The History of Leith

July 5, 2011

The Sheriff Brae and the Logan Family

another quarter known as the Sheriff, or Shirra Brae, extends in a south-westerly direction, still abounding in ancient houses. Here, facing the Coal Hill, there stood, till 1840, a very fine old edifice, described as having been the residence of a Logan of Restalrig. The dormer windows, which rose high above the eaves, were elaborately sculptured with many dates and quaint devices. Some of these have been preserved in the north wall of the manse of St. Thomas’s Church.One of them displays a shield charged with a heart, surmounted by a fleur-de-lis, with the initials I.L.and the date 1636; another has the initials I.L.,M.C., with the date 24 Dec., 1636; a third has the initials M.C., with a shield; while a fourth gablet has the initials D.D., M.C., and the comparatively recent date 1730.
The supposed grandson of the luckless Logan of the Gowrie conspiracy married Isabel Fowler, daughter of Ludovic Fowler of Burncastle (says Robertson), the famous ” Tibbie Fowler” of Scottish song, and here she is said to have resided; but her husband has been otherwise said to have been a collateral of the ancient house of Restalrig, as it is recorded, under date lath June, 1572—
” Majestro Joanne Logan de Shireff Braye,” who postpones the case of Christian Gudsonne, wife of Andrew Burne in Leith, “dilatit of the mutilation of William Burne, burgess of Edinburgh, of his foremost finger be byting thereof.”
In the chartulary, says Robertson, we have also JohnLoganeof the Coalfield (Kirkgate), and George Logane of Bonnington Mills is repeatedly alluded to; “and we believe,” he adds, that these branches ” existed as early as the charter of King David.” The old house at Bonnington still shows a curious doorway, surmounted by a carefully sculptured tablet bearing a shield, with a chevron and three fleurs-de-lis; crest, a ship with sails furled. The motto and date are obliterated.
Another writer supposes that if the old house on the Sheriff Brae was really the residence of George Logan, it may have been acquired by marriage, ” seeing that the forfeiture of the family possessions
occurred so shortly before ; and this in itself affords some colour to the tradition that he was the successful wooer of Tibbie Fowler.”
In support of this, the historian of Leith says :— ” We think it not improbable that it was Tibbie’s tocher that enabled Logan, who was ruined by the attainder of 1609, to build the elegant mansion on
the Sheriff Brae. The marriage contract between Logan and Isabella Fowler (supposed to be the Tibbie of the song) is now in possession of a gentleman in Leith.”

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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