The History of Leith

July 15, 2011

To Clean the Town-1645

6 of August 1645.—The qlk day the Bailies and Mr James Sharp or pastor with diverse urs went to ye Linkes and yr choysed so many men to be qrter maisters yr to serve ye people in ye Linkes constantlie everie one of ym. with ane boy as followeth, . . . also yei nominat and appoynted 12 women to com to ye toune to mucke out and redd ye houses to be cleansed who were come throwe in yis visitaone and everie ane of yir forsaid 12 women to have weeklie 4s. and yr ordinarie intertainment qn yei workes.
(Note,—The names are given of the men, women, and boys. The Session had an instinctive knowledge that the •way to stem the plague was to cleanse the town, and in this work they persisted, raising the
wages of the workers as the number of men available became less. At this date it would seem that new men could no longer be had and women and boys were employed although the work was attended with great danger of infection.)

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