History of Leith, Edinburgh

Archive for 2012

” Our Lady Kirk ” of Leith

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

South Leith Church, was, like the one at Restalrig,
dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who thus became the patron saint of the
community, and took the chief place in the town arms.
That is why in older days it was often called St. Mary’s,
and oftener still, ” Our Lady Kirk ” of Leith, as if it
had a very warm place in their hearts. And, indeed,
it might well have, for it gave them their great annual
holiday. A great time of rejoicing in all Catholic countries
to-day, as in days gone by, is the 15th of August,
when all make holiday because
” The blessed Virgin Marie’s feast,
Hath then his place and time,”
for on that day, according to Catholic belief, the Holy
Virgin was miraculously taken up into heaven, as depicted
in Rubens’s great picture at Antwerp.
But our old Catholic forbears in pre-Reformation
Leith had a double cause for rejoicing on that day.
The 15th of August was hot only the Festival of the
Virgin, but also the feast day of their patron saint.
Are not the town arms to-day a quaint old-world galley,
in which the Virgin sits enthroned under a canopy with
the Holy Child ? As in Edinburgh on St. Giles’ Day,
all the trade guilds in the town, headed by the priests
of St. Mary’s, went in procession, bearing the image of
the Virgin decked in jewels and costly raiment before
them. All the members of the family who worked elsewhere
endeavoured to pass the day among their own
people, with whom they spent a joyful evening over
pancakes and other dainties, telling ” geists,” or stories,
round the family hearth.
Strange as it may seem, we have no record as to
who were the founders of St. Mary’s Church, nor do we
know exactly the date of its erection ; but jaeither is
difficult to guess. We have seen how the good folk of
Leith, shut out from being merchants, became mariners
and shipowners, like Sir Andrew Wood and the Bartons,
bringing much wealth to the town. Under the peaceful
and ordered government of James IV., and the encouragement
he gave to Leith sailormen and shipping, the
town advanced rapidly in wealth, and was more prosperous
during his reign than at any succeeding period

source-The Story of Leith

Devotion to Mother Church

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Sir Robert, who had married the Lady Katharine, as
their family tree designates her, the daughter and
heiress of Sir John de Lestalric who died in 1382. Sir
Robert was now grown old in years. His life had no
doubt been wild and turbulent, as was the age in which
he lived, but it had not been unaffected by the softening
influences of the Gospel and the teaching of the
Church. He was religious according to his lights, and
now in his old age, when no longer able to pursue the
old strenuous life, his thoughts turned more and more
to his duty to God and his fellow-men. The religious
zeal and enthusiasm which had founded and built the
great abbeys of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries had
now spent itself, and yet devotion to Mother Church
and her teaching was more widespread among the people
of Logan’s time than ever before.
In those centuries men believed with the ” gudewife ”
of their own age who taught her daughter that,
” Meikle grace comis of praying
And brings men aye to good ending,”
and, acting on this belief, men sought to secure their own
salvation and that of their relations by endowing the
Church according to their means, and conferring such
benefits and blessings on those who were in need, that
both the Church and succeeding generations of recipients ^
of their benefactions would daily remember them in
their prayers. And for these reasons Sir Robert Logan
founded the Hospital of St. Anthony, which stood where
the Trafalgar Hall and the Kirkgate United Free Church
stand in St. Anthony Lane to-day. All that now survives
of this ancient religious house are its name (given
to the district in which it once stood)

source-The Story of Leith

St. Anthony district

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

While the King’s Wark was extending the Shore seawards,
another group of buildings, whose character and
purpose were very different, began to rise among the
fields and meadows to the south, near where the lands
of the Logans met those of the Monypennys of Pilrig.
This was the Hospital of St. Anthony, which, unlike the
King’s Wark, has left its own memorial behind it in the
form of some of the oldest and most familiar placenames
in the town. All wanderers in and about the
Kirkgate know the St. Anthony district with its several
old-time alleys—they can hardly be dignified as streets
—to which the famous hermit saint has given his name.

