The History of Leith

March 28, 2011

The Water Lane

The ancient street named Water Lane, with all its adjacent alleys, was not included in the Leith improvement scheme of removal and improvement It runs tortuously, at an angle, from the foot of the Kirkgate to Bernard Street, and is about seven hundred yards
in length. This thoroughfare was anciently called the Rotten Row ; and in the map given by Robertson in his ” Antiquities,” that name is borne by an alley near the foot of it, running parallel with Chapel Lane,
In the inventory of “Pious Donations” made to the Brethren Predictior in Edinburgh, under date 14th May, 1473, is one by “John Sudgine, of 30s. 4d. out of his tenement of Leith on the south side of the water thereof, between Alan Nepar’s land on the east, and Rotten Row on the west.” Alan Napier’s land, ” on the east side of the common vennel called the ‘Ratounrow,” is referred to in King James III charter to the Black Friars,
under the same date. (” Burgh Charters,” No-43.) It was so named from being built of houses of rattins, or rough timber.

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