The History of Leith

February 23, 2012

The Hospital of St. Thomas

A little to the eastward of the present White Horse hostel (now Close), and immediately adjoining the Water Gate, stood the Hospital of St. Thomas, founded in 1541 by George Crichton, Bishop of Dunkeld, ” dedicated to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.” It consisted of an almshouse and chapel, the bedesmen of which were ” to celebrate the founder’s anniversary obit, by solemnly singing in the choir of Holyrood church yearly, on the day of his death, ‘ the Placebo and Dirige for the repose of his soul ” and the soul of the King of Scotland. ” Special care,” says Arnot, ” was taken in allotting money for providing candles to be lighted during the anniversary mass of requiem, and the number and size of the tapers were fixed with a precision which shows the importance in which these circumstances were held by the founder. The number of masses, paternosters, ave-marias and credos, to be said by the chaplain and bedesmen is distinctly ascertained.”
The patronage of the institution was vested by the founder in himself and a certain series of representatives named by him.
In 1617, with the consent of David Crichton of Lugton, the patron, who had retained possession of the endowments, the magistrates of the Canongate purchased the chapel and almshouse from the chaplains and bedesmen, and converted the institution into a hospital for the poor of the burgh. Over the entrance they placed the Canongate arms, supported by a pair of cripples, an old man and
woman, with the inscription— to HELP HERE THE POORE, AS ZE WALD GOD DID ZOV. JUNE 19, l617.
The magistrates of the Canongate sold the patronage of the institution in 1634 to the Kirk Session, by whom its revenues ” were entirely embezzled by 1747 the buildings wefe turned- into coachhouses, and in 1787 were pulled down, and replaced by modern houses of hideous aspect.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

Some Text