The History of Leith

July 13, 2011

The Cant Ordinal descibed in 1883

Wilson describes a building eastward of the Trinity House, in the Kirkgate, at the head of Combe’s Close, as being undoubtedly one of the most ancient in Leith. ” The upper storeys appear to have been erected about the end of the sixteenth century, and form rather a neat and picturesque specimen of the private buildings of that period ; but the ground floor presents different and altogether dissimilar features. An arcade extends along nearly the whole front, formed of semicircular arches resting on massive round pillars, finished with neat moulded capitals. Their appearance is such that even an experienced antiquary, if altogether ignorant of the history of the locality, would at once pronounce them to be very interesting Norman remains. That they are of considerable antiquity cannot be doubted. The floor of the house is now several feet below the level of the street; and the ground has risen so much within one of them, which is an open archway giving access to the court behind, that a man of ordinary stature has to stoop considerably in attempting to pass through it. No evidence is more incontrovertible as to the great age of a building than this.”’ Other instances of a similar mode of construction are, however, to be found in Leith, tending to show that the style of architecture is not a criterion of the date of erection.”

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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