The History of Leith

May 5, 2011

The Leper Hospice-Greenside,Edinburgh

In 1534, two persons, named David Straiton and Norman Gourlay, the latter a priest, were tried for heresy and sentenced to be burned at the stake. On the 27th of August they were carried to the Rood of Greenside, and there suffered that terrible death. After the suppression of the order, the buildings which had been tenantless until 1591, when they were converted into a hospital for lepers, founded by John Robertson, a benevolent merchant of the city, “pursuant to a vow on his receiving a signal mercy from God.” At the institution of this hospital,” says Arnot, seven lepers, all of them inhabitants of Edinburgh, were admitted in one day, The severity of the regulations which the magistrates appointed to be observed by those admitted, segregating them from the rest of mankind, and commanding them to remain within its walls day and night, demonstrate the loathsome and infectious nature of the distemper.” A gallows wheteon to hang those who violated the rules was erected at one end of the hospital, and even to open its gate between sunset and sunrise ensured the penalty of death.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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