The History of Leith

March 18, 2011

St Andrew Street (Now gone) c1880

St Andrew Street is above six hundred feet in length and is intersected at right angles in its centre by Riddle’s Close. In Smeaton’s Close a narrow alley adjoining the latter, a house bearing the date 1688 has the two legends, “Feir the Lord,” and ‘”The feir of the Lord is the beginning of al wisdome.”
This part of the town—about the foot of St Andrew’s Street—is -said to have borne anciently the name of St. Leonard’s. There the street diverges into two alleys : one narrow and gloomy, which bears the imposing title of Parliament Court; and the other called Sheephead Wynd, in which there remains a very ancient edifice, the ground
floor of which is formed of arches constructed like those of the old house described in the Kirkgate, and bearing the date 1579, with the initials D.W and M.W, Though small and greatly ddapidated, it is ornamented with string-courses and inguldings; and was not without some traces of old importance and grandeur amid its decay and degradation,
until it was entirely altered in 1859. This house is said to have received the local
name of the Gun Stone, from the circumstance of a. stone cannon ball of considerable size having been fired into it during some invasion by an English ship of war. Local tradition avers that for many years this bullet formed an ornament on the summit of the square projecting staircase of the house.

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