The History of Leith

November 13, 2012

The Gladstones

The Gladstones ” sat ” in North Leith Church for
over forty years, where old Thomas Gladstone was elder
for the ” Hill ” district. This would almost seem to
indicate that the family had resided here before they
became established in the King Street house, and, if so,
then Sir John, the father of the famous prime minister,
would be born in the Coalhill, and not in King Street.
The Gladstone mansion in King Street was burned down
just over twenty-five years ago. James Gledstane, as
they then spelt their name, the brother of Thomas, was
parish schoolmaster of North Leith from 1769 to 1799.
The old schoolhouse may yet be seen within a pend in
Bridge Street. It is now a painter’s store.
The minister of St. Ninian’s in old Thomas Gladstone’s
day was Dr. Johnston, who was always lovingly
and familiarly spoken of, especially by the fisherfolk of
Newhaven, then among his parishioners, as the ” bonnie
Dr. Johnston,” from his handsome appearance and refined
and courteous manner. He was minister of North Leith
for the long period of fifty-nine years, from 1765 until
1824. Between the Gladstone and Johnston families
there was a lifelong friendship, and the famous statesman
used to tell how as a little boy he met Dr. Johnston
in Glasgow. The good doctor, then eighty-two yeaas of
age, had walked all the way from Leith, and intended
walking all the way back again.

source-The Story of leith

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