The History of Leith

November 6, 2012

Fisher Close

In Fisher’s Close stood, till 1835, tne residence of the
ducal house of Buccleuch, which was demolished
in that year to make way for Victoria Terrace. On
the east side of an open court, beyond the Roman
Eagle Hall—a beautiful specimen or* an ancient
saloon—stood the mansion of William Little of
Craigmillar (bearing the date 1570), whose brother
Clement was the founder of the university library,
for in 1580, w^en commissary of the city, he bequeathed
” to Edinburgh and the Kirk of God,”
all his books, 300 volumes in number. These
were chiefly theological works, and were transferred
by the town council to the university. Clement
Little was not without having a share in the
troubles of those days, and on the 28th of April, •
1572, with others, he was proclaimed at the market
cross, and deprived of his office, for rebellion against
Queen Mary; but the proclamation failed to be put
in force. His son was Provost of the city in 1591.
Clement and William Little were buried in the
Greyfriars’ churchyard, where a great-grandson of
the latter erected a tomb to their memory in 1683.*
Little’s Close appears as Lord Cullen’s in Edgar’s
map of 1742, so there had also resided that famous
lawyer and judge, Sir Francis Grant of Cullen, who
joined the Revolution party in 1688, who distinguished
himself in the Convention of 1689 by his
speech in favour of conferring the crown of Scotland
on William and Mary of Orange, and thus swayed
the destinies of the nation. He was raised to the
bench in 1709. His friend Wodrow has recorded
the closing scene of his active life in this old alley,
on the i6th of March, 1726. “Brother,” said the
old revolutionist, to one who informed him that
his illness was mortal, “you have brought me the
best news ever I heard !” ” And,” adds old Robert
Wodrow, ” that day when he died was without a
cloud.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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