The History of Leith

May 6, 2012

St. James’s Episcopalian church

Between Constitution Street and the Links stands
St. James’s Episcopalian church, an ornate edifice
in the Gothic style, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott,
having a fine steeple, containing a chime of bells.
It was built in ^§62-3, succeeding a previous chapel
of 1805 (erected at the cost of £1,610)on an adjacent
site, and to which attention was frequently drawn from the literary
celebrity of its minister, Dr. Michael Russell, the
author of a continuation of Prideaux’s ” Connection
of Sacred and Profane History,” and other works.
According to Arnot, the congregation had an origin
that was not uncommon in the eighteenth century.
After the battle of Culloden, ” when the persecution
was set on foot against those of the Episcopal
communion in Scotland who did not take the
oaths required by law, the meeting-house in Leith
was shut up by the sheriff of the county. Persons
of this persuasion being thus deprived of the form
of worship their principles approved, brought from
the neighbouring country Mr. John Paul, an English
clergyman, who opened this chapel on the 23rd
June, 1749. It is called St. James’s chapel. Till
of late the congregation only rented it, but within
these few years they purchased it for ^200. The
clergyman has about £60 a year salary, and the
organist ten guineas. These are paid out of the
seat rents, collections, and voluntary contributions
among the hearers. It is, perhaps, needless to add
that there are one or more meeting-houses for
sectaries in this place (Leith), for in Scotland there
are few towns, whether of importance or insignificant,
whether populous or otherwise, where there
are not congregations of sectaries.”
The congregation of St. James’s chapel received,
in about the year 1810, the accession of a nonjuring
congregation of an earlier date, says a writer
in 1851, referring, doubtless, to that formed in the
time of the Rev. Mr. Paul.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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