The History of Leith

June 21, 2011

Certain Graves and Memorials in the Canongate Churchyard-1

CHARLES ALSTON (1683-1760): Lecturer in Botany and Materia Medica at Edinburgh University. One of the founders of the Edinburgh School of Medicine and Superintendent of the Physic Garden.

JAMES BALLANTYNE (1772-1833): Lived in the Canongate at No. 10 St John Street where some of the Waverley Novels were first read by Scott, then ‘the Gent Unknown’. Ballantyne printed them at the top of the Canongate in Pauls Work. One of Scott’s closest associates.

JOHN BALLANTYNE (1774-1821): The younger brother of the above, buried beside him near Fettes’ tomb. Though John was partly the cause of Scott’s losing his fortune, Scott always treated him as a friend. At his funeral Sir Walter whispered to Lockhart: ‘I feel as if there would be less sunshine for me from this day forth.’

BENJAMIN BELL (1749-1806): The great-grandfather of ‘Sherlock Holmes” (DrJoseph Bell). Benjamin Bell is still a great name in surgery. He was the grandnephew of William Paterson, the founder of the Bank of England and declined a baronetcy.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): Probably the greatest of all Scottish hymn writers One of his relatives, A. R. Bonar, was minister of the parish “-Horatius Bonar had a great reputation as a preacher and became one of the stalwarts of the Free Church at the Disruption. Many of his hymns are known throughout the English-speaking world, for example, ‘Here O My lord I see Thee face to face’, ‘Glory be to God the Father’, etc.

ALEXANDER BRUNTON (1772-1854) and MARY BRUNTON (1778-1818): The former was Professor of Oriental languages and one of the city ministers; his wife was a novelist who counted Jane Austen among her readers.

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