The History of Leith

September 9, 2011

” Parochial Records” of North Leith

The first volume of the ” Parochial Records” of North Leith begins in January, 1605, a year before the Act, and contains the usual memoranda of petty tyranny peculiar to the times, such as the following, modernised:—
” Compeared Margaret Sinclair, being cited by the Session of the Kirk, and being accused of being at the Burne (for water ?) the last Sabbath before sermon, confessed her offence, promised amendment in all time coming, and was convict of five pounds.”

” loth January, 1605 :—The which day the Session of the Kirk ordained Janet Merling, and Margaret Cook, her mother, to make their public repentance next Sabbath forenoon publicly, for concealing a bairn unbaptised in her house for the space of twenty weeks, and calling the said bairn Janet.”

“January loth, 1605 :—Compeared Marion Anderson, accused of craving curses and malisons on the pastor and his family, without any offence being done by him to her ; and the Session, understanding
that she had been banished before for being in a lodge on the Links in time of the Plague, with one Thomas Cooper, sclaiter, after ane maist slanderous manner, the said Marion was ordained to go to the place of her offence, confess her sin, and crave mercy of God,” and never to be found within the bounds of North Leith, ” under the pain of putting her toties quoties in the jogis,” i.e., jougs.
In 1609 Patrick Richardson had to crave mercy of God for being found in his boat in time of afternoon sermon ; and many other instances of the same kind are quoted by Robertson in his “Antiquities.”
In the same year, Janet Walker, accused of having strangers (visitors) in her house on Sabbath in time of sermon, had to confess her offence, and on her knees crave mercy of God and the Kirk Session, under penalty of a hundred pounds Scots !
George Wishart, so well known as author of the elegant ” Latin Memoirs of” Montrose,” a copy of which was suspended at the neck of that great cavalier and soldier at his execution in 1650, was appointed minister of North Leith in 1638, when the ^signing of the Covenant, as a protection against England and the king, became almost necessarily the established test of faith and allegiance to Scotland.
Deposed for refusing to subscribe it, Wishart was thrown into a dungeon of the old Heart of Midlothian, in consequence of the discovery of his, secret correspondence with the king’s party. He survived the storm of the Civil Wars, and was made Bishop of Edinburgh on the reestablishment of episcopacy. He died in 1671, in his seventy-first year, and was buried in Holyrood, where his tomb is still to be seen

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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