The History of Leith

May 22, 2011

The Churchyards of Leith

Among the noted tombs in Restalrig Churchyard are those of General Bickson, the companion of General Wolfe, the hero of Quebec ; Lord Brougham’s father ; Louis Cauvin ; Lang Sandy Wood, the famous surgeon of Sir Walter Scott’s time ; and that eccentric creature, Henry Prentice, who set up his own tombstone in the Canongate Churchyard, and inscribed upon it part of his epitaph, which his friends, if he had any, never completed. The boys of the Canongate making it a target for stones, as its chipped surface still shows, he had it removed to Restalrig, and was eventually buried beneath it.
St. Mary’s Churchyard (South Leith) is the Greyfriars’ of Leith. Crowded within its narrow limits lie generation after generation of its inhabitants. Round its walls are the stately monuments of her merchant princes. In the portion of the churchyard set apart in days of old for the ” Gentlemen Traffickers ” lies one whose name the genius of Robert Louis Stevenson has made familiar wherever the English language is spoken, the Laird of Pilrig to whom he brings his hero, David Balfour, in the opening chapters of Catriona. Opposite, on the walls of the church, is the memorial stone of John Home, the author
of Douglas. To the east of these is a fine monumental stone to the memory of Robert Gilfillan, who wrote the beautiful song, “0, why left I my hame ? “—a song which has touched the hearts of so many Scots exile?, and among them that of the gifted author of Catriona.

source-The Story of Leith

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