The History of Leith

February 10, 2012

The collegiate church of the Holy ‘Trinity

At the foot of Leith Wynd, on the west side, there was founded on the 5th of March, 1462, by royal charter, the collegiate church of the Holy ‘Trinity, by Mary, Queen of Scotland, daughter of
Arnold Duke of Gueldres, grand-daughter of John Duke of Burgundy, and widow of James II., slain about two years before by the bursting of a cannon at Roxburgh. Her great firmness on that disastrous
occasion, and during the few remaining years of her own life, proves her to have been a princess of no ordinary strength of mind. She took an active part in governing the stormy kingdom of her son,
and died in 1463. Her early death may account for the nave never being built, though it was not unusual for devout persons in that age of church buliding, to erect as much as they could finish, and leave to the devotion of posterity the completion of
the rest. Pitscottie tells us that she “was buried in the Trinitie College, quhilk she built hirself.” Her grave was violated at the Reformation.
The church was dedicated “to the Holy Trinity, to the ever blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, to St. Ninian the Confessor, and to all the saints and elect people of God.” The foundation was for a
provost, eight prebendaries, and two clerks, and with much minuteness several ecclesiastical benefices and portions of land were assigned for the support of the several offices; and in the charter there are some provisions of a peculiar character,in Scotland at least, and curiously illustrative of the age and its manners :—
“And we appoint that none of the said prebendaries
or clerks absent themselves from their offices
without the leave of the Provost, to whom it shall
not be lawful to allow any of them above the space
of fifteen days at a time, unless it be on extraordinary
occasions, and then not without consent of
the chapter; and whosoever of the said prebendaries
or clerks shall act contrary to this ordinance
his office shall be adjudged vacant, and the same
shall, by the Provost and Chapter, with consent of
the Ordinary, be conferred upon another. If any
of the said prebendaries shall keep a fire-maker,
and shall not dismiss her, after being therein admonished
thereto by the Provost, his prebend shall
be adjudged vacant, and conferred on another, by
consent of the Ordinary as aforesaid.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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