The History of Leith

March 31, 2011

The Origins of St Nicholas

And just as St. Anthony’s Hospital was founded before St. Mary’s Kirk in South Leith, so that of St. Nicholas would seem to have been erected long before St. Ninian’s, to which Abbot Ballantyne gave no churchyard, an omission that is unaccountable save on the
supposition that North Leith already possessed one at the Chapel of St. Nicholas. And in the churchyard of St. Nicholas the good folk of North Leith continued to bury their dead until 1656, when chapel and churchyard were displaced by Cromwell’s citadel. James IV., who was ever a faithful son of the Church, sometimes worshipped at this chapel. His accounts show these two among several similar entries :—
” Offerit in St. Nycholase Chapel, in Leith beyond the brig,
” To twa puir laddies beside Sanct Nicholas Chapell of Leith,
xi d.”
As St. Nicholas was the patron saint of seamen, this hospital, like that of the old Trinity Hospital in the Kirkgate, may have been, in the first place, for aged and decayed mariners.

Some Text