source-The Story of Leith

Falkland Palace

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Falkland Palace in Falkland, Fife, Scotland, is a former royal palace of the Scottish Kings. Today it is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, and serves as a tourist attraction. for more click here

James I of Scotland

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

James I, King of Scots (July 1394 – 21 February 1437), was the youngest of three sons of King Robert III and Annabella Drummond and was probably born in late July 1394 in Dunfermline. By the time he was eight years of age both of his elder brothers were dead—Robert had died in infancy, but David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, died under suspicious circumstances in Falkland Castle while being detained by his uncle, Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. Although parliament exonerated Albany, fears for James’s safety grew during the winter of 1405–6 and plans were made to send him to France. In February 1406, James, in the company of nobles loyal to King Robert III, clashed with those of the Earl of Douglas, forcing the prince to take temporary refuge on the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. He remained there until mid-March, when he boarded a vessel bound for France, but English pirates captured the ship on 22 March and delivered James to Henry IV of England. A few days later, on 4 April Robert III died, and the 12 year-old uncrowned King of Scots began his 18-year detention. for more click here

King’s Wark

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

IN” the days when James I. became king, Leith had really
hardly attained to the dignity of being called a town.
The population at this time could not have exceeded,
if it even reached, fifteen hundred. But even in those
days Leith was ever extending its bounds. At the
beginning of the reign the street known from time immemorial
as the Shore did not extend farther than the
Broad Wynd. On the stretch of rough waste land
beyond this, covered with sand and coarse grass, James I.
built his King’s Wark, which occupied all the ground
between Broad Wynd and Bernard Street.

source-The Story of Leith

Leith sold

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

The mills gifted to Edinburgh along with the harbour,
though frequently spoken of in later years as
” Leith Mils,” are not so designated in Robert the
Bruce’s charter. Leith Mills belonged, as we have
already seen, to the lairds of Restalrig. Where Edinburgh’s
mills were situated is not known. With the
harbour they were the earliest of the city’s possessions
in Leith. This royal grant did not confer any right to
the use of the banks of the river, and disputes arose
with Sir Robert Logan, the proprietor, which were only
settled by the Edinburgh authorities paying him a large
sum of money for the banks, with liberty to erect wharves
and quays thereon, and to make roads through the lands
©f Restalrig for the transport of goods and merchandise
to and from the city. Their main highway became the
Easter Road of later days, while the abbot and canons
of Holyrood had their own approach to Leith by way
of Broughton Loan and the Bonnington or Western
Road, which passed through their own lands all the
way to the ford and ferry across the water to North
Leith.
In 1414 Edinburgh made another bargain with Sir
Robert Logan, and obtained a charter from him by
which he granted to the city all the land along the river
bank from the abbot’s lands of St. Leonards, now the
Coalhill, to the mouth of the river, which^was then
where the Broad Wynd is now, while the waste land
beyond that point, in some way unknown to us today,
belonged to Holyrood Abbey. Up to this time the
only means of access to the harbour which Logan allowed
the Edinburgh burgesses was by the narrow yet quaintly
picturesque Burgess Close, now widened into a street,
utterly wanting in the old-world charm that graced its
ancient predecessor.

source-The Story of Leith

Feudalism

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.for more click here

Scottish feudal barony

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

A Scottish feudal barony (also known as prescriptive barony) used to be attached to a particular piece of land on which is the “caput” (Latin meaning ‘head’), or the essence of the barony, normally a building, such as a castle or manor house. Accordingly, the owner of the piece of land containing the “caput” was the Baron or Baroness.

Unlike England’s system of hereditary peerages – which are, in the main, passed down the male line – Scottish feudal baronies may be passed to any person, of either sex, by inheritance or conveyance. for more click here

Barony (geographic)

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

A modern geographic barony, in Scotland, Ireland and outlying parts of England, constitutes an administrative division of a country, usually of lower rank and importance than a county. for more click here

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