The History of Leith

February 21, 2012

The Water Gate

A barrier called the Water Gate, existing now only in name, closed the lower end of the street on. the north side. It was by this avenue that the: English entered Edinburgh in 1544, and advanced to
their futile attack on the Castle. It was the principal entrance from the east, not only to the-Canongate, but to the whole city prior to the North Bridge; nearly all public entrances were made by it, and many state prisoners, on their way to execution, have passed through it; but the-Water Gate, and the ” Post and yet pass and in to the Abbaye Knok,” have long been numbered with the past. A single rib, or arch of wood, surmounted by a ball, indicated the locality latterly, till it was blown down in 1822. According to the ” City Records,” the Council granted to the Baron Bailie, of the Canongate, as a gift of escheat, all the goods and chattels of witches found therein; accordingly that official, in 1661, was not long in discovering a certain
Barbara Mylne, who Janet Allen, burnt for witchcraft,once saw enter by the Water Gate in the “likeness of a catt, and did change her garment under her owin staire, and went into her house.”
Canongate dues were long levied at the site of the gate after it had ceased to exist; but on the fall of the ornamental structure referred to, the fishwomen of Musselburgh and Newhaven stoutly refused payment of all burghal customs on the contents of their creels, till the magistrates again restored—but for a time only—the arch of wood across the street.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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