The History of Leith

April 23, 2011

William Cowper, Bishop of Galloway

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Links of Leith were the chief resort of the aristocracy resident in Edinburgh as the best place for playing golf; nobles of the highest rank and the tnost
eminent legal and political officials taking part with the humblest players—if skilful—in the game.

In 1619 a curious anecdote b recorded, connected wiili golfing on leith Links, by How, in his “History of the Kirk of Scotland.” William Cowper, Bishop of Galloway, “a very holy and good man, if he had not been corrupted with superior powers and worldly tares of a bishopric and other things” (according to Johnston), became involved in various polemical controversies, among others, with ” the wives of Edinburgh;” and one went so far as to charge him with apostasy, and summoned him to prepare an answer shortly to the Judge of all the world, at a time when it would appear that the health of the bishop was indifferent “Within a day or two after,” says Row, ” being at his pastime (golf) oo the Links of Leith, he was terrified with a vision or an apprehension ; for he said to his playfellows,
after he had in an affrighted and comrnoved way cast away his play-instruments (ie, clubs) : ‘I vow to be about with these two men who have come upon we with drawn swords!’ When his play fellows replied, ‘ My Iorrd, it is a dream : we saw no such thing,’ he was silent, went home trembling,took to bed instantly, and died,”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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