The History of Leith

February 8, 2012

The convent of St. Mary

AT a period subsequent to the panic after Flodden there was built across the junction of St. Mary’s Wynd with the Pleasance, parallel with the south back of the Canongate, an arched barrier named
St. Mary’s Port. South of this, sixty yards from the south-east angle of the city wall and near the foot of the present Roxburgh Street, stood the convent of St. Mary, which must have been a branch of the Franciscan House of ” S. Maria di Campaggi,” so much patronised by Pope Urban II., in the Parmese city of Placentia—as the latter name was given to the foundation in Edinburgh, long since corrupted into Pleasance, though the place was of old called Dearenough. It is “unknown by whom or when it was founded, and nothing of it now remains save a fine piece of alabaster carving, representing our Saviour brought before the Jewish high-priest, which was discovered among its ruins, and presented to the Antiquarian Museum in 1781.
The name of Pleasance borne by the narrow, quaint, and straggling street southward till it joins the other ancient suburb of St. Leonard, of which it seems to have formed a portion, as proved by a charter of Charles I. confirming the magistrates in the superiority of ” the town of St. Leonard.” In it are many houses, or the basements thereof, that date from the early part of the sixteenth century.St. John’s Hill and this now absorbed village occupy the long ridge that overlooks the valley at the base of the Craigs, and the whole of which
seems to have been the ecclesiastical property inearlier ages of several foundations, all of which were subject to the Abbots of Holyrood.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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