The History of Leith

October 21, 2011

The beggars

20 Jany 1744.—Intimation having been made Sabbath last that the meeting of the Heritors and Kirk Session of this parish on Monday the 9th of January current taking into consideration that since the method of maintaining the poor was given up and especially since the erection of a Workhouse at Edinburgh for their own poor this place is sore overburdened and much disturbed with strangers and
vagrants begging, beth on the streets and at the doors, for preventing whereof the sd meeting appointed that none of the parishioners do beg either from house to house or on the streets without badges received from the Session for that effect, That all strangers lately come to and residing in this place do remove home to their own parishes betwixt and Friday next And when strangers and vagrants are found thereafter begging within the parish, they are to be taken up by the Town Officers and imprisoned by appointment of the Magistrates and fed upon bread and water till they enact themselves to remove and not trouble the place any more, And intimation hereof to be made from the pulpit and the Inhabitants warned not to serve any beggars but such as have the Session’s badges and when they find any begging without them to inform the persons appointed to take them up, and that the poor of the parish attend the Magistrates and Session on Friday (this day) to receive new numbered badges provided for them.
(Note. — The badges given out were 16 in number, the beggars belonging to Leith, Calton and Bestalrig. The workhouse mentioned here was opened in 1743. Part of it was removed when Forrest Road was laid out and the remainder is now incorporated in the Territorial Headquarters at Forrest Hill.)

Source-South Leith Records

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