The History of Leith

June 21, 2011

Famous graves at the Canongate Church-2

ALEXANDER CAMPBELL (1764-1824) and
JOHN CAMPBELL (1751-1795): Both were teachers of music in the Canongate and John was precentor in the church for twenty years. He was succeeded by his son Charles, who was precentor for forty years, so that for sixty years the praise in the church was led by father and son. It was to John Campbell that Burns applied for an introduction to the authorities in order to erect Fergusson’s grave. He was a student of the famous Italian Tenducci, who introduced him to, among others, the Duchess of Gordon and the Earl of Hopetoun. Campbell became a fairly well-known singing master to their and their friends’ children. Alexander Campbell was also a great teacher of singing and among his pupils were young Walter Scott and his brothers. Campbell was a very strict disciplinarian and used to cane the boys whenever he felt they needed it, much to the concern of Lady Gumming, who lived next door in George Square. Scott tells how, when the singing lessons were in progress, the noise from the adjoining house was sometimes so disconcerting that Lady Gumming had to send a message: ‘Lady Gumming begs the boys may not all be flogged precisely at the same hour, as though the punishment, she has no doubt, was deserved, the noise of the concord was really dreadful.’ Alexander published many Scots songs and he was an ardent Jacobite. To one of his collections of songs Scott, Hogg and others
contributed. Scott wrote his obituary.

GEORGE CHALMERS (1773-1836): A plumber who founded Chalmers Hospital.

CLARINDA—MRS MacLEHOSE (1759-1841): To her Burns wrote some of his loveliest poems and she and Burns carried on quite a famous correspondence. She is buried beside her relative Lord Craig, a Lord of Session.

JAMES CLARK (1732-1808): Pioneer veterinary surgeon.

WILLIAM CRAIG (1745-1813): The above Lord Craig, cousin of “Clarinda’, was amember of the organisation originally known as ‘The Tabernacle’. At his suggestion the club started a magazine for which he and Henry Mackenzie (‘the Man of Feeling’) supplied most of the articles. It was called The Mirror, and was later followed by The Lounger.


(d. 1819): Buried beside his cousin Dr Adam Smith a Scottish Judge

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