The History of Leith

March 16, 2012

RECORDS OF THE SESSION-(From the Church Magazine 1909)

IN the next issue of the Magazine it is our intention to give Extracts from the Minute Books and
other Books of the Kirk Session. These records contain a wealth of historical matter
connected with our Church and Parish, and extend, with slight blanks, from 29th May 1597
to the present time, a period of some 312 years. The Minutes have been more or less regularly and
correctly kept; some are neatly written, others with very little care : some give full details, others
fail to convey their meaning completely. As is well known the records of every old Parish Church
deal largely with cases of discipline, and this is so in South Leith, but such cases will not be noticed
unless where they introduce matters of interest. The records may be described as domestic in their
character, although they show that our Church has always held a position of importance, and at
times has been in touch with national history.
The present Church is generally dated from 1483, in the reign of King James IV. It survived
the troublous times of the Reformation, when Restalrig Church was attacked and destroyed. The
latter Church, however, continued to be, in the eyes of the law, the Parish Church, until a
transference was effected to South Leith by an Act of Parliament, dated 24th June 1609, in the
following terms :—
” Our Souvereine Lord and estaittes of this pnt. Parlt understanding that the Kirk of
Restalrig is ruynous and that the Kirk of Leith has bene the place of convening of the
parochiners of Restalrig the space of fyftie years past and alsue that it is the most
commodious pairt in respect that the toun of Leith has the greatest part of the said paroch
in whilk Kirk nevertheless has never bene erectit in ane paroch Kirk. Thairfoir oure
soueraine lord and estaittis of this prnt. parlt declairis the said Kirk of Leith to be ane
paroch Kirk and ordains the same to be repute and called hereafter the paroch Kirk of
Leith and all the inhabitants of Restalrig to resort thereto as into ane paroch Kirk as
they have done in times past and that the benefice of Restalrig parsonage thereof gleib
and manse pertaining thereto shall be always disponit to the minister serving the cure at
the said Kirk of Leith in all time coming and that the said Kirk of Restalrig be superseded
and extinct from henceforth and for ever, reserveand always to the patrone and his
successors thair richt of patronage of the Kirk of Restalrig and the saidis Estaittis
declairis that the samyn richt of patronage shall nowayes be prejudjeit be this pnt. act.”

source-South Leith Church

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