The History of Leith

October 19, 2011

The earliest Episcopal chapel in Leith

On the West side of Queen Street (Now Shore Place) stood the earliest Episcopal chapel in Leith. Refering to the period of Culloden Chalmers says ” Throughout these troublesome days, a little episcopal congregation was kept together in Leith, their place of worship being the first floor of an old dull-looking house in Queen’s Street (dated 1516), the lower floor of which was, in my recollection, a police office.”
The congregation about the year 1744 is said to have numbered only a hundred and seventy-two; and concerning what are called episcopal chapels in Leith, confusion has arisen from the circumstance that one used the Scottish communion office, while another adopted the liturgy of the Church of England. The one in Queen Street was occupied in 1865 as a temperance hall. According to Robertson’s ” Antiquities,” the earliest of these episcopal chapels was situated in Chapel Lane (at the foot of Quality Street), and was demolished several years ago, and an ancient tablet which stood above the door-lintel was built into a house near the spot where the chapel stood. It bears the following inscription :—
T. F. THAT. AR. WELCOM. HEIR. THAT. A. M. GOD. DOTS, LOTE. AND. FEIR. I59O.
In 1788 this building was converted into a dancing-school, said to be the first that was opened in Leith.
On Sunday, April 27, 1745, divine service was performed in a few of the then obscure episcopal chapels in Edinburgh and Leith, but in the following week they were closed by order of the sheriff.
That at Leith, wherein the Rev. Robert Forbes and Rev. Mr. Law officiated, shared the same fate, and the nonjuring ministers of their communion had to perform their duties by stealth, being liable
to fines, imprisonment, and banishment. It was enacted that after the ist of September, 1746, every episcopal pastor in Scotland who failed to register his letters of orders, to take all the oaths
required by law, and to pray for the House of Hanover, should for the first offence suffer six months’ imprisonment; for the second be transported to the plantations ; and for the third suffer penal servitude for life.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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