The History of Leith

April 28, 2011

The Scottish Navy

“As the subject of the Scottish navy,” says Pinkerton, ” forms a subject but little known, any anecdotes concerning it become interesting ;” and, fortunately for our purpose, most of these have some reference to the ancient Port of Leith.
Though the formation of a Scottish navy was among the last thoughts of the great king Robert Bnice, when, worn with war and years, he lay ‘dying in the castle of Cardross, it was not until the reigns
of James III. and IV. that Scotland possessed any ships for purely warlike purposes. Nevertheless, she was rich in hardy mariners and enterprising merchants; and an Act of Parliament during the reign of the latter monarch refers to ” the great and innumerable riches yat is tint in fault of shippis and busses,” or bouts to be employed in the fisheries.
In 1497 an enactment was made that vessels of twenty tons and upwards should be built in all the seaports of the kingdom, while the magistrates were directed to compel all stout vagrants who frequented
such places to learn the trade of mariners, and labour for their own living.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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