The History of Leith

November 2, 2011

North Leith Parochial Records

The first volume of the ” Parochial Records” 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.”
” zoth 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,

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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