earliest instance of it on an ancient tenement at the head of Binnies Close, in St. Giles Street, accompanied by a large and finely-cut shield, charged with two
coats of arm* impaled, the date 1594, and the aphorism, Blessit be God for all his giftsi. “in Vinegar Close,” he adds, “an ancient building, now greatly modernised, is adorned »ith a large sculptured shield,” of which he gives a drawing, as Robertson does also in his ” Antiquities.” It hears the names of “Hendry Smith ” and ” Agnes Gray,”

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