History of Leith, Edinburgh

December 31, 2012

St. Nicholas Hospital

It has always been thought that Abbot Ballantyne
founded the Chapel of St. Ninian in North Leith because
its inhabitants had no other place of worship, but this
does not seem to have been the case, for just at this
period there comes into notice for the first time another
chapel in North Leith of whose history practically nothing
is known beyond the fact that, like St. Anthony’s
in the Kirkgate, it seems to have been the chapel of a
hospital. This chapel and hospital, to which a burial
ground was attached, stood at the junction of the Citadel
and Johnston Streets. They were very appropriately
placed under the invocation of St. Nicholas, for
” St. Nicolas keepes the Mariners from danger and disease
1 That beaten are with boystrous waves and tost in dredful
seas,”
and North Leith has always been noted for mariners.
And just as St. Anthony’s Hospital was founded
before St. Mary’s Kirk in South Leith, so that of St.
Nicholas would seem to have been erected long before
St. Ninian’s, to which Abbot Ballantyne gave no churchyard,
an omission that is unaccountable save on the
supposition that North Leith already possessed one at
the Chapel of St. Nicholas. And in the churchyard of
St. Nicholas the good folk of North Leith continued to
bury their dead until 1656, when chapel and churchyard
were displaced by Cromwell’s citadel.

source-The Story of leith

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