History of Leith, Edinburgh

December 31, 2012

Abbot Ballantyne of Holyrood

In 1493, Abbot Ballantyne gave
further proof of his solicitude for the welfare of his vassals
on both sides of the river in Leith. Just as Brother
Lathrisk, their old parish clerk, had found the long way
to St. Leonard’s and the Rudeside beyond his aged
strength, so there must have been feeble and delicate
folk among the abbot’s vassals there for whom service
at the Abbey Church meant a long and weary journey.
Abbot Ballantyne, therefore, erected at the north end
of the bridge the Church of St. Ninian, in later days
the parish church of North Leith, and endowed it with
the rents of the tenements which afterwards came to
be known as the Old Bridgend, and with the tolls of
wayfarers crossing the bridge. Here down to the Reformation
two priests continued to minister faithfully to
the religious needs of the Abbey’s vassals in Leith, and
every morning at six o’clock, in accordance with the
good abbot’s injunctions, St. Ninian’s bell was to ring
out, calling the inhabitants to early Mass, which the
two priests were to celebrate in turn on alternate weeks.

source-The Story of Leith

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