The History of Leith

September 24, 2012

Blackfriars Wynd

A BROAD fend (Anglice archway), leading through
the successor to the tenement in which Lady Lovat
dwelt, gave access to the Blackfriars Wynd, which,
without doubt, was one of the largest, most important,
and most ancient of the thoroughfares diverging
from the High Street, and which of old was
named the Preaching Friars’ Vennel, as it led to the
Dominican monastery, or Black Friary, founded
by Alexander II., in 1230, on the high ground
beyond the Cowgate, near where the Old Infirmary
stands. The king gave the friars—among
whom he resided for some time—with many other
endowments, a grant of the whole ground now
occupied by the old wynd and modern street, to
erect houses, and for five centuries these edifices
formed the dwelling-places of some of the most
aristocratic families in Scotland, and of many ecclesiastics
of the highest rank.
Many a fierce struggle between armed men has
taken place here, among them the most important
being that of ” Cleanse the Causeway,” when the
victorious Douglases under the fiery Angus, swept
the Hamiltons before them, and rushed in mad
melee to assail the palace of the Archbishop o!
Glasgow at the Wynd foot, from whence he fled
for shelter to the Dominican church, on the
opposite slope. And here, in July, 1588, occurred
the bloody brawl between the Earl of Bothwels
and Sir William Stewart of Monkton.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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