The History of Leith

May 18, 2012

The first stone bridge

Robert Ballantyne, Abbot of Holyrood, towards the close
of the fifteenth century, built a handsome bridge
of three stone arches over the Water of Leith, to
connect the southern with the northern quarter of
the rising seaport, and soon after its completion he
erected and endowed near its northern end a chapel,
dedicated to the fionour of God, the Virgin Mary,
and St. Ninian, the apostle of Galloway. Having
considerable possessions in Leith, the abbot appointed
two chaplains to officiate in this chapel,
who were to receive all the profits accruing from a
house which he had built at the southern end of
| this bridge, with ,£4 yearly out of other tenements
he possessed in South Leith.
In addition to the offerings made in the chapel,
the tolls or duties accruing from this new bridge
were to be employed in its repair and that of the
chapel, but all surplus the charitable abbot ordained
was to be given to the poor; and this charter of
foundation was confirmed by James IV., of gallant
memory, on the ist of January, 1493′ (Maitland.)
This chapel was built with the full consent of
the Chapter of Holyrood, and with the approbation
of William, Archbishop of St. Andrews ; and—as a
dependency of the church of the Holy Cross—
the land whereon it stood is termed the Rudeside
in a charter of Queen Mary, dated 1569.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

Some Text