The History of Leith

October 8, 2011

The origin of Gladstone

In Peter Williamson’s Directory for Edinburgh and Leith, 1786-8, we find—”James Gladstones, schoolmaster, No. — Leith,” and ” Thomas Gladstones, flour and barley merchant, Coal Hill.” His shop, long since removed, stood where a wood-yard is now. James was uncle, and Thomas the father, of Sir John Gladstone of Fasque, who built the church and almshouses so near where his thrifty forefathers earned their bread.
The Gladstones, says a local writer, were of Clydesdale origin, and were land-owners there and on the Border. ” Claiming descent from this ancient and not undistinguished stock, Mr. John Gladstones of Toftcombes, near Biggar, in the Upper Ward of Clydesdale, had, by his wife, Janet Aitken, a son, Thomas, a prosperous trader in Leith, who married Helen, daughter of Mr. Walter Neilson of Springfield, and died in the year 1809 ; of this marriage, the deceased baronet (Sir John) was the eldest son.”
He was born in Leith on the 11th December, in the year 1764, and commenced business there at an early age, but soon removed to the more ample field of Liverpool, where, for .more than half a century, he took rank with the most successful traders of that opulent seaport, where he amassed great wealth by his industry, enterprise, and skill, and he proved in after life munificent
in its disposal. The names of Thomas and Hugh Gladstones, merchants in North Leith, appear in the Directory for 1811, and the marriage of Marion (a daughter of the former) to the Rev. John Watson, Minister of the Relief Congregation at Dunse, in 1799, is recorded in the Herald of that year. While carrying on business in Liverpool, John Gladstones was a liberal donor to the Church of England, and after he retired in 1843, and returned to Scotland, he became a not less liberal benefactor to the Episcopal Church there. His gifts to Trinity College, Glenalmond, were very noble, and he
contributed largely to the endowment of the Bishopric of Brechin, and he also built and endowed a church at Fasque,

Source-old and New Edinburgh

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