The History of Leith

August 8, 2011

Riddle’s Close (Now removed)

19 June 1657.—The which day being Fryday Mr George Kintor was admitted to be Minister and fellow helper at the South Kirk of Leith by the Reverend Brethren of ye Presbeterie of Edinr.
(Note.—The Rev. George Kintor, A.M., was second minister from this date until 1664.) Our South Kirk of Leith was restored to us again upon the 30 of June 1657.
(Note.—With this entry Cromwell’s association with South Leith Church conies to an end. The minutes give the impression, however, that for some time previous to this date there had been preaching in
the Church. It is said that Cromwell’s chaplains and officers conducted services there. We know also that a cornice in oak under the north-west gallery bore an inscription in carved and gilded letters “16=For the Craigend = 56,” indicating that some work had been done in the Church about that date, and the beam itself may still be seen in the Antiquarian Museum. At this time, too, the pulpit was placed in the middle of the north aisle where it stood until 1848. In connection with the restoration of the Church, which had been promised in the previous year, the following story is told :—Mr Riddel of Kinglass, a citizen of Leith, had by some means or another made himself serviceable to the General, and the latter on setting out for London inquired if he could in any way benefit him or his family. His only request was that the Church might be restored, promising that Mr Hog, the minister, should not offend for the future. Surprised by the modesty of the request it was instantly granted by the General, and the Church was newly roofed at his expense. To testify their gratitude, the Kirk Session, on 27th May 1658, granted Mr Riddell and his heirs a large space in the area of the Church for a family seat in all time coming. Riddle’s Close is said to have taken its name from this Mr Riddel.)

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