The History of Leith

April 4, 2012

Bruchton, or Broughton as described c1883

ACROSS the once well-tilled slope where now York
Place stands, a narrow and secluded way between
hedgerows, called the Loan of Broughton, led for
ages to the isolated village of that name, of which
but a few vestiges still remain.
In a memoir of Robert Wallace, D.D., the eminent
author of the , ” Essay on the Numbers of
Mankind,” and other works, an original member of
the Rankenion Club—a literary society instituted
at Edinburgh in 1716—we are told, in the Scots
Magazine for 1809, that “he died 29th of July,
1771, at his country lodgings in Broughton Loan,
in his 75th year.”
This baronial burgh, or petty town, about a
mile distant by the nearest road from the ancient
city, stood in hollow ground southward and eastward
from the line of London Street, and had its
own tolbooth and court-house, with several substantial
stone mansions and many thatched cottages,
in 1780, and a few of the former are stillsurviving.
Bruchton, or Broughton, according to Maitland,
signified the Castle-town. If this place ever possessed
a fortalice or keep, from whence its name
seems to be derived, all vestiges of it have disappeared
long ago. It is said to have been connected
with the Castle of Edinburgh, and that from the
lands of Broughton the supplies for the garrison
came. But this explanation has been deemed by
some fanciful.
The earliest notice of Broughton is in the charter
of David I. to Holyrood, circa A.D. 1143-7,
wherein he grants to the monks, ” Hereth, et
Broctunam cum suis rectis divisis,” &c. ; thus, with
its lands, it belonged to the Church till the Reformation,
when it was vested in the State. According
to the stent roll of the abbey, the Barony of
Broughton was most ample in extent.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